HOI AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL WITH A DIFFERENCE
The school is focused on providing a holistic, student-centred education that is rigorously academic, while at the same time nurturing individual talents, creativity, as well as cultural and social awareness.
TET IN VIETNAM: TET TET TET DEN ROI (TET HAS ARRIVED)
Tet (Lunar New Year) in Vietnam is the country’s greatest festival. It is both spiritually important and a time to really let your hair down.
Where the Wild Things Dance: Exploring the Mid-Autumn Festival
For the first time in months there is a chill in the air. The unpredictable rains of September keep the people of Hoi An in tune with nature, sensitive to the changing seasons. The recently harvested rice fields are still smoldering in the distance, the smoky haze floating in over the street like an apparition.
HOI AN FOOD SAFARI
Vietnam packs a plethora of culinary delights into its north-to-south-stretch. Each region has its own unique tastes and specialties, and this is true of Hoi An and Quang Nam province as well.
A Luminary Life
I experienced Osho Dynamic Meditation for the first time at a community center in the backstreets of Tokyo when a Japanese friend invited me to try this peculiar-sounding technique that she’d been raving about for years.
Vaccinations while travelling to Vietnam
If you’re travelling to a foreign land, you’re exposing yourself to a host of new organisms that thrive in different environments around the world.
HAI VAN PASS; THE HISTORIC MISTY MOUNTAIN TOP
As soon as I’d heard about the Hai Van Pass I knew I wanted to go and see it for myself; it had become so famous at home in England after Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson had described it as “a deserted ribbon of perfection – one of the best coast roads in the world.” So when the opportunity arose, I jumped at the offer.
The Eyes Have It: a tale of ancient monsters and gods in Hoi An
The Eyes Have It: a tale of ancient monsters and gods in Hoi An The ancient port of Hoi An was once at the heart of the silk and spice trade. Situated between China and the sea route to India,...
The Kianh Foundation, Hoi An: The Journey
There was never a less likely candidate to work with children than Jacquie Wrafter. ‘If I stared at other people’s children, they bellowed’, she laughs. Nevertheless, after leaving her publishing job and taking off for a year around the world, this is exactly what she found herself doing.
Will Ly Son Island Eat Itself?
At noon, the sun bears down on the narrow, largely deserted, streets of Thôn Tây – the harbor village of An Vĩnh commune on Ly Son’s big island. Prudently, most locals are taking a mid-day nap.
From Live Hoi An to Hoi An Now
It’s hard to believe that almost a decade has passed since my virginal visit to Hoi An. Especially when one considers the time continuum of the heritage town – as expat Phil Mellifont articulated once in an article he penned for my magazine, Live Hoi An – one ‘Western’ year is equal to ten Hoi An years. In my experience, I’ve found the calculation to be true. A decade is like 100 years.
Chess on a Full Moon Night
The night is festive – music and laughter echo throughout the Old Town’s lantern-lit streets. Colours shimmer across the Thu Bon river. Against a milieu of UNESCO-listed heritage buildings, two elderly men sit, in traditional silken Vietnamese tunics and turbans, engrossed in a game of Cờ tướng – Chinese chess. Every month, on the night of the full moon, chess players gather together to play and maintain one of the town’s most time-honoured and cherished traditions.
The Hose of all Holies
NOTICE: DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU ARE A) CURRENTLY CONSUMING FOOD B) CANNOT REFER TO YOUR ‘DOWN THERE’ PARTS BY THEIR RIGHTFUL NAMES C) ARE GENERALLY CONSERVATIVE ABOUT ‘TOILET HUMOUR’.
MY SON: CHARIOTS OF THE GODS OR THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES
How were the ancient buildings of the Hindu sanctuary at My Son put together apparently without mortar yet they have lasted millennia? How can it be that the bricks used in the restoration have already weathered more quickly than the originals?
Paradise Found: A Cavernous Exploration
It could be a scene straight out of a Jules Verne novel. Gigantic stalactites, lit up in fantastical green and bluish hues, mushroom out from a slippery, dripping canopy. The natural detail of each limestone formation is extraordinarily surreal; similar to a 3D sci-fi flick, causing you to think for a moment you’re on the set of ‘Forbidden Planet’ or are, in fact, journeying to the center of the earth.
