Hoi An and My Son UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Hue
StrictlyNormal Travel Department
From the UNESCO World Heritage website: "Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site."
The town of Hoi An is actually quite small, with most tourist attractions limited to the three streets nearest the river.
A seemingly friendly woman who asked for money after Aaron took her photo. He paid her 200 VND, which is approximately 1.25 cents.
Hoi An: Our trip coincided with the first night of the lunar month, when all businesses and residences in the Old Town turn off their regular lights and the streets are lit only with traditional lanterns instead. Small paper floats holding candles are lit en masse on the river, and the Japanese bridge (one of Hoi An's landmarks) looked particularly lovely in the moonlight.
The Ruins at My Son: My Son was a center of Champa culture from the 4th-13th centuries. It was very important in ways that Andria can't really remember because it was so freakin' hot that day, even at 8am, that her only concern when looking through these magnificent ruins was seeking out the ruin which provided the best shade and seating possibilities. All Andria does remember is that there are very few buildings left at My Son since the vast majority of them (including the best preserved building) were bombed into nonexistence by American forces during the Vietnam War.
Lang Co Beach: Our essentially private beach getaway between Hoi An and Hue, where we planned to frolic in the sand while enioying the comforts of our dirt-cheap ocean-and-pool-front villa. Unfortunately, the doctor who came to treat Andria's bronchial infection forbade the use of the pool or the ocean, so we had to fall back on our traditional vacation activity:
eating a lot.
2006 - Andria Thomas & Aaron Datesman Random Creative Pursuits. All rights reserved.
Hue: The Ancient Citadel at Hue, where, as it turns out, you can walk for hours around the outer walls before eventually finding one of the gates into the actual complex. The outer walls are 21 feet thick and packed with dirt on the inside, making them ideal for people to start vegetable gardens on top (not a joke -- Aaron of course walked on top of the wall to admire someone's garden).
Andria planned to make Aaron wear the traditional Vietnamese hat around the house as he performed his typical houseboy duties, but unfortunately the hat was stolen from a hotel in Hanoi at the end of the trip.
Aaron had a little too much fun with the stone animals decorating the Citadel.
Aaron had too much fun at the mausoleums as well.
$2 each got us a daylong trip on a nifty "dragon boat" to see the pagodas and royal mausoleums scattered around Hue, but unfortunately the price did not include the $20+ in admission fees, transport from the boat landing to the actual attraction, a decent lunch, or friendly boat staff. Still an enjoyable day. The mausoleum with all the steps pictured above is for an emperor of the Nguyen dynasty who spent more years building his ridiculously grandiose mausoleum than he did actually ruling over the country.