Laos and Thailand Week Fifteen: Vientiane and Bangkok

Can’t believe this is the last blog post of the South East Asia Textile Research trip I did last autumn.

Part of me feels like I was there yesterday and another part feels like it was years ago, mostly because so much has changed since I came back.

After Myanmar I went back to Vientiane, Laos. Even though there isn’t much to see there and the accommodation is TERRIBLE, I wanted to go back to learn how to set up the loom and create my own pattern. Houey Hong Vocational Training Centre for Women is an amazing place with the friendliest artisans and staff. I was there in October and I did a natural dyeing course and ikat weaving class. You can read more about them and about Vientiane here.

This time I stayed for a week, doing an intense six day weaving class. I learnt how to set up a traditional Laos loom which took me a day and a half, and then I learnt how to copy a pattern, set it up on a loom and weave it. I made a small table runner, using naturally dyed silk.

Here are some photos of the process:

Here is the finished piece, my teacher Chap, Sengmany the manager of Houey Hong and another artisan weaver (unfortunately I don’t know how to spell her name):

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Photo from Ock Pop Tok - Discover Laos Through Textiles p. 23

Photo from Ock Pop Tok - Discover Laos Through Textiles p. 23

I wanted to share with you the process so here are some videos and my notes:

Warp: yarns stretched lengthwise on the loom, in a Lao loom they run away from the weaver, up and over her head.

Weft: the yarn inserted side to side across the warp to create the cloth.

Setting up the warp was probably the most difficult part of the weaving process. To make the warp, weavers have to calculate how many threads the warp will contain. The comb determines the width of the finished textile. Each comb has a certain number of teeth. On the Lao loom, each tooth of the comb contains two threads. Usually a scarf contains 400 warp threads (so did mine).

Usually weavers make a warp 50 metres long, however since I was only weaving for a few days we made the warp 10 metres long. This doesn’t mean that a woven piece is 10 or 50 metres long, when you finish you can always cut your piece off and continue creating using the metres left.

To prepare the warp we spun the thread on large spools. These were then put on a frame, which in Lao is called a kong kun, that holds 10 spools. The weaver then walks back and forth, holding the frame, and wrapping the silk threads around the supporting columns of the frame (this took me 2 hours, for 10 metres). The warp is then plaited (so it doesn’t get tangled) and put in a bag. The silk yarns have to be threaded through the heddles and comb and tied to the loom.

After preparing the warp, its attached on the loom, threaded through the comb and tied. Then weaving starts.

I was learning how to set up a pattern for supplementary weft weaving. The pattern is created by inserting an extra thread between each row of plain weave. Each time the weaver does a row of plain weave she lifts the warps threads and adds the supplementary weft thread. However, every time she lifts the warp threads, it’s following a pattern that has been already created in what is called “supplementary heddle“.

To create the pattern we have to count the warp threads and see how the pattern will fit on the width of the warp. To create the pattern you try different combinations out, often with trial and error, until it all fits, the way you’ve imagined it on your loom. The pattern consists of different rows, and in each row different warp threads are lifted. After preparing the first line of the pattern, you “save” the threads that have been picked up on the supplementary heddle, using a stick or thread. It’s very challenging and requires both a creative and a mathematical mind, as well as time and patience.

In supplementary weft weaving, the template for the pattern is kept in the pattern heddle. That is a grid of vertical and horizontal threads (or sticks) that hangs behind the two fixed heddles used for plain weaving. Each vertical string is looped above and below the warp string and each horizontal string is a “blueprint” for a row of the pattern.

To transfer a row of this pattern to the weaving, the weaver must take the first horizontal pattern string and use it to divide the vertical strings connected to the warp. Once these are divided, the weaver lifts the group closer to her, which in turn lift the corresponding warp threads.

The result is that some warp threads are raised and others are not. Then, the beam is inserted into the shed (meaning between the raised and lowered threads). When the beam is turned up, the shed is held open for the weaver to weave in the coloured pattern weft thread for that row of pattern. The supplementary pattern is created row by row.

In Laos, the patterns in a supplementary woven textile are always symmetrical. The weavers create half of the pattern bringing the horizontal pattern strings down through the warp. Once all the strings have been placed below the warp, half the pattern has been woven. This means the point of symmetry has been reached and now it’s time to start bringing the strings back through the warp and up, thus weaving the mirror image of the pattern woven so far.

The pattern is never lost and can be used for multiple pieces if needed. My pattern had only eight rows so it wasn’t that hard, however there are patterns that are made up of over 1,000 rows.

This was definitely the most challenging workshop I did while in South East Asia. I am really glad I had the opportunity to go back to Houey Hong in Vientiane and see the lovely artisans there. They really helped me understand all steps of the weaving process and this class was how I decided that I want to continue weaving and learn more about it even while I am back in Europe.

Bangkok

After Vientiane, I went back to Bangkok for two nights. I was flying from Bangkok back to London. It was my second time here as well, however I decided to go for two days to see a friend, go to my favourite bakery and also visit the floating markets which I didn’t have time to do last time I was there. (To read more about Bangkok you can read this blog post)

I stayed in a really nice airbnb, the hosts were lovely and the apartment was close to my favourite Landhaus Bakery, in a nice area, close to the underground.

While I was in Bangkok this time, I didn’t have a plan of what I was going to do. I walked around the area I was staying at, I went to Landhaus for breakfast, I visited two malls to buy some stuff I needed for my flight back. One of them was the Central Embassy building, which is a mall that has the most amazing bookshop on the top floor. It’s a mix of a gallery, bookshop and coffeeshop. I loved it there and stayed for a whole afternoon. I also did a massage while I was in one of the two malls, to relax and get ready for the eighteen hour flight I had the next day. I also went for dinner with Krista, a friend I met in Vientiane in October and who I also saw in Chiang Mai at the lantern festival (more about this here). It was a relaxed two days, which was exactly what I needed before flying back to London and reality.

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I also visited theCommons - an amazing place that works as a gathering ground. Even though it is in central Bangkok it feels like it’s not, and getting there you immediately feel close to nature. The aim of theCommons is to “promote wholesome living and a true sense of community”. There is a market where you can eat food from all over the world, from Japanese ramen, to tacos, to poke bowls and Napoli standard pizzas. Except from food there are shops, vintage stores, record stores, florists, hair saloons, the best coffee (roots at theCOMMON), cocktail bars, etc. There is also a Play Yard with playgrounds for both children and adults. The people that I saw here were a mix of all ages and of all cultures. Tourists, locals and people that have moved to Bangkok for work from all over the world. It’s a happy place, full of opportunities. Workshops, get togethers, parties and lectures — something is always happening here! I definitely recommend you visit.

