THE BEST ANCIENT CITY TO VISIT IN VIETNAM – HOI AN
YOU WILL ALWAYS WISH TO HAVE MORE TIME TO STAY IN HOI AN ONCE YOU TAKE A STEP INTO THIS ANCIENT BREATH-TAKING TOWN.
The historic city of Hoi An is one of the most popular places to visit in Vietnam. There are several cultural and historic attractions that make backpacking Hoi An essential, like exploring the riverside Old Town and its mix of cultural influences, where you can walk across a Japanese bridge to visit a Chinese temple before sitting down to eat at a Vietnamese market.
The Old Town of Hoi An managed to avoid destruction during the “American War,” and it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999.
With its UNESCO status also came rapid development of a tourism industry, meaning plenty of boutique hotels, fancy restaurants, and approximately one million tailor shops can be found here.
Hoi An is most definitely a touristy city, but it’s still a great place for backpackers and travelers to discover Vietnamese culture. Backpacking Hoi An is about much more than exploring the Old Town.
Within a few kilometers, you can find yourself chilling on a beach or cycling through peaceful rice fields. Go a little further and you can explore the ruins of an ancient Hindu temple.
HOI AN WEATHER:
Like the rest of Central Vietnam, Hoi An weather can be unpredictable. Expect rainy days and several storms from September to January. If you arrive at the start of the year, bring a few extra layers to stay warm. March to May are the best months to visit, but you can also see Hoi An from June to August, if you don’t mind the intense heat.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN HOI AN:
Get lost in the Old Town
Hoi An’s allure is distilled in the narrow streets of the Ancient Town. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was a bustling commercial hub from the 15th to early 19th centuries. Merchants from China, Japan and later Europe settled in Hoi An, creating the unique architectural fusion you see today. The townscape — its open market, tight alleys and wooden footbridges — hasn’t changed. Bring your camera along as you tread the ornate Japanese Bridge, step inside the Tan Ky ancestral house, and wander the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall.
Treat your taste buds
Dining in Hoi An is pure pleasure. Farms all around contribute just-picked vegetables, herbs and fruit, and fishing boats yield their catches to the markets daily, so you’ll have no shortage of memorable meals. Three quintessential dishes in Hoi An are cau lau–a toothsome noodle dish–hoanh thanh crispy wontons, and the oh-so-succulent white rose shrimp dumplings. But it’s the humble banh mi that fosters culinary showdowns.
Sign up for a cooking lesson
Hoi An is a magnet for foodies and cooks looking to learn the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine. Most cooking classes include a trip to the bountiful Hoi An Market, although some will ferry you as far as the vegetable farms and fishing villages. Have a morning to spare? Try your hand at the cooking schools of Red Bridge, Morning Glory or Secret Garden.
Cycle in the countryside
Sunrise in Hoi An is a prime time to grab your hat and hop on a bike. With any luck, you’ll find yourself in a sea of green, with water buffalo flicking their tails along the path and flocks of herons scattering on the horizon. The island of Cam Kim, a ferry hop away, is a lush, lovely landscape. In Cam Thanh and Tra Que, you’ll pass quiet riverside lanes, vegetable farms, and frond-fringed ponds.
Hit the beach
An Bang Beach, just a 10-minute drive from the Ancient Town, promises seafood lunches, sandy stretches and cool waves. Soul Kitchen is a favourite chill-out spot to bring your books, beach blankets, and bikinis. For a full day of sun and surf, board the ferry to the Cham Islands, where you’ll have pristine shores and a handful of diving spots all to yourself.
Shop for a new outfit
Hoi An may charm your pants off, but it’ll also sew you a new pair. The streets are overflowing with tailors eager to stitch you an outfit in 24 hours. In the ready-to-wear category, check out the racks of cotton, linen, and silk threads at boutiques such as Papillon Noir and Metiseko. Jewelry and leather goods are also high on the list of temptations for shoppers.
Marvel at My Son
An insightful diversion awaits 40 kilometres away at the My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. Tucked into a valley near a shaded stream, these temples were built by the Cham people, who established a thriving spice trade long ago in Central Vietnam. The surviving structures, which bear the scars of time and war, date from the 7th to the 13th century.
Transport to Hoi An
The easiest way to access Hoi An is to fly into the international airport in Danang, a 30-minute drive from the Old Town. There are domestic flights from Vietnam’s major cities to Danang, as well as direct flights from Bangkok, Siem Reap, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. Hoi An can also be reached by bus from the North or South of Vietnam.
Source: https://vietnam.travel/places-to-go/central-vietnam/hoi-an (Pictures)