Hoi An city break

One of the real pleasures of living and working abroad is the ability to pop over to some very interesting places for the weekend.

And so it was that Kevin booked a weekend away for us all to the historic town of Hoi An in central Vietnam. I must say this is a gem and not to be missed if anyone is visiting the region.

This picturesque trading port grew to prominence in the 16th century attracting traders from Japan, China and even as far away as a Europe! The structure of the town and its buildings have been preserved making it a unique cultural heritage site which was recognised by UNESCO in 1999.

One of the main attractions is the intact covered Japanese bridge which was constructed in 1593 to connect the prosperous Japanese and Chinese quarters of the town.

Inside it is protected at either end by a monkey god and a dog god

And situated in the centre is a large shrine to the Jade Emperor

Hoi An boasts multiple temples and pagodas many with beautiful dragons which symbolise Power, prosperity and stability

What fascinated me most though were the hanging spiral cones. They were everywhere covering all temple ceilings.

We must have been on our 4th temple of the day before we realised that they weren’t just decorations but were actually coils of incense some of which were smoking gently. You can imagine the smell if they were all lit at the same time for a festival!!!

Hoi An is perhaps most famous for its coloured lanterns. These are silk stretched over bamboo frames and they transformed the place into a magical wonderland after sunset.

We took a boat ride that drifted calmly along the river admiring the twinkling illuminations (which frankly put Blackpool to shame!)

Then we lit a candle and set it adrift with a little prayer. It never ceases to amaze me how we humans are attracted to lights on water as a form of spiritual expression.

And then it was time for our 90 min flight back. We had to leave all the vibrant colours behind but a wonderful time was had by all.

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