We then visited an handicrafts workshop specialising in the production of rather colourful and elegant handmade lanterns using silk mounted on bamboo frames. We also had the possibility of watching an another artist meticulously carving a piece of teka wood. Many of us bought an array of small of small souvenirs at the small shop before heading towards the city quarter which has earned the statues of a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its impressive historical and cultural legacy.
Symbolic of Hoi Han's rich mercantile past the Japanese, which was abruptly ended in 1663 the covered bridge said to have been built in 1593 by the Japanese trading community to link them with the Chinese quarter in the eastern section of the town made its appearance as if from a distant old story book.
Its short span across a tiny tributary of the Thu Bon river still imposes itself. In 1719 a small Vietnamese temple was built into its northern structure. The effigy of Bac De, the reincarnation of the Taoist Deity, the Jade Emperor dominates its shrine altar.
The entrances to the bridge are guarded by weathered statues - a pair of monkeys on one side and a pair of dogs on the other. According to one story many of Japan's Emperors were siad to be born in the year of the dog and monkey with another tale stating that the construction of the bridge was initiated in the year of the monkey and finished in the year of the dog.
(To be continued)