Hoi An, Vietnam
Lanterns, markets and a whole lot of magic
When planning our trip, Hoi An was the name that came up in conversation again and again. A slow paced, picturesque town; we stayed here for a week enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.
Our hostel was a short taxi ride away from the historic centre and as most of the streets are pedestrianised, we were dropped off just a few streets from the river. To fuel your exploring, I’d recommend going to Madam Khanh—The Banh Mi Queen for a delicious snack. For only 20,000vnd ($0.80) it’s super cheap too! Once we were done eating we ventured towards the Thu Bon River. At 6pm, the river banks and bridges were bustling with both locals and tourists so taking a photo was a bit tricky. Be patient and you’ll find a good spot on the bridge to get your shot! As night arrives you’ll witness the ‘switch on’ moment of the famous lanterns which line the shops and restaurants along the river. Locals sell smaller candle lit lanterns for you to send down the river. Traditionally locals do this as an offering to their ancestors and the God of the Land. We watched the river glow as tourists made their offerings and then moved on to explore Hoi An’s evening markets.
Shopping in most Asian markets requires some level of assertion and willingness to push your way through, Hoi An was no different! Stalls sold souvenirs, leather goods, handmade bags, exotic foods and clothes. There was so much to offer and we loved shopping around for gifts for our friends and family at home (and a few treats for ourselves!). Depending on what you buy, there is likely to be at least a handful other stalls which sell the same item, potentially at a cheaper price. I’d recommend shopping around if you have time to get the best deal. If you fancy slightly more upmarket wares then head along the river where you’ll find a plethora of independently owned shops selling some really beautiful and high quality goods. In these side streets you will also find more photo opportunities with the rainbow lanterns (if you didn’t get your fill earlier). A must visit in Vietnam; Hoi An really is as magical as people say it is.