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February 1, 2004

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From Hue we hop over to Hoi An, a riverside town that played a prominent part as heartland of the Champa Kingdom from the 2nd - 10th centuries. Later known as Faifo during the 17th-19th century, it harbored ships sailing the East-West route. Traders set up operations, began the first foreign colonies, and introduced Christianity in Vietnam. Today, Hoi An attracts all passing tourists. It draws them with architecture and shops. Guidebooks claim that this is the most enchanting spot on the Vietnamese coast; we come here to step into history.

Since the 16th century, Hoi An has been on the tourist and trader trail. Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, and Japanese merchants built the town and left their personal touches: mansions, temples, public buildings, and this Japanese covered bridge.
A Vietnamese flag stands in front of every house - let's not forget who's in charge here.
Bikes on top, goats and chickens in the bottom, people wherever space remains. For the right price one of these boats will take visitors to China Beach, frequented by American servicemen during the war and made more famous by that 80's TV show creatively called, "China Beach."