Venice of the Far East ~ Hoi An, Vietnam
Of all the places we visited throughout former French Indochina, the one that is most dear to my heart is the ancient port city of Hoi An, Vietnam. After all of the drama surrounding our motorcycle, it was refreshing to be in a place where motorized vehicles aren't even allowed in parts of the old town. Wandering the streets, it truly feels as though you've transported to another time ~ an era of romance, intrigue and old-world charm.
Colorful blooms burst from every crevice of the decaying buildings as they flaunt their age with mustard-yellow walls so characteristic of the iconic colonial-style. The decay only adds to the character of the city, while the vibrant colors shout that this ancient place is still very much alive.
It has been coined the Venice of the East for its peaceful riverfront and quiet canals. Gandola-esque slow boats lazily float along the river, while couples stroll by hand-in-hand inspired by the vibes of the romantic city.
Translated from Vietnamese, Hoi An literally means "peaceful meeting place" ~ a description that aptly captures the slow pace of life and harmony felt throughout these parts. The sleepy town is most awake during midday when the market is thriving with local vendors.
You're never far from old-world culture in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. We just so happened to stumble into a traditional folk dance performance while exploring the old town one day. The magic of the whole place just never seems to wear off.