The Central Vietnam not only has arid wind and sunshine, endless blue coastlines, but also has UNESCO World Heritage Sites that form the Central “heritage road” – the place where gather cultural values of the country. On that road, there are notable destinations that cannot be missed and are highly recommended by lots of charismatic travel blogs, which are the ancient town of Hoi An, the imperial city of Hue and a young, dynamic city lies in the middle to connect the other 2 cities – Da Nang.
Hoi An is a more – than – 500 – year – old – small town situated on the bank of Thu Bon river, located in central Vietnam. There is no airport, and no train station either, that’s why the only way to get to Hoi An is by road. During the 16th and 17th century, Hoi An was very famous as a hectic trading port. Due to its prime location – in the middle of “The Silk Road”, lots of ships and traders from Japan, China, Europe and even Saudi Arabia had stopped here for exchanging goods and for fresh water. Although large-scale trading had no longer been used since the late 18th, Hoi An has been successful in preserving and restoring its charming roots and was recognized as the World Heritage by UNESCO in 1998. The architecture in Hoi An is characterized by a harmonious blend of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese culture. Wandering around this lovely town, it’s very easy to bump into thousand Vietnamese ancient houses lying among Chinese assembly halls or pagodas, and temples. Tradition is still very much alive in the Old Town, even though many of the old shops have been converted to modern businesses which aim to foreigners and tourists.
What do to and where to go in Hoi An
- Touring the old town
The great thing about Hoi An’s Old Town is that it is small enough to get around on foot. All Hoi An’s major attractions or landmarks are located within walking distance. Highlight lists must be:
- The Japanese covered bridge – the only Japanese architecture left in Hoi An nowadays. No one knows exactly when it was built, but locals believe that it was built in the mid 16th century by the Japanese merchants. Later, Chinese people built a small Chinese temple inside the bridge, that’s why in Vietnamese, it’s called “Chùa Cầu”. ”Chùa” means temple and “Cầu” means bridge. The Japanese Covered Bridge is considered as Hoi An symbol by its image printed on every old town’s tickets.
- The Vietnamese Old houses such as Duc An, Tan Ky or Phung Hung old house.
Overall, these old houses are more than 2 hundred years old and there are about 8 generations have been living in the houses. They all have a thing in common that they were designed as houses for business and everything inside are kept intact for 80%.
- Chinese Assembly Hall such as Cantonese, Fujien or Hainan Assembly Hall. The Chinese people settled down in Hoi An quite early and in a very big community. The assembly hall were built as a place for Chinese taught and helped each other how to get acquaintance to local custom as well as expand business in Vietnam.
Each Chinese group will worship their own Gods or Goddesses, that’s why if you visit the Cantonese one, you see a statue of God of Trading in the main hall, while in the Fujian one, they worship the Goddess of the sea.
- Hoi An market: Located not too far from the Fujian Assembly hall, Hoi An market is the best place for enjoying local food and getting souvenirs with a very “soft price”. This market opens every day, from 5.30 am to 7pm and is a great example about daily shopping habits of locals.
- Hoi An by night: What a pity if you leave Hoi An without enjoying Hoi An nightlife. It’s totally different between Hoi an during daytime and nighttime. Roads are packed with people. Lovely lanterns are simultaneously lit, creating such a romantic and charming scene. Hoi An at night is the time you enjoy its liveliness of a former trading port, with folk games, catchy folk songs, vendors’ cries at night market or nice smell of food from local restaurants.
- Food food food: It’s so true to say local food is a “secret weapon” making visitors fall in love with Hoi An. “Cao Lầu, Hoành Thánh (Wonton), Cơm Gà (chicken rice), Bánh Vạc (white rose), Bánh Xèo (fried pancake), Bánh Mỳ Phượng or all kinds of “Chè” are the specialties that are highly suggested!
These dishes are popularly served in every corner in the town, but not everywhere can give you the true excellent Central taste. If you mind the crowd and wanna discover further in local lives, Hidden Gem of Hoi An tour of Angiee Adventures is best choice for you! This experience is born from our desire to show international friends true heart and soul of the old town that only local can offer. You can see our beautiful city thru the walk into backstreet to discover inside perspectives and secrets. You can enjoy delicious local foods at a variety of stops and even learn how to make local dishes. Furthermore, you can have a chance to catch a glimpse of architecture, lifestyle or stunning stories about this ancient city.
2. Visit traditional villages.
There are three traditional villages which have been associated with the development of the old town: Tra Que Vegetable Village, Thanh Ha Pottery village and Kim Bong Carpentry village on Cam Kim Island.
- Tra Que Vegetable Village: Just about 15 mins by bike from Hoi an old quarter, Tra Que is a small village well-known for its organic veggies. In Tra Que, farmers use no chemical fertilizers but a kind of algae only found in a lagoon in this village, which makes the vegetables here look green and naturally beautiful as well as possess outstanding taste and flavors.
- Thanh Ha Pottery Village: Just a mile from the Old Town, the Thanh Ha Pottery Village is a great activity for those seeking a more authentic hands-on experience. Villagers here have been making beautiful artwork for over 400 years. It was so notable that during the time of the Nguyen Dynasty, craftsmen were invited to fashion some decorative articles for the palace. Nowadays, they mainly produce pottery serve the daily lives of natives in domestic market, such as bowls, jars, pots, bricks, tiles and some folk toys called “To He” as tourist souvenirs.
- Kim Bong Carpentry village on Cam Kim Island: Kim Bong is the traditional carpentry village in Hoi An from late of 15th century. The first thing you hear when go to Kim Bong is the loudly punching and shearing sound; it is bringing vitality to this area. From Hoi An, you only need 10 minutes on the ferry to Cam Kim Island. Traditional trade in Kim Bong is divided into 3 main areas as carpentry construction works of urban architecture, shipbuilding and usual carpentry. Most of the buildings in Hoi An are the contributions of the talented hands of this village: the ancient temple, house or family worship house…Not only appeared in Hoi An, another unique structure of Kim Bong carpentry is Hue Citadel. Coming here, you have an opportunity to visit the carpenter’s shop, watch directly the carving on products of talented craftsmen and sample unique souvenirs with reasonable price.
If you’re into authentic view and scenic roads of the countryside or traditional life, do not hesitate to explore the real Hoi an with Angiee team by joining The Village Adventure ! The tour just take your half day but include everything, from tasting authentic coffee to get hands-on experience by meeting local families making noodles and sleeping mat or paddle basket boats on a peaceful river. our cool scooter team will take you to hidden treasures only known to the locals, thru traditional villages to rice fields and shrimp farm by getting off the beaten track. We guarantee you will discover parts of Vietnam you will not find in any other tour book or with any other guide.
3. Freshen yourselves on the beach
For those who love sea, sun, and sand, Hoi An offers two lovely beaches which are five kilometers away from the town center: An Bang and Cua Dai beach. Renting a bike and riding to the beach to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of sunrise is really enjoyable.
Angiee Adventure offer a yoga class on An Bang beach for anyone looking for something new, different and comfortable while in Hoi an.The air is fresh and it is a great place to have fun and exercise with yoga. You can hear the wave sounds, feel slightly wind, and re-energize your body, mind and soul. We are available for Sunrise Yoga and we customize our practice to you and your level. Let’s bean early bird and start an energetic day with Sunrise Yoga on the Beach by Angiee Adventures!
*All photos used in this article are from the internet