Travel Blog - Discover Hoi An in a Different Way

On this journey to Hoi An, I don’t choose to stay at a hotel but a small one-storey house located at a fishing village, close to the Thu Bon river, where being flooded firstly in the rainy season, so every house has a loft to avoid storm.

Every morning, I wake up in the noise of the children calling each other to go to school, people hailing boats, sound of water flowing… when the sun rises above the confluence. No tourist comes here to visit except for some bikes of foreigners accidentally passing sometimes. After having breakfast made by myself, I sat at a small table next to the river, under the shade of coconut trees and typed – the job I do in many years.

There were days when I spend all day being a gardener - hoeing the garden in front of the house, making some flowerbeds and vegetable beds, but not for long, the mouse destroyed them. So I cycled to Tra Que village, growing some herb and vegetables to complete the dreams of gardening. Standing amid lush green colour of Tra Que vegetable beds, smelling the aroma of basil and mint which is extremely pleasant… it can make me feel so relaxing like the most effective spa therapy.

There were also the days I travelled along the Thu Bon River and stayed at the village of Thanh Ha until late in the evening because I was busy watching people making pottery, or did some pottery items by myself, waiting for the terracotta to be baked well then brought them back. I playfully made some distorted cups and bowls, brought them back home all and then put flower and tree in. The window is where I “exhibit” the “artworks”. When you buy flowers home is the time we are happy, whatever the flower is.

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There were days I cycled along the Thu Bon River and only stopped when legs were tired. There were days I was on the bike riding out to Danang and Hai Van Pass, and only came back when it got dark. I brought bikini to be ready to stop at any beach on the way out, ready to jump into beautiful blue sea outside. I also brought a book, lying on the beach, relaxing, reading, listening to the waves, listening to the wind blowing, watching the clouds and sky.

There were days I crossed the river to get to the small villages and islets, boating through the lush water coconut trees, instead of eating in the restaurant, I asked the local people for a meal with their family. The ordinary sincere people of Quang Nam are willing to open the door for you to give a cup of cool water, give you a bowl of rice, sit and chat about life on the bamboo bed near the front door with a bamboo fan on their hands. My vehicle was just a bicycle, I carried water, snack, pens, books, hat, bare arms, sports shoes, and wandered around all the little corners.

In this visit to Hoi An, I did not use internet and also did not meet any friend. I rode to the market like local women in the morning. I did not eat in restaurants but always in the market, in sidewalk stalls. Sometimes I just sat down chatting with local boat women during the whole morning, listening to their stories. It was so attractive to listen to their stories that I could not leave. They talked a lot with me but did not forget to invite tourists to enjoy a cruise along the river. They cheerfully invited and smiled at the guests no matter they agree to take to boat or not.

The owner of the cafe where I came every afternoon got accustomed to the visitor from afar, put the tea on the table and then quietly left. He only returned when the tea was cool to add more hot water. From strangers we became friends. His café is located at the end of the busy road, but always crowded than others, perhaps because of the guests like me, who looking for a little quiet after going through all the long way out there to discover.

Hoi An in me is just like that - simple, no lantern, no floating lights but brilliant and so warm.

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