Never had a place that I looked forward to visiting so much like Hoi An, yet disappointed because of my high expectation. Hoi An, located in the central Vietnam, was once a prosperous trading town during 15th to 19th centuries, with heritage buildings displaying a unique blend of local and foreign influences. It is a massively popular travel destination thanks to its UNESCO world heritage status and beautiful old town quarter.
The old town quarter was a small part of the town spanning across 3 streets, the streets are filled with all the travelers. Tailor shops, souvenir shops and restaurants dominate the old town quarter where once upon a time, these would have occupied by the traders from all over Southeast Asia. It reminded me so much of Prague old town; not in a good way because it was rather congested with selfie sticks, cameras and maps.
Having said all these negative things, I had a good time there. The streets were beautiful and full of vibrant colors; almost made me transported back time to the time. The architecture designs were intriguing; being influenced by all the traders inhabited this trading port town of old. Once the streets were clear of the crowd, the old charm emerged back.
What made Hoi An really beautiful was the streets in the old quarter where numerous street vendors and stalls making their living by selling desserts, snacks or souvenirs. One could argue that it is touristy; yes, that’s absolutely right but once we managed to pass through the facade, we found beauty everywhere.
Some of the ancient trades were withstanding the test of time; dwindling perhaps but still serving as the reminders of the bygone era where they once flourished. It was rather heartwarming to see that these were still preserved in this charming town which otherwise would have been too dull.
The old town turned magical when the daylight were over as the lanterns were lit up throughout the streets, both the crowd and the heat subdue slowly with the sunlight.
Honestly, I wouldn’t want to visit Hoi An again despite having a wonderful time. I was sure that there were a lot more than met my eyes and that Hoi An could offers more than what I have seen or experienced, I could contended with the memories I made in this little charming town.