Hoi An, Vietnam: Lanterns and Lounging

Lanterns and Lounging. These two words represent our time in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Lanterns of Hoi An Bridge, by Chelsea (click for a larger image)

Lounging, Watercolor by Eric

About halfway up the coast from Saigon, lies the little hamlet of Hoi An. A UNESCO world-heritage protected site, it is the type of city I imagined when I dreamed of coming to Southeast Asia. All the French Colonial architecture is still in tact – despite the fact that the Viet Kong set up their base of operations not too far away.

We stayed at the Hoi An Pacific Hotel, which was admittedly a bit of a splurge for us. Our hotel was located between the adorable downtown of Hoi An and picturesque private beach belonging to our hotel. Conveniently, our hotel offered a shuttle from the hotel to the beach, as well as to town.

We were in Hoi An for 4 days. Our typical day consisted of:

Mid morning at the Beach

Private Beach provided by the Hoi An Pacific Hotel

Afternoons spent reading and playing with Watercolors by the South China Sea.

Lone Chair at Cua Dai Beach, Photo by Eric

Eric's watercolor of the beach and a scene in town

Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam

Eric's take on Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam

Late afternoon to early evening, head into town to explore and sketch by the river

Hoi An in the early evening

Pavilion near the center of the "Old District"

Boat on the river, looking at An Hoi Island

Eric's watercolor of the riverboat

Hoi An, Vietnam

Dinner at a restaurant in town. My favorite was the Mango Room! Unique vietnamese/mexican fusion dishes with fabulous deserts and fruit filled cocktails. 

The Mango Room in Hoi An, Vietnam

Eric enjoying the window seat at the Mango Room

Desert: Fruit and chocolate wrapped in wontons with coconut butter sauce, along with a Passionfruit Cocktail! Yummo!

 Nighttime stroll to explore the old quarter and see how many lanterns we could find…

Hoi An Bridge

Sunset in Hoi An, photo by Eric

Lanterns in Hoi An, Vietnam

Row of restaurants filled with lanterns on An Hoi Island

Night-time lantern market on An Hoi Island

Lanterns reflected in the water, photo by Eric

Public Art Exhibition featuring lanterns with flags of the world, in Hoi An, Vietnam

And maybe a little more watercolor. Subject? Lanterns. 

Watercolor of Lanterns, please excuse the beach scene below-that's from Thailand! by Chelsea

My inspiration, Lanterns at Man Nguyen Restaurant

Lanterns at Man Nguyen Restaurant, by Eric

Eric's inspiration, Lanterns at Man Nguyen Restaurant

And seeing things like this…

Indeed.

Enjoying Hoi An by laying on the beach by day and strolling through the humid night was a wonderful way to experience Vietnam. In my opinion, this is the town that people envision when they picture coming to this country. Even though tourism is the main commodity in this town, it seemed significantly more relaxed and easy going than the other cities we’d been to.

After Hoi An we flew on to Hanoi up in the north. We took a Jetstar flight, which seems to be the EasyJet of Australia. The flight was a little looney-our friend described Jetstar as the type of airline you might expect someone to board with coop of chickens-but we got there just fine (if not a little jostled). My next post will be about our last destination in Vietnam, Halong Bay-where we took a 3-day cruise and climbed the limestone crags scattered throughout the enormous bay.

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