For my last day in Bangkok (my flight was at night) I arranged to go for a floating market visit. I looked at the different airbnb experiences and found this one. Here are some photos of what I saw while on this boat tour:

Tob was the host of this experience. He and his wife own a canal boat and love to take it out on weekends for a local market run. There were another 6 people also taking the tour. Tob was really nice and friendly, telling us about his background but also about the markets, Thai culture, food and customs. We saw many different types of markets along the canals as well as how local people spend their weekend around these canals. We tried many different fruits that Tob recommended and also had lunch. Tob recommend different foods to try and everything was excellent. I really recommend doing something like this while you are in Bangkok. You see a different side of Bangkok this way and it’s very unique. The whole experience lasted four hours.

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This photo is a collection of the fabrics I naturally dyed, hand-wove and embroidered while I was in Asia these three and a half months.

This trip was eye-opening for me and I will always remember it and everything I learnt. My trip lasted exactly 100 days, I took five buses, twenty one planes, I spent hours on scooters, cars, boats and motorbikes. I took part in twenty amazing textile workshops in weaving, natural dyeing, embroidery, batik, bamboo weaving, macrame, embellishment and spinning and I loved every moment of them. I visited seven countries: Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.

I had the best time travelling, I met amazing people, and learnt so so so much. This trip was exactly what I needed, and it made me feel stronger and much surer of what I want to do and how to continue my adventure with textiles...

Even though I shared everything I learnt and saw while I was in Asia, I will continue writing my blog. This trip helped me realise what I want to do, which was to start my own textile studio in Athens, Greece. From now on I will be sharing my experiences from Athens. I will keep writing about textile history, textile processes and all the new things I’m learning in Greece. Hopefully, you will follow my journey and learn facts about textiles, processes and techniques but also how much love goes into making something!

More coming soon!

xx

Christiana

Myanmar Week Fourteen II: Inle Lake and Mandalay

I spent 8 days in Myanmar and even though I got to see loads, I wish I stayed for longer! After Yangon and Bagan (you can read more about them here) I took a bus to Inle Lake and stayed for three nights, before taking a bus from there to Mandalay where I stayed only for two days.

Inle Lake

Inle Lake is located in the Shan Hills of Myanmar. It is a freshwater lake surrounded by little villages of wooden homes on stilts, green mountains and golden pagodas. The main town is Nyangshwe and it’s a nice place to walk around, enjoy the food and have conversations with friendly locals. I stayed at a lovely hotel called Inle Cottage Boutique Hotel. The staff was lovely, the room was beautiful and spacious and there was also a really nice restaurant at the terrace. I definitely recommend staying here.

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Inle Lake is the perfect place to rest and relax. I spent three days there cruising along the lake, wine tasting, learning how to spin lotus fibre, weaving, visiting pagodas and tasting the amazing Shan food. I wish I had more time and that I had hiked from Kalaw to Inle Lake. From Bagan, I took another night bus to Inle Lake, however you can take a bus to Kalaw and spend two to three days walking through small villages and farms. I met a few people who did this and described the landscapes as breathtaking and the whole experience as amazing. Some even spent the night in a monastery. Next time I am in Inle Lake I will definitely add this to my itinerary.

My first day in Inle Lake I had arranged to do a weaving and lotus spinning class. The staff at my hotel arranged this for me before I arrived. I had a boat driver who picked me up from the hotel around 10, took me to the weaving studio (right on the lake) and I stayed there until around 14.00, went for lunch at a restaurant that was on the lake as well and then returned at the weaving place and continued my class until about six.

I had agreed with the driver to stop on the way back to the hotel so that I could watch the sunset from the boat. It was an amazing experience and you definitely have to do this if you visit Inle Lake. Even though Inle Lake and it’s surroundings are well known for the sunsets, the sunset view is definitely best from the lake itself, when the water lights up reflecting the orange and red hues of the sky. The whole atmosphere changes and it’s magical. As you cruise around in the morning or late afternoon you will also see traditional fishermen who use the one-legged rowing practice which is typical in this region. They are like ballerinas on water, dancing while catching fish. Watching this during sunset was something I’ll never forget. Here are some photos:

The villages of Inle Lake are the only places on earth where you can see the technique of lotus weaving. Threads are extracted from the lotus plant by breaking individual stems, or small groups of stems. It is a very slow process, it can take up to two months to extract one kilo of fibre. Lotus plants were collected from the waters of Inle Lake and while on a boat tour you can see many of these lotus floating gardens (photos below).

Lotus stems are first cut into sections, before being scored, twisted and pulled to reveal a very thin web of filaments. This is then laid out on a wooden bench and kept moist with occasional splashes of water. This process is repeated with new stems and the artisan will roll these moistened fibres together to create thicker (and stronger) threads. Here is a video of the artisan creating the thread, it might seem easy or fast, but it definitely isn’t. It took me one hour to produce half a metre of thread.

The finished thread has a colour similar to hemp, however it’s texture is much softer. What I also really liked is that usually they don’t dye the fibre to highlight it’s natural beauty and properties. Because of how time consuming the thread making process is, pure lotus fabric is rare and very expensive (up to four times more expensive than silk). Usually, lotus threads are woven with cotton or silk to bring prices down and make it more affordable for tourists.

Here are some photos of me trying to create the lotus thread as well as photos of the artisans and studio space. It was amazing to see a place like that on the lake, to arrive on boat and to know that you are on a wooden weaving studio on stilts. The view from the windows was magical.

While weaving, women in Inle Lake use flying shuttle looms which I hadn’t seen before. Now that I am back in Greece though I have found that traditional Greek looms also use flying shuttle looms. After explaining and showing me how to make the thread from lotus and how to spin it, I also wove a bit using cotton and lotus fibre and these flying shuttle looms. I found it very difficult to weave with this kind of shuttle, however, if you get used to it, it goes must faster than throwing the shuttle by hand. I really enjoyed my day at this weaving studio, especially after learning so much about this fibre. Before visiting and before researching Myanmar I had no idea that the lotus plant can produce a thread. I am so happy I got to experience this first hand.

