If there’s one thing you learn about Vietnam in your first few days here, it’s that this country loves to light up the night. Towns that look dull and ordinary in the daytime become neon starbursts once the sun goes down, as a thousand neon lights begin to glow. It happens all over the country, but one town that does it to perfection is a place called Hoi An.
Like Bruges, Belgium, Hoi An is the quintessential tourist town, and for the same reason: its almost perfectly preserved collection of magnificent old buildings. An important trading town from the 15th to the 19th century, Hoi An then lost its prominence and became a living time capsule. It gained a new life a few years ago when the world realized what a cultural treasure it is: the town is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And like Bruges, Hoi An becomes an even more amazing sight after dark. Thousands of glowing lanterns light the streets, and down on the waterfront, people set coloured lanterns afloat on the Thu Bon River, watching as they mingle with the reflections of brightly lit buildings across the river. There may be more enchanting ways to light up the night, but if there are, I have yet to see them. (Hint: click on the photo to see it full size.)