We took the bus down from Huế to Hội An, and arrived in this little town I had read so much about as a centre of food. The town is very small and quaint, they have somehow managed to keep the historical aspects of the ‘old town’ area, and avoided the modern multi-storey building of other Vietnamese towns. It has also been declared a world heritage site, so the colonial French areas will always be retained, which is nice in a historical sort of way.
The food aspect of the town was quite enjoyable. Local specialties like cao lầu, mì quảng and white rose were exceptionally good and well worth tasting, The town is incredibly picturesque and on a lovely sunny day it’s an enjoyable place to be, watching the world go by, or men playing xiangqi.
For me, personally it was a bit too twee, too quaint or as we might say in England ‘chocolate box’ . I really enjoyed the pace of life here, and the ability to ride a bicycle around without the fear of being driven off the road by a thousand mopeds like other cities. Also, the beach was beautiful, and swimming in the sea was great fun, but I found the town itself to be a little on the over commercialised side. Not in the sense like having a Macdonalds next to the pyramids; but in the sense of becoming that cliche postcard scene that the locals think tourists want – and maybe some do, but I don’t.
It’s a really strange mix of backpackers and then more middle aged tourists. a juxtaposition of noisy bars and then shophouses selling local homewares, carvings and paintings.
Maybe I didn’t get the place, maybe I’m missing something; but for me I just would preferred to be more about the town and less about the tourists. Perhaps in ten years time I could appreciate this kind of location a bit more, but currently I’m at a difficult age. I’m young at heart but have no patience for drunk eighteen year olds, but on the other hand I’m no good at talking politics or mortgages with the grown-ups.
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