Back “home” in Hoi An, Viet Nam ~ Organic farm, fruit and fish markets.

View from our current “base” in Hoi An ~ looking across the river.

We chose Hoi An as our home, last year.  Before we went back to Nicaragua, before we went on (this February, 2014) to discover Ubud, Bali.

So coming back to Hoi An has some importance for us.

We take a 1hour, $70 flight from Hanoi to the center of the country, where Hoi An is located.  Hoi An’s ancient town is an exceptionally well preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th Century.  Graceful and atmospheric, Hoi An owes its easy going provincial demeanor and old town character to luck.  Had the Thu Bon river not silted up in the late 19th century, so ships could no longer access the town’s docks, Hoi An would doubtless be very different today.  For a century the city’s allure and importance dwindled.  Its fortune returned when a tourism boom rediscovered the charming town and the city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Will the Hoi An “magic” have disappeared, relinquished to “traveler memories” that don’t measure up on a second round?

Or…..

Will it “feel” like home?

We already have our answer to this.  It is in the air, in the slow moving wooden boats that pass in front of our bedroom windows.  It is in the vibrant markets.  It is in the pleasant weather.  It is in the approachability of the people we encounter.  It feels indeed like home.

Unknown “new” fruits to discover.
Photography and food, Adam’s two passions. go hand in hand in the discovery of a new market.
Adam, in his element. Peta enjoying sharing the Hoi An market experience with Adam for the first time.

After our foray into the Hoi An central market, we take a ride on our motorbikes, to Tra Que where we reconnect with our local “family” at the Waterwheel restaurant. We decide to totally surprise them and just show up! Prior to returning to Hoi An, both Hien and Lily often message Peta asking “When will you be back??” Much happiness all around at our announced return and at meeting Adam.

“Auntie”, Peta and the little prince of Tra Que ~ where we lived for our first week on the organic farm in 2013.
Adam learning how to make fresh rice noodles  the traditional way over a wood burning fire.

But soon, we are exploring again… by day 2, Adam has got a handle on riding a motorcycle/moped.  This gives us a lot more freedom to explore the region…

The small market of Thanh Ha, while smaller than Hoi An, has a huge fish market as Thanh Ha is a fishing village.
Bucket like platters of small just caught silvery little fish.
Women negotiating over price of fish at the market.

After a stop at the  Thanh Ha market, we rediscover the river side fishing village.

Pre-historic chicken?
We luck out and ride past a mackerel cooking operation.  Fresh mackerel cleaned, then “salted”, then dipped in hot water in bamboo baskets.  Bricks hold the baskets in the water until the fish is ready. The work has been done, time for a midday siesta.
All these circular bamboo baskets will be filled with boiled mackerel and brought to market
Checking out the rustic traditional cooking approach of the fresh mackarel.
Of course we  buy a basket of three whole JUST cooked mackarels, sit on the steps and eat the delicate morsels of delicious and juicy fish under the fishermen’s watchful eyes.  We like it.  They like that!
A woman stops by while we eat, to offer us a huge crispy rice cracker to use as a an accompaniment to our mackerel.

And… we’re off to explore further into the countryside around the fishing village of Thanh Ha.

Adam leads the way through the rice paddy on the outskirts of Hoi An.
Ben, takes a side jaunt …
Adam’s nose does not fail him. He slams on brakes in front of us and follows the smell. (The vegan in me took a step aside as I had a taste of this crispy, crackly succulent bbqd pork. My philosophy is to always try new bites which smell good and are appealing, even if they are meat! Less a vegan more a gastronome while on the road.)
Exploring by motorcycle ~ our preferred mode of transportation!

7 thoughts on “Back “home” in Hoi An, Viet Nam ~ Organic farm, fruit and fish markets.

    1. Peta Kaplan and Ben Sandzer-Bell

      We have added a map of Viet Nam so you can see that Hoi An is Central, a one hour flight from Hanoi. Last time we took the train, which took 16 hours, this time opted to fly for 1 hour. Staying at a cute little hostel/hotel across the river.

  1. JB

    Awesome….The first picture (panoramic) of Hoi An is superb. What about a little more about the art /culture???/ It is so interesting…
    Welcome to South Vietnam Adam .Love you all

  2. Maya

    Nice! It really makes me miss Vietnam. Hoi An and the market were also favourite of ours while travelling there. Keep enjoying and showing Adam a good time. It looks like you’re all having fun and eating well 🙂

  3. ellalpina

    I agree, a 1 hour flight for under a 100 bucks is SO worth it when the alternative is losing two days in travel and recuperation.

    Remember Top Chef: Nicaragua!? Bet you all cooked up some interesting things out of those ingredients, or at least rolled your imagination with what you could make 🙂

    Glad to see you all exploring the culture and landscape of SE Asia. I look forward to seeing more pictures and stories!