I was so lucky to be able to spend my birthday and New Years in Hoi An, Vietnam! I had the best time with my family, and the architecture of the town is very charming! The weather was a bit chilly and cold, but a great change to the hot and humid weather of Singapore. We did two days of tours: riding through the fields, and learning about My Son. I love learning about all the culture and history filled inside this endearing town. Hoi An is a UNESCO world heritage site with its architecture inspired by France, China, and Japan. I definitely recommend visiting, even if its just for a few days since there is so much to do! These are a few pictures that I took, and experiences that I cherish.
Riding through the fields was one of the tours that we did, and I had the best time! We each had our own bike, and road for the whole morning. Though riding in the bustling streets with cars passing by was a bit frightening, going through the fields, and getting the pleasure to go on the back of a water buffalo was exhilarating! In the vegetable fields that we road through, people planted rice, tomatoes, watermelon, and many other vegetables and fruits. There were a lot of older people working in the fields, and were very friendly, waving their hands as we rode by. Water buffalos help farm and pull the tools through the fields. We got to plant rice and work with the buffalo to make the dirt the right consistency. After our bike tour, we had a river ride in traditional boat baskets. We wore the traditional straw hats of Vietnam to make our experience complete!
Another tour we did was to My Son, a Hindu temple built during the 4th to 13th century. The mystery of this temple intrigued me, and I loved learning the rich history about this UNESCO world heritage site. Why the bricks of this temple keep their red color through centuries, but bricks we made today turn brown and black from the weather in six to ten years is a mystery to everyone. A majority of the temple’s design was from the religious Mount Meru, and some temples were for only the kings to enter. This temple was discovered by French archaeologists during the 20th century. When you go to the temple, there will be faces of the gods gone, taken by thieves, and some of the temples ruined by the bombings from the U.S during the Vietnamese War. My Son has a raw and organic feel since so much of it is still unearthed, and is in the centre of a jungle. I was really awed by the natural beauty of this temple, and the history that it is filled with.
Hoi An and its surroundings are a wonderful tourist destination where you can enjoy charming cafes, and purchase treasures such as silks, pottery, coffees, and teas while meandering along narrow cobblestone streets lined with silk lanterns.