Photo Tour: Goodbye, Vietnam

I wrapped up my too-short two weeks in Vietnam with three days in Hoi An. It's an old port city in the center of Vietnam, a beautiful place. My guidebook calls it "atmospheric." Luckily, Hoi An wasn't damaged much during the American War (as the Vietnamese call it), so there's a real sense of history here. Small enough to walk across in half an hour, full of beautiful old buildings and friendly people, it's more peaceful than Hue or Hanoi (and much more peaceful than Saigon... oficially called Ho Chi Minh City these days... where I flew out of Vietnam). I also took a daytrip to My Son, an ancient religious city that's now in ruins. Let's see if I can pack all of that into one web page!

To get a larger version of any picture, click on it; a new window should open. When you close that window, this window should still be here.

From Hue, I took a tourist bus south to Hoi An. By now, I'd gotten used to seeing scenes like the two below along the sides of the roads. That's a school at the left (I think!), and a typical storefront at the right..Everywhere I went in Vietnam, all of the stores were open to the street like this one:

A lot of Hoi An looks like the photos above (which I actually took around Danang). In other words, those parts of the city look pretty typical. I was disappointed at first until I walked toward the waterfront -- and, all of a sudden, saw just why I'd come: old buildings. Wooden buildings. Color, character, beauty. This was more like it!
House with screen inside and motorbike outside House and boat
Art gallery
East wide of Japanese covered bridge

The building with the tiled roof in the bottom-right picture above is an old Japanese covered bridge. It's one of Hoi An's best-known sights (as you'll know by all of the tourist shops around it). Here are two more views:
Looking out from inside Japanee covered bridge
Japanese covered bridge, south side

That Japanese bridge is near the waterfront. Walk a little ways down and you have a view out to all of the boats. It's a great place to relax and soak up the scene -- maybe from one of the seafood restaurants along the street or floating in the water.
Three friends in boats at the harbor
Boats from the waterfront

Most streets in Hoi An's Old Town are a lot more peaceful than in Hanoi's Old Town. Crossing the street here isn't usually an art, or even a challenge. The two people at the right below are standing in the middle of street to have a chat, no worries...
Bicycle rider in Old Town
Two people talk in the middle of a street

Hoi An was fun, but I wanted to see My Son too. It's about 30 kiloneters away from Hoi An. You can ride a bus both ways, or you can do what I did: go on the bus a lot of the way, but return to Hoi An by boat. Doing that lets you see life along the river -- and Hoi An's waterfront from the outside looking in. Let's see four shots from the ruins at My Son, where it seems like plants sprout from almost everything::
Headless statue My Son ruin and the hills beyond
My Son On the wall of a building

Good things have to end sometimes... but I'm hoping that I'll be able to get back to Vietnam not too long from now. I loved the friendly and (mostly) relaxed people, the delicious and cheap food, and (in fact) the cheap everything... great for round-the-world travelers on a budget. I had to move on, though: back to Hong Kong,which was the start of a long series of flights to Easter Island (via Vancouver, Canada; New York, USA; and Santiago de Chile)... but all of that flying turned out to be not as bad as I was afraid it would be.

I'll finish with a shot of the Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) airport, which still has a lot of signs of the war around it, and a view of coast from the plane window as we headed out over the South China Sea. Goodbye, Vietnam!
Along the runway at Saigon airport
Vietnam coast from above

[Previous page: The Citadel] [Next page: Around Easter Island]
[Tour start: Around the World 2003] [Tours]

(These photographs are Copyright © 2003 by Jerry Peek. Much higher-resolution versions of most images, and many other images too, are available at Jerry Peek Photography. Photos are available at reduced prices, or free, for non-commercial use.)

Contact us