Anyway, in case you are not familiar with Hoi An, it’s a beautiful little UNESCO World Heritage town in Central Vietnam. I flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang specifically to visit Hoi An as I had heard such rave reviews.
The architecture of the town is beautiful, the houses all Gold and Yellow and unlike anything I have ever seen in Asia.
The streets are lined with quaint stores, tailors (a lot of them!) and quirky tea rooms.
Hoi An provided such a visual contrast to the rest of Vietnam – a perfectly picturesque town unspoilt by the after-effects of War. It’s a great place to take a more relaxed pace, and enjoy getting lost in the twisty streets of Old Town.
The Vietnamese are homing in on the increase of tourists to Hoi An and as such have introduced an ‘entrance fee’ for the town. The ticket is 120,000 VND (circa $5/£3) and valid for 10 days, allowing entrance to six main sites of interest.
Be sure to buy the ticket when you spot a booth, as you have to show it before entering sites of interest, and you cannot buy it at the site.
WHAT TO DO
Beach Bum – An Bang beach is just a short bicycle ride away (10 -15 minutes). It’s a really nice route in fact, I enjoyed speeding through paddy fields and dusty roads on my bicycle with my little pointed Vietnamese hat.
Fabric Shopping – Hoi An is famous for fabrics and bespoke tailoring. Stepping into a store here you are met with walls filled with fabric hangers, rail upon rail and book upon book of swatches and patterns. You can buy a custom made piece starting from $20 (depending of course on the material, the style, etc.) It may seem a little daunting at first, but what better way to buy an article that you know is completely one of a kind?
Cooking Classes – One of my favourite ways to uncover a Country’s culture is through its food. Also, isn’t it annoying when you discover something truly delicious and then you have no idea how to replicate it? Cooking classes are everywhere in Hoi An. A lot of restaurants offer them, and they are often cheaper than the ‘cooking schools’ advertised on the streets and in the hotels, so shop around.
The Outdoor Market – The market lining the river in Hoi An Old Town is a bustling and chaotic mix of seemingly frail old Vietnamese ladies chopping fruit and vegetables with Machetes, fish mongers showing off their latest catches, and some damn tasty street food.
Old Town Admission Sites – You can enter six sites using your ‘old town’ admission pass.
I enjoyed The Fujian Chinese Assembly Hall –A Chinese assembly hall turned temple for the Goddess Thien Hau, Quan Cong Temple, and the Tan Ky House (one of a number of rich Merchant’s houses from the previous century, exquisitely decorated, perfectly preserved and now made open to tourist visits)
The Japanese Covered Bridge – As pictured above, and a nice photo op. The bridge is thought to have been built by Hoi An’s Japanese community back in the 16th century.
Water Puppets – Vietnamese water puppet shows were created by paddy field farmers as a means to entertain their families during times of floods. Today, this is a popular theatre showing and there is a large theatre on the outskirts of Hoi An that offers twice daily showings at just 15,000 VND for an hour’s show.