Monday, 16 August 2010

The Commercialization of Hoi An

And now back to Vietnam...

Thirty minutes from Danang by car is a small town called Hoi An, which used to be a sleepy fishing village but now has become a major tourist spot.

There are small hotels in the area and many foreigners either wandering the streets, riding bicycles, sitting in cyclos to see the sights, or even riding on the back of a moped.

For sightseeing there isn't much, except for a few Buddhist temples and community halls associated with overseas Chinese; there's one for those from Fujian and another for those from Guangdong. Some even have yellow strips of paper with a person's name written down and the amount they donated.

The temples all have small boats near the offerings, probably in the hopes that higher celestial beings will protect fishermen in the area.

Many residents live in the area and one street by a bridge was lined with people selling fresh vegetables, fruits, meats (laid out in the heat), and even seafood like shrimp and tiny crabs.

Apparently this place is famed for its silk and tourists who have yet to go to China are seduced into the idea of having suits or dresses made within hours; however I've heard the quality is questionable and hardly worth the effort, let alone money.

There's lots of souvenir shops, selling T-shirts or postcards, ceramics and coconut shells lacquered with various bright colours. There's also some Vietnamese art for sale, though they seem mass produced than one-offs. And once you've seen one shop, you've basically seen them all, with prices also about the same too.

It's too bad there isn't much more about this town to make it interesting. More historical context or cultural presentations would make it more memorable.

1 comment:

  1. quaint little place , good for a much needed respite for the busy people or tired travelers. how come there aren't anyone in the pictures?