Hoi An is a city on Vietnam’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals. The former port city’s melting-pot history is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colorful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda.
Many shops lining the narrow, pedestrianized streets still craft the wood, stone and ceramic goods that have been Hội An specialties for centuries, as documented by the Museum of Trading Ceramics. Nowadays the city is also known for its bespoke tailors. It’s also famed for a vibrant culinary scene and busy riverside food market. Just outside town, wide beaches including popular Cửa Đại and An Bang, lined in palm trees and seafood huts, are within biking distance via meandering country roads.
Being reached by either Da Nang Airport (30km) or Hue (150km), Hoi An ancient town is a heritage town, small, classy and peaceful – the kind of place where you may get stuck for a few days, whether it is intentional or not. Originally known as Faifo, this antique town is bordered on its southern side by the Thu Bon River, along which there is a number of small boutique cafes and local restaurants, antique shops, art galleries in their fusion architecture mix of Japan, China, Holland and Portugal. Despite the fact that it is now a tourist haven, the artistic atmosphere, and local people create an inviting environment. Tourists are often being lured into the markets to buy silk and to have quality garments tailor made for a very down on earth price.
Another noticeable quality of Hoian is its relative silence. There are few cars and people do not feel the urge to use their horns every two seconds. The streets are filled with the hum of voices, motorbikes and the shuffling of thongs along the ground. Hoian is small enough to get around on foot, and you will need a set of wheels if you are going to Cua Dai Beach, or on a day trip to the Marble Mountains or Da Nang.A relaxing activity around sunset is to hire a boat from the waterside by the market place. Many of the locals will wait on the river and offer you this service throughout the day and night.