In Central Vietnam lies the beautiful coastal town of Hoi An. Once a busy international port, Hoi An is now a peaceful oasis of old Vietnam. The town is completely unique, bearing strong influences from Chinese and Japanese traders. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999, and now is a beautiful, tourist-friendly example of Vietnam in days gone by.
Hoi An is a place to kick back, relax and learn about Vietnamese culture. There’s something for everyone, from museums and spas to cooking classes. Here are some top tips for making the most of your stay.
Exploring Hoi An
The historic center of Hoi An is the Old Town, a gloriously non-commercial area of the city and a fantastic example of the fusion of Asian cultures. It also holds reminders of what the city used to be: Hoi An has historically been well-known for its tailors, creating mostly bespoke clothing for clients.
The Old Town is also home to one of the symbols of Hoi An: the Japanese Bridge. Originally built as an entrance to the Japanese settlement in Hoi An, it remains the only bridge in the world to house a Buddhist temple.
If you can, make sure to time your visit so that you can enjoy the full moon celebrations. On the 14th day of every lunar month, the town is filled with lanterns, traditional dance, and temple ceremonies that celebrate the golden age of prosperity and remember the ancestors of the local people.
For foodies, Hoi An is a paradise. The city’s Central Market is packed with homemade traditional Vietnamese food and fresh, organic produce. Many restaurants also offer cooking classes in addition to meals. Learn how to cook the local dish, Cao Lau, or some of the other delicacies, such as White Rose and Fried Won Tons.
Escape from the city
Hoi An is also a relaxation destination. Just outside the city are beautiful beaches, filled with palm trees and vendors selling local foods. The water-front location also holds the unspoiled coral reefs of Cu Lao Cham, a new diving site for scuba and snorkeling.
The Cu Lao Cham Islands lie about 15 kilometers off the coast of Hoi An, and are home to fantastic biodiversity. The islands are a UNESCO world Biosphere Reserve, and the beauty of their marine park is an essential part of any trip.
Or, if relaxing in a spa is your idea of a holiday, Hoi An can help you out. The city is filled with spas offering treatments with an East Asian spin. Make your trip as relaxing as possible by booking an affordable, quality treatment.