Day 2 started early even with K’s frequent waking up throughout the night. I was woken up early by the bodily clock and also the noise outside that sounded like people moving metal stuff. I went to the balcony and found that bikers were traveling on the bridge to come to the island and the metal sounds came from the usage of that bridge.
We prepared ourselves before getting K up and he was surely in a good mood as he cooperated to get his teeth brushed, changed and went to breakfast.
The breakfast in the main restaurant was buffet style and was quite a selection. I took a plate full of almost everything and ordered egg Benedict from the egg station ( yes they have egg Benedict!). K was eating well with his pastries, yoghurt and cereal!
Soon after breakfast, we left to meet with our tour guide for a tour around Hoi An old town and My Son. He immediately recognized us and introduced himself as “Drew” (spelled as Trieu) and we boarded a shuttle buggy to the old town a couple of minutes ride away.
We arrived at the entrance of Hoi An old quarter and after he settled the tickets, he began the introduction of the old quarter. The good thing about having a guide was that you get to learn more than what you see on the surface and we surely did so as he brought us along and explained some of the stuff that we see.
The old town was nice and cool to walk early in the morning and not crowded as tourists haven’t arrived in droves as they were still making their way here. It was quite a bit of walking though.
We walked through small streets diverting out from the Main Street to see Thang Loi silk making factory, starting from silkworm to cacoons and then the collection of silk to embroidery. There was also lantern making and wood carving at the same place and eventually a store to sell clothing products which was pretty affordable for custom made pieces tailored to fit but unfortunately I wasn’t wearing these in Singapore and not worth it to buy any. But I was most impressed with the embroidery work as the needleworker created “photo-like” pictures on cloth! Some of these pieces of work were put up on the walls and they really looked like painting or photos from a distance! However, no photos were allowed.
We returned back to the Main Street and arrived at the Japanese Covered bridge built to link up the Chinese and Japanese quarter. It was a bridge with a shelter and a temple in it. We were introduced the historical information and was shocked to see the water level during the flooding of the area, indicated by a sticker on wall.
Continued on and we were brought into a Tan Ky Merchant house where we got to see how the merchant used the place for trading and storage, how the old houses were built for ventilation and the traditional furniture! Again the flood level was a real shock, and a good reminder to K why swimming is an important skill to pick up.
Then another diversion out to another street where we were introduced to a freshwater Ba Le well and then to a family business (of centenarian Mr Ngo Thieu) that sold black sesame paste. The black sesame paste was really delicious and smooth but they didn’t sell them in instant package form as they were meant to be served hot. We could only bring home sesame biscuits though. We managed to catch a glimpse of the senior man resting on his bed and we were told he was already 104! Amazing! The biscuits were pretty affordable for a bag of 4 for 50k.
The final location to visit was Hoi An Fujian assembly hall and within the compound, there was a temple in which we had learnt quite a bit; from the deity who saved the people, to the 6 generals that came to Hoi An and their descendants being still in Hoi An, the different deities for worship and why. We made a donation of 2 bags of rice for 300k for the CNY and got to put our names on a board. It was a nice feeling to be able to give, and what more on Xmas day! By the way, Xmas wasn’t celebrated in Vietnam, evident as kids were still in school while we were touring.
After a quick walk through the central market of Cho Hoi An (as we were looking for a Vietnamese hat for K), we went to have lunch in a Dao Tien River restaurant which was included in the tour (that we thought weren’t included) and they served fish, chicken and eggplant with white rice and fried dumpling as starters and fruits as desert. We had to pay for drinks and we ordered Vietnam coffee, black for mommy and mine with milk. The food wasn’t fantastic but the place had a riverside view. We left after paying 150k for the drinks.
Drew got us on a vehicle and we were soon traveling to My Son, an hour journey away. There weren’t much to see along the way and I had to keep K entertained as he didn’t want to take a nap. But it was all going downhill as I started to have a stomachache. The driver had to make a quick stop to get himself some lunch and I was worried I couldn’t hold it in!
After a while more of driving, we entered the smaller lanes and arrived at the entrance, both K and myself ran for the toilet as he was in an urgent need to pee too. I went straight for the only cubicle there, which was thankfully not occupied and relieved myself. However, the feeling escalated to nausea and I also threw up, everything I had for lunch. I was suspecting the coffee as the main culprit. It took a while before I recovered and rejoined my family, with K enjoying his cone of icecream.
Drew had already got our tickets and we had to walk to the buggy station some distance away. The buggy that drove us to the ruins site which was quite far away for people to walk (though we did see people walk) and after disembarking, another distance to walk to the main ruins.
My Son (pronounced as “Mee Son”, which was close to Chinese pronounciation of beautiful hill) had ruins from the Hindu temple built for Shiva and here we learnt again what some of the architecture were, how to distinguish between the temple and storage buildings, how the bricks were prepared and why some of them had moss growing and those that were prepared for the purpose of building the temple didn’t, about some imperfections of the architecture that were purposely done so and how the statue of Shiva looked like.
Though it wouldn’t sound interesting for a 5 year old, I thought K was pretty amused exploring the ruins and Drew did a good job keeping his level of interest high!
Other than historical facts we were shown some of the remains from the Vietnam war, bomb craters, missile shells and shrapnels that can still be found on the ground. We were also shown one statue with a hole that was made from a bullet being shot from the top.
All these activities took up the time we had for the tour. We returned to the buggy station, buggy back to the entrance and walked back to the carpark.
The return journey was easy as we slept most of the way and arrived back in the hotel in time for sunset. Paid tips to both Drew and the driver and we returned to the room to rest for a bit and to take a bath before getting out to the old town for dinner.
We walked to Viet Ngon Restaurant and found it along the road. We were the only customers there but the local cuisine they served was delicious, just as described in online reviews. We ordered beef noodle soup and duck breast vermicelli and it was tasty. We had fried spring rolls that didn’t taste like the usual spring rolls that we were used to but these were tasty too. Completed with mango juice which was thick and wholesome and my lime juice as I didn’t want to upset my stomach further, all these for 465k including tips.
After dinner, we walked through Hoi An to see how it looked like at night. With the lanterns lighted up, it was more colourful then it was during the day. It was getting crowded the closer we got towards the riverside and bridge but still walkable. We proceeded through the Hoi An night market which had many stalls selling fruits, and some stalls selling goods but there were mostly selling more or less the same stuff. Then we decided to call it a day and return back to the hotel.
It was quite a distance from the old market back to the hotel and we took about 15mins to walk back. Away from the main sights the streets became dark and quiet but never felt dangerous as minimarts and accommodations were sparsely located and provided the brightness to the surroundings. We arrived at the fussball machine at our hotel entrance, played a bit of that before returning to the room.
Night was standard procedure, getting ready for bed after some funny Xmas cartoons on Disney channel with Mickey and gang and a couple of rounds of handphone games on mommy’s handphone (a new craze for the both of them) before lights out.