On Christmas Eve my travel companion woke up sick. We had pho for breakfast at our hotel and mostly relaxed until our flight later that afternoon. We arrived in Da Nang airport a little later then we expected but had already arranged a ride with our hotel to Hoi An. It is about a 45 min car ride and costs about $15 total for 2 people. We enjoyed the little tour of Da Nang we got on our way out of town before arriving in the sleepy town of Hoi An.
Christmas Day was spent walking around the town and getting our bearings straight. We were walking distance to the old town. There are lots of cute little shops and restaurants to look at there. Near the edge of the old town there is also a little market. One nice thing we discovered is that there are basically no motor bikes in the old town area which makes walking around a bit more peaceful. There are ticket booths that you can purchase a pass from that will get you into 5 sites of your choosing. The money goes toward upkeep of these old sites to ensure they will be around for future generations. We were told while we were there that the Vietnamese government wanted to remove the old sites to put in big hotels for tourists so it is important to pay it forward a little to make sure this sleepy little town stays the way it should be.
Later that night I wondered down to the river area in the old town to see the lantern festival and night market. The lantern festival is suppose to be on certain days but I have a feeling the locals do it whenever it is nice outside. There are boats with lanterns that you can rent a ride in to put a floating box like a Chinese take out box with a candle in the water. This is to wish for good luck and good fortune. The lake was covered in boats and candles and created a beautiful effect. The streets and shops were also covered in lantern. People lined all of the streets and would frequently stop in the middle of the walkway to take pictures. The night market was fun and most of the stalls sell more or less the same thing, but it is still fun to look. Be prepared for the hard sell. Most sellers don’t want you to walk away, but make sure you look and shop around first before committing to a price.