The next day, I went on another boat tour around Inle Lake. We passed through many different villages in Inle Lake, as well as the floating gardens. I also visited some more artisan workshops such as silversmiths and paper-making. We also went to the Hpaung Daw U Pagoda which is an iconic gilded temple that sits on the lake, and one of my favourites the Shwe Indein Pagoda. The latter consists of a group of Buddhist pagodas and can be found in the village of Indein. It is surrounded by many local vendors selling clothing, antiques, lacquerware, puppets and other souvenirs. I also visited a small Kayan village, the hill-tribe that is known as long-necks, because of the rings the woman wear around their necks. The women and girls there were weaving, using back-strap looms and creating patterns using techniques I learnt while in Thailand (more about this here). In older times, there were tigers living in the regions of the Kayan tribes and these rings protected them from tiger attacks. The boat trip started in the morning and that is why I saw many women bathing in the river which was another unique experience, seeing locals and their everyday life. Here are some photos of the pagodas, the floating gardens, the locals, the Kayan tribe and the puppies of Myanmar:

Something I didn’t know before visiting, is that Myanmar has vineyards. There are two well-known vineyards near Inle Lake: Aythaya and Red Mountain. I had a free afternoon so decided to go there and taste the wine and look at the apparently stunning views and sunset. The hotel arranged for a tuk tuk driver to take me there and wait for me before driving me back to the hotel. I visited Red Mountain and enjoyed two out of the four wines of the tasting. The views were indeed stunning: rolling green hills and an orange and pink sky. Here are some photos:

Another thing I wanted to see while I was in Inle Lake but unfortunately I didn’t have time for was the Kakku Pagodas. It is a two hours drive from Nyaungshwe and therefore would take up a whole day. If I had time I would definitely visit. The Pagodas include almost 2500 stupas which are arranged in rows surrounding a central stupa. Will visit next time for sure!

I really loved Inle Lake. The landscapes, the people, the stray puppies, the temples and the food were all amazing and I wish I had more time there. It’s a place with so much to see and explore, while at the same time the perfect place to relax and rest. I will definitely visit next time I am in Myanmar.

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Mandalay

Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar. I wanted to spend a few days here however I didn't have time. I feel like because I hadn’t planned to visit Myanmar in the beginning of my trip, it was very rushed and I really wish I had more time to explore this amazing country. I was supposed to have around 48 hours in Mandalay but unfortunately because of a mix up with the buses, I ended up having less than 24 hours there. Mandalay has lots of impressive religious sites, sunrise and sunset spots, handcraft and artisans workshops and shops.

I stayed at the Home Hotel in Mandalay. It was really nice and clean, with very friendly staff, a nice rooftop area with a fantastic view of the city and nice breakfast. Because I was rushing and I wanted to manage to see as much as possible, I talked to the receptionist the night I arrived and arranged to have a driver for the day, taking me around places I wanted to see, for the following morning. She recommended a driver who ended up being her boyfriend and since she had her day off we ended up going together and it was great because she explained so many things to me.

First, we went to the Sagaing Hill, a small city just outside of Mandalay. The landscape there consists of green rolling hills, stunning views of the Irrawaddy river, monasteries, white and golden pagodas. I visited the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda which includes caves housing dozens of Buddha statues. Here are some photos:

Next, we visited some handicraft workshops around Mandalay. There are lots of artisans workshops from gold leaf workshops to silk and cotton weaving, to puppet making and lacquerware. I got some really nice fabrics from these places and also an antique puppet which is now hanging in my living room. My favourite of course were the weaving studios. Here are some photos:

The women and girls there create very intricate patterns and have hundreds of tiny shuttles of colours. All patterns have so many details. It was amazing to watch how they worked (usually two girls on each loom) and how fast they created different patterns, often without a written/drawn pattern in front of them. Here is a video of the process:

Next, we went to one of the most famous monastic colleges in Myanmar, called Mahāgandhāyon Monastery. It is a great place to understand monastic life and culture. Around 1000 monks of all ages live in the complex. It is a really picturesque area, with colourful buildings everywhere. At around 10.30 AM, you can watch their lunchtime processional. During this all monks line up with their pots and cups to collect their meals before sitting in the dining hall to eat. The monks rely on the generosity of donors for food — a combination of tourists and locals. The chief monk of this monastery actually encourages visitors to come and observe and also publicise the processional hoping it will raise awareness and encourage others to sponsor meals or volunteer. I had some fruit and crackers with me that I donated while I was there, a lot of people give out candy, however I recommend you take something healthier if you are visiting. Here are some photos:

Mingun Pahtodawgyi

Mingun Pahtodawgyi

Next, I went to Mingun. Probably my favourite place close to Mandalay. There are three main attractions there.

The first is the Mingun Pahtodawgyi — an unfinished, ruined stupa with the largest brick base in the world. Construction began in 1790 by King Bodawapaya who took advantage of thousands of prisoners and slaves to build this. (It was meant to reach 150 metres.) It is said that because the people started being concerned about this project they created a false prophecy to tell to the king, warning him that once the pagoda was finished the country would stop existing or that the king would die. Construction was therefore slowed down until the king died. Then it stopped altogether.

The second famous site in Mingun (my favourite!) is the Hsinbyume Pagoda otherwise known as the Myatheindan or White Pagoda. It is a large white pagoda modelled after the mythological Buddhist mountain Meru, with seven concentric terraces along the bottom representing the seven mountain ranges leading to Meru mountain. What makes this pagoda special is that its stairs and terraces allow visitors to climb the structure. Here are some photos:

In addition to these two sites there’s also the Mingun Bell which has been the world’s heaviest ringing bell, weighting around 91kgs. It was created in 1810 to accompany the Mingun Pahtodawgyi stupa but during the 1838 earthquake it was knocked off its supports. It was resuspended in 1896 to it’s current location. You can strike the bells exterior with a wooden mallet, I did this with Mya (the lady from the hotel I travelled with), hitting it is supposed to give you luck.

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Next, we went to Ava or Inwa. This is a small island, located just a short boat ride from Mandalay and is definitely worth a visit. Inwa was once the imperial capital of Myanmar between the 14th and 18th centuries. Most of the island was destroyed during a series of major earthquakes in the 1800s and was not rebuilt. Now tourists can visit and explore the quiet little island and its remnants by bicycle or horse buggy. Even though I am not a fan because I didn’t have much time I took a horse buggy with Mya.

