Hoi An – an ancient town by the river

hoi an

My trip in Vietnam 2009 started in Hanoi (separate blog post here), went on to Ha Long Bay (separate blog post here) and then continued south in Vietnam. We passed very nice places, met some very nice people. The country is not rich, but people seem happy and smiling. We felt welcome. The food was good and there was a lot to see. We passed Hue (I will write about it later), Danang, the border between north and south Vietnam and we finally arrived in Hoi An.


Boat in Hoi An


Beautiful bug on the river

We arrived in Hoi An in the afternoon and took a walk in the town entering it throught an ancient bridge. We walked around and explored the town. It’s small and very pitoresque and there is a lot to see. When we came to the town people were preparing a celebration and parade of some kind, so everything was shining, there were pictures of Ho Chi Mingh everywhere and you could feel excitement and preparations.


Preoaring for parade


A school kid in a town preparing for celebration

The town of Hoi An is next to the river and every year in October-November the water of the river raise and had filled streets of the town several times. People are used to this and just continue with their lifes. It’s fascinating how easy it is to go on. In one of the houses that we visited there are markings on the walls how high the water was different years. Strange.


Hoi An houses


City by a river

We walked at the market, we walked by the river, we watched people, boats and life. We met also a restaurant owner who got really excited when he heard that we came from Sweden. He ran into his restaurant and came out with Swedish poster from early 20-th century, from prohibition time with pro-alcohol campaign.


Restaurant owner with Swedish poster

Woman on the market

There is a silk-factory in this town, some of us visited it. Others visited one of the large number tailors, and ordered custom made clothes. I did too. One shirt and skirt were pretty cool and one linnen dress that I never used. But they were fast, the clothes fit well and some were really pretty. There were also shops with pretty lamps everywhere. Cute town.


Pretty lamps

One morning I woke up with the sun and went to the local market. When I got there I met our other photographer. We are strange people. The market was totally different early in the morning. There were only local there and very few tourists (all with large, nice cameras). There was a lot of trading, fish boats comming in, motorbikes with pigs, geese and chicken, still alive, fresh fruit and vegitables. The tourist stuff like souvenirs, fabric and pearls were not there yet and it was very different, very interesting, very nice. The real market.


In the market, there is a lot happening


Pretty woman in the market, the hats are not only for tourists

fish market

Selling fish

selling ducks

Selling ducks

My fellow photographer-friend and I took also a walk to the railroad tracks to take some pictures. The train was just comming, so the traffic was stopped. While waiting my friend passed to the other side of the street. When traffic started he couldn’t get back and was helped by an old happy lady to cross the street. Westerners need lots of help sometimes. We saw also an old temple with dragons and sculptures and beautiful surroundings.


An ancient temple


Sending wishes for the gods and spirits


Budda statue


Dragon watching the temple

We stayed in Hoi An for three days. One of the days we visited the nearby beach. The day at the beach was nice and relaxing. We drank lemonade and ate fish and were laying under an umbrella reading. The wind was strong, so we didn’t swim. And guess if I got burned. That’s typical.


On the beach

One of the evenings in Hoi An was also the Earth Hour. I went down to the river and watched the town put out all the lamps and turn black. Ot actually no. There were lanterns everywhere. Hundreds small lights were sent out on the river and it was beautiful.

preparing for earth hour

Preparing for earth hour

We left Hoi An happy and continued south to Ho Chi Mingh city, or Saigon, as it was called before.


The famous bridge

The Ancient Town of Hoi An is a world heritage since 1999. Link to the site: Hoi An

My grade for this site is four out of five:



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6 thoughts on “Hoi An – an ancient town by the river

  1. […] Hoi An – an ancient town by the river. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

  2. Hoi An is a place I really want to visit one day. I like your description of the market, and the difference between the ordinary market goods and the tourist stuff. A useful point to remember.

  3. shonadaowna says:

    Yes, they look *so* opressed by their Communist regime! What happy, industrious looking people and what a lovely country.

  4. […] Bay and then to Hue by the Parfume River. Many world heritages in one trip. After Hue we went to Hoi An. I’ve described some of these places, some are still to come. But now it’s time for […]

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