Hoi An Vietnam

Trip Start Jan 21, 2009
Trip End Mar 20, 2009

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hoi An Vietnam
January 30 & 31 2009

I have writing these entries daily, intending to copy them into the travel blog when I find a reliable internet connection.  Every day here has been so full and so exotic that I have not wanted to spend my time on the internet.

We flew from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and then to Danang for car transfer to Hoi An.  We were surprised to arrive at a large fancy new airport terminal (the international one) then we walked over to the domestic terminal for our flight to Danang.  This older terminal was more like I what I had expected to see.  There are many people traveling, Westerners and Asian and it is the middle o the Spring New Year Festival, Tet.  Everything is decorated for the New Year Holiday and it is an especially fun, interesting, and noisier time to be here.

I have heard that Hoi An is the most charming small town in all of Southeast Asia. This historic town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is on the Thu Bon River.  Historically, it was an important port on the South China Sea for trading with the Japanese and Chinese for hundreds of years.  The influence is apparent in the Chinese and Japanese stle temples and houses.  The French Colonial influence can be seen in the architecture and the food as well.

This town is known for its tailors.  They can make anything custom in 24 hours.  I met a younger Canadian traveling. She was buying an exquisite lovely black wool jacket that she had ordered 5 hours earlier.  The town is bustling with Vietnamese tourists as well as westerners.  The people are very welcoming and we are enjoying it here.

On our second day here, we saw some of the countryside and rice paddies, and visited the ancient temples remains of the Champa Kingdom.  This interesting archeological site dates from the 4th to the 15th centuries, about the same time period as Angkok Wat in Caambodia.  Most of the temples were lost to bombing in the American-Vietnam War, sadly.  You can still see tthe many bomb craters in the area.

I have to run now and pick up the dress I ordered in town yesterday.  I hope to wear it this summer for Matt and Lauren (Silverstein's) wedding.:) 
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