Things were not going well, until tourism reared its opportunistic head. Hoi An is once again a big melting pot, and one of Vietnam’s wealthy towns, with outstanding culinary arts. The Old Town is filled with old Japanese merchant homes. Tourist businesses have replaced traditional temples and tea houses. Every corner is filled with lounges, boutique hotels, travel agents, and tourist shops. But fortunately, some places have remained the same.
I may do a Hoi An country bicycle tour, since I am not a water guy. They even have a seven day cycling tour of Vietnam, though Mike would probably not want to get butt blisters! But, we are only about 15 miles from Danang, which we often heard about during the Vietnam War.
Restaurants charge four times what they would in a typical Vietnamese place. A $1 cab ride typically can cost up to $15 USD. So, why are we going? Motorbikes or ebikes are the best way to get around, other than walking. And the local noodle shops may be the order of the day. The Central Market is the best place to find local food.
Old Town does have a few major tourist sites:
Japanese Covered Bridge’s Pagoda
Quan Cong Temple
Museum of Folk Culture
Museum of Trade Ceramics
Hoi An Museum of History and Culture
Museum of Sa Huynh Culture
But for me and Mr. Mike, the walk around Old Town in the evening will be the best part of the day. The Old Town lights up with lanterns, encouraging window shopping and after dinner walks. The cooler evenings help create the busiest times of the day. People watching and the simple beauty of Old Town should be enough to keep us interested. Even the motorcyclists have a group, their version of a bike gang, called the Dalat Angels.
Among other activities, cooking classes are offered, along with lantern making. You will not find me there, I guarantee. And much like other SE Asian countries, commissions are earned by referring customers to specific places of business. And the local tailors are not as skilled as those in Hong Kong, Singapore, or London.