At the Thu Bon River’s Edge – Hoi An, Vietnam

We spent several relaxing hours walking and dining along Hoi An’s riverside. At midday, some locals made meals on weathered, wooden boats.

Boat under palm trees in Hoi An, Vietnam

On the other side of the the Thu Bon River, colorful vessels sat tethered, patiently awaiting passengers.

Woman near water in Hoi An, Vietnam

Several boatmen and women along the river called out to visitors in the hope they’d hire their boats for an hour or more. (On another afternoon, we did so for two hours. While riding on the rented boat, I was thrilled to be invited to ride in a boat basket that we passed on the water. Of course I did so!)

Women talking in Hoi An, Vietnam wearing non la hats on the riverside

Ladies wearing nón lá hats gossiped about the day’s happenings.

Man at riverside in Hoi An Vietnam

Others were more contemplative…

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All rights reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

24 thoughts on “At the Thu Bon River’s Edge – Hoi An, Vietnam

  1. Amazing captures of their emotions! And what an amazing country. Make sure you check out Sapa in the North!!

    1. Umirza, that’s something I enjoy very much about street photography – it presents many opportunities for the photographer to capture candid emotion.

      Oh, how I’ve longed to go to Sapa! Both times I’ve been to Vietnam, though, it’s been winter, and I’ve been utterly unprepared for the chilly weather. How long did you stay there?

      1. I was only in Sapa for a few days but was taken aback by the rural beauty of the place. The weather was amazing for the first couple of days but then we woke up literally in a storm cloud so decided to skip town for Lao!
        Im looking to go back to Vietnam in January and Hoi An in on my list!! Anywhere else you’d recommend?

      2. Great that you’re soon Vietnam-bound! I’m sure you have Ha Long Bay, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on your list, but I’d also highly recommend Hué for the imperial city and tombs, and Mui Ne for the sand sledding and laid-back beaches. The north can get really chilly in Jan, so make sure you have layers! (You probably remember that from Sapa.) And, see if you can try to time your visit with Tet (the Vietnamese New Year). That’s great fun to watch the people prepping for the celebrations and then participating in them!

      3. Brilliant recommendation and a fantastic blog. I also am very interested in your participate page and will be looking up some of them while in the area!!!

      4. What great compliments – thank you! I’m really happy that you found some nonprofits of interest on the Participate page. While traveling is fun just by itself, it’s great to also great to support some worthwhile causes while on the road. :)

  2. A boat that’s pure magic. The red and green boat promises adventures – and delivers. Tricia I do so adore your photographs and story. Viriginia

    1. That’s the magic of being in any new place, isn’t it — the adventures that await! Some of the fondest memories from our trip were spent out on the water – snorkeling (for my first time), and taking boat trips on the waters of Vietnam and India. From an outside perspective, it seems so relaxing to commute by boat.

      I hope your week is going well, Virginia! Thank you as always.

    1. Hi Monica, how exciting that you’re Hoi An bound! We spent about 3 days there and found we didn’t need a guide. One morning we did a cooking class (something we found while having dinner at one of the restaurants along the river) and another afternoon we took a two hour boat ride (which was easily arranged with a boat driver, on a spontaneous basis). The rest of the time we just strolled through the downtown. The historic spots were close enough to each other that we were able to easily explore, without a guide. Be sure to enjoy the lantern illuminated streetscapes and river by night- they’re very charming! Safe and enjoyable travels; I look forward to seeing your pictures. :)

  3. Gorgeous photographs – we spent a month in Vietnam over Christmas and I think you’ve captured some of its essence beautifully.

      1. We were in dire need of a do nothing beach holiday, so I’m ashamed to say that we spent a disproportionate amount of time down in the South lying on the beach on Phu Quoc drinking Expresso Martinis! So not exactly culture vultures on this particular trip, although we also did quite a long trip up the Mekong Delta on our way back to Saigon and the few obligatory days dodging motorbikes in the city! Next time round I think it would have to be a trip down the other way from Hanoi. And you?

      2. Sounds like you had some much-needed time de-stressing there! We contemplated having beach time in Vietnam too, but in the end decided to do so in the Philippines later in our trip.

        Like you, we also did a day trip on the Mekong Delta, the historical war sites (Cu Chi Tunnels and Museum) and the main cities along the coast, going north from Saigon: Mui Ne dunes sand sledding, Da Lat (they compare it to the Alps, because of the cooler temps and flowers grown there), Hué’s imperial city and tombs, plus Hoi An. On an earlier trip, I was really impressed by Ha Long Bay and the hustle and bustle of Hanoi during Tet (the New Year). Someday I hope to make it back to see Sapa. The culture there looks amazing!

        Hope you’re having a great weekend, David!

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