Back “home” in Tra Que, Hoi An, Viet Nam

Before leaving for Cambodia, we found a house to rent.

The reason we selected this house, is the fact that it is a five minute bike ride from An Bang beach and has Tra Que organic garden as our “back yard.”

This means we can continue to learn about organic farming first hand from Vietnamese farmers who use 100 year old traditional farming techniques. We will of course be able to pick and eat organic greens when ever we want.

It is good to be back. This time we find another restaurant which borders Tra Que. When we order Morning Glory, (water spinach) with garlic, the owner goes out back to pick the ingredients for the dish.
Tha’a our former host farmer, is very happy with the gift of a scarf from Cambodia which we brought back for her, as well as her neices who run the restaurant.
Having lunch with the girls….. Now we are really part of the family! We get a really warm welcome home after our trip to Cambodia. The girls are all cousins and run the restaurant attached to the aunt’s plot of land. It’s nice to have them now as our neighbors.

It took longer than expected to get all documentation in order for us to move in to our rental house, but as soon as we got the OK from the French real estate broker, we rushed into the notary’s office to be able to move in the very same day.

We were ready to rent a small apartment within the city of Hoi An, but the minute he stepped into the Tra que house, Ben was absolutely sure that this is the place for us! ~ The tipping point was the family of water buffalos slowly walking past the house end of day.

The small apartment in town that we liked, was $350 a month, whereas this house (3 bedrooms, 2 bath), with views over the river (with shrimp farms) is $500. Still much less than we are renting out our house for, in Granada, so worth the extra splurge for something which is unique!

Outside the notary office. Even more papers and documents to sign than in Nicaragua!  The police has to be notified of all foreigner “whereabouts”.
The two story white house on the left, bordering Tra Que gardens, is the first view we get, of the back of our  home in Hoi An.
Downstairs in the large living room which looks out towards the shrimp farm on the river in front. Great spot for checking emails.
Gazing at the river from the window – already a favorite activity
This is what Peta is looking at…
This is what Peta is looking at…
Downstairs. The large room is centered around a huge wooden coffee table, which is actually a Vietnamese bed. We are moving it to the side, to have more open space in the middle of the room.
Testing out the platform as a yoga base. The wooden pillars in the room and ceiling fans, remind us of our house in Granada.
Upstairs bedroom…  IPAD girl in full gear…
Upstairs bedroom, huge window…
We bought ourselves a second hand scooter as our mode of transportation of choice.

Besides Tra Que, what’s in our immediate neighborhood?

One of our neighbor’s houses. Nice dragon mosaic on the wall in front of the house
Pastel colored homes line the path in front of shrimp farms
The white wall behind Ben is the front of our house. This little path winds it’s way past the river and rice fields to the main street which goes to the beach on the right, or Hoi An on the left.
Our local Buffalo on his way to work in the rice paddies
Beautiful view of the river,  on the way to the beach
An Bang beach, five minute bike ride away. Great place to spend a few hours or the whole day. Very low key, not many people and the China Sea here is a lovely warm temperature for swimming.
Two fabulous beach features. First, the circular bamboo fishermen’s boats you see in the middle. Second, the beds you can catch a snooze on under the thatch umbrellas. Beds on a beach… makes TOTAL sense!
The bamboo boats make great props for yoga.

Hoi An, now our home base in Central Vietnam, has a long history as a trading post between Asia and Europe. In the 17th century the houses that line the river in the center, were warehouses for spices, silk, ceramics and wooden carvings. Today they are almost completely renovated and are restaurants and shops.

The  historic city center is one of the first cities in Vietnam to have strict enforcement of pedestrian only hours. There are many tourists, which is kind of offputting at first. However, they tend to stick to the very limited circuit and it is fairly easy to avoid the crowds. You can still get a good feel for the romantic architecture of an era gone by.

Hoi An, city of lanterns, is especially attractive at night.
Hoi An – a rich architectural heritage
There are a variety of boats on the river, both in size, design, and colors. It certainly is an integral part of charming Hoi An.  There are boats that act as ferries from the main land to river islands, taxi boats, sight seeing boats and of course fishermen’s boats.
We get offered our first river ride by an elderly woman in a traditional wooden row  boat. Great initiation to the river.
At the end of the boat ride, we get dropped off by this sweet, ancient woman, at the market place.
Very happy with our choice of neighborhood.


4 thoughts on “Back “home” in Tra Que, Hoi An, Viet Nam

  1. Sharon Rosenzweig

    I think you must have magical powers to be able to find perfection like this, just nosing around. Gorgeous place. It all looks more prosperous than Central America, but clearly even more affordable. Love the motorbike. You both look great. Thanks for blogging so beautifully.

    1. Peta Kaplan-Sandzer and Ben Sandzer-Bell

      magical powers = clarity on our priorities (proximity to a gorgeous beach, beautiful architecture, good food, authenticity….) and reading done ahead of time. Hoi An was one of the places we down selected as a place we might want to live for a while. Yes, Vietnam is economically quite vibrant compared with Nicaragua. Thanks for your feedback ~ it’s much easier to blog when you know your audience appreciates it!

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