Hoi An & My Son Sanctuary.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
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Trip End Dec 31, 2018


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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Slowly, slowly, slowly, comes to mind when thinking about Hoi An. Sometimes the slower pace was welcome - but not always.

We took a Vietnam airlines flight to Danang and had an organized transfer to take us to the ancient UNESCO World Heritage city of Hoi An. We spotted the little card with our name on at the airport and when we acknowledged ourselves to the young man, he took off in a hurry pointing for us to follow. We tried to introduce ourselves and ask questions but our driver seemed to have no English. Then more curiously, he drove at the most unbelievably sedate pace that we had not previously experienced in Vietnam!   Eventually we arrived at our booked hotel and our driver spoke to hotel staff who then relayed in English our pick up time for our tour the next day.

We were starving hungry and knowing our hotel was not convenient to the town, we opted to eat at the hotel's restaurant first, then catch the 2.30pm free shuttle bus into town. The service was very slow and then settling the bill was again slow but we finally got ourselves on the slow shuttle bus. By now we were seeing that Hoi An was definitely at a slower pace! We enjoyed wandering around for a few hours looking at the old town sights including the 1593 Japanese Bridge, then did what everyone seems to do in Hoi An - get measured up for some clothes. In our case some lightweight travel trousers. A beautiful meal served to us perched on an upstairs balcony overlooking the river rounded off the day nicely and we caught the shuttle bus back to the hotel at 9.00pm.

The following day we were met at 8.00am by a new guide (with our driver from the day before) and headed off on a tour of some amazing ruins at My Son, the capital and religious centre of the Cham people. A little like a smaller version of Cambodia's Angkor Wat, however, unfortunately many of the significant buildings were bombed to smithereens by both the French and the Americans. Our guide was excellent in explaining the history and walking us through the various sites. There was also a cultural performance of dancing and music of the Cham people. 

We enjoyed some leisurely meals and walks around Hoi An in the theme of "slowly, slowly" and on our last morning before flying out, it was push bikes for a bit of pedal power to the beaches. Then the annoying bit of 'slowly slowly" crept in when we went to check out of the Indochine hotel. We had charged the first day's lunch and some laundry to our room and wanted to pay with credit card but it took at least 15 minutes to actually achieve this. There were 4 people behind reception but (as seemingly the only English speaker) one girl was serving us, however also taking all the phone calls, while the other three watched on. Meanwhile our driver is waiting and we have a plane to catch and patience is wearing thin...

Finally with our bill paid, our driver slowly and sedately delivered us back to the airport for our flight to Ho Chi Minh City. The only driver in our Vietnam visit who ever drove this way and not the way we wanted when we were on a mission to catch a flight - but we made it (we must admit, safely) and we were off to our next destination.

Footnote: Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Sanctuary are UNESCO World Heritage listed.
  

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