Perhaps in Vietnam, there is no other city that attracts tourists from all over the world like the old streets of Hoi An in Quang Nam Province. Many people have come here more than once without having that disinterested feeling for the strange, unexplainable charm of the city.
If someone says Hoi An is too “ordinary”, “Hoi An only has bicycles and the Western tourists” or “Hoi An is too crowded and outmoded”, then surely they are just short-time tourists. They come and go, never once truly live with the streets of Hoi An.
Gone through many ups and downs, Hoi An always bring something memorial. The old-fashioned houses, curving alleys, lanterns with various colors, all of those things create a poetic city like no other. If you want to understand why tourists are so desperate to come back to the place, then perhaps, you should take it slow and truly enjoy the city.
THE PEACEFUL MORNING OF HOI AN
If you want to see how simple and peaceful Hoi An is, you should wake up before dawn. That is when the city is completely quiet, time seems to stop, and the atmosphere totally freezes. Deep in every corner of the city, the moss on the wall still soaking with dew. Only few people walk down the streets to enjoy the cool and fresh air.
Sometimes, tourists can be seen strolling around with a camera to capture beautiful moments. At the street corners, some stores begin to open for business. When the first light draws near the rooftops, through the aged walls, the colorful bougainvillea flowers are even more standout, signal the beginning of the day for the people in the city.
Around 6 o’clock in the morning, the streets begin to get more crowded with bikes and street vendors. Some of the locals wake up early for exercising, shopping and reading newspapers. Under the morning sunshine, Hoi An is so peaceful and beautiful just like a dreamy painting.
The atmosphere quickly changes when the tourists appeared. The ancient Hoi An slowly returns to its usual image with stores and footsteps. Enjoying a cup of coffee with a bite of crispy bread is how a Hoi An citizen begins a new day.
As midday approaches, the sun shines a yellow bright color like honey. It decorates the city with the beauty can only be seen in the middle of Vietnam. The curling Hoai River is glowing and sparkling.
Even during raining season, Hoi An still retains its own magnificent and attractive appearance. The town looks less crowded, only the sound of the rain pouring down remains, but Hoi An is still charming in its own way, strange and unexplainably sad. Yet the rain never stops the tourists from enjoying the city, that’s why the streets often filled with colorful umbrellas.
HOI AN IS A DIFFERENT CITY
Talking about Hoi An, a person told me that this city is unique, completely original with yellow old houses, wooden doors, mossy rooftops, lines of pink bougainvillea flower and lanterns.
At this town, the cruelty of time seems never be able to wipe away the present of the ancient atmosphere. People live slower in Hoi An. The comfortable surroundings of the old streets are things that makes people does not want to leave Hoi An. That is why it is easy to “fall in love” with the city.
Réhahn, one of the world’s most famous photographer, has declared that he decided to sell his house in French and move his entire family to Hoi An after the trip in 2007. “I can enjoy the peaceful feeling of Hoi An all day long, watching the delicate wind sweeps through the flowers in the garden out front or listening to the sound of water flowing when my neighbors watering the vegetables.” – he shared.
After many years travelling through 30 countries around the world, he was delighted to be able to settle down in this riverside town. Réhahn said that every time he leaves the house, the neighbors smile at him and give him warm greetings, Vietnam has given him more freedom and happiness than anywhere he had ever come.
“Hoi An gave me the exact thing that an artist always craves for. Here, the people are not rushed, the pace of life is not too busy and not many things can distract me”, he said. Meanwhile, in the photographic sides, Réhahn sees the city as an outdoor studio. “The yellow walls, traditional lifestyle and the friendly people. This is truly a paradise for photographers”, he declared.
THE SIMPLE BEAUTY OF HOI AN PEOPLE
Anywhere in this earth, people are the soul of the land. Not as gentle as the Northern people, or as generous as the Southern, the people came from the middle of Vietnam are honest and kind in their own way. The way they speak, smile, greet at each other, act in front of other people proved it all.
Hoi An local residents are honest, friendly and hospitable. They welcome anyone who came to their homeland. If you are lucky, you can be invited by a family to their house for a meal. The dishes are very simple, but strangely delicious. The more you communicate with the people, the more you realize how wonderful the people here are. They always give the tourists advice such as “You shouldn’t buy that much, that is enough” or “The merchandise from that store is better than mine, maybe you should try there.”
It goes on with the songs singing under the moon on Hoai river, those afternoons strolling through the small alleys and stopping for a refreshing tofu on the sidewalk, sitting by the side of the river, feeling time passing by. The locals have made people fall in love with the place, so that they want to return here to feel the warmth and refresh themselves.
WHO OWES HOI AN A DATE?
In many people’s hearts, Hoi An is a city came from fairy tales. Countless girls have reminded themselves to bring their loved ones here one day, sit on a boat through the river together, light up a lantern and watch the moonshine through the water.
Under the night sky, Hoi An truly blooms. On the sides of the river, people going in lines. Riddles are hanging around waiting for people to solve. Lanterns lighted up the place.
To some people, Hoi An is youth itself. They are young and full of energy, they go around seeing places with excitement, eat the best specialties, celebrate in the parties filled with laughs and joy. However, Hoi An also represents the old one when people peacefully sit on the side, search for a friend for a cup of tea or a game of chess. From couples to single travelers, anyone can come to the place. Whoever you are, the city never fails you.