The city of lanterns
Hoi An is a delightful city in central Vietnam. UNESCO made it a world heritage site in 1999 and it is clear why. The old town is a mixture of traditional architecture with a myriad of narrow streets to wander through which are designated as walking and cycling only so quite lovely to lazily potter round without getting run over or needing eyes in the back of your head, and a big change from Hanoi!
I’m sure from these images it is puzzling to see why it has the nic name ‘city of lanterns’! They are everywhere. It is a beautiful place to walk around especially in the evening and parallel to the shopping streets is a river also lit up with bridges to cross to the night market on the other side. You can hire a boat for a gentle row up the river or buy for pennies a paper lantern to float on the river and make a wish or remember a loved one. It is a great place for shopping providing a wealth of local crafts like leather, pottery and jewellery as well as being the centre for tailored goods. You can choose a fabric and any design you want to be made up in about twenty-four hours including a couple of fittings and alterations if needed to make your garment totally perfect for you. One of my friends that was travelling with me had the most gorgeous dress made for a wedding that she may well be wearing as I write back in Toronto.
Each shop eatery and home in the old town has been carefully decorated to add to the ambience of the place. It is clear its residents are very proud of their town…and they should be. It is also a popular place for wedding photos. Each evening there are several couples on boats on the river dressed up in their finery for spectacular photographs, or sat amongst the lanterns for an equally colourful display.