It was nice that I got to go with Mya because she told the driver to take me to lots of spots that the drivers don’t usually stop at. I went to the ancient teak Bagaya Monastery, the Me Nu Oak Kyaung Monastery which is famous for being built out of brick, the Yadana Hsemee Pagoda which are a series of small ruined pagodas of the 1400s and the Nanmyin Watch Tower which is also known as the leaning tower of Inwa (which is leaning because of the 1838 earthquake). We also stopped at a beautiful white pagoda and it was great because other drivers don’t stop there so I was alone. Here are some photos:

I should have definitely stayed in Mandalay for a longer time. I didn’t explore the city at all but mostly visited areas around Mandalay. It’s a shame and I hope I’ll be back to visit soon. I didn’t have time to visit the Shwenandaw Monastery which was once part of the Mandalay Royal Palace. It is a wooden structure that was dismantled and moved outside the palace walls in 1878. I very quickly visited the Walk u Bein Bridge, which again is a shame because it’s supposed to be the perfect place to watch a sunset. I also didn’t visit the Mandalay Hill which apparently is a great 45 minute hike and also offers a great sunset view.

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Myanmar for me is: breathtaking and untouched natural landscapes (I saw free elephants drinking water from a river while on a bus!!) delicious food, amazing ancient religious sites, warm welcoming locals, and amazing art and craft traditions. Myanmar really was like a dream and I loved everything I did and saw there. It was an authentic and diverse cultural experience I will always remember. I hope I will visit again soon!

Next blog post (the last one of the South East Asia travel series!) will be about my week in Vientiane, Laos and my two nights in Bangkok before flying back to London… More next week xx

Christiana

Myanmar Week Fourteen: Yangon and Bagan

Myanmar definitely wasn’t in my travel plan. I started thinking about going while I was in Vietnam. I kept seeing photos on Instagram — ancient cities, amazing landscapes, lakes, beaches. Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is one of the least visited countries in South East Asia, and that is why in my opinion, the lifestyle has remained relatively unchanged there.

Bathing in Inle Lake - Myanmar

Bathing in Inle Lake - Myanmar

Myanmar for me was probably one of my favourite parts of this textile research trip. The fact that I wasn’t supposed to go, the people, the food, the art, the temples, the landscapes — everything made the experience wonderful. However, I had a lot of people disagree with my decision to go there.  Of course the ethnic and religious violence, the oppressive political policies and the human rights abuses can’t and shouldn’t be ignored while thinking about travelling to Myanmar and I understand why my decision to visit was a controversial one. A lot of travellers are boycotting Myanmar and I went against that.  So even though the main aim of this blog is to share my textile research, I think it should go beyond that.

I had friends and family tell me they are worried about me when I told them I am going, that it’s “unsafe” and “dangerous”, trying to make me change my mind. I don’t think that individual people should be defined by their governments. The people I got to meet everywhere in South East Asia, were exceptionally kind and peaceful. This definitely includes Myanmar. People were always happy to help, to practice their English, to smile, to show you around, to explain things about their culture and involve you in their everyday lives.

I also had people tell me I am “ignorant” and “morally wrong” for choosing to go there. Instead of boycotting the whole country, I chose to make sure I am supporting locally-run and privately-owned restaurants and guest houses as well as transportation companies. I believe that withholding money from a country altogether will have little effect on the country’s government, whereas it will play a huge role on its local citizens. Most people in this country rely on the tourism industry in order to provide food, a home and safety to their families. There has been a really big reduction in tourism and everyone told me that from hotel staff, to local people I met in markets, temples or restaurants.

One of the things I learnt while in Myanmar was that there is a big line between a corrupt and violent government and it’s local people who want nothing more than peace, or that due to the lack of education, are not informed about political issues. Also, except from suspending a flow of income to the locals that need it, a boycott also cuts off the country’s access to more progressive social, political and environmental ideas and thoughts. Finally, the border violence and human rights abuses have been going on in Myanmar for the past fifty years. However, the violent attacks against the Rohingya have been put in a spotlight the past few years and I think that’s due to an increase in tourism. With an increase in international tourism, comes an increased demand for information and therefore an increased awareness about the issues within this country.

While flying from Mandalay to Yangon I met a lovely person on the plane. She was Australian but had been living in Myanmar at the Shan state for the past 6 (if I remember correctly) years. She works for an NGO and she told me so many horrible stories and stuff that she has seen concerning the Rohingya people. Talking to her about it opened my eyes, because it’s obviously much worse than reading the news when you have a person in front of you giving you details and names of the people that have been affected by what is happening. I admire her for her courage and for leaving Australia to move in the Shan region and live in very different conditions, spending all her time and energy helping out these people.

I am so happy I got to see Myanmar, to meet Burmese people, to meet people like Natasha who give so much and help so much, to see amazing architecture, to see free elephants while on a bus, to eat delicious food, to feel at home, outside of home. It also helped me understand what is happening, to do research and to realise how to help in some way. Now that I am back home I talk about what I saw and experienced in Myanmar, I celebrate the people I met and the organisations that meant something to me. Myanmar is a beautiful country and I really hope you all get a chance to visit it.

Yangon

Yangon is the biggest city in Myanmar and it’s where I flew into from Chiang Mai. It’s chaotic, lots of cars everywhere and it’s quite dirty. Yangon is the perfect beginning in order for you to meet the kind, calm and welcoming people of Burma while also getting introduced to the religious culture, the amazing cuisine and also the village life (some areas even though in the centre of the city feel like villages). It was different to other more developed cities in South East Asia like KL or Bangkok, and it had a kind of uniqueness that I loved. I stayed there for two days.

I stayed at the Merchant Hotel in Yangon. I recommend it, the staff is really friendly, it’s right next to the Shwedagon Pagoda and it also has an amazing view from its terrace. For transportation, I used the Grab app to go everywhere, I got a sim card for my phone from the airport and I recommend doing that, it’s very cheap and that way you have data everywhere you are. Yangon actually doesn’t have any scooters, which I found very weird since they are everywhere in South East Asia. I really liked not having to worry about scooters running me over (which I did in Vietnam).

My first stop was the National Museum of Yangon. It’s a really big museum with five floors. You aren’t allowed to take your camera or any bags inside. There are lockers, however I recommend not taking anything valuable with you since they won’t let you take it inside with you.

On the ground floor what stands out is the Lion Throne Showroom which is over 150 years old, it is the only throne left intact as the other 8 were destroyed during World War II. The first floor contains royal regalia (however not only are they in glass cabinets, inside the glass cabinet the object is also in a cage — making it very difficult to actually see the objects…) as well as objects from the prehistoric period. The third floor consisted of Myanmar art as well as more jewellery pieces.

