Vietnam

79 images Created 18 Oct 2018

Wherever one travels in Vietnam, unforgettable experiences await, no more so than Hoi An and the cluster of rural villages that surround this charming provincial town. Often described as the cultural hub of Central Vietnam and indeed the culinary heart of whole country. Here unfolds a land of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic urban chaos contrasting with the slower, perhaps more appealing pace of the many hill-tribe villages. Exploring on foot and bicycle (by far the best way to get off that beaten track), we were lucky to find the authentic Vietnamese experience we yearned for, both dynamic and atmospheric and with the picturesque riverside setting, boasting grand architecture and harmonious ‘old-town’ charm, a travel experience never to be forgotten.

There are the sublime colours: local farmers working the huge electric green rice paddies as the sun creeps up behind the mountains. The ridiculous: taking 15 minutes just to cross the street through a tsunami of motorbikes loaded up with entire families and the week's market shop. The exotic: getting lost in the plethora of curvy little backstreets in Hoi An and stumbling across a fantastic little steamy eatery, oozing all the tastes and smells your travelling belly is craving. The comical: watching a local farmer enjoy his afternoon nap on the back of a water buffalo, at the edge of a river swarming with sun-kissed little wooden boats and fishermen mending nets… and the chaotic: a bustling fish market at the crack of dawn, watching the many 'ngư dân', their wives and even mother-in-laws hauling huge crates of frantically flapping tiny fish across seemingly never-ending rickety bamboo bridges to one of the many ‘fish sauce factories’ on the outskirts of Hoi An… We’ll be back, and next trip we’ll be sure to make more time for the Old Town’s melange of Chinese tea houses and ancient temples jumbled together with some wonderfully colourful Japanese merchant houses…
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