Yellow, Lantern-Filled Hoi An

Like Ha Long Bay, Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist destination in Vietnam. The historical district is recognized as the best example of a historic SE Asian trading port from the 15th to 19th centuries, according to Wikipedia. But to the non-Googling eye, the area is an incredibly quaint, well decorated old town with clear Japanese, Chinese, and French influences. Presumably, because they all traded there.

The streets between bright yellow buildings are narrow and covered with vines and hanging lanterns. Cars are not allowed in the area so it is pleasantly quiet compared to the typical choir of honking in the country.

Because of the UNESCO designation, most of the yellow buildings are now boutique shops seeming to specialize in leather goods, linen clothing, and intricate lanterns. Even the food is aimed at tourists—all pizza shops, Chinese restaurants, and smoke-free cafes (unlike the rest of Vietnam where there are equal number cigarettes to coffee cups).

We spent five days at a run-down resort outside of town, close to the beach. Each day, we covertly exercised at the neighboring resort’s gym, ate our free breakfast by the pool, and decided where to bike.

We often biked to the historical district where we loitered the day away people-watching at a river-front coffee shop. On other days, we biked up the coast to a beachside café and alternated between staring at our computers and the waves. In the evenings, I took pictures of the lantern-filled streets.

And that is what I will leave you with—photos of lanterns, yellow buildings, and more lanterns. Plus, one shot of the best Banh Mi in town.

Japanese Bridge in Hoi An Vietnam in daylight. Historically used as a trading port for Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European (specifically French) traders.

The Japanese bridge

Yellow building covered in pink and red bougainvillea with charming cafe chairs and a bike parked out front in Hoi An Vietnam. The French mixed with the Vietnamese.
Glowing lanterns light up the dark streets of Hoi An Vietnam.
Bird cages next to a blue window pinned to yellow walls in Hoi An Vietnam.
The best Banh Mi (pork belly, pate, cheese, egg, avocado, chili sauce in french bread) in Hoi An Vietnam.
The best Banh Mi in Hoi An, Vietnam comes from Phi Banh Mi just outside of old town.
An evening shot of a yellow cafe covered in ivy vines with cafe seating show the French influence in Hoi An Vietnam.
Intricately patterned lanterns light up the street at night in Hoi An Vietnam
Glowing lanterns photographed at night in Hoi An Vietnam
French influenced yellow buildings line the river in Hoi An Vietnam. Bikes and trees scatter the walk way as boats cruise up and down the river waiting for tourists to buy a ride
Intricately patterned lanterns light up the street at night in Hoi An Vietnam
Glowing lanterns light the way at night in Hoi An Vietnam.