My favourites were the second floor which consisted of the Arts and Crafts Gallery and Myanmar Performance Arts Showroom and the fourth floor which displayed costumes from all the different hill-tribes found in Myanmar. Some of these hill-tribes are only found in Myanmar and not in other South East Asian countries. Here are some photos:

The next morning I visited the most famous landmark in Yangon, the Shwedagon Pagoda. It’s almost a hundred metres tall decorated with thousands of diamonds and rubies. It is the most sacred Buddhist Pagoda in Myanmar and it is believed that it is the oldest Buddhist stupa in the world. I went there during sunrise, mostly to avoid the heat. I was lucky enough to see a wedding while I was there! Yes, a wedding at six in the morning. The pagoda has four entrances, and I entered from the one closest to my hotel (less than a ten minute walk). I stayed for a good hour and a half in there, it was great seeing the pagoda but also to people watch. Here are some photos:

Myanmar was colonised by the British from 1824 to 1948 and Yangon has the highest concentration of colonial buildings in the world. Most of the buildings are still there even though not in the best condition. I definitely recommend exploring some of these colonial buildings such as the Bogyoke Aung San Market, the Secretariat and the Strand Hotel.

I really wanted to join a street food tour while I was in Yangon but unfortunately I didn’t have time. Some friends recommended the Sa Ba Street Food Tour, they do two food tours per day. My friends had taken the morning tour which included tea, pastries, salads, coffee, noodles and many other traditional Yangon dishes. The tour guide spoke great english and explained how everything is prepared as well as the dishes cultural and historic significance. I wish I had managed to book this tour and I definitely will next time I am in Yangon.

My last day in Yangon I went on the circular train. This train ride isn’t that popular among tourists, and I only met a couple of people that weren’t locals while I was there. It is a commuter route that services all the little villages around Yangon. It stops regularly going through many towns, chaotic markets (there are markets on the tracks), jungles, and unfortunately parts where all you can see is trash. Still it’s probably my favourite and definitely most authentic experience in Yangon. The entire loop takes about three hours to complete, and you can also hop off if you see a place you would like to explore. I was catching a bus afterwards so I didn’t have time to hop off but still it was a wonderful experience to have. Here are some photos:

To get a ticket (less than 1 euro) you have to go to the platform, and there you will find a small kiosk, that’s where they are sold, not at the entrance of the station! I loved being on the train, seeing families hop on and off even when the train was moving, seeing people put bags of potatoes, fruits and all sorts of food on the train to take to some other village to sell, even seeing a lady with a massive disk on her head full of all the ingredients she needed to make noodles, which she prepared right in front of you on a moving train. I managed to sit by a door, in order to not miss anything that was happening outside. I met two lovely German girls and we sat together admiring the locals and their everyday lives. Here are some videos:

The food in Myanmar was a very pleasant surprise. It was very different to other South East Asian countries food and I loved everything about it. Here is a list of my favourite restaurants in Yangon:

Burma Bistro: Great traditional food with a modern twist. The restaurant is located in an old colonial building and the decoration is amazing - old antique furniture, brick walls and beautiful tiled floors. I loved the food here.
Gekko Restaurant: Japanese restaurant, very cheap, very big choice and really tasty! Very nice atmosphere and friendly staff.
Rangoon Tea House: This is one of Yangon’s most famous restaurants. There is a mix of locals, tourists and people from Europe or Australia that live and work in Yangon. I loved the decoration here as well, and the food was amazing. Similarly to Burma Bistro, traditional with a modern twist. I especially loved the salads. You can also have coffee, tea and great cocktails!

Before coming to Yangon, I did some research trying to find some textile workshops. Unfortunately, educational tourism doesn’t really exist in Myanmar. However, I found some amazing shops for handmade items and textiles. Here is my list:

Pomelo for Myanmar: This shop is a fair trade marketplace supporting social businesses throughout Myanmar. Every purchase made contributes to social and economic change in some of Myanmar's most marginalised communities and helps to support unique skills and craftsmanship. All items have a story and I loved this shop and the staff. I got a lot of presents for loved ones from here and I definitely recommend you visit.
Scott Market (Bogyoke Aung San Market): A colonial building that houses a market selling antiques, paintings, handicrafts, textiles, herbs, jewellery and all kinds of souvenirs. There is also a food market in here.
Sunflowers Organic Dye Textiles & Crafts Shop: Probably my favourite shop. The people that worked there didn’t speak english and there was a power outage so there was no light! But they were so friendly turning on their phones to shine light on all the fabrics for me to choose. It’s a bit hard to find this shop and I actually went there twice before realising where it is and that it’s open. There is a sign but the shop is actually upstairs which isn’t clear by the sign. I got lots of naturally dyed and un-dyed fabrics from here.
Yangoods: There are a few Yangoods shops in Myanmar. They sell lots of different items, taking inspiration from traditional Burmese art and translating them into bags and homeware. I wasn’t a big fan of their textiles, but I loved the jewellery — simple, yet elegant. I got a lot of souvenirs from this shop.

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Bagan

Next stop was Bagan. I travelled around Myanmar mostly by bus. The company I used was JJ Express, I highly recommend them, they offered water and some snacks, there were two bathroom stops, the seats were very comfortable and you also have your own personal tv with movies and series — and all this for 20 US dollars.

Bagan is probably the most famous tourist destination in Myanmar, probably because of the hot air ballon and sunrise photos. There are over 2000 pagodas in Bagan. I loved Bagan and it is as magical as it appears to be in the photos. I stayed there for two nights and I wish I stayed for more. I stayed at the Areindmar hotel in New Bagan. The room was really spacious and I loved the decor. They also have a pool and really nice breakfast as well as lunch and dinner. The staff were super nice and helpful. I arrived at three in the morning and even though I was supposed to check in at 10 in the morning, they gave me my room at three with no extra charge.

The main thing to do in Bagan (except from riding a hot air balloon which I couldn’t do — it costs around 300 US dollars) is temple hopping. There are almost no cars in Bagan, and the way to go temple hopping is to rent an electric bike. Even though everyone there kept telling me to try and that it’s not hard I chose to not rent one since I’ve never driven anything before. After talking to the receptionist she arranged for a tuk tuk driver to take me around. It was really nice because he also told me historical and cultural facts about the temples and Myanmar in general.