THAI PHIEN: ONE OF MY FAVORITE STREETS
Think you are finished with the ancient town? Head away and a short walk of just a couple of blocks brings you to Thai Phien. This is a real picture, not of ancient but of traditional Hoi An. The block between Nguyen Truong To and Tran Cao Van is the most fascinating. Thai Phien is on the maps and you can’t miss it because the Nguyen Truong To intersection has the Travelodge on one corner and a large church is on the other.
Get a Shot: Avoid the Dots!!!
Recently an outbreak of chickenpox, affecting both children and adults was announced in Vietnam. Chickenpox in general is a mild disease, but it can cause severe complications—especially in babies, adolescents, elderly people, pregnant women and people whose immune system is compromised (e.g. those under steroid treatment, cancer therapy, who have certain genetic disorders, or who suffer from HIV).
Having access to education should not be limited by your family’s wealth or economic status but unfortunately for many of Vietnam’s youth, being able to chase their dreams is just not possible.
AWESOME MONKEY MOUNTAIN: DA NANG’S UNTAMED BACKYARD
On an incredible, stock-still, sparkling day the ripple-free East Sea mirrored like a monstrous pane of glass. As I stood at the peak of Monkey Mountain my gaze was drawn to the heat haze on the horizon as it yielded the only movement. Above this, I scanned a glorious gradation of deep cobalt blues smeared with fine white streaks, a heaven on earth, an empyrean descended. From my unsurpassable vantage this panorama loomed roundly and powerfully.
No Bucks, No Bang in Da Nang
It’s a big deal. Every two years Da Nang hosts an International Fireworks Competition. We’d been talking about it for weeks: ‘Apparently, Italy does its show with grand opera and the Chinese go for delicate floral patterns.’ ‘There’s not just fireworks and music, there’s dance and all sorts of acrobatics.’ Fireworks as the platform for cultural insight and difference, interesting.
SPRING PHOTO COMPETITION 2018
Hoi An Now received 25 contributions to its Spring Photo Competition and wishes to thank all of the photographers for sending us their wonderful shots of their own changing seasons. Pictures were received from as far away as Australia, USA and Nepal, but most of the shots were taken here in Vietnam.
The Truth About Flu
Millions of people around the world get sick with the flu every year. In tropical regions like Vietnam, influenza may occur throughout the year, causing outbreaks to be more irregular than they are elsewhere.
Wet, Wet, Wet: Hoi An’s Rainy Season
So there you are, stranded under some old town shop front awning, wondering whether the downpour is ever going to cease. It’s Hoi An’s Rainy Season. Every minute a smiling peddler (where do they keep coming from?) approaches you with the aim of selling a ‘raincoat’ – a thin plastic poncho that bears the semblance of a life size condom.
Cua Dai Bridge
On an unrealistically warm late December day in 2014 I joined a group of motorcycle riders at a small ferry terminal in Cẩm Thanh ward close to Hội An. We were headed across the Thu Bồn river to a terminal at the harbor village of Duy Hải. My friends – all surfers – were intent on exploring the undeveloped stretch of pristine coastline south of the city of Hội An in search of ‘pounders’.
Hoi An at First Sight – A Workawayer’s Experience
What is it that makes Hoi An so special? What is it that makes tourists turn expats and expats turn residents? Is it the oh-so-picturesque Old Town? The blunt market vendors? The food? And what is that special vibe everybody talks about?
Vietnamese Zodiac: The Dark Side
Ever wonder why zodiacs all over the world only have good things to say about everyone? Even faults are seen as positives as everyday reality goes out the window. You have to wonder where all the misery, war and poverty in the world comes from when reading these ‘fairy tale’-like descriptions where everybody is smart, compassionate and talented. This is a good marketing ploy that sucks in readers but it’s not much use to anyone.
Wild Birds – Another Heritage in Hoi An
For those who want to see wild birds and go deeper into nature’s wonders, the common advice is (especially in Vietnam): ‘Go far from here! Find a National Park, a nature reserve or the rainforest wilderness of the mountains!’
Spring into the New Year: Tet in Hoi An
The Vietnamese new year, or Tết Nguyên Đán (commonly shortened to ‘Tet’), is the biggest event on the Vietnamese calendar. Also referred to as the ‘Spring Festival’ to typically mark the beginning of Spring, Tet is a grand affair, filled with ceremony, tradition, family reunions, and, of course, food. It falls at the same time as Chinese New Year (in correlation to the lunar calendar) however there are various Tet customs that are unique to Vietnam.
