If there are any comparisons to be made between Japan and Vietnam, I think that Hoi An is the place to do it. Yet, at the same time, Hoi An is (in my limited opinion) quintessentially Vietnamese.
First of all, the place is renowned for its Japanese bridge providing an easy link to Japan. Originally built in the 16th century by Japanese traders this old bridge is a focal point of the town and quite attractive it is too. The old town itself though, is full of traditional style buildings and although most of them are shops now, it is relaxed and oozes a Vietnamese ambience. In that sense, perhaps it is the Kyoto of Vietnam!?
The surrounding rice paddies, fields and agricultural work that goes on around Hoi An, allows you to jump straight into the Vietnamese countryside – which is beautiful and again adds to the Vietnamese feeling of the place.
Most people wear the classic Conical Hats to go about their daily life, there are water buffalo in the fields with tropical fruit trees and palm trees in abundance.
Tyler demonstrates that once you get out of the town and into the fields, you can get away from it all and mix up with the locals.
Another great thing about Hoi An is that fact it is so diverse. You can soak up the history, take in rural life and culture or get a tropical beach fix. Nearby Cham Island is perfect for a spot of ralaxation on a beautiful beach or perhaps a bit of diving or snorkelling. Only an hour on the boat and you will find yourself on a tropical island with monkey in the trees and the sounds of Cicada and birds – amazing!
There is also the food of course. The Vietnamese seem to love their food and Hoi An is no different with a number of local specialist dishes…more to come on that though!
In short, there is so much to do in and around Hoi An, this place is a ‘must’. I am hooked on Hoi An.