Between the 9th and 13th century over 10,000 temples were built in Bagan. However, a series of earthquakes destroyed most of these temples. Today, around 2,200 are standing. Bagan is actually not a UNESCO World Heritage Site yet, which I found very surprising. A few years ago you were allowed to climb up most of these pagodas but due to earthquakes and lots of accidents you aren’t allowed to climb to most of them anymore. However, I actually climbed on two thanks to my driver! I told him I really wanted to do this and he showed me two temples where it’s still allowed. So firstly here are some photos from one of the two climbing pagodas, the sunrise and the hot air balloons:

A magical and unforgettable experience. Next I am going to make a list of some of the pagodas I visited however I recommend just stopping wherever you can! Each pagoda is unique and beautiful. Here is the list of most of the ones I visited, however there are lots of small ones that don’t have names:

Ananda Temple: Probably one of my favourite temples. I almost lost my sandals here, so make sure you remember where you entered from! The Buddhist temple consists of four standing Buddhas.
Bu Paya: This temple is right next to the Ayeyarwady River. The original pagoda was completely destroyed in the 1975. As result of this earthquake, the pagoda broke into pieces and fell into the river. It was, however, fully reconstructed using modern materials. The view is really nice and there are lots of locals here coming by boat to pray.
Gawdawpalin: The Gawdawpalin Temple is the second tallest temple in Bagan. The temple was heavily damaged during the 1975 earthquake but was reconstructed in following years.
Htilominlo
Khaymingha Pagoda
Lawka Nanda
Maha Bodhi Phaya
Pyathetgyi Pagoda
Shwegu Gyi Phaya
Shwesandaw Pagoda
Sulamani Temple
Tha Beik Hmauk Gu Hpaya
Thatbyinnyu

Here are some photos:

Bagan has lots of restaurants. I really recommend trying different curries while you are there. There lots of family run restaurants in old Bagan and food is really cheap. One of my favourite restaurants was Royal Restaurant which had amazing Indian food.

The people of Bagan are so friendly and Myanmar was actually the only place where no one followed me around trying to convince me to buy stuff. Artisans are happy to explain how they make things and they are usually making things like puppets, jewellery and lacquerware while at their stands.

In the following photos you can see that a lot of people have a yellow paste on their cheeks. This is called Thanaka and it is a yellowish-white paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of the culture of Myanmar, usually women and girls (sometimes boys too) apply it to their face and sometimes the arms. Thanaka cream has been used by Burmese for more than 2000 years. Thanaka gives a cooling sensation and provides protection from sunburn and it is also believed to help remove acne and promote smooth skin.

I am so happy I got to visit Myanmar, it’s a wonderful place. After Bagan I went to Inle Lake and Mandalay. More about my trip there next week.

Have a nice week,

xx
Christiana

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Vietnam and Thailand Week Thirteen: Ho Chi Minh City and Chiang Mai

After Hoi An my next stop was Ho Chi Minh City. I stayed there for four nights, before taking another plane back to Chiang Mai to meet a friend I met in Laos. We met during my weaving course in Houey Hong (more about this on my Laos blog post). She was working in Bangkok and was going to Chiang Mai for a long weekend to see the Loy Krathong and Yi Peng festivals so we decided to go there together.

Ho Chi Minh City

HCMC or otherwise known as Saigon is the most populous city in Vietnam. It’s located in the southeast of Vietnam. It is a city with skyscrapers, shopping malls and lots of national and international banks and companies. The current name of the city was given after the fall of Saigon in 1975 honouring Ho Chi Minh, the first leader of North Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh is chaotic, with millions of scooters everywhere. It’s not a city I would visit again, I don’t think it is as unique as other places or cities in South East Asia.

However, I enjoyed my time there and there are wonderful places to visit and explore. I stayed in an AirBnB that I definitely DON’T recommend so I’m not going to include it. The gist of why I didn’t like it is because I didn’t really feel safe, the area was weird, the way I got in and out of the flat was weird and difficult and I had neighbours knocking on my door multiple times… Anyway. I’m sure you can find nice places to stay in HCMC, I just wasn’t lucky — which was going to happen at some point in my trip.

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Saigon is a city of many architectural influences such as France, China, Japan, the Soviet Union and the US as well. There are loads of nice cafes, restaurants, shops and museums to visit while in Ho Chi Minh. Here is a list of places I visited:

Ao Dai Museum: Small collection of Ao Dai dresses but still worth a visit. (More about this further down)
Ho Chi Minh Museum of Fine Arts: This museum was established in 1987. The building is a perfect example of Indochina’s architecture, with a combination of both French and Chinese styles. In 2012, the museum was recognised as an architectural monument. It displays a collection of over 20,000 artefacts. (More about the museum further down)
Jade Emperor Pagoda: It was built by the Chinese in 1909. It is a Taoist temple decorated with divinities.
Loft Cafe: Food, coffee and drinks are great and it’s a really nice co-working space!
Oromia Coffee and Lounge (photo above): Nice cafe with nice snacks, breakfasts, juices and coffees.
Poke Saigon Ly Tu Trong: I ate here twice while in Saigon. I loved the staff, and it was probably the best poke I’ve had in my life. You choose everything — what kind of rice you want, if you want some salad with your rice, the fish, the sauce, and you have a choice of around 25 toppings too. It’s super cheap. Definitely recommend this place!
Poke House Vietnam: Another place with amazing poke. Apparently there are tons of poke restaurants however this and Poke Saigon were the ones I went to and loved.
Ralf’s Artisan Gelato: If you are craving ice-cream — this is the place to go!
Reunification Palace: Home of the former president of South of Vietnam and has an amazing Art Deco interior.
Saigon Grill Restaurant: Rooftop restaurant with a really nice view.
Saigon Oi Coffee: Meeting hub for lots of creative freelancers working in the city.
Shamoki Robata Yaki: There are two restaurants here. The main one, and one on your right as you enter the main one. Just go at the small door and you will find a bar and around 10 small tables. All the food will be prepared in front of you. Great Japanese food, sake and beer. Definitely recommend.
Secret Garden Restaurant: Hoi An style lanterns everywhere and delicious traditional Vietnamese home cooking.
So Nice. Shop: Loved, loved, loved this shop! It’s in the same building as the Poke Saigon Ly Tu Trong. I recommend visiting both!
South-Vietnamese Women Museum: This museum is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of Vietnamese women. There are signs with explanations in both English and French as well as a lot of displays of traditional Ao Dai dresses, photos, textiles, and stories of Vietnamese women in history. (More about this museum further down.)
Temple Goddess Mariamma: This temple is a sacred Hindu Temple dedicated to the goddess of the Rain. It was built in the late 19th century by traders coming from India. It is the only Hindu temple in Saigon and is believed to have miraculous powers giving luck to its visitors. The outer wall of the Temple has a collection of interesting statues of different gods and goddesses like Mariamman, Vishnu and Ganesha. I enjoyed seeing this temple, it’s very different to other temples I saw around Vietnam.
The Open Space: Another really nice cafe, friendly staff, nice coffee and breakfasts.
The Workshop Coffee: My favourite cafe in Saigon. Loved the atmosphere (full of freelancers and people that work remotely) amazing food, great music, and really good wifi.
Thuy Design House: A fine artist who became a fashion designer (self-taught) — colourful and fun collections inspired by Vietnamese culture. Loved her clothes and accessories.

