Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Hoi An, My Son Sanctuary

Roosters, yes there are roosters in Hoi An, I figure right behind our hotel with a scheduled wake up call.

Down to breakfast about 5 minutes before it is supposed to open, who are all these people? Luckily no platters are empty. I pretty much stick to my regular, soup please,  no meat. Then a plate of fruit. Andre , well not sure if it is breakfast or lunch, but he pretty much tries everything. 

We are booked on a small group tour maximum 12 people to visit My Son sanctuary. We are the last people picked up, only 6 of us, fantastic.

We cross over an extremely narrow bridge, I would have been OK on my bike, would not have liked driving a car across, and definitely would have hated being on my bike and meeting a car.

A paper comes around for us to sign for insurance and any food requests. I decide to write vegetarian.  The young couple in front of us say good move, they inadvertently had dog this week. Yep, dog. They were a little shocked, they were in Hanoi off the beaten track and saw a busy restaurant,  no English menu,  so picked something. Turns out dog was the only thing this restaurant served. They have a dog for a pet and love dogs, rumbling tummies when they found out what it was.

First stop is at My Son Sanctuary which is from the 4th to 13 century, the political capital of Champa Kingdom.  It is based on Hinduism, but for a couple of centuries was Buddhist.  Our guide was very interesting,  I can't imagine doing this without a guide. This is a UNESO world heritage site, which I knew meant Andre would want to visit.  We spent about 2 hours exploring here.

Next stop was rice paper making demonstration on a little farm.  We had seen this on the Mekong Delta, but here rice husks are being burnt for the fire, it was wood in the Mekong delta.  Whoever wanted to got a chance to try making it, what a hot job. We tried some of the crispy rice paper with sesame used as crackers around the newly made soft rice paper dipped in soya sauce, quite liked it. 

Lunch up next at on old house about 15 minutes further along. All dishes are vegetarian except for the chicken dish, wait I like chicken. I have soya sauce as my dipping sauce, wait I like fish sauce that non veg got, this vegetarian option was a mistake. Luckily it is family style for the 6 of us on our tour, so I make Andre share his fish sauce for dipping, and I help myself to some chicken.  It was a good meal, 2 other tables of small tours with us, and only one person fell off the kindergarten chair, the dog eater.

Final part of the tour was a boat ride of about 20 minutes along the river. I may have had a little cat nap :)

Drop off at hotels, we asked to be dropped off in town. First stop is Andre ordered some short pants to be made, time for first fitting. They fit perfectly but need a button hole. We go off for coffee and to see if VP bank is back in order. 

On our way to the bank a scooter pulls over with an English man driving and Vietnamese woman on back. Where are you from, English or French part of Canada, getting a bit too friendly. Pulls out these peel ticket things, Andre wins iPhone, free week, or 250.00 usd. Vietnamese girl jumps up and down, she is going to get $50 for charity for Andre winning. I win a hat. Red flags going off, they want us to go somewhere to claim our prize. I told them we were too busy, laundry, bank and tailoring to pick up. I told them I was happy she was getting $50 for charity, oh no we have to go with them for her to get it. We said give the winning ticket to someone else, won't work because it is already open. When Andre was given his ticket I noticed it was partially opened, I guess to find the winning ticket for the woman to jump up and down, charity, learning English etc. So, avoided whatever that Karma Hotel I think the name was scam, or maybe we should have gone as we may have no more $$ after our bank experience coming up.

 VPbank is back in order but neither of our cards will work, will need to deal with that sooner than later. Hopefully does not require a call to the bank. Coffee fix looked after, back to pick up pants and we are off. Iced coffee experience here was a first for us, we also got a free Vietnamese tea with it. We ordered at the counter and when it was delivered we were sure we were given the wrong order. 

If you use google maps walking you are directed through some tiny little alleys for short cuts, some of the best finds.  We saw a few little places that were full of tailors working on I guess tourists purchases being made.

Back to the hotel, pack up 2.75kg of dirty clothes. Laundry 5 minutes from our hotel charges $1usd per Kg, hotel charges 100k per kg, worth the 5 minutes walk. We hadn't walked behind the hotel yet. Tomorrow may explore there more. We are on an island and it is not so busy back there, laundromat rents bike for $1usd per day, or scooters for $5usd per day, if anything we are biking.

Decided to have a buy 2 get one free beer happy hour at our hotel this afternoon.  It is nice and quiet, wifi is good outside on the porch and Andre can look at pictures.

We have 2 things in mind for supper tonight.  Cao Lao and Nem Nuong are on the list, unfortunately I don't think we picked the best place to try them, they were good, but tomorrow we will find a street vendor or somewhere more authentic. 

Dinner done and we cross the river to explore more of the pretty lantern streets.  

Look at our little map from the hotel, where is the Japanese Bridge? Good laugh when we realize we have walked by it at least 10 times just looking the wrong way, perhaps all those lanterns were a distraction? To our defense it is kind of hidden right now behind a wall for construction. 

An early night, missed naps when we chose happy hour which I still don't think they should call happy hour if it is buy 2 get 1 free.

Today's pictures

Bacon at breakfast, first since we have been here

The canal outside the hotel

Our hotel but our room have no balcony or views

I would have not driven over this one lane bridge let alone when a scooter was coming

My Son Sanctuary, A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Cham writing

Before restoration

Bomb crater, the French asked Nixon to stop bombing here, they knew about the significance of this area.  Bombing was stopped within 2 hours after the request

3 act Champ show

Demonstration of making rice paper

Rice paper cut to make dry noodles

Lunch time

20 minute boat ride to end the tour

Free tea served with coffee order

Very few tourists in the day

Night market

Delicious mango

Supper time


Riverfront, so many people with lanterns in the water and boat rides

Japanese bridge

Hoi An used to be a major trading port, types of boats used in the past

1 comment:

We appreciate any comments/questions you would have or any stories about the places we visited.