Hoi An is a beautiful city in Central Vietnam, full of artfully crumbling French colonial buildings and a lantern strung Old City where the lights are turned off at night. It’s the kind of city you plan to visit for a weekend and end up moving to.
In Hoi An is a tea house called Reaching Out. In the Old City, it’s a comfortable cafe with lots of polished dark wood and a lovely sun trap area out the back. The carefully presented tea and coffee trays would be reason enough to visit.
But there’s another reason to visit Reaching Out; it is almost completely silent.
The staff are all deaf or hearing impaired. You order using a printed form and pencil. You ask questions using carefully labelled blocks provided at your table. You are encouraged to communicate using gestures, sign language and smiles.
The silence is refreshing. Coffee shops are usually loud; milk steaming, coffee beans grinding, people chattering, baristas shouting, mugs banging, glasses clinking.
There’s none of that here. It’s a wonderful place to sit and think and just soak up the wonderful silence. Which is a rare occasion, particularly in Vietnam.