If you find yourself in South Vietnam (hopefully outside of the wet season of September – December), make a trek out to Hoi An. This quaint city can be reached via a quick flight through Da Nang Airport (DAD), or via a myriad of trains/buses/car hires that run up and down the country. There’s so much to love about Hoi An, from its high quality silk seamstresses (getting a fine dress made in 2-3 days is a “thing”), picturesque Ancient Town, and delicious restaurants lined throughout the city List of Restaurants – our two recommendations would be Morning Glory and Phi Banh Mi. There is a catch to all of this of course, as something so great is bound to attract a lot of tourists.
Though the tourist inflow isn’t so overbearing that you cannot enjoy the city, it does create issues when you are trying to take pictures in town. That is why I, as much as I’m not a morning person, would highly recommend waking up at 6-7am to take your ‘gram worthy pictures. Plus, in the morning they don’t charge you an entrance fee for Ancient Town. *Pro Tip* – even during the daytime, the UNESCO staff are not consistent about charging fees so you may luck out in sneaking past if you see that the ticket kiosk is overrun with a big tour group.
To begin your photo journey, I would suggest starting along the Hoai River along Bach Dang St. You can get some great morning shots of the boats against the water before the soft morning glow disappears.
From the river, head up one street to Nguyen Thai Hoc St., where the Japanese Bridge is located. This will literally be the only time you can get a picture of the bridge unfettered by the hundreds of tourists crowding the nearby vicinity.
Walking along this street, you can capture some great shots, and can really appreciate the colorful tapestry lining the entire town. No real advice here, other than to look down small corridors or alleyways where something might catch your eye.
Lastly, you can finish up by looping around the western/eastern end (depending on where you start), and walk down Tran Phu St. One of the perks of early morning photography is the “behind the scenes” look you get into the city getting ready for the day. These shots were just a glimpse of the locals hustling to prepare for their customers.