Many foreigners “migrated” to Hoi An with the intention staying on vacation for a few months to half a year; however, during their stay, some have formed good connections that made them stay in the ancient city longer than expected.
Foreign tourists in Hoi An
After a long time of work or retirement, many foreigners have chosen to stay in Hoi An for a long time. At first, they rent a room in a homestay and then they look for a villa in a quiet village in which to stay. They sometimes invite their friends to join barbeque parties. Serge Lafrance (from Australia) said: “I came here to avoid the cold at home. It is sunny here and there are many international restaurants, so it’s an easy choice”.
Chris Pallett, a Canadian citizen from the capital city, Ottawa, has travelled to Hoi An City. He posted a photo capturing a moment when he was sitting on a motorbike and wearing dark glasses and a crash helmet, which was accompanied by a short caption: “emigrated!”. He checked into a new location where there were two-wheel vehicles and hot temperatures. Several friends of Chris Pallet commented that they would come there in a few years. He also posted another photo of lanterns with the caption: “I rest”. Through two such photos, Chris Pallet’s friends deduced that he was in Hoi An. Many people asked him whether he would stay there forever, and others said: “You look very fascinating. I never saw you in Ottawa, because you always drove cars”.
Chris Pallett has lived in Hoi An for two years. During his stay, he has always read the news about the city in which he is living and believes he has made the right choice. “My mother and friends always think of where I live and feel secure”, he said.
Not only does Hoi An possess ancient streets and sites that have been honoured by many domestic and international newspapers but it also has destinations imbued with countryside features. When you come to Ly Thai To and Tran Nhan Tong streets, which are not too far from the old streets, you can feel this most clearly. Travelling on the above streets, visitors should turn onto a certain path where only up to three motorcycles or a single car can pass, and then see the plowed plots, areca gardens and bamboo ramparts that are completely separate from the images of a busy town with restaurants and cars. There, the villas and homestays appear among the local people’s houses.
If you explore Hoi An with a foreigner, you will see the city in a new light. Myles Tasha, from Scotland, is also a foreigner with a special attachment to the ancient city. She visited Thanh Ha market and was impressed by the small fishing boats bobbing on the waters. Myles Tasha said: “With a simple means of earning living, not scowling but always smiling. I admire them”.
Hoi An used to be an urban port where the local people earned a living by providing services and business. The residents are always calm when they meet and talk with foreigners. Whether shopping or just walking around the markets, the international tourists do not suffer any terrible complaints. Many groups of visitors, which are accompanied by tour guides, come to the markets in the city. At each stall, the tour guides lift bunches of vegetables and fruits to introduce to the foreigners. The sellers offer smiles and gave thanks to them.
… and as heard
Many visitors chose Hoi An as a destination in which to rest after they retired. Neil, an English citizen said: “We believed what we read when we decided to come here”.
Initially, Neil and his fellow-travelers intended to stay the city for a short time and then continue on to Nha Trang, Quoc or another country if they did not feel comfortable. However, Hoi An did not disappoint them.
A woman, who has lived in the ancient city with her husband for 15 years, shared that the “substance” of Hoi An is fading away. Ha Van Cong, the manager of Mun coffee shop on Nguyen Duy Hieu Street, said that Hoi An is not a manufacturing centre, so she has always wondered how the city would be if there were only a few visitors to the city. When asked about these two thoughts, foreigners just laughed and said this was pessimistic thinking.
Why do they like Hoi An if there are no big supermarkets, but just grocery stores and rural markets in the city. Mark Rozanski (from the UK), who is over 60 years old, said: “We go to the supermarkets in Da Nang or ask my friends to buy the items that I need”. He also shared that he likes the art performances on the beaches and streets in Hoi An during the summer very much, although he does not understand them.
“Bai choi” singing (a popular style of folklore singing in the central and south central regions of Vietnam), ancient streets, colourful lanterns and villages lining old streets have created the unique attraction of Hoi An that has made foreigners build such strong attachment to the city. If you have a Vietnamese friend in Hoi An, you will be introduced to popular traditional dishes, such as com ga (chicken rice), mi Quang (Quang noodle), cao lau (noodles with pork and local greens), and banh xeo (a kind of Vietnamese crepe); along with restaurants serving food from Thailand and Japan. However, if you have a foreign friend who is living in the central ancient city, you will discover numerous western restaurants owned by foreigners. The harmony of Vietnamese and international culture will help Hoi An retain its distinctiveness while enhancing its integration into the world. Nhan Dan