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Hoi An Ancient Town is good for
- Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
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Why Hoi An Ancient Town is special ?
Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.
Hoi An has been through a few centuries of history, but still remains as in the very first days of its being born. Its two main historical landmarks are the occupying of the Japanese & Chinese, and the Western (Dutch and Spanish) during the 16th and 17th centuries. During the period of the China trade, the town was called Hai Pho (Sea Town) in Vietnamese. Originally Hai Pho was a divided town, because across the "Japanese Bridge", it used to be the Japanese settlement (16th-17th century). Then it was known to the French and Spanish as Faifo, a major international port city. Thanks to these days, the foreign comprehensively positive and special pastimes and culture had made deep influences on the today's Hoi An.
What to explore at Hoi An Ancient Town?
1. Tailor some clothes, bags, or shoes
Custom tailoring is a huge industry in Hoi An. Hoi An is home to more than 400 tailoring shops and thousands of tailors who are not only talented at making clothes but are skilled in making shoes and handbags as well! Average turn around time for full suits is a day and about 4 hours for handbags or shoes! If you are interested in getting custom made items, try to find a shop of your liking as early as possible during your visit.
2. See the countryside
The countryside and rural areas of Vietnam are simply stunning. Visiting these areas gives you a glimpse of the romanticized vision of Vietnam – the rice fields, the conical hats, the quaint architecture, the friendly faces… As the cities have become more industrial and cosmopolitan, these rural areas have become more remote and harder to reach. Fortunately for Hoi An, it is still quite small in size compared to other big cities in Vietnam so the countryside is more accessible.
3. Go for a stroll and explore the Old Town
Once you return to the city after the tour, the afternoon is the perfect time of day to see some of the famous sights within Hoi An. Check out the famous bridges in Hoi An. The first is the historic Japanese covered bridge built by Japanese merchants when Hoi An was an important trading port. If you are a museum enthusiast, you can visit any of four famous museums in the old town area. Or, for a greater insight into the history of Hoi An, visit some of the Assembly Halls built by Chinese merchants. You can buy a composite ticket that allows you entry into one bridge, one assembly hall, one old house, one museum and one other place of ‘intangible culture’. All these sites are within the Old Town of Hoi An and are within walking distance from each other.
4. Enjoy the scenery
Hoi An is surrounded by a series of inlets and small channels and some residents of the town have capitalized on this by offering boat rides along these channels. Although this may initially seem like a very touristy thing to do, it is actually one of the best ways to view the old colonial architecture from afar. Many boat owners sit along the boulevard closest to the water and offer boat rides. Feel free to ask several different boat owners to find the one who offers the best price. Often times, their initial price will fall dramatically if they feel that you will take a boat ride with one of their competitors.
5. Enjoy Hoi An’s local cuisine
As we mentioned earlier, the local cuisine around Hoi An is unique, and we recommend that you take the opportunity to try it out. Hoi An has an eclectic mix of restaurants, and you will have plenty of dining options. Look for Cao Lau on the menu, which is a noodle soup unlike pho and other noodle soups you will find in Vietnam. Also be sure to try white rose dumplings, which are shrimp dumplings shaped with the translucent cover formed in the shape of a rose.
6. Visit the Lantern Market and enjoy the nightly entertainment
After dark, the Old Town in Hoi An transforms into a mystical row of lights and lanterns. In fact, Hoi An is a big centre for paper lantern manufacturers and merchants. Every shop or establishment will have a few lanterns outside, but the real sight is the lantern market.
How to get to Hoi An Ancient Town?
By bus: There are two different bus stations in Hoi An nowand the public buses to Da Nang leave from the station about 2km north west of the centre on Le Hong Phong.
A xe om from Hoi An bus station to the old town should be around 10-15,000 dong.
Between Hoi An and DaNang there is a yellow, public bus #1. It stops just outside Hoi An city centre (about 10 min walk) and runs thru DaNang centre (here it has several, market stops). As of May 2015 the price is 20.000 dong. The price is listed on the door and inside the bus. It may read 17k, but the updated correct fare is 20k. Text size vary, it may be in the back. The whole trip takes about 40-50 min.
By Motorbike: It is easy to take a motorbike or taxi to and from Da Nang via the Marble Mountains (see below), from where you can catch a train onwards. This trip cost 460,000 dong from Da Nang bus station, by the meter in Jan 2013.
- A great experience
- Perfect ancient vietnamese atmosphere
- Old world charm
- My favourite place from North, Central and South Vietnam
- Excellent old town and fishing port
Hoi An Quang Nam Vietnam
Tips for you
Hoian is so well preserved, a breathing, living old trading port of South East Asia. Of course the sea trading is now replaced with tourism. Surprisingly, it seems to enhance the place, making it a romantic, magical place to wander around especially night time when the lanterns are lit up. Restaurants and coffee shops abound, small, narrow lanes, very lively in the evening. Daytime with its faded colonial buildings, old shop houses, it is a photo op. Nearby clean, beautiful, non crowded beaches are there to spend the morning or afternoon lazing in the sun. Green fields, simple rural living are still to be seen outside the city.
What an unexpected pleasure it was to stroll the streets of this ancient town. It certainly helps to know the history so you can appreciate the various landmarks. There are many good bars and restaurants as well as shopping opportunities. It is possible to pay in US dollars or VN dong in some shops. Try spending time in town after dark to experience the many lanterns, lit bridges, and floating candles while dining on food that can only be found in Hoi An. Boat tours during the day are also worthwhile. Don't forget to barter.
If you travel down the coast, this is a place you defintinly should not miss. Beautiful City with an romantic atmosphere, the beach close by (4km),cheap accomondation and delicious restaurants.