Hoi An: A tale of backpacker decadence

Smiling faces, sparkling lights covering the tree-lined streets, ostentatious but lovely Chinese temples galore, silk and tailor shops ready to create anything your heart desires, European-style sidewalk cafes boast outrageous cocktail menus, and to top it all off, radiant rainbow lanterns glow from every storefront. Vietnam just got a whole lot better.

Of the month I spent in Vietnam, Hoi An was by far my favorite city. It might have been in part to some awful experiences in the socialist north (getting ripped off, harassed, not to mention the usual sunburn and food poisoning stories) where the locals always had a quick scowl, creepy leer or grimace for a funny smiling white girl like myself; but it was most likely just because Hoi An is simply a magical place.

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