Despite the storms in Hue resulting in our street being turned into a canal the previous night, by morning the tide had gone out and we could catch our bus to Hoi An. The bus took about 4 hours and it was nice to spend it awake on the bus for a change and be able to see some of the countryside.
Hoi An was the first real resort town we experienced. Although the old town has mostly been well preserved, it is slowly turning into a bit of a theme park. Indeed we made the mistake of wandering outside of the centre at one point and were charged admission to re-enter. The only alternative was a lengthy detour. The price did include admission to a number of attractions such as temples and museums but we felt as if we were being forced to pay to get back to our hotel. The pricing is only in operation at certain times of the day and does coincide with scooters being banned from the area which makes walking around a more pleasant, not to mention safer, experience.
Hoi-An has a bylaw that every shop front in the old town must display lanterns and this does create a magical atmosphere after dark. The lanterns range from classy, underplayed numbers to ‘how many can we fit on here!’ The overall effect with the old buildings and the lanterns is very pretty.
Everything is very touristy from the tuk-tuk drivers and restaurants to the temples. All charge prices that are at least double anywhere else in Vietnam. Even the coolie women carrying the buckets on their shoulders with sticks were more concerned with selling photos than their fruit.
Hoi An is a very beautiful town and great as a very different type of holiday destination. We didn’t visit the beach as we were only there for 1 night and it was a few miles from town. Hoi An did demonstrate again the Vietnamese awareness of their resources and their willingness to exploit them, a sort of Vietnamese Blackpool with year round illuminations.