In Hoi An, the influences of Vietnam’s multicultural past are everywhere. On a walking tour with Hoan, we visited an old Japanese house, where we watched artists hand-stitching beautiful intricate scenes before heading to the ornate and fragrant Chinese Temple. Wandering the streets, there were colourful paper lanterns hanging between the buildings, intertwined with floral vines. By day, these were bright and eye-catching, by night, utterly spectacular.
With the big rides behind us, we headed north. This involved a 13-hour overnight train to Hanoi, a part of the trip that had been daunting me. But it was fabulous – a mini-adventure that turned out to be great fun and a real highlight! I bought a bao bun, which was light and delicious and the group sat in one of the cabins, sharing some beers and reminiscing about the journey so far. None of us got much rest on the train but as the next stop was a relaxing one, it didn’t really matter.