For me, Hoi An is Vietnam... (by KCT)

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Feb 19, 2010

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Friday, January 29, 2010

I remember seeing ads and watching commercials showing Vietnamese girls dressed in gorgeous white and long traditional costumes called Ao Dai, riding the bicycle through narrow streets decorated by unique lanterns, next to temples and traditional architecture. I also remember that they were showing beautiful resorts next to white sandy beaches and azure blue sea. 

It was an ad campaign by the Vietnamese Board of Tourism and since I saw it many years ago, I wanted to travel to Vietnam. Yet, instead of the image of a peaceful, calm country with untouched nature, we faced exciting fast moving cities like Saigon so far where it was e.g. impossible to cross the streets because of the amount of motorbikes. The latter description even applies for the cities in the Mekong Delta.    

If you are looking for the same thing as I did, you definitely need to stop in Hoi An. Hội An flourished as a trading port between the 15th and 19th century and was the most important trade port on the South China Sea conduing trade between Europe, China, India, Japan, and also Egypt, especially for the ceramic industry. As the Old town of Hoi An remained untouched it was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO as a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port, with buildings that display a unique blend of local and foreign influences.

Today, the town offers next to traditional architecture and small streets decorated by colorful lanterns a number of crafts such as textiles, art and ceramics (Mihai got an ass-kicking customized dark blue suit with vampire red silk lining for a fraction of the Western price!), charming restaurants along the riverfront (we highly recommend the restaurant For You and it's grilled snapper with ginger baked in banana leaves!) and a postcard-perfect beach. It was as if we had traveled back to the past.

I found what I was looking for.
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