Impression of Vietnam – Day 6, Hoi An, the City with Japanese Influence!

Time still at 7 in the morning when we arrived in Hoi An. Again, in another bus shelter. Not so a good first impression of the city. We tried to call An, our friend that will show us the city. Actually, I never meet her before. She just lent her hands to pick us up and bring us around the city when I put my request about Hoi An local’s guide in a traveler community called Couchsurfing.

Immediately, she offered me help and gave me her number. I was so lucky since it’s quite hard to find someone from Hoi An. Not because it’s a tiny city with less people, indeed it is, but because Couchsurfing always lead us to Da Nang, while we search Hoi An. Da Nang is another city that takes 3 hours from Hoi An. Not connected. Totally a different place.

After a bit confusion of the shelter address, we just knew from her about the old and new bus shelter in Hoi An, while she was waiting on us in the new bus shelter, actually we are stop in the old one. We wait for a while then she came with her motorbike. It’s not so strange anymore for me to see people in Vietnamese, man or woman, wearing pants or skirt, always ride a motorbike.

I can say from my first impression, she is still young and very nice person, love to smile also. After discussing what we’re going to do in the town, we decided to rent another motor bike so we can go around the city easily. Of course it wasn’t me who drove the motor. I just sat behind An, while Panda drove her own motor. I still didn’t have so much courage to drive a motor in the middle of crazy Vietnam street drivers. While they are going to the motor rental place, I tried the coffee of Hoi An. It is so strong heeee….

First stop was taking a breakfast of the famous Cao Lau. It’s so yummy, another different kind Bun.

Then we stop in An’s house. She said it was quite far from the city, but actually it wasn’t. And we were immediately falling in love with An’s house. It’s a place you can called as an authentic house of Vietnamese local people. Her house is big and very cold comparing to the heat outside. But actually, the weather in Hoi An, even it’s hot, not so burn as in Saigon and Mui Ne. Me and Panda already love the weather. It’s a real bright day, but we don’t feel the pain in our skin as usually we will feel if we forget to put sunblocks to cover our skin.

After taking shower and charging all the electronic devices we can charge such as laptop, camera, phone, and my tab, we both feel like in heaven after feel the water and know that our ammunition of electronic can get some energies back before heading to Hue. We didn’t spend so much time in Hoi An, because my stubborn head wants to go to Hue. I saw the Citadel and Royal Tombs that really make me want to visit Hue from Google. Even it’s a bit difficult to get the bus ticket or train ticket from Da Nang to Hue. The time is very limited. We need to depart around 3 pm to Da Nang train station by local bus and catch the train to Hue from there.

I feel a bit guilty because make everything in a rush that day, but as I said before, being on trip with so limited time, make me to stick to my itinerary before. I know traveler should be flexible and let themselves stay longer if needed, but for me, it can ruin all of my plan before. The misunderstanding schedule from Mui Ne to Hoi An already cut my time few hours. Now, I should stick to my plan and just leave Hoi An at 3 pm if I want to reach Hue in the same day. I read from many traveller blogs that they can’t make it to Hue because of the problem. For them, it’s better to skip Hue and spend time Hoi An and flight back to Saigon or Hanoi from Da Nang, rather than taking train to Hue and back again to Da Nang to catch their flight. And I don’t want to be a part of them. I don’t want to leave Vietnam before visiting Hue.

Sharply, we have time around 6 hours to see the city. And actually Hoi An is a small ancient town. Unesco recognize it as one of their world heritage site. It makes Hoi An leave as the way it is old times ago. They really keep all the building, the road, the interior like hundred years ago. I know there’s some cool places to see in Hoi An, such as Cham Temple that quite far from Hoi An town. But we skipped that one, because I heard it is like Angkor in Cambodia but more ruins. Even the father of An suggest us to go there, but we tried to explain we don’t have so much time and maybe we only wanna see the famous Japanese bridge in town.

