I came to Hội An after a quick stop over in Hue. It is pretty easy to catch an open-tour bus (they run all day, once every hour). It took me about 4 hours and cost 10$AUD. The centre of this lovely destination is very small and pedestrianized, so you will find yourself walking around most of the time. If you like you can rent a bike for 3$AUD for the whole day and also explore the area around the city. The best time to enjoy Hoi is from February to May. The weather is mild and sunny with moderate temperature. Read the details of my 110 day journey around Southeast Asia.
First at all, I would like to tell you my personal impression. The old town is full of amazing legacies of Japanese merchant houses, Chinese temples and ancient tea warehouses, all of them are converted into stylish wine bars, restaurants and shops. I really enjoyed walking around the old streets and feeling this great atmosphere. Hoi An is one of those towns that is able to transport you back in time, and the main reason is these beautiful silk lanterns. I found in the city friendly and warming people. I was not pressed to buy anything in the street but at the same time I appreciated their local souvenirs. The food is great and there are so many restaurant to be mentioned, even the local market by the river is great for tasting local specialities at very cheap prices. Without any doubt Hoi An is the place to go to immerse yourself in history and culture on your Vietnamese trip.
The old trading port town of Hoi An boasts 15th to 19th century architecture, and has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site since 1999. Founded by a Nguyen lord in 1595, it is an extremely well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian port town of that period. Known also as ‘Hai Pho’ or ‘seaside town’, Hoi An was a vital link in the trade routes between Europe and China, India and Japan, with ships coming from everywhere. A Japanese colony, started to settle in Hoi An, separated from the rest of the town by a bridge, they arrived here as traders and left behind representatives, staying for longer periods, awaiting for favorable winds to carry them home. This beautiful little bridge is emblematic of Hoi An.
The Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation is another sight of Hoi An Old Town. This structure was transformed from assembly hall into a temple for the worship of Thianhou , a deity from the Fujian province. I didn’t miss the Tan Ky House. This historic building was built two centuries ago by a Vietnamese family. This gem of a house has been lovingly preserved through seven generations. Da Nang became an important port town, thanks to the French and Hoi An ceased to be a busy port by the end of the 18th century. On the other side, this meant that the town remained virtually untouched by modernisation for 200 years, giving us the chance to visit such historical buildings today.
- Hoi An levies an admission fee to most of its historic buildings and buying the ticket (120,000d or $5-$6USD) gives you a choice of five heritage sites to visit.
- You can find a huge range of excellent and cheap accommodation, even if you don’t book before coming there.
- It is easy to visit the Old Town just walking around (specially at night) but I suggest you rent a bike and discover some places outside Hoi An, like the vegetable village.
- Enjoy some of the best food in Vietnam, everywhere you can find amazing dishes at cheap prices.
Photo Credit: Author’s Own