Hoi An has been the most beautiful city we have visited so far in Vietnam. It took us long to get there from Buon Ma Thuot. Very long, around 24 hours and two different bus rides, but it was worth the effort!! The first bus we took left us in the cathastrophic coastal town of Nha Trang, a highly tourist-polluted place with high hotel and resort buildings, cable car to a nearby island resort and every kind of sea sport activities for upmarket tourists. Once we were able to see how things looked like in town, we decided to catch an sleeper bus on the same evening to go to Hoi An and spend there the minimum possible time. We were lucky enough to book the last two berths available for that night’s sleeper bus.
So we slept –or tried to- in the bus that night and arrived in Hoi An early in the morning. It took us some hours to find the proper, cheap hotel to stay and then we walked the streets in the city centre. From the beginning we were delighted by the charm of the old city. Small streets with no 4 wheelers –although motorbikes and bicycles are allowed inside- and old, beautiful french, chinese and vietnamese architecture not exceding 2 storeys. Luckily the city largely escaped the destruction of sucesive wars and it is still possible to admire ancient chinese merchant houses and other old buildings, retaining a sense of history more than any other place in Vietnam.
Only the large amount of souvenir and present shops and their touts calling your attention from the door were a bit annoying, but you could easily manage to say NO and they would not insist more. According to our guide book –the same one everyone else seems to carry with them- Hoi An is the place to get a suit made in Vietnam, so many tailors and shoe makers were quite busy measuring arm brights and so on. The cloths looked nice but we didn’t even think about buying anything –we already carry enough weight with our