Happiness in Hoi An
If you were to make a comparison, Hoi An would be considered the “Tuscany of the East”. The sunflower yellow tones of the houses intersected with bright pink bougainvillea flowers that grow upon rooftops are reminiscent of the Italian countryside’s colour palette.
Even if Hoi An isn’t influenced by Italy, as many people may assume, if you take a look at the history of this small town, you’ll see how it was influenced by many foreign cultures. In Vietnam, the Chinese were known to settle here, as well as a large amount of Japanese travellers. They saw Hoi An as a strategic port in Southeast Asia. When the French colonised Vietnam, Hoi An became a place for central administration. During the Vietnam War (known as the ‘American War’ to the Vietnamese), Hoi An cooperated with both sides, allowing the ancient city to survive intact.
Compared to the neighbouring city of Da Nang, which urbanised rapidly, Hoi An retains its slow and traditional lifestyle well. The busiest time of day seems to take place at the crowded morning bazaar. When the sun is high, the entire town seems to fall into an “afternoon nap”. The streets are quiet, save for the sporadic groups of tourists and vendors toting chilled grass jelly and ice cream as an escape from the heat.
As the sun sets, the streets come alive again. Pubs, bars and shops open up and people come out to walk the streets and soak up the atmosphere of Hoi An. The area is lit by lanterns of many colours. Even later into the night, the magic begins.