The world renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An, is one of Vietnam’s ancient treasures. Hoi An was originally a preserved Southeast Asian trading port before becoming a top tourist attraction that has retained its Japanese and Chinese inspired architecture. The architecture, ancient temples and wondrous views of the river are the highlights of Hoi An. This old town can be accessed only by foot or bicycle with it being a relatively small town. Hoi An is located 29 km (around 40 minutes) from Danang city and a visit can be easily organised with a tour company or just by catching a taxi from Danang city.
Visit the talks of the town
As you enter Hoi An, you’ll need to purchase an attractions ticket costing 120,000 VND (5.30 USD) for access to 5 sites in the ancient town. With this, you can visit the various sites in Hoi An as a ticket officer takes one token off of your ticket each time. However, be aware of the free sites that will be pointed out to you on the map you’re given when you’ve bought your ticket. The top attractions are the Japanese Covered Bridge, Quan Kong Temple, Chaozhou Hall and the Museums: the Museum of Ceramics & the Hoi An Museum of History & Culture. All attractions are within walking distance of each other with no cars able to get into the town area, just the odd motorbike, bicycle or rickshaw to be wary of. The architecture of Hoi An boasts unique designs; mainly buildings covered in mosaic patterns, notably seen on the bridge crossing to the other side of the town.
Temples that define their history
Many of the temples in and around Hoi An are Chinese-inspired from the 18th century popularity of the trading port and has remained untouched since the Tay Son Rebellion. Because of this, the temples’ architecture and style have become works of art in themselves with beautiful shrines that you’re able to pray at and statues, figures and art embezzled on their walls. Many of the ticket officers are fellow residents of Hoi An and may come to give you Chinese Zodiac tokens, should you make a donation, and show you around the temples. Despite their limited knowledge of English, they are both respectful and endearing. One highlight you can find is a huge cluster of entwining dragons made with shards of marble and other tiles in the form of a mosaic.
Top off your visit with a boat cruise
A trip to Hoi An is not complete without a cruise along the river, be it in one of the small Vietnamese fishing boats or on a motorised boat in a group. These vary in cost but they should cost no more than 10 USD depending on the style of boat you’re after. The tranquil waters are a great way to see a slice of Vietnamese life as many fish along the river, prepare food and wash themselves down. As you exit the main parts of Hoi An, you also get to see some breathtaking views of the provincial parts of Vietnam that are often overlooked by tourists. The best time to get in a boat is just before the sun sets so you catch a lovely cool breeze as you wander down the river and also to get one final look at the beauty of a well-preserved ancient town bursting with mysteries.
Become a history expert on Hoi An
Hoi An is a wonderful place to visit with every attraction within walking distance of each other and costing just under 6 USD to visit the main sites around the town. Filled with mystery, interest and wonder, Hoi An is a perfect day trip as you learn about the history of Hoi An and its presence in Vietnam today. If you are not staying in Hoi An, you can easily take a taxi to Hoi An or join an organised tour from Danang city. For a day of discovery, peaceful views and a history lesson, take a trip to Hoi An!