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Things to do in Hoi An

The ancient town of Hoi An down the coast of Central Vietnam, is a very beguiling place to spend a few days, with its lazy river lined with mustard-yellow merchants’ houses, and beaches a few kilometres away. It owes its wonderfully well-preserved state to the silting-up of the Thu Bon river in the 19th century, which put an end to its importance as a trading post, but helped it escape modern development and US bombing. Yes, it’s touristy, but the old town is surprisingly extensive and can absorb a lot of visitors without losing its dreamy atmosphere.

Old Houses

Hoi An’s old streets are packed with houses dating back to its emergence as an important Asian trading port in the eighteenth century.  The houses reflect the architectural styles of the major trading partners of the time –  China and Japan as well as Vietnam’s colonizer, France. Most of the town’s grand-heritage-listed buildings date back to French times in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The oldest houses are much older though and are quite distinct from those of the French era, for example, Tan Ky House. A handful of these older merchant houses are open for visitors holding the Hoi An Town ticket.

My Son – Cham Ruins

Between the 4th and 13th centuries a unique culture which owed its spiritual origins to Indian Hinduism developed on the coast of contemporary Viet Nam. This is graphically illustrated by the remains of a series of impressive tower-temples located in a dramatic site that was the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom for most of its existence. According to UNESCO, the My Son Sanctuary is a remarkable architectural ensemble that developed over a period of ten centuries. It presents a vivid picture of spiritual and political life in an important phase of the history of South-East Asia. The monuments are unique and without equal in Southeast Asia.  

 

Beautiful Beaches

Just four kilometers from Hoi An’s UNESCO World Heritage center and 30 kilometers from Da Nang International Airport, Cua Dai and An Bang Beach are the perfect complements to the sightseeing and tourist bustle of the town. An Bang now holds the crown as Hoi An’s go-to beach. Whether you want to hide under a sun umbrella (there are many available), hang out at one the casual bars or plop yourself on white sand, reserve at least a day on your Hoi An itinerary for some beach visit. Since it is not too far from town, you could rent a bicycle to go to the beach or take the shuttle services provided by your hotel. (many hotels in Hoi An offer the shuttle service from and to the beach).

 

Tra Que Village

Most meals in Hoi An include an abundance of the fresh vegetables and herbs that make eating in Vietnam such a delight. And much of it will have come from Tra Que, the fresh-veg village between town and An Bang beach. This small farming community grows everything from fine spring onions to hefty taro root on this flat fertile island in the De Vong river. You could take a day trip and play the role of the local farmers and learn more about their lifestyle.

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