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Where to stay in Hoi An

Exploring Hoi An

If all the small towns in Southeast Asia had a beauty contest, Hoi An would take the first prize. This little town in Central Vietnam attracts visitors year round with its narrow lanes, laid-back atmosphere, and its row after row of quaint houses and shops, all painted yellow and roofed with terracotta tiles. Indeed, the old town of Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hoi An’s distinctive architecture can be traced back to the days when it was the important trading port of Faifo. The Cham people of Vietnam, a culture related to the civilisations of Java in Indonesia, are the original settlers here. Lucrative trade in the 16th century brought Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and even European immigrants to this city, with their legacy still evident today.

Sights nearby

Many of Hoi An’s attractions are located in the Old Town. Some sites require tickets for entry. A coupon that grants visitors access to five different sites can be bought from authorised points around town.

Japanese Bridge
The main attraction in Hoi An is the town’s most recognized landmark—the Japanese Bridge. The small, covered wooden bridge connects a small area of Hoi An which used to be where the Japanese community lived to the main part of town.

Heritage buildings
The old heritage houses of Quan Thang House, Phung Hung House, and Tan Ky House deserve a look. Additionally, visitors can visit the lavishly-decorated congregation halls of the Chinese community that once lived in Hoi An, including the Fookien and Cantonese meeting halls within the old town.

My Son ruins
The ruins of My Son are within an hour’s drive of the Old Town. My Son is the site of the old Champa Kingdom’s spiritual centre. The Hindu-Buddhist kingdom occupied what is today southern and central Vietnam.

Outside the Old Town are a number of great attractions. With Hoi An being in a coastal area, beaches can be found nearby, with a number of beachfront properties such as the Palm Garden Resort and the Swiss-Belhotel Golden Sand Resort and Spa available. The closest beach to Hoi An Old Town is Cua Dai Beach, at around five kilometres away.

Tailored suits
Walking around the Old Town, visitors won’t fail to notice the number of garment shops. Hoi An is, in fact, known for its tailors and dressmakers. Shirts, suits, and dresses can be ordered custom made and well-tailored threads can be ready in a few days from the time of fitting. Visitors are advised to haggle and insist on a rework if unsatisfied with the finished product.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Some of the most delicious signature dishes of Central Vietnam are easily available in Hoi An. One is the hearty cao lau, which consists of thick noodles, pork, and green vegetables immersed in a meaty soup. White rose is a distinct dumpling dish in Hoi An that consists of shrimp stuffed inside a rose-shaped dumpling, while deep-fried wontons which are a flat variety of dumplings are equally tasty. Hoi An Old Town is naturally where many bars, cafés, and restaurants are found. Visitors can also head across the river for further nightlife options. Hoi An Old Town is small but within the area are innumerable shops, most of them tailor shops. Some also sell antiques, gift items, souvenirs, postcards, and other goods.

Public transport

To get here from Vietnam’s two gateway cities, Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south, a number of transport options are available. Overland journeys from either of these two cities are lengthy, however, often requiring overnight travel. The easiest way to get here is via a flight to Da Nang, the transport hub of Central Vietnam and only an hour outside of Hoi An by car. Once here, walking to and from the many attractions in the small old town is easy.