Hoi An, a small city in the province of Quang Nam, is one of the more popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. Unsurprisingly, Backpackers can find a plethora of hostels, guesthouses, beds-and-breakfasts, and other inexpensive lodgings there. Hoi An used to be known on the international market with many different names such as Lam Ap, Faifo, Hoai Pho and Hoi An. Hoi An is an little port town, which is in an incredible state of preservation. It offers some of the most densely-concentrated sights in Viet Nam with its old streets bordered with ancient houses and assembly halls, its pagodas, temples, ancient wells and tombs. In total, more than a thousand places of interest. The architecture of Hoi An is characterized by a harmonious blend of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese influences. After many centuries, Hoi An is still respectful of its traditions, folk festivals, beliefs and of its sophisticated culinary art. Set in a quiet environment, Hoi An is surrounded by peaceful villages that have crafts such as carpentry, bronze making, ceramic.
This place is a fashion hub and Unesco World Heritage Site has long been a class act. Late 16th and 17th centuries, it was an international port called Faifo swarming with Chinese and Japanese merchants. Today, the exotic trader influence shines through in the shrines, silk shops, bridges and quaint tile-roofed wooden houses. Here Hoi An many of the downtown streets are closed to cars and even motorcycles on some days, they are great for a wander. Although most shops target tourists, unusually for Vietnam, much of the town has been conserved. A heritage time capsule, this living museum of Vietnamese culture offers visitors the tranquility many need as an antidote to the mania of the country’s cities, and from their lives back home.
The street food here in Hoi An are mouth wateringly delicious and very affordable. Hoi An, in particular, has several local specialties, including white rose dumplings and cao lau, which are fat noodles served with pork and mint. Authentic cao lau noodles are soaked in water collected from ancient Cham wells around Hoi An. White rose shrimp dumplings are arranged prettily on a plate in the shape of a rose. The dishes are on the menu in every restaurant in the city and usually cost under $2.
The Japanese Covered Bridge, which was built in 1593, is a special structure which has a roof for shelter and a small temple in its northern side. There was a myth that the bridge was constructed in the year of monkey and finished in the year of dog, thus one entrance is guarded by monkeys, the other by dogs. It is an impressive religious architect that you should witness at least one time.
Hoi An is well-known for its fabulous fabrics and skillful tailors, which can satisfy the most fastidious customer. Also, it boasts a line of art galleries and handicrafts, especially on the wet side of the Japanese Covered Bridge, selling a various range of fake antiques, wood carving and reproductions of famous paintings.
Top up your tan with a short pedal out of Hoi An to laze over cheap beer and sunsets. There are two nearby beaches which you can just hop on a bicycle and visit; the beaches are located 3-5km out of the city that vary in tourist numbers, there is An Bang Beach and Cua Dai Beach.
One of the best parts is that, this town doesn’t slow down once the sun sets. Music and dance performances often take place along the riverfront in the evenings, and you’ll also notice people releasing floating candles with well wishes into the Thu Bon River. If you’re up for a little nighttime shopping, you can cross the bridge over to An Hoi Island where a fun night market sets up selling everything from silk lanterns to beaded necklaces.