Ho Chi Minh Museum of Fine Arts:

The Fine Arts Museum once belonged to one of the city’s richest men and is one of the largest galleries in the city. The three floors are dedicated to contemporary Vietnamese and international art. It is very nicely curated with displays arranged in a way that allows you to walk through the evolution of Vietnamese art through modern history.

Here are some of my favourite pieces:

The museum is housed in a beautiful yellow and white colonial mansion. Here are a few photos of the building’s interior:

Ao Dai Museum:

This museum opened in 2014 and displays the story of Vietnamese Ao Dai throughout the history of the country. The Ao Dai is the national costume and a prominent symbol of the country. The designer Le Si Hoang was the one that funded this museum, exhibiting Ao Dais from the 17th century all the way to modern adaptations, achieving to show the evolution of the dress.

Here are some photos:

South Vietnamese Women Museum:

The South Vietnamese Women Museum was constructed to honour Vietnamese women for their contribution to the country’s development but also to celebrate the role of women in the war as mothers, wives and fighters. There are three floors that depict historical figures, highlighting women’s roles during the revolution: serving as politicians and administrators of the country. There are also textiles, clothes, Ao Dais and other crafts and items of their every day lives.

Here are some photos:

My last day in Ho Chi Minh I decided to go for a Mekong Delta tour. I had already seen everything I wanted at the city and that’s why I decided to go on this tour. I wasn’t that impressed, however it was a nice thing to do instead of just going to the same places again.

It was a guided tour (around 14 of us), and I was picked up from the AirBnB I was staying at. We drove in a minivan and it was about an hour to get to the first stop which was the Buddhist Vinh Trang Pagoda. After around half an hour there we went on a boat for the cruise. It was nice, however there were loads of other tours going on, lots of boats everywhere, and way too many people. The scenery was nice, but the tour as a whole was quite touristic. We stopped in a Mekong village to see how coconut candy is made and then we tried some honeybee tea and listened to some Vietnamese folk music. I must say it was a very touristic experience and definitely not unique. Before going back to HCMC we also had lunch which was very tasty. I don’t really recommend this tour and that is why I haven’t mentioned the tour operator. Still, it was a different experience to HCMC and I love being on boats so can’t complain.

Here are some photos:

Chiang Mai:

Short trip back to Chiang Mai for three days for the  Loy Krathong and Yi Peng festivals. As mentioned above, I went to Chiang Mai to meet a friend I met while I was travelling in Laos. Since I was back in Chiang Mai, I did some research and booked a weaving workshop.

If you want to read more about Chiang Mai you can find more information here, here and here. (I think it’s pretty obvious I love Chiang Mai)

First day in Chiang Mai I went to Rada  Loom. Rada Loom is a weaving shop. They make modern looms and sell weaving equipment and they also produce Eri Silk which they give to women who live in villages around Chiang Mai to naturally dye for them. 

The eri silk cocoon can be harvested by cutting and removing the pupa from the cocoon without any harm. They leave the pupa in ‘a safe place’ in order for it to transform into an adult moth which can reproduce. I find it amazing that the pupa doesn’t have to be killed in order for the silk to be produced. It’s a vegan alternative to regular silk. (More about silk production on my Laos blog post) Eri silk has some unique characteristics. The silk produced from the Eri cocoon is shiny and but it’s texture is very soft, similarly to wool. Eri silk is breathable, and it can be both hand and machine washed. Apparently it gets softer every time it’s washed

Rada Loom is located in the Jing Jai Market and even though it’s a bit far from the old town of Chiang Mai it’s definitely worth the visit. There are many nice shops there and some cute cafes too. I don’t think it’s that well known, there aren’t many tourists there. 

The weaving workshop was really nice even though not really traditional but rather modern. I made a fabric using eri silk dyed with indigo and ebony. I learnt how to create a twill (diagonal lines pattern). After finishing my fabric (I think it took around four hours) I left and the lady there sewed it in a bag for me! I loved the finished piece, but I also really liked the feel of the Eri silk and weaving with it. I definitely recommend booking a workshop with them, you can make scarves, wall hangings, pillow cases, wall hangings and coasters. It’s also worth a visit, even if you don’t want to weave, their items are really pretty, handmade and eco-friendly

After my weaving class in Rada Loom I decided to go to the Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade shop. I hadn’t been there before so I was excited to visit. This place was founded in 1973. The aim of the business is to improve the quality of life of the tribal people living in mountain villages of Northern Thailand by providing them a vital and fair income. In 2002, the Thai Tribal Crafts became a member of the World Fair Trade Organisation.

On the ground floor there is a shop with items produced by artisans from the seven different tribes: Mien, Lahu, Lawa, Lisu, Karen, Hmong and Akha. Each hill tribe is skilled in specific designs and methods that make each item unique. The Thai Tribal Crafts purchases these items from the artisans, and either sales them as they are or make them into new products. The items are entirely handcrafted, hand-woven and hand-stitched. Some of the techniques used are back-strap loom weaving, batik, basketry, appliqué and embroidery. All of their products explain the technique and talk about the woman who made it as well as the hill-tribe she is part of. It’s a really nice organisation, the products are all beautiful and the staff there are wonderful as well.

I talked to Elias, the manager and told him about my studies and about my textile research trip. He suggested I do a weaving class, which takes place in the second floor of the building. I explained that I could only do it the next day because the following I’d be leaving for Myanmar. Even though I arrived in the shop a few minutes before they closed, he called different artisan teachers and arranged the workshop for the next day straight away!