How To Prevent Common Diseases During Rainy Season
The weather is changing and the traditional November rain has arrived. We can feel the cool breeze and the quality of the air is improving. However, high rainfall can cause widespread flooding, and stagnant water can be a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria as well as mosquitoes, increasing the transmission of a number of communicable diseases.
Floods in Hoi An: 2016
By all accounts the floods in Hoi An: 2016 were about average. Only the lower stretches of the Old Town were affected and everybody knew exactly when the waters would rise. Those affected calmly cleared out their first or ground floors and moved everything up a flight. Then, as the water receded, the frenzied clean-up began. Within a very short time it was business as usual.
Hoi An Market is a colourful and chaotic place that has the contradictory characteristics of being alluring and at the same time just plain scary.
By the end of February 2017, nearly a year after the very first cases of the Zika virus were discovered in Vietnam, there had been a total of 233 reported cases.
EXPLORING CAM KIM ISLAND
Part of the allure of Hoi An is its vibrancy. There is a charm to the mixing of its old world history and architecture with its still-lively markets, filled with locals and visitors alike. But step away from the city center by degrees, and by degrees you find a quieter – though no less vibrant – pulse.
THE ROAD TO TAM KY
When venturing out of Hoi An most visitors head north towards the attractions of Da Nang – Monkey Mountain and Marble Mountain – or south-west towards the ruins of My Son.
Ms. Lonely: Trials and Triumphs of a Hoi An Expat
Please be nice to me, I have no friends.
If the look I am going for is lonely and nervous, I’m nailing it. I am sitting in a café on my third coffee in a row, doing my best impression of a nonchalant, seasoned local. Deliberately facing the entrance, I look up and flash a dazzling smile at everyone who comes in, pretending to casually look up from my ‘work’. One of them will love to be friends with me. Surely?
Vietnamese Horoscope: The Dark Side – How Will Your Sign Fare in the Year of the Rooster?
To conclude our series on the dark (and perhaps more realistic) side of the Vietnamese horoscope for the Year of the Rooster we have included below the answers to the questions on everyone’s lips … ‘But, what will happen to me? What’s in store for my sign?’
Fantastic Foods and Where to Find Them Part 1
The world is a loud place these days with countless blogs and all the so-called ‘experts’ screaming for another click, another like. After all the ‘Top 10’ lists, TripAdvisor reviews and other siren songs thrown at a modern traveler, the single greatest catalyst of genuine discovery happens through one vehicle: food.
‘After Korea, What’s it Like Living in Vietnam?’
‘How’s life in Vietnam?!’
Beats bare concrete steps. Jeonju University, Jeonju, South Korea
I stare at my best friend’s face. She’s contorted it into some sort of overly-excited mask reminiscent of a dog waiting impatiently for the treat hidden in my pocket.
Hoi An’s Central Market
Hungry for breakfast, I arrived at Hoi An’s Central Market at 9am on a Saturday. I wasn’t sure what I was searching for but was certain I’d know it when I found it. Walking through the market, with the fresh produce and bustle of locals and tourists, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm.
‘Pick a card’, said Gillian Harrison holding out a pack. What you pick dictates where the crystal healing should be targeted. According to my card, I needed to gain confidence and detox my mind because negative energy was blocking my creative flow.
TAM THANH MURAL VILLAGE: ‘ART FOR A BETTER COMMUNITY’
Riding about an hour south from Hoi An along the Thanh Niên road, I arrived in Tam Thanh much like Dorothy stepping out of black and white into technicolor Oz.
CAPTIVATING CHAM ISLAND
Most visitors are attracted to a Cham Island trip by the swimming, snorkeling over the extraordinary coral reefs, eating and drinking, karaoke and shopping, parasailing/paragliding and motor bike rides. If you are one of these, you will not be disappointed.
VINTAGE SIDECAR TO SON TRA (MONKEY MOUNTAIN)
I can see Liem’s smile widen out of the periphery of my right eye as he slides back into third gear to take on the sharp, ascending corner, then back again to fourth as we valley down a straight stretch of Da Nang’s famed Son Tra peninsula.
The Headstone and the Wizard
I received a call from a local friend who asked me to stop by his place to check out a gift he had for me. Propped up against the wall of the washroom was a graveyard marker; a Headstone.