I have just returned from 2 weeks in Hoi An staying at the Boutique Hoi An. Most nights we went into Hoi An to try and enjoy the town.
If you read this forum you will invariably see it described as charming and quaint, but I would seriously exercise caution if you are willing to believe these descriptions.
I am aware that it is a world heritage sight but wonder how long that will be the case?
The problem is quite simply traffic. The narrow streets you are advised to meander down are a health hazard and you are constantly on the look out for motorbikes that drive at ridiculous speeds for the conditions, pedal cycles ridden in the main by tourists who just cant control them and the stealth like electric cycles that just appear without a sound. You just can not wander and admire the buildings because you are always on the look out for the next bike.
If you want a tailor then obviously there are endless supplies – I don’t get it myself! Why go half way round the world for a cheap outfit?
There are any number of places to eat and drink all of a reasonable standard but equally all serving much the same thing, even the menus are in the same order. Some are higher priced than others for the same thing but you can see that just from the décor and the fact that not many people are in them. One of the great things about Saigon and the surrounding area was the food, each dish served with a side order of all sorts of greens and herbs and general stuff you could try. Just not the case in Hoi An – samey, bordering on boring. Its as if they have given up their individuality to cater for the mass tourist market as opposed to retaining the culture – one of the reason we go there. Street food was restricted to banana pancakes and no savoury things in evidence in the other places we have been.
We enjoyed our time in the area but it was not what we expected at all. It was almost brash and loud and I fear it will end up like other resorts, South Goa for example, once tranquil and generally unspoilt we have decided to knock that in to touch - Hoi An is already further down the road than that.
I realise its all about personal choice and there are those who will love the place for what it is, like I used to love Goa. Good luck to them. But they will also lead to its eventual fall.
What does the future hold – well unless they are willing to restrict the traffic down the narrow roads, drag back some individuality and stop more shops selling tat and tailors then it will undoubtedly deteriorate and people will stop going.