I had two different teachers while I did the class and they were both very smiley and helpful, showing me how to set up a loom, weave and make a traditional Lahu pattern. They offered me water, tea and many different traditional snacks. They explained both setting up a Karen loom (like I learnt at studio Naenna, more about this here) and a Lahu loom. While weaving in the Lahu style, the right side of the fabric is the top, whereas weaving the Karen way, the right side of the fabric is the one you can’t see while weaving. Another difference is that the Karen create the pattern while setting up their back-strap loom, whereas the Lahu count threads and create patterns while weaving. I just made a tiny sample but it was a really nice experience and I understood a lot. The yarn they use (cotton and silk) are naturally dyed as well.

Everyone was very informed and I really enjoyed my time there - would definitely visit again and I really recommend doing a workshop with them!

Thailand has festivals almost every week, and the people of this country just love celebrating. Whether it is a new year or a new moon, Thai people will always find a reason to  have fun, get together, dance, share their amazing food, and party. Loy Krathong is one of the biggest celebrations of them all, and in Chiang Mai it coincides with a Lanna festival known as Yi Peng, which involves the launching of thousands of fire-powered paper lanterns into the air for good luck. The sky appears to be full of burning stars, the river is covered in Krathongs (banana leaves bowls with flowers and candles on them) and it’s an amazing view, like a dream come true.

There are many reasons why Loy Krathong festival is celebrated. First of all, this time of the year marks the end of the rainy season. It is believed that Loy Krathong, otherwise known as ‘the festival of light’ originated in the ancient city of Sukhothai, located about five hours north of Bangkok. It is not really a religious holiday, but you will see many Thai people praying to the water goddess, Mae Khongkha, as they send their decorated ‘boats’ down the river. 

Each candle placed on a boat has a prayer or a wish attached to it as it makes it way down the river.  I think that is the basic idea of the entire festival —it is a new beginning. Thai people and foreigners participating in the festival let go of whatever their misfortunes are and let the water carry them downstream.

Standing on a bridge in Chiang Mai during Loi Krathong and Yi Peng is truly unforgettable as both the Ping River and sky appear to be on fire at the same time.

The sky lanterns, known as khom loiare made from thin rice paper and are heated by a fuel disk. When done correctly, the large lanterns fly surprisingly high. Messages, prayers, and wishes for good luck are written on the lanterns before launch. Obviously, lots of accidents happen, trees catch fire etc, but it’s still a very unique experience and I am so happy I got to see this.

Thailand has a very special space in my heart, especially the north. I love the people, their way of life and how positive and optimistic they are. I will always have more places I’ll want to visit there, and places I’d like to return to. Vietnam is very different, and I think tourism has changed it a lot. I am very happy I visited and yes there are places like Sapa that I’d like to visit again, and places like Ninh Binh that I didn’t have time to visit however didn’t manage to. However, from all the countries I visited in South East Asia it’s the one I can’t see myself visiting soon.

Next, I visited Myanmar, a country I never planned on visiting but ended up in. Such a pleasant surprise, and probably one of my favourite countries in the world. More about it in next week’s blog post!

xx

Christiana

Vietnam Week Twelve: Hoi An

Last week I wrote about how I travelled from Hue to Hoi An via Hai Van Pass on a motorbike (you can read about it here). Hoi An was probably one of my favourite places in Vietnam. I loved it’s architecture, colourful streets and it’s food! The Old Town of Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hoi An was a trading port and it is still well-preserved, with it’s buildings reflecting a blend of native and foreign influences.

My airbnb hostess told me that Hoi An translates to “a peaceful meeting place” — which I could imagine, a few years ago. The city is very atmospheric, and it does give you a sense of calm, quiet and peace (especially now that I think back to my travels) however, it’s of course full of tourists today. Despite that, if you walk around and try to ‘get lost’ you will find some peaceful streets.

I stayed at this AirBnB. It was nice because it was between the Old Town and the beach. It was a 20 mins walk to both. They also had bicycles that guests could use for free. I walked to the town sometimes, and returned with a Grab motorbike. (I definitely recommend using this app. The fair is set and you don’t have to negotiate a price and they are always friendly people driving.)

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The Old Town has preserved its incredible heritage of Japanese merchant houses, Chinese temples and ancient tea warehouses — however, local residents and rice fields have been gradually replaced by tourist businesses. Cafes, bars, hotels, and a plethora of tailor shops are everywhere.

Still, like I already said, walking around streets, taking the wrong turn can prove to be magical. It is also nice to go down by the market and over to Cam Nam island, where things seem more calm and less westernised. There is amazing scenery to discover by bicycle or motorcycle and I definitely recommend travelling around Hoi An and experiencing it’s more authentic side.

Here are some photos I took while trying to get lost in less touristic streets in Hoi An:

Here is a list of places to visit in Hoi An:

Cua Dai Beach: I walked here and saw the sunset. It’s not an amazing beach, but it’s still nice to visit and see.
Handicraft Workshop: Housed in a 200-year-old Chinese trading house, the Handicraft Workshop has artisans making silk lanterns and practising traditional embroidery in the back.
Japanese Covered Bridge: This beautiful little bridge is a symbol of Hoi An. The bridge was first constructed in the 1590s by the Japanese community to link it with the Chinese quarters. Over the centuries the ornamentation has remained relatively faithful to the original Japanese design. The French flattened out the roadway for cars, but the original arched shape was restored in 1986.
Li Me Shop: Amazing shop in Hoi An. Everything is made with linen and is naturally dyed. I loved everything in this shop. The owner who is also the designer is happy to make alterations to clothes for you, she made special size indigo trousers for me which was really nice of her! (No extra cost) Definitely recommend visiting! Here is her instagram account.
Mango Mango: One of the most beautiful Hoi An restaurants, with an amazing view of the river. I really liked the food and I must say that the cocktails here were amazing as well.
Morning Glory: I ate here twice. There are three morning glory restaurants in Hoi An. They are all in historic buildings which create a very nice atmosphere. The food is traditionally prepared and reminds of street food. There is a great selection of vegetarian options as well, one of my favourites were the smoked aubergines.
Nu Eatery: One of my favourite places to eat in Hoi An. Seasonal small plates, perfect for someone travelling alone. I ate pork-belly buns and the classic Vietnamese salad with pineapple and pomelo. They also have amazing chilli and ginger ice cream!
Old House of Tan Ky: This House was built two centuries ago by a Vietnamese family. This house has been preserved through seven generations. Japanese and Chinese influences can be found in the architecture.
Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum: My favou