We spent a couple days getting in some of the scenery of the Central Vietnamese coast visiting Hoi An, Danang and Hue. The three cities are quite close to one another but have quite different characters and histories.
We visited Hoi An first. It is at the mouth of the Thu Bon River and was a very important trading port in the 16th and 17th centuries. During that time the town was largely divided by where the settlers came from with Chinese, Japanese, Dutch and Indians all settling. During this time the Japanese Bridge was built between the Japanese and Chinese sections of town. That bridge has been restored/maintained and is among the top tourist sites in town. The city is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and has centuries old buildings that are still maintained to this day; some are still family homes while others have been turned into gift shops, tailors, and restaurants. The city is indeed a gorgeous city that has made a full industry transition from shipping port to tourist hub.
Hoi An was the first place I finally got to try one of the things I’ve been excited for in Vietnam, Bia Hoi (Fresh Beer). Bia Hoi is essentially a light pilsner brewed like any other, with the key difference being that it is brewed and carbonated very quickly and then once ready it is only served for a single day. The breweries deliver to restaurants in plastic jugs, which are poured into keg-chiller coolers with pump style taps on top. The beers are carbonated, but the pressure comes from pumping in air, so the beer goes stale within the day and whatever isn’t finished gets dumped at the end of the night. So every day is a kill the keg special. The lowest price we found on Bia Hoi so far has been 3000D/glass with a buy two get one free special. That is about $0.28 for three roughly pint sized beers. Because of the quick brew process, breweries can vary day-to-day on alcohol percentage and quality. The Bia Hoi we had was very drinkable, not the best but a lot better than Coors. We did have one that tasted like it had gone stale already, which was a shame.
Hoi An also has what is supposed to be one of the top 20 beaches on the world just out of the old city. We visited. It was nice. We flew a kite and sat in a woven bamboo boat. Yeah, I don’t know who ranks beaches, that beach was nice and totally worth visiting when in central Vietnam; but there has to be more than 19 beaches in the world that are nicer.
We’re cruising through Vietnam a little quickly to make the most of our 1-month visa right now. We are already hoping to get a chance to come back on this trip to explore Vietnam a bit more.
Hoi An Pictures: