Hoi An – Vietnam
Hoi An, also known as Fai-Fo or Faifoo, is an Eastern oriental classic captivation ancient and peaceful town, located on the coast of the South China Sea in the Quảng Nam Province. It is one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam that caters to travelers of all tastes and across the continents. With approximately 120,000 inhabitants, Hội An is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Hội An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site (Hoi An Vacation).
The city possessed the largest harbour in Southeast Asia in the 1st century and was known as Lâm Ấp Phố (Champa City).
Hoi An has been through a few centuries of history, but still remains as in the very first days of its being born. The little town is just the perfect candidate of what Vietnam tourism ministry is aiming to show to the world. Warm-hearted, welcoming and traditional, but never out of touch with the outside world, the people of Hoi An are in overdrive mode trying to catch up to the opportunities their new found fame has recently given them.
One of the best historical building in Hoi An built two centuries ago by an ethnically Vietnamese family, this gem of a house has been lovingly preserved through seven generations. Located at 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, in the Old Quarter of Hoi An Ancient Town, Tan Ky Old house is an almost perfect example of a 18th merchant’s residence in this major commercial port town. The name Tan Ky, meaning “Progress Shop”, was given to the house by the second generation to express the owner’s wish for a prosperous business.
The courtyard has several functions: to let in light, provide ventilation, bring a glimpse of nature into the home, and collect rainwater and provide drainage. The carved wooden balcony supports around the courtyard are decorated with grape leaves, which are a European import and further evidence of the unique blending of cultures in Hoi An.
There are many of the house’s details, which have remained unchanged to this day, including the storage area, the outside structure made of bricks and tiles, floor covered with Bat Trang bricks. The use of jack-fruit trees, ironwood and peck-wood for inside furniture with thick roofs and wooden walls has kept the house cool in summer and warm in winter.
One of Vietnam’s most iconic attractions, Hoi An’s Japanese covered bridge dates back to the 18th century and is a beautiful historical piece of Japanese architecture. This beautiful little bridge is emblematic of Hoi An. It is claimed that it was created by the Japanese then living in Hoi An as a way to reach the Chinese quarter across the water.
On the north side of the bridge you’ll discover a temple dedicated to the Taoist God of weather, Tran Vo Bac De. This is where locals will often pray to stave off any impending earthquakes. The monkey and dog animal statues guard the bridge at either end along with an ancient Chinese script at one end written in Chu Nho, listing all the benefactors who contributed to the restoration of the bridge.
If Hoi An enchants you by colorful lanterns along downtown streets by night, charming red towers in My Son Sanctuary surely amazes you in the sunset. My Son Hindu Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a great sample of the ancient Champa civilization located in My Son village, Duy Tan commune, Duy Xuyen district, 30km west of Tra Kieu (the ancient capital of Cham people) and 69km south-west of Da Nang city – southern part of Vietnam. It was an independent state from around the 2nd to the 17th century, at which time it was occupied by Vietnam.
The impressive Hindu-themed ruins feature many beautiful stone sculptures, temples and towers in tropical jungle surroundings.
Like many historic sites around the world, My Son was destroyed by time and wars and after lying neglected for a long time it was rediscovered and renovated by the French in 1898. Sadly the most recent war did great damage to the complex as the Americans bombed this area knowing that the Viet Cong used it as a hiding place, mistakenly thinking that the enemy would not touch a holy site.
This Hindu sanctuary reminds visitors of other similar sites in Southeast Asia including the great Angkor Wat in Cambodia. A must-visit for those who appreciate history.
As the Chinese immigrants reached the central part of Vietnam known as Hoi An today, they decided to create the opportunities for themselves and the next generations to socialize and protect the Chinese traditions by building many Assembly Halls.
Originally a traditional assembly hall, was later transformed into a temple for the worship of Thien Hau, a deity from Fujian province.
Generally, they all follow a formula that has been used by other Chinese assembly halls in other cities: a grand gate, a nice garden with ornamental plants, a main hall and a large altar room. As decoration is a fundamental part of an assembly hall, it is carried out meticulously at all of the halls with statues, lacquered boards, murals, etc. However, because each Chinese community has its own beliefs, different assembly halls worship different gods and goddesses.
Among the five assembly halls in Hoi An, Fujian Assembly Hall is greatest and most famous. It’s located at 46 Tran Phu St – center of the towm hence there’s no difficulty finding it.
Sharpen your bargaining skills and head south east to Hoi An Central Market, one of Vietnam’s best, offering an unmissable shopping experience. Rich in the smell of fragrant herbs and spices and the vibrant colours of Vietnamese silk, delve deep and you are guaranteed a bargain. Prices tend to be more inflated at the stalls closest to the entrance so head right in for the best buys.
With the Central Market being so busy only enhances its appeal so that it shows the real Vietnam. Some fresh produce of all kinds are available and just looking at this produce will give a better appreciate the food of the people.
Due to its riverside location there is also a huge selection of fresh fish available. It is also renowned for its tailors who have a section of the market all to themselves. Fine silk tailoring is cheaper here than anywhere else in Hoi An. Souvenir and local handicraft hunters will also find plenty to browse through at the Central Market.
As a tourist browsing round Hoi An Central Market you can expect plenty of stall holders pushing their wares on you quite hard, the best course of action is to simply smile and continue on your way. When you do decide to make a purchase then remember that the first price you will be told will be over inflated, you should then offer around half and then work up to a price that you are both happy with. Be prepared to walk away and you might be surprised by the fair price you are then offered.
Cua Dai Beach is one of just five Vietnamese UNESCO World Heritage Sites offering an unrivalled seaside escape from the ancient streets of Hoi An. This 3km stretch of fine white powdery sands positioned just north-east of Hoi An make Cua Dai Beach the perfect place to easily find your own patch of paradise. The water is crystal clear with tropically blue waves that are gentle enough for swimming and floating around. There are even changing huts on the beach along with a few bungalows here and there. It is Vietnam’s most stunning coastal shore. Crystal blue seas and deserted white sands like this are hard to find anywhere else in Vietnam.
Enjoying Cua Dai beach does not come for free and you will be expected to purchase a drink or some fresh fruit from one of the local hawkers, especially if you are not renting a sun lounger. It’s worth heading to Cua Dai Beach during the week when the sands will be virtually deserted. Weekends, however, tend to get busy. Its also best to visit from April to August when swimming is safest.
Hoi An has a reputation as a town that turns its lights off early, However there are two factors that make it an attractive nightlife location:
One, you can walk everywhere here as it’s small enough for a night out without the need of wheels and indeed the centre is pedestrian only – this in a country that adores motorbikes.
Two, the beer in Vietnam is about the cheapest in the world – making just about anywhere in the country party central if you wish it to be.
Here is a list of happenings places you can go and enjoy your nightlife experience in Hoi An.
- Before n Now
- Café 96
- Mango Mango
- Mango Rooms
- Q Bar
- Tam Tam
- Then (Before) and Now
- White Marble
- Zero Sea Mile Beach Club
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