Hoi An was a very important seaport in the 16th century. Today it’s a small city on the coast of South China Sea and has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999.
How to get to Hoi An
There isn’t any railway in Hoi An but you can take a train from Hanoi, Saigon, Hue or Nha Trang and stop in Danang.
The taxi ride from Danang to Hoi An costs at most US$15.
What to see
The easiest way to navigate the city is by foot. So pack a good pair of walking shoes. Unfortunately motorbikes haven’t yet been banned from the city, so keep your eyes opened, especially during the night. If you need to travel for longer distances — like going to the beach or to the hotel — you can always rent a bike.
The little town of Hoi An is incredibly well preserved, offering some great sites of traditional Vietnamese old streets, ancient houses, pagodas, temples, tombs and ancient wells.
The town nicely blends architectural styles from Vietnam, China and Japan, offering in total more than a thousand places to visit.
Some of the city’s landmarks include:
- Japanese Covered Bridge: was build around 1600 by the Japanese community. It’s located on the west end of Tran Phu Street and represents one of the city’s symbols. There is an entry fee but most of times you won’t find anyone checking the tickets (you can always leave some money at the pig or dog statues if you want).
- Phung Hung Old House : is a private residence, believe to be built around 1780, nicely blending Vietnamese and Chinese architecture. Legend has it that the house has been inhabited by the same family for 8 generations.
- The Tran Family Worship House: is another building which has been influenced both by Chinese and Japanese architectural styles. The house is surrounded by a garden and fences and is divided into two parts. The first part is a worship hall while the second is the family’s residence. The house can be visited during Tet Festival.
What to do
Hoi An is very popular among tourists and backpackers. Many come here to visit the art and craft shops where cheap clothing is produced. There are several markets worth your visit where you can find pretty much anything you want.
The city is home to four museums highlighting the history of the region: Museum of Folk Culture, Museum of Trade Ceramics —unfortunately nothing is labeled – , Hoi An Museum of History and Culture and Museum of Say Huynh Culture.
There are several restaurants and bars — such as Tam Tam’s restaurant and bar or Mango restaurant- popular mostly among tourists looking to enjoy some quiet time and sample local cuisine.
After a lot of sightseeing you may want to head to Cua Dai Beach, located very close to the city. You can soak in the sun, cycle or enjoy local seafood.