Hello Everyone. At the beginning of June, during my stay in Da Nang, I wandered off on a day trip to the beautiful town of Hoi An with Thanh, my longtime Da Nang friend, and gracious tour guide. Hoi An is located about 40 kilometers from Da Nang, and thus only a one hour drive from Da Nang.
Thanh, a native of Da Nang, used to work in the tourism industry in Hoi An and knows Hoi An well. In Hoi An, we met up with Thanh’s longtime friend, Pierre. Pierre owns and operates a hotel in Hoi An. If you read my Da Nang post a while back, you may recall that Thanh also showed me around Da Nang for several days. You can visit my Da Nang post by clicking here.
Due to its history as a former center of international trade from the 1500s to the 1800s, Hoi An has a unique mixture of small town architectural styles, and is situated along the Thu Bon River, which flows into the South China Sea about three kilometers downstream from Hoi An. Hoi An ceased being a center of trade in the 1800s because the Thu Bon River silted up and ships could no longer reach the docks in Hoi An. Hoi An was not a seaport per se, but rather is located a couple of kilometers inland on the Thu Bon River. Ships needed to travel upriver a bit. Trade involved mostly silk, porcelain, pepper, cinnamon, and medicinal plants.
So why go to Hoi An? Hoi An is an incredibly atmospheric little town and a culinary center, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of the streets are pedestrian only, or restricted to only bicycles and motorbikes. The entire Hollywood movie, The Quiet American, starring Michael Caine, was filmed in Hoi An. Hoi An is one gorgeous and relaxing little town with an incredibly delicious local cuisine. Most Da Nang tourists are sure to go to Hoi An for at least a day trip. Today, due to the Hoi An tourism boom which really gained traction in the 1990s, Hoi An is one of the wealthiest towns in Vietnam.
Because of its 500 year history as a center of international trade, Hoi An is composed of buildings ranging from Chinese shophouses to ancient tea warehouses to Japanese merchant houses to French colonial houses to temples and pagodas. The town is essentially a living museum. Beautiful ocean beaches are only four kilometers away. And, unlike many places in Vietnam, Hoi An was left undamaged from Vietnam War (i.e., the American War as it is called in Vietnam).
The center of Hoi An is known as Hoi An Old Town and Hoi An Riverside. These two areas are filled with boutique hotels, lounge bars, shops of all kinds, restaurants, and homes, all housed in the original structures from the 1500s.
For our day in Hoi An, we did what all visitors to Hoi An do. We spent the day and evening walking the streets and enjoying the variety of architectural styles, eating the unique Hoi An style cuisine (which cannot be found elsewhere in Vietnam), and enjoying the festive, nighttime atmosphere along the Thu Bon River. The most popular activity is to stroll the town at dusk and after dark when the temperature is cooler and the riverside and other locations take on a really festive atmosphere with lanterns and performers and a night market and al fresco sidewalk dining, and street vendors galore.
Popular attractions in Hoi An include the Japanese Covered Bridge, Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation, Quon Cong Temple, Phuoc Lam Pagoda, Tran Duong House, Museum of Trading Ceramics, Chuc Thanh Pagoda. There are also many Chinese assembly halls that served traders from different parts of China, and thus built in various architectural styles. Many of the old homes can be toured. The vast majority of the buildings and homes are 300 to 500 years old and all are still in use as hotels, restaurants, shops, and homes.
In addition to the town itself, beautiful countryside scenery and gorgeous beaches are within easy reach, which makes for superb bicycle, motorbike, and boat trips. Tourists can choose to lodge in the town itself, or at the resorts located 10 minutes away along the beautiful and wide beaches on the South China Sea.
I hope you enjoyed this post! And, remember, clicking on any of the photos in my posts brings about a more enhanced lightbox image of the photo. There are 15 more photos below.
Finally, as a reminder, if you scroll to the very end of this post, there is (as in all my posts) an area to leave comments or ask me any questions that you may have. As always, I would love to hear from you.