Hoi An

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If you are looking for a pleasant and memorable trip in Vietnam, Hoi An Old Town is the best choice of destination. The charming port town peacefully lies on the bank of Hoai river where there were bustling trading activities decades ago. The city remains as it was in the past, existing as a colorful living museum, not a demonstration or a reproduction. In 1999, Hoi An was declared by UNESCO as A World Heritage Site for its success in preserving culture and history.   

One of Hoi An appeals is the unique combination of both indigenous and foreign culture.

Hoi An Destination

Chua Cau
Chua Cau – a symbol of Hoi An Old Town

From the 15th to 19th century, Hoi An was the busiest port town of the Indochina, attracting lots of merchants from China, Japan, India, and Spain. Basically, culture interference thus explains the town’s diversity in architecture. Moreover, many buildings and temples located in this Old Town reflect Chinese influences such as the traditional wooden tiled house. Japanese traders left a monument which is the famous Japanese bridge (Chua Cau) – a symbol of Hoi An. Besides, typical French-colonial houses also add to the old town’s charming side.  

The unique thing is that commercial tradition is still alive, that’s why it is called a living museum. The old town is inhabited. Most of the old houses have been converted to souvenir shops, tailors or galleries for tourism purposes. During the day, Hoi An is all about the joy and bustle of modern life. But at night, the town turns blurry and sparkling with colorful lanterns lighting street corners with yellow facades. Few street lights set up on the street which makes Hoi An more mystical and romantic.

How to get to Hoi An

Hoi An is a coastal town in Quang Nam province, located 30km southeast of Da Nang. Because Da Nang-Hoi An is a popular travel route, it’s easy to find transportation to get to the old town. You can conveniently take a taxi or book a private car from Da Nang at a reasonable price. If you travel by rail from other cities, stop at Tam Ky station and then take a bus or taxi to Hoi An.

Getting around the old town by bicycles is the best. Motorbike and bicycle rental places are plenty, sometimes included in your extra hotel service. Cyclos are also available in the ancient town.  

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The best time to travel to Hoi An is from February to April when the weather is at its best. It’s always scorching hot in the summer from May to August, following with rainy season from October to November.  

You should travel in the afternoon on the 15th of a lunar month to see the ancient town during the full moon. The electricity is turned off, letting the glow of lantern lighting up the whole city. You will be moved by the romantic nightly serenades of this place.  

Hoi An is a small town. Thus people usually spend 1 to 2 days in Hoi An after visiting nearby destinations such as Da Nang and Hue.

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Exploring the Old Town

Hoi An is rich in attractions. There are many ancient houses and architecture to be explored, to name a few: Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, Cau Pagoda, Hoi An Cultural and Historical Museum and Pottery Museum. You will be stunned about how cultures had met in one place and created such an impressive town.

During early mornings, Hoi An is empty and tranquil so that you can leisurely start your day in a cafe by the river watching the town’s morning. Getting a bike, wandering around the streets, popping in some beautiful shops is the best way to feel the town’s chilling vibe. At night, many activities are held in the ancient city including releasing flower lights on Hoai river, traditional music performance Bai Choi stage and classic games, attracting a lot of children and adult all playing together.  

Hoi An by night
Hoi An by night sparkling with colorful lanterns

Amazing cuisine

One of the best thing about Hoi An is fantastic cuisine. This old town has a lot of local food specialties, which are offered in the town center and surrounding areas. Banh Mi Hoi An, or Banh Mi Madame Khanh in particular, even make itself The best Banh Mi in the world that you will never regret trying when you come to Vietnam. The best-known dishes are chicken rice, Mi Quang, Cao Lau, hoanh thanh, banh beo, banh dap…

Banh Mi Hoi An
Banh Mi Hoi An – the best banh mi in the world

There are many destinations close to Hoi An that make for a great day trip. These include Kim Bong carpentry village, Thanh Ha Pottery village, Tra Que vegetable village, and Cam Thanh coconut forest. You can learn about our local life and culture. If you want to seek for more exhilarating experiences, drive 5km away from the old town to An Bang beach. Morever, the other option is Cua Dai beach for swimming or sunbathing.