HOI AN

Originally called Faifo, Hoi An played an important role from the 16th to the 19th century as one of the biggest ports in South-East Asia. Sailors from all over the world called on the port, and the installment of foreign shipping agents eventually lead to Japanese and Chinese settlements in Hoi An. The traces of their cultural heritage live on to this day as Hoi An is home to a sizeable ethnic Chinese population.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town of Hoi An is one of the most charming places in Vietnam. The entire Old Town is pedestrian-only, and strict regulations have prohibited the construction of modern high rise buildings, thereby beautifully preserving the historic atmosphere. The narrow streets are lined with old Chinese shop houses with sloping tiled roofs, historic Chinese congregation assembly halls, ornately decorated temples and pagodas, and last but not least, myriads of shops selling a tempting array of handcrafted products.

Hoi An's relaxed atmosphere, picturesque architecture and magnificent historic sites combined with excellent shopping opportunities make it worth an extended stay. If you are only going to visit one place in Vietnam, Hoi An is it!


Places to See


The Old Town is dotted with historic buildings, many of which are accessible to the public. Tickets for entry to five historic sites are available at a number of locations throughout town as well as at some of the sites themselves. One ticket allows you to pick from the following list: the Japanese Bridge or Quan Cong Temple, a musical performance or a handicraft workshop, one assembly hall, one museum, and one historic house.

Top Picks:

  • Quan Cong Temple, erected in 1653. Attractive temple with a number of statues.

  • Museum of Trading Ceramics, set in a lovely restored building it features a nice collection of historic ceramics of the Dai Viet period.

  • Tan Ky House, built more than 200 years ago by a Vietnamese merchant who also lived there with his family. The architecture of the superbly restored house shows both Japanese and Chinese influences and features a crab-shell ceiling, Chinese poems written in exquisite mother-of-pearl inlaid, and a traditional court yard. The current owner of the house will be more than happy to show you around and explain the many architectural details.

  • Hoi An

  • Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation
    Part community hall, part temple devoted to the Fujian deity Thien Hau, the Fujian Assembly Hall features several murals, a central altar, and various figures and depictions central to traditional beliefs in Chinese culture. The Assembly Hall serves the ancestors of the Fujian families who fled here from China more than 300 years ago.
  • Other Places of Interest Not To Be Missed:

  • Chinese All-Community Assembly Hall
  • Assembly Hall of the Hainan Chinese Congregation
  • Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation
  • House at 77 D Tran Phu
  • Tran Duong House
  • Phung Hung Old House
  • Diep Dong Ngyuen House
  • Japanese Covered Bridge
  • Chuc Thanh Pagoda

  • Activities

  • Cooking Classes are offered by a number of restaurants around town and are a great way to learn how to replicate delicious Vietnamese dishes at home. Some courses include a trip to the market where you will learn about the use of local produce, fish, meat, and herbs.

  • Plan your visit around Hoi An Legendary Night on the 14th of each lunar month when the streets of Old Town are illuminated with the soft light of hundreds of lanterns, and music, dance, and traditional food take center stage. However, a leisurely stroll through the lovely lanes of Old Town during sunset and into the evening is a romantic affair at any night of the month. Highly recommended!

  • Relax on Cua Dai Beach. Just 5km outside of town, this attractive beach features fine white sand and a bevy of vendors selling snacks, drinks, and fresh tropical fruit.


  • Shopping

    Hoi An's shopping scene is not for the faint of heart. The streets of Old Town are lined with countless shops selling gorgeous handcrafted products. Top picks include:

  • Tailor-made silk ao dais (traditional long Vietnamese dress and matching pants) and clothing. Head to one of the more upscale tailor shops or the Hoi An Cloth Market. A tailor-made outfit usually takes 2 to 3 days to be completed, and you should definitely insist on a final fitting. Most tailor shops have a good selection of ready made ao dais and other clothes available for those with less time on their hands.

  • Silk lanterns in various shapes, sizes, and exquisite colors.

  • Ceramics ranging from tea sets to vases to plates, bowls, and cups of all sizes with hand painted designs in various colors and patterns.

  • Silk scarves and hand bags in lots of attractive styles and colors.

  • Wood carvings and fake antiques (don't be told otherwise!)

  • Paintings and other artworks from one of the many art galleries in town


  • Hotels

    For recommended hotels in Hoi An, click here: Hoi An Hotels.


    Klima

    Tropical climate with two distinctive seasons. The rainy (monsoon) season last from September to January. Temperatures throughout the year are warm to hot, with June and July being the hottest months(temperatures well into the 90's), whereas December and January are the coldest months (upper 70's).


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    Notes From the Field

    Hoi An is fantastic! The atmosphere is simply great...the streets are lined with beautiful old Chinese shop houses, there's unbeatable shopping, delicious food, and enough sights and activities to easily fill up a week or more.

    We loved strolling through the old city center and to explore the streets and shops. In fact, we spent more time shopping than sightseeing! The entire old town is pedestrian only, which makes Hoi An ideal for exploring on foot.

    On our second day in Hoi An, we were approached by a very persistent lady, who was advertising her shop's tailor made Ao Dais. We couldn't believe how cheap hand made clothes were and ended up buying several beautiful silk Ao Dai as gifts for relatives.

    Note: Hoi An is the best place in Vietnam to purchase tailor made dresses, shirts, pants, etc. Even if you are tempted to buy elsewhere, it pays off to wait until you reach Hoi An!

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