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Monday, August 28, 2017

Vietnam (Day 5) Hoi An: Lodging in Ancient Town

From Can Tho Airport, we took an easy 1 1/2 hour flight to Danang. I had pre-arranged with our hotel in Hoi An for a transfer and we were happy to see our driver waiting for us when we exited the airport. On the way to Hoi An, he took us past Marble Mountain and asked us if we wanted to stop. It looked very busy and HOT, so we took a pass and proceeded onward to Hoi An.


The driver took us as far as allowed by vehicle and then transferred our luggage and kids to a cyclo for the short distance to its location in the Ancient Town, while we followed on foot. 

Kids in front.  Luggage in back.



On the short walk, we could already tell that we were going to LOVE Hoi An!  It is gorgeous here.  Then, we came upon our accommodation Vinh Hung Heritage and my heart burst with delight.


We stayed at the only hotel located in this UNESCO World Heritage site and it is a stunning piece of art in itself. A 200-year old house decorated with traditional wooden furniture, but full of modern comfort. We had BOTH of the front facing heritage suites, one of which was Michael Caine's room during the filming of The Quiet American. Maybe you recognize scenes from the film? 

Vinh Hung Heritage Lobby

Welcome Drinks!
Entrance to our Room.  Kids across the hall.



Interior of Vinh Hung Heritage
Entrance to Balcony


The balconies are for all the guests as they are accessed via the walkway between the two front-facing suites.  However, we had them all to ourselves for the duration of the stay. We were perfectly comfortable with the kids staying across from us.  After we were done sitting on the balcony that night, the hotel closed the balcony access doors, so you can rest assured that you won't have any foot traffic at all during sleeping hours.




When my dad saw this pic, he texted "Don't touch anything, Molly!"

Hoi An is a preserved Southeast Asian trading port from the 15th to the 19th century and the culture and heritage is evident in the charming architecture. I had high-hopes for Hoi An, but was concerned about all the comments regarding crowds and it being too touristy.  Well, I'm so glad we decided to include it in our itinerary!  In fact, we would include it on a repeat visit as well.  It doesn't even really get busy until later in the day and into the evening.  There is a LOT to see here and we felt that our 4 nights was not enough time.  After checking into our rooms, we immediately set off strolling.   












So many restaurants and shops! We really didn't have a plan for selecting our lunch spot and I don't remember which place we stumbled into, but it was fantastic!  We got the famous and very tasty dishes Cao Lau (Hoi An's secret noodle), White Rose (shrimp dumpling named by the French for the rose shape appearance), and Banh Xeo (Vietnamese style crepe filled with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts.

White Rose
Cao Lau
Molly loves pho!
Banh Xeo
Afterwards, we continued wandering and admiring our setting. It was still hardly busy at all. Probably because of the heat? But, the kids were splendid and we continued until the complaints set in indicating it was time for an ice-cream break :)







I don't know why, but this tour group passing by cracked me up.

Another tour group.  I still found it funny.


The kids were starting to complain that they needed a break, so we made our way back to the hotel. But first, they made their first purchase in Hoi An, wisely picking a couple of silk fans.




Cold beers (for the grown-ups) and balcony time was a great way to spend the rest of the afternoon.  We enjoyed watching the street below fill with the people as the cooler evening set in.  One of the best decisions we made on our trip was to stay at Vinh Hung Heritage, so that we could simply walk out the door the next morning and enjoy the quiet empty Ancient Town.

Enjoying our balcony as the crowds arrive.

The old town lights up with lanterns at night and is full of activity.  With it so crowded, we decided to stroll along the riverfront experiencing Hoi An traditions.  Every night lotus-shaped lanterns are lit and released on the river while making a wish.  The kids were practically pulled into the water by this lady determined that they participate. While a beautiful scene, I wondered where all the lanterns collect downriver and felt bothered by the gathering rubbish.  On the plus side, my kids did not burn themselves nor did they fall into the river.



Japanese Covered Bridge



Both girls went strong until dinner when they fell asleep in the restaurant barely touching their food. 



Thank goodness we only had to walk across the road to our hotel. They were so tired that we decided to eat nearby.

View from restaurant.  So far to go back to hotel. Hahahahaha

Our big night out in Ancient Town - haha. The town really came alive at night and was quite busy.  We were informed that the crowd was mostly tourists from Hanoi because we were here during the low season, but we saw plenty of westerners.  I definitely preferred the other side of the river at night. Everything quieted down around 9ish and storefronts and restaurants closed completely a little after 10 emptying the streets of the remaining stragglers.  Off to bed excited for the morning to come!

Next up: Exploring Ancient Town 

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