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05/07/2019 683 Views

Located near Da Nang in Quang Nam province, Hoi An bears the legacy of Vietnam's history. A trading port and prosperous trading post on the Silk Road, Hoi An has had its glory days more than 500 years ago. Today, the city has retained its original character and travelers stop there to admire the sights it contains. Visit Hoi An is a must for a trip to Vietnam: old town, white sand beach, restaurants and night festivities, a beautiful program in perspective.
An architectural heritage from Asia and elsewhere
There are several types of architecture in Hoi An, visual testimonies of the cultural exchanges that took place in this former trading port. Thus, the city is rich with Chinese, Japanese or colonial influences, which mingle with traditional Vietnamese houses. The colorful facades give way to dark wood houses and styles follow each other without resembling each other.
Passing from neighborhood to neighborhood is a real pleasure for the eyes. A small trip, in short! The Japanese pagoda bridge (or Chua Cau), which connected the Chinese community to the Japanese community, is one of the emblematic elements of the diversity of Asian peoples in Hoi An.


You will enjoy simply strolling through every alley in the old city and discovering the hidden treasures. A small, mostly pedestrian town, it is very easy to walk around and enjoy the visit. What's more fun than strolling the streets, looking for nice shops and restaurants? If you prefer to go on bike rides, you can easily find them for rent at low prices.


Stroll in the old city

On foot or by bike, you will enjoy discovering the ancient city and its beauties. Admittedly, Hoi An is a particularly popular tourist destination, unmissable stopover of any circuit in Vietnam. However, affluence does not affect the charm of these old neighborhoods. For that, it is enough to walk in Chinatown, to stroll along the river banks, to cross the Japanese bridge, to admire each small restaurant and each building. A bowl of sticky rice, some ravioli and you're off for the day. No doubt, Hoi An deserves its place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage. Take a leap into the market, with local smells and the superb Precious Heritage Art Gallery. Project of French photographer Réhahn, this museum exhibits portraits of Vietnamese from all over the country and all ethnic groups, costumes and objects. Access is free and explanations are in French.
Discover the culinary specialties of Hoi An
Of all the countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is a champion in gastronomy. A detour via Hoi An will not make us lie!

Do not forget to taste a good Cao Lau, a broth made from thick noodles and pork slices, or white roses, steamed ravioli with shrimps in the shape of a flower (also called ban bao vac). Delights of Vietnamese cuisine, among others, that you will only find in Hoi An. Local agencies offer cooking classes: a great activity to fine tune your culinary skills and have a great experience with locals.
See the lantern festival
The lantern festival is a must in the city of Hoi An and not to be missed under any (NO!) Pretext. It takes place every full moon: find out before planning your stay in Hoi An to avoid missing the festival. You will find the dates of the lunar calendar online very easily, for you to aim for the best period for your stay.

That night, the lights of the city are out and only the lanterns on the water shine. This is the moment when the Vietnamese honor their ancestors by burning papers and offerings. Many activities and shows are scattered throughout the city, it's time to visit Hoi An by night and discover it in a completely different way. The locals wear the traditional costume, the outdoor market displays all its charms and the atmosphere is guaranteed.

You can buy your own traditional lantern on the banks of the Thu Bon River and let it drift, after making a wish, preferably. Music, poems, games, you will not be left out and you will spend a very good evening. The highlight of the show is of course the hundreds of lanterns that drift on the surface of the water, hundreds of stars on the black river. Sweet and poetic.
Explore the surroundings
It is also easy and safe to rent a scooter to visit My Son, a beautiful set of ruined temples in the kingdom of Champa. UNESCO World Heritage since 1999, it is a leap in the history of Vietnam to meet the Cham ethnic group. In addition, there is a Cham Museum of Art and Sculpture in Danang.
You can also reach the beaches of An Bang and Cua Dai, a few kilometers from Hoi An, by scooter or bike. Relaxing atmosphere and coconut palms. A journey in the countryside around Hoi An offers a stroll is very pleasant and full of surprises.

All this is obviously very photogenic and attracts a lot of tourists (hey, we can not have everything). Therefore, your travel budget will have Hoi An tends to climb a bit. The shops are a little more expensive than elsewhere in Viet Nam. Be aware that the city is renowned for its expertise in custom clothing. There are tailors and dressmakers willing to cut you a traditional Vietnamese costume or a custom dress.
Where to sleep in Hoi An?
It is strongly recommended to book a hotel or a guesthouse, especially during a full moon. The "UNESCO World Heritage" label tends to drive up prices, rightly because it is about preserving the city as much as possible. The best plan is still to take a room in a homestay or a dormitory bed in a backpacker a few minutes walk from the old town, to enjoy at any time.

Similarly, restaurants are a bit more expensive but quality is at the rendezvous. Even if prices are higher than elsewhere, prices are still very affordable for our European standards and visiting Hoi An is well worth the extra few dong.
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