Everything You Need to Know About Hoi An, Viet Nam
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT HOI AN:
Good choice of mid-range and budget restaurants
Cheap handicrafts and tailoring services
Very traditional setting
The town is easy to explore on foot or bicycle
WHAT IS LESS GOOD:
Beaches are packed during weekends and holidays
Long distances between places of interest Prone to floods during monsoon periods
Doesn’t have a train station or airport
Hoi An is one of the best places in Vietnam to experience the country’s rich history. Its attractions are in Riverside and Ancient Town, which makes it easy to explore on foot or cyclo. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, some of our favourite sightseeing spots include the Japanese Covered Bridge and Fujian Assembly Hall, where you can find a mix of traditional Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese architecture. Find out more about these must-see places below
The Old Town
Two great things about Hoi An’s Old Town are that it is small enough to get around in on foot and the traffic is nowhere near as heavy as in bigger cities. Some of the streets only allow bike and motorbike traffic and some are pedestrian only. These factors make Hoi An even more inviting for most travelers to Vietnam, especially those who have passed through frenetic Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) or Hanoi. Many buildings in the Old Town were constructed over a century ago and feature strong Chinese influences stemming from merchants from Guangzhou, Fujian, Chiu Chow and Hainan. Some of the wooden signboards bearing the company names are carved and gilded in Chinese characters, reflecting the strong presence of the Chinese in Hoi An ever since its prosperous times.
Tradition is still very much alive in the Old Town. Even though many of the old shops have been converted to modern businesses aimed at tourists including countless tailors, souvenir shops, art galleries, restaurants and cafés, all have been converted with care to preserve the past. Happily, all Hoi An’s major attractions or landmarks are located within walking distance of each other including the Japanese covered bridge, the Chinese assembly halls, Guan Yin Temple, the museum of history and culture and the Tran family home and chapel.
Old Town Nightlife Nightlife in Hoi An’s Old Town
This is not extremely hectic and things usually get quiet after 22:00. Still, travelers can easily find a place or two to hang out and enjoy a few drinks, snacks or a game of pool and darts. Many cafés and bars offer happy hours and some even start as early as 16:00. The idea of chilling out in a century-old shop-house on big and comfortable sofas and some dancing space in certain venues is appealing to many and Hoi An’s nightlife is certainly friendly.
Things to Do
A cylo riding tour is an alternative and fun way to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site though the Old Town can easily be managed on foot. Many restaurants in the Old Town also offer cooking classes in English. Students normally learn to cook three to five dishes and eat the results together afterwards. For those who are looking for more sporty activities, there are a few good dive centres in Hoi An including one located opposite the Hoi An Museum, a bit further north inland from the Old Town.