Hoi An is one of the oldest and most peaceful destinations in Vietnam for people to rest and even enjoy the journey back in time. The Hoi An Old Town has been the magnetic attraction since 1999 when it was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’ve ever heard about a fascinatingly ancient city in Quang Nam Province, then it should always be Hoi An in Vietnam.
About Hoi An in Vietnam
Antique, beautiful, and peaceful are the common adjectives that people use to describe Hoi An – an ancient city in Quang Nam Province. Hoi An is encompassed by the sea in the East, Dien Ban District in the North, and Duy Xuyen District in the South. Hoi An is around 30km from Da Nang and is surrounded by Thu Bon downstream. Traveling to Hoi An is said to give the visitors of all tastes the fascinating senses for culture, history, cuisine, and peace. Though this is the little town, it effectively provides the nostalgic feelings via the age-old houses, narrow alleys, traditional shops and villages. The two most notable villages include Kim Bong Carpenter Village and Tra Que Vegetable Village. Also, the Hoi An residents are famous for their warm-hearted and welcoming attitude that attempts to leave the good impressions of Hoi An on the oversea tourists.
History of Hoi An
In the 17th-18th century, Hoi An became the considerable commercial town for both Chinese and Japanese merchants. It was also the most crowded trading area in the whole Southeast Asia. The city itself was filled with lots of old constructions that reflected the architecture of that centuries. The predominant number of the Chinese and Japanese merchants at that time influenced the history of Hoi An much, making it the major trading port and the place dedicated to Asia fusion. Together, the Vietnamese values created the perfect picture of Hoi An in the late 19th century.
In 1999, the little town won the international reputation as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. There included some key appeals that helped Hoi An earn the huge appreciation from UNESCO, namely the density of ancient temples and pagodas, the historical vibe with narrow alleys, antiquity-looking houses, traditional shops, etc. In fact, Hoi An today is reminiscent of the past effectively. Just a walking journey around the town feasts your eyes much on the old and peaceful sceneries. The glimpse of the past in Hoi An can last long.
What to See in Hoi An
Hoi An Old Town
As noted, the Hoi An Old Town was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 as the ideal example of the 15th-19th-century Southeast Asia trading port with many buildings reflecting the special blend of the local and foreign impacts. This Old Town is noticeable for the narrow roads similar to the chessboard. In such “chessboard,” you find the attractions of the Japanese Bridge, the Phung Hung Old House, the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, etc. Note that there is no vehicle noise in the town as the tourists and the locals enjoy walking on the peaceful streets. Just a walking trip can help people feel relaxed and refreshed. Besides walking, the activities of biking and kayaking, and visiting lantern workshops are great.
The Japanese Bridge was built in the 16th century by the Japanese merchants for the connection between Tran Phu Street and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. Up to now, the Bridge has gone through restoration several times, and today it was influenced by both Vietnamese and Japanese architecture. In the two entrances of the bridge, you see a pair of monkeys on one side and a pair of dogs on the other side. While the Bridge is a symbol of Hoi An, the scenery is captivating enough for the great shots.
Phuc Kien Assembly Hall
This is the Chinese Community Hall that has several functions as a temple, a shrine, a place for worshipping, and a conference venue. Phuc Kien Assembly Hall is famous for the long history as well as the unique architecture and spiritual merits. Know that this Hall used to be a temple where to worship the “Thien Hau Thanh Mau” statue (a goddess that gives merchants safety on the sea). In fact, Phuc Kien was listed as a national historical vestige in February 1990.
My Son Sanctuary
Belong to Quang Nam Province, My Son Sanctuary is a place that you should always visit whenever traveling to either Hoi An or Da Nang City. On par with Hoi An Old Town, the My Son Sanctuary was inscribed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Perhaps, this sanctuary was erected in the 4th century. The holy land has become recognizable with various old ruins of Cham Temples that were set in a valley and surrounded by the forested mountains. This destination offers the mesmerizing landscape and valuable old ruins.
Cua Dai Beach
You might drive around 5km from Hoi An Old Town to Cua Dai Beach, which is the nearest beach in Hoi An. Together with the picturesque seascape, this beach is famous for the clean, pristine, and peaceful quality. You might choose to swim in the beach on your own or use the privately comfortable beach given by the exquisite hotels and resorts along the side.
Kim Bong Carpenter Village
This village is renowned for the mastery in wood carving. The skill of wood carving in Kim Bong Carpenter Village reflects the mixture amongst Vietnam, Cham, Japan, and China. The majority of the old architecture in Hoi An were the masterpieces of the ancestors of this village.
How to Get to Hoi An
First, you take the daily flights from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to arrive at Da Nang International Airport; it is a one-hour flight. Then, from the airport, drive for 45 minutes to reach the heart of Hoi An. There are numerous available taxis or you can use the hotel pick-up services. If you travel to Vietnam in a private tour , the local travel agency will take care of this.
It is extremely convenient to take buses to Hoi An from Hanoi (overnight bus), from Hue, and from Da Nang. You should buy the tickets at the bus terminal or take it via the trusted tour agents.
When to Visit Hoi An
Hoi An has the two major seasons: the rainy season and the dry one.
- June to August: Have the highest temperature of up to 38 Celsius degree. Because of the scorching heat, people who cannot endure the heat and sweet find it troublesome to go at that time. Otherwise, if coming prepared, you can even enjoy visiting Hoi An at some certain hours.
- September to January: Get cold with the average temperature between 19 and 24 Celsius degree. Meanwhile, the rain occasionally comes during these months which might cause floods. Therefore, make sure you check the weather forecast to avoid getting wet due to the unexpected rain.
- February to May: Be the best time to enjoy Hoi An Tour thanks to the dry season bringing the moderate temperature, less rain, and comfortable sunlight. For anybody that loves the outdoor beach activities, then the months from February to May urge them to enjoy sunbathing or playing everything on the beautiful Cua Dai Beach at ease. Of course, the walking tour around Hoi An Old Town becomes much more pleasant in the warm sunlight.