Hoi An Old Town: Character, Charm and History
January 22, 2016
Hoi An Old town, thu Bon River, about 30 km south of Danang city.
First at all, I would like to tell you my personal impression. Hoi An old town is full of 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 Old town is one of those place that is able to transport you back in time, and the main reason is also their beautiful silk lanterns. In the old town I met 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 doubts Hoi An is a perfect place to immerse yourself in history and culture of Vietnam. The old trading port town of Hoi An boasts a 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 south-east Asian port town of that period.
Known also as Hai Pho, 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 and the town was divided in 2 by a bridge. Japanese arrived here as traders and left behind representatives, staying for longer periods, awaiting for favourable 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 Fujian province. I didn’t miss the Tan Ky House, this historic building was built 2 centuries ago by an ethnically 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 today such historical buildings.
You will enjoy your time in Hoi An Old Town
How to get there, best time and cost
I came to Hoi An after a quick stop over in Hue. It is pretty easy to catch an open-tour bus from Hue, it took me about 4 hours for 10$AUD. The centre of Hoi An is small and pedestrianised, so you will find yourself walking around most of the time. If you like you can rent a bike for 3$ AUD for the whole day and explore the suburb city. The best time to enjoy Hoi An is from February to May, the weather is mild with sunny days. Read the details of my journey in 110 days around Southeast Asia.
- Hoi An old town levies an admission fee to most of its historic buildings and buying the ticket. The price is 120.000d and give you a possibility to visit 5 of heritage sites.
- You can find a huge range of excellent and cheap accommodation, even if you don’t book before coming there.
- Easy to visit Hoi An Old town just walking around, especially at night. I suggest you to rent a bike and discover some places outside Hoi An, like the vegetables village.
- Enjoy one of the best food in Vietnam, everywhere you can find amazing dishes at cheap prices.
- My last tip: Don’t get stuck with the thing that ruins your day, life is too short to be wasted in your crap. Smile and be positive because there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy, one of those is travelling.
Author of this post: Davide
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Hoi An is definitely somewhere we’ll have to visit next time we’re in Vietnam. Vietnam is a country that is modernizing so quickly that you have to see the traditional places like Hoi An while you still can! Love the yellow buildings in the featured photo!
After a bad day at work, your last tip is just what I needed! I was not familiar with Hoi An, but the photos are amazing. I wish to visit SE Asia soon.
I’ve always wanted to visit Vietnam. I’ve considered visiting either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh. But reading this, I should definitely check out Hoi An.
Places like Hoi An are our favorites where you get to explore the quaint surroundings and ancient architectures. Those pictures of Japanese bridges and the vibrant lanterns are beautiful. Thanks for sharing this amazing place with us and the last tip.. There is definitely more good than bad in this world lets go explore it 🙂
Hoi An is such a beautiful place. The old asian charm is so rich. Thanks for the good tips on getting in and out of the city.
We never made it to Hoi An which made me sad. Seeing your great photos makes me even sadder that I didn’t get there. Sounds like you had a great time!
I will definately include this in my Vietnam itinerary if I go there! I love the lanterns and would need to restrain myself not to buy the whole shop!
Hoi An sounds like a lovely place to visit. I love the photos, and I love how happy the woman to the right looks in the picture 😀 And the silk lanterns are gorgeous….I’d love to have one of those!
Oh I love that Japanese bridge in Hoi An! We were in Hanoi 2 years ago and wish we had more time for other places in Vietnam. Looks like we’ll have to add Hoi An to our list!
I really loved your last tip. We have to definitely travel more. I had almost booked my tickets to Vietnam and Cambodia at the beginning of this year. But I had to cancel at the last minute. Maybe I will get to go to Hoi Ann next year