Ten thousand colourful lanterns cast little circles of enchantment all through the pedestrian lanes of the historical river side town. Their reflections dance cheerfully on the water where more lanterns float in between the rowboats that carry the couples that set the lanterns adrift to garner themselves good fortune. The aroma of sweet, strong Vietnamese coffee drifting from the dimly lit corner coffee shops intermingles with the smoky flavours from the water side food stalls, while the muffled conversations drifting from the patron filled restaurants carry warmly through the streets. The intoxicating mixture brings cheer to everyone that set their feet to the streets. We have a wonderful time exploring Hoi An, from our arrival at dusk, continuing late into the evening. Our hotel is only two blocks from the historical centre. A little oasis with a pool and tidy rooms.
Early the next morning we run 5km through rice paddies and vegetable gardens to An Bang Beach. The shoreline is dotted with palm frond umbrellas and brightly coloured beach chairs. Ordering a drink and the promise to order lunch, give us the right of use of a set of chairs for the day. The children do not let the opportunity go by to swim and bodyboard and we are equally enthusiastic to sample the cold beer. Across the bay we can see Da Nang, an up and coming tourist destination. It has probably more than twenty new high-rise seafront resorts under construction, representing all the international leisure groups. A new Gold Coast in the making. On An Bang Beach, however, there are no buildings or infrastructure other than the beach shacks, so the beach is blissfully unspoilt – true luxury!
Sun kissed, we stroll back to Ho An later the afternoon, looking forward to continue the evening under the spell of the enchanted place. It does not disappoint, rewarding us with a delightful dinner as we sit under strings of colourful lanterns floating above a terrace, overlooking the light filled river. Fortune has found us. We just smile and drink even deeper.
– Jarik –