It’s so cool because we were preparing our cooking together, even as for me, I only cut some vegetables because I don’t understand what they need or the next step for cooking. Also they said, I just make them confuse and they let me free without helping them anymore except cutting the veggies. So I try to entertain An with my travel story so far and the sight of Indonesia. So cool that An wanna see my country once she can travel. She also love to talk and listen which make me more interest to share my story even my story not so amusing, hahaha.

After the meals finished cooking and served on the table. This is my first time lunch together with the real family of Vietnamese people. Mom and dad was there. An’s dad just went home from teaching in University. He always come home and eat together with the family every break time. So sweet, because I can feel the close relations between the parents to An too as a family. I was feeling so welcome in their house, and don’t ask me their cuisine! It was heavenly yummy!! Actually a bit surprising me because as I can see, what we prepared mostly veggies, even a kind of leaves that I see in Jakarta as street vegetables. But here, they eat that, and I also try that and it taste so good. They called it Vietnamese salad, which the vegetables mixed together with peanut and some herbs (such as salt and garlic). Very simple but very yummy.

Also for the desert, the father of An just cut a pineapple, and we eat that with salt. Wow, they are very humble, healthy food with not so many fat inside from the coconut milk as Indonesia’s food also they enjoy food from the nature very well. Pineapple can taste so good for a desert. Now I know why Vietnamese people eat a lot and still slim, go figure out! They food is mostly from the nature rather than a junk food.

We went to the Japanese famous bridge. Again, it was giving me an odd feeling when I finally see a real place which I ever saw before from the google only. Now it’s in front of my eyes and I can touch it, feel it and step on it. Amazing!

The bridge built since 700 years ago. It is left that way as the first creation. I am a bit afraid it can be collapse with such of tourist step on the bridge. But of course not, hehee. In every edge of the bridge, there is a dog statue and monkey statue. I was questioning to An why the statue is dog and monkey. Do they have special power for Vietnam people? An didn’t know the answer. So we have smart idea to take a listen of a tour guide who was guiding some people there. Gladly he spoke in English, from him we know the dog and monkey statues were meaning to explain people that the bridge built from dog year to monkey year, hihihiii, simple answer.

Here, we tried another street sweet such as this Tofu with Ice and Ginger.

I love Hoi An already. Even they said it is nicer in the evening. But in the afternoon, it is still nice. It is really a small town which many old and authentic store with beautiful colonial interior. Panda bought some souvenir for her mom, I just enjoying the area while An always cover her head with jacket, too hot for her, I said to her “It’s far better than Saigon’s heat. Comparing to Saigon, I could say, Hoi An has a mild hot.”

We stopped in a coffee shop. I love the name of it. Tam Tam Jardin. A mixture of Chinese name and French. The cafe is so beautiful and make us don’t want just sit there but grabbed our camera and take pictures in many places as what usual teenager do, hihihii. There was not so many guest before. But exactly after we finished take pictures, there come another woman group which also do the same thing as we did. Taking many pictures of themselves in the cafe. Ah well, woman always same no matter what countries they come from, hihihii. I chose ice coffee while Panda and An order ice cream. The menu is so French, since they also sell some croissants and pain du chocolate.

Ok, we need to go back to An’s house and take our stuff. Our short moment together was so fun. Because the time so tight, we prefered to take Taxi from An’s house to Da Nang train station, not a public bus as our plan before. It takes 30 minutes before we arrived to the Train station. Da Nang, is really a well developing town! The building and huge tower are there to shouting to the world that probably Da Nang is the finest city of all in Vietnam. It’s make my sense now, when I remember my friend, Tra in Saigon told me that in Da Nang, you can drive a motor as you drive in Saigon. Police will bring you the jail, since they are very organize and discipline here. For An, it was so hot weather, but for me and Panda, the weather still ok.

After saying goodbye to An and her mom, since her dad already back teaching in the University. We left Hoi An and feel so much grateful because the rendezvous we had with An and her family. I always love the feeling of traveling when you can meet new people, feel their kindness and experience so many new things. Luncheon with An’s parents and their kindness, will I remember for the rest of my life.




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