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Constructed on the spot where the Thu Bon River runs into the South China Sea, Hoi An is a coastal city that rose to prominence as an important trading hub in the 16 th century. The city was shaped by a mix of Chinese, Japanese, and European influences, and its UNESCO-listed Old Town stands as an impeccably preserved example of a traditional Southeast Asian port. Hoi An's lush surrounding countryside and golden sandy beaches showcase the area's natural splendor, and its distinct regional cuisine has made it a favorite destination for foodies eager to taste the city's signature dishes. As you uncover the treasures of this ancient city, expect to find a wealth of things to see, do, and eat.
A stroll through Hoi An reveals the city's ancient beauty and multiethnic heritage. Cars are banned in the city center, where the narrow lanes and small river islets are best explored on foot or by bike. Venture just beyond the city to visit small villages like Tra Que, which capture the verdant charm of the countryside.
From its mustard-colored merchant houses to its Chinese pagodas, Hoi An's Old Town remains largely unchanged since the city's heyday as a trading port between the 16 th and 19 th centuries. Its most famous landmark is its elaborately carved Japanese Bridge, which stands as a stunning example of Japanese influence.
Thu Bon River
Hoi An's river is dotted with small islands and islets connected to the mainland by footbridges. Rent a bike to do some exploring during the day, grab an ice-cold beer from one of the many waterfront bars at sunset, and as night falls, head to the An Hoi islet to marvel at its twinkling, lantern-filled night market.
Tra Que Vegetable Village
Much of the fresh produce used to create Hoi An's unique dishes comes from Tra Que Vegetable Village, which lies only a short and beautiful bike ride away from the city center. With its sights of manicured rice paddies, grazing water buffalos, and ambling rivers, this organic farm offers an enchanting glimpse of life in rural Vietnam.
Hoi An's sights invite you to immerse yourself in its centuries of history and beautiful landscapes. Admire the well-preserved architecture of Old Town buildings like the 18 th -century merchant's residence known as the Tan Ky House, or the Fuhian Assembly Hall, which was founded by Hoi An's Chinese community during the 17th century. If you're looking to venture outside the city, discover the spectacular ruins of Hindu temples at My Son, constructed between the fourth and 14th centuries, or discover the verdant beauty of the countryside. Visit craft villages such as the Kim Bong Carpentry Village and the Hoi An Silk Village, where you can learn about traditional arts and crafts still made using age-old methods.
As a coastal city, Hoi An offers opportunities for activities and exploration on both land and water. Join a bike tour to pedal your way around the city's ancient streets and country roads, or cruise the waterways of the Thu Bon River on a scenic boat ride. For an idyllic getaway, escape to the white-sand shores of the nearby Cham Islands, located just a short distance from the mainland, for snorkeling, fishing, and relaxation. Delving into Hoi An's distinct and world-famous cuisine is a must, so choose between food walking tours and cooking classes that reveal the secrets of authentic Vietnamese dishes. If you're eager for a hands-on experience with local crafts, try a workshop for a lesson in latern-making, woodcarving, or bamboo sculpture.
There's fun for the entire family in Hoi An. Here are some family friendly experiences to try together that will make your getaway a blast:
Some say the best things in life are free. Discover the following around Hoi An:
Hoi An Historic Museum - Young or old, this place will excite your imagination and capture your attention.
Cam Thanh Bridge - Admire the innovation and design of this impressive example of modernistic architecture.
Phuc Kien Assembly Hall - If you're intrigued by the days of old, this is one attraction you ought not to miss.
Song Hoai Square - This lively area is a favorite hangout of locals and tourists alike.
Hoi An Market - Pull out your guidebook and discover why this place is worth adding to your to-do list.
Tran Family Chapel - Gain a deeper understanding of the local beliefs at this sacred site.