Over Easter, we visited Hoian. This was my first trip to Vietnam, and I’d only heard good things about Hoian. Everyone gushed about how beautiful it was, and I couldn’t wait.
It was indeed charming. Hoian used to be a trading port in the 15th – 19th centuries, and the buildings in the UNESCO-designated Ancient Town reflects the infusion of Chinese, Japanese and European designs.
The temperatures were already in the mid-thirties when we arrived early morning from Danang, and the humidity only climbed till we had to hide back in air conditioned hotel room after lunch until late afternoon for the soft golden light.
And if the narrow streets were crowded with pedestrians, bicycles, trishaws, and scooters during the day, they were positively packed at night. Everyone came out at dusk to enjoy the colorful lanterns strung overhead, and the atmosphere was festive.
We tacked on a sunrise visit to My Son, a cluster of Hindu temples built by the Champa dynasties from the 7th – 13th century, about an hour’s drive from Hoian. Pro tip – sunrise is the best time to visit, because of the (1) beautiful golden light; (2) cool temperatures; and (3) light crowds. We were the first to reach the temples, and enjoyed serene minutes just quietly taking in the brick architecture harking back to the 7th century.