Arriving in Hoi An was always going to be the highlight of this trip and it didn't disappoint. We originally looked at visiting this part of Vietnam for our honeymoon last year, but the timing was a bit off with the wet and tail end of the typhoon seasons in full swing around October, so we ended up in Thailand instead.
With the Lonely Planet in hand yesterday I did the backpacker thing and got the bus from Da Nang to Hoi An, which cost all of about 50,000 dong including the westerner mark-up for having a small bag. Never mind, when in Rome as they say. The bus zooms out of Da Nang picking up locals and their wares, complete with a guy that acts as a conductor and is regularly running after the bus takes off after making every stop. The only downside was the bus station is a good few kilometers out of town Hoi An, which meant walking the last bit on a stinking hot day.
Assisted by a half-way iced coffee break the walk passed soon enough, and as I approached the Hoi An old quarter the sense of calm was noticeable. In the old town itself there is a real peacefulness, with all the preserved buildings, and a way of life that seems preserved from times go by. With motorised traffic banned its easy to get drawn into its tranquility, and after walking around most of yesterday afternoon and evening it was only when I veered too far to the north - to a normal street complete with cars and motorcycles - that I realised just how calm and relaxing the old town is.
As I write this its 8am on day two, and being Vietnam the construction workers next door are in full swing (which has me thanking the hangover Gods I didn't end up heading out to watch the World Cup at midnight last night), so now might be a good time to perhaps borrow one of the hotel's bikes and aim for the beach.