Hoi An the ancient Faifo!
Hoi An is one of those essential visits to make in Vietnam. If only because it is one of the few towns that preserve the traditional architecture. Did you know that in Vietnam the towns were razed in the successive wars that it has suffered throughout its history? Reconstructions have not recovered the past.
Faifo is what Western merchants called her.
Today Hoi An was a great commercial port between the 15th and 19th centuries .
Ships came to Faifo from practically all over the world, ready to buy the precious silk for which it was famous. Paper, porcelain, tea, sugar, molasses, areca nuts, Chinese medicine, pepper, and even elephant horns!
These are just a few examples of the long list of merchandise available.
Also the pirates of the China Sea tried to make their raids. But it is true that it was a well-protected port as it did not face the sea directly.
Today it is hard to imagine that movement of goods and people. Surely once it was hurried, busy. But nowadays haste, what is said haste, there is no such thing in this beautiful and relaxing town …
It wasn’t really that long ago, historically speaking.
It was in the 19th century when the Cai River , which communicates the city with the sea, became silted until it did not allow large-draft ships to reach port. And little by little all that was over.
Later the railway line connecting Hoi An with other points in Vietnam was destroyed by a large typhoon. It was also not fixed.
Come on, Hoi An was gradually becoming isolated. Left to its own devices.
Hoi An, today
But the echoes of many languages still sound in its streets. The commercial activity continues active never better said, although on a smaller scale and for different reasons.
Today Hoi An is a top tourist spot in Vietnam. And they continue to show off the products that once called merchants. Fabrics and tailors, since there you can have a tailored suit made for very little money and in a few hours; paper and silk lanterns, ceramics, woodwork, cinnamon, etc.
Hoi An is one of the World Heritage Sites of Vietnam
That’s right, and it shows that they take care of it.
Road traffic (except motorcycles) is prohibited in the historic center, which allows for leisurely walks. And you can visit some houses, buying a ticket whose benefits are used to restore them.
If you want to book tours and activities in Hoi An , check out the GetYourGuide offer here .
Hmm … what do I remember from Hoi An?
To start with, the heat
An overwhelming heat (August). Relentless sun that could not be escaped because there are hardly any portals or arcades in which to take refuge. Combined with a very high degree of humidity that makes all of you constantly soaked, dehydrating you non-stop.
Proof of this is the clothing worn by most of the young women, covering their skin as much as possible. They do it for that and because “white” skin is their goal. Her ideal of beauty, what is most aesthetically valued and what a woman is admired for. We, on the other hand, determined to get tanned, what a world! We cannot forget that before, fair skin denoted a life of the wealthy, far from the fields and from work in the sun. I believe that today it is no longer that, but that it has become an aesthetic ideal to which women are subjected in many countries of the world, like thinness in the Western world.
I also remember that the sunsets were very fast and did not refresh the atmosphere, although the night gave a minimal respite.
And the market by the river . Motley, packed to the brim. The posts occupying almost all the space. Motorcycles coming and going. We trying to navigate all that, looking for a memory like some cinnamon sticks, for example.
Hoi An Beach
But I also remember the tranquility, the walks that I have alluded to. In those days, also the getaway to the beach to bathe in that warm sea of China. Preview that it’s like bathing in soup!
The best thing about that afternoon was without a doubt watching the Vietnamese enjoy their leisure in the water. Well equipped with life jackets and with some garment on. When night falls, as in so many other places in this world, the young people had fun with beer.
By the way, to go to Hoi An beach you have to take a bike, a motorcycle, a private taxi-type vehicle, or walk. Except your feet, everything can be rented, haggling as much as possible. There is no public transport, or there was none in 2009. The beach is about 3 km from the town, but under that hot sun you have to bring water and be well protected!
Magnificent beaches on this coastline, which, however, I am very afraid will already be full of resorts (I went in 2009 and there was a lot under construction).
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Eating in Hoi An
I also remember, heh, heh, a delicious seafood platter at a more than reasonable price. We went to a quiet restaurant where Mick Jagger himself attends (or attended), among other Hollywood celebrities who make this their place of escape.
Yes, Hoi An is quiet even for famous people in film and music.
And the color of Hoi An
Reviewing the photos, I find that I have many bad or very bad. Surely a product of that heat, heh, heh. But the ones that are salvageable are full of color .
All the colors of the Rainbow, in those lanterns, in the market next to the pier where every morning the fish of the day is unloaded to be sold together with the flowers, fruits and vegetables, in the omnipresent incense sticks even on the facades of houses. Colors everywhere.
And the people of Hoi An
Photographs of people also appear among those memories. Especially older people. Perhaps it is one of the places in this country where I could see the most elderly. In Vietnam they are not very abundant considering that the war with the United States took a good portion of the young population ahead.
What have those eyes seen …
Well, here is my look at Hoi An.
It is not entirely faithful, but I have written it with the intention of recommending a couple of days to rest in this quiet town-city, if you travel to this country.