Romantic Hoi An

Just spent a lovely weekend in what I believe to be Asia’s most romantic city. The name translates as “peaceful meeting place”.

Hội An  started as a trading port in about 1595. The city became the most important trade port on the East Vietnam Sea during the 16th and 17th centuries.  It declined in the 18th century and was almost untouched for almost 200 years. In 1999 the old town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has become more and more popular. Last year, six million people visited the city which has a population of just 152,000 people.

It is a gorgeous city to wander in but there are more and more crowds which make it less peaceful than it used to be. We found most tourists are late starters so if you can get going early in the morning you can have much of the town to yourself.

They are tying to keep tourist buses out of the city area and making people walk further. This is a move that is to be commended. The old city requires a fee which covers many of the key attractions in the town. It is largely vehicle- free which is a good thing (watch for random motor bikes).

Top Ten Things to do in Hoi An

  1. Wandering the streets and riverside -explore the last touristy parts as you wander
  2. Eat- the street food is amazing. For restaurants, I would avoid the touristy ones by the river and go to the newer part of HoiAn where the locals eat. The food is cheaper and usually more authentic.
  3. The Museum of History and Culture- a seriously under rated place located on the second floor of the Quan Yin pagoda built in the 17th century to worship Guanyin (the Goddess of Mercy).
  4. Japanese Covered Bridge
  5. Sunset Cruise
  6. Tan Ky House
  7. Cooking Schools
  8. Happy Hour drinks watching the sunset
  9. The Museum of History and Culture
  10. Assembly Halls of the Fujian and Hainan Chinese Congregations

Sadly the local market is now  more of a tourist market and I thought the Night markets disappointing for shopping compared to other cities.  The atmosphere is fun though.

 

 

Hoi An Snapshot

  • Country: Vietnam
  • Location: a riverside city located in the centre of Vietnam’s coast. It is south of the DMZ, about 25 km from Da Nang and 125km south of Hue.
  • Weather: Hoi An has rainy season from September to January and a dry season from February to May.  The average temperature is 29°C (84 °F) annually with the hottest period being June to August when it can be  38°C (100 °F) during the day time. November to January the average temperature is just 20°C (68 °F)
  • Visa: Needs to be obtained in advance, for most nationalities
  • Getting there: Fly or take the train to DaNanag and then bus, taxi or hotel shuttle from there. Intercity buses connect  Hoi An to other parts of Vietnam
  • Five Star Hotel: $US100 to $US300, Four star: $US40 to $US90, Three Star: $15 to $50
  • Streetfood: $1 to $3

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