Hoi An Ancient Town is always beautiful attraction for tourists over the world. It is famous for ancient houses, great foods, shopping and fresh atmosphere. It is one of the cities that tourists never miss if they come to Vietnam.
Overview about Hoi An ancient town
Hoi An is old town and well-known trading port of Southeast Asian dating between 15th and 19th century. It lies on the bank of Thu Bon River in the center of Quang Nam province, far Da Nang about 30 km to the south. With convenient location, it used to be bustling international market during 16th century.
Cham dynasty firstly settled Hoi An. While My Son was spiritual capital, Hoi An was commercial capital of Chams’ people. Cham dominated Hoi An rules the trade in spices and silks. Until Cham to Nguyen dynasty in 16th and 17th century, Hoi An name was Hoi Pho (Seaside Town) at which time, was under Nguyen dynasty and became the most important port in Southeast Asia. Japanese, Chinese and Western traders considered Hoi An as the best place to go for trading in all of Asia. Therefore, architectures, culture of Hoi An today has influenced deeply from this century.
Hoi An today
In 1999, UNESCO recognized Hoi An as World Heritage Site by when it is still well-known examples of trading center from 15th to 19th century. There has retained Chinese atmosphere with low tile-roofed houses and narrow streets. Houses were made of rare wood decorated with lacquered boards and panels engraved according to Chinese characters. Many museums, assembly halls, ancient houses and traditional music shows serve tourist in Hoi An today. Tourist can also enjoy the beautiful Hoi An River, Cua Dai beaches and Cham Island.
Must visit in Hoi An Town
With interesting culture and architecture and close to the coast, so there are many things to do when you arrive in Hoi An. Do not miss exploring those places below:
Japanese Covered Bridge
Japanese Covered Bridge is Hoi An symbol that you never miss to across the bridge. The Japanese people constructed the bridge in the early 17th century and was at least 6 times restoration. It is a beautiful example of Japanese architecture with unique roof and a rainbow-styled path in the middle. There are sculpture of dog on the one end of the bridge and sculpture of monkey on the other end of the bridge. People said that two animals are symbol of sacredness in Japanese culture. Inside the bridge is temple that dedicates Tran Vo Bac De, who people believe god will keep peace for streets and Hoi An communities out of nature changes.
Visit Assembly Halls
Currently, there are three famous Assembly Hall in Hoi An Ancient Town. Those are Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, Trieu Chau Assembly Hall and Cantonese Assembly Hall. Chinese people built all assembly halls so it brings the fundamental of Chinese architecture.
Trieu Chau Assembly Hall was built in 1845 and possesses special value of architectural structure with unique carving and decoration.
Respectively, Chinese people built Phuc Kien Assembly Hall around 1690. Its functions used as traditional hall for Chinese group from Phuc Kien. Then, it gradually turned into a temple to dedicate Thien Hau Thanh Mau (their deity of the fishermen. When you visit assembly hall, you will admire by the magnificent beauty, splendor, and majesty in a large space with unique architecture. It is not only a relic of religious belief in Hoi An Old Town, but there are many activities in assembly hall that impress many domestic and foreigner tourists.
Cantonese Assembly Hall was initially built to worship Thien Hau Thanh Mau, and then transformed to worship Quan Cong. The Assembly Hall has largest concentration of popular unique architectural works in Hoi An Old Town so it is indispensable spot tourist cannot miss.
Ba Le Well (Gieng Ba Le)
Ba Le well is the most well-known in Hoi An Town because people said that only water from this well used for Cao Lau Noodle (a Hoi An Specity food). It was dug by the Cham dynasty and served hundreds of people lives when provide water for them. Bale well now is located in garden of Mr. Ba Lo Le on Phan Chu Trinh Street.
Old Houses are very popular tourist attraction in Hoi An Ancient Town such as: The clan ancestral house of Tran, Old House of Tan Ky, Quan Thang Ancient House, Duc An Ancient House. One of the most famous old in those houses is Tan Ky Old House that you always keep in mind to visit it first. It is typical house in Hoi An about 200 years ago. The house is made by traditional materials and is the most well-preserved in Hoi An. Quan Thang Ancient House is the oldest and most beautiful houses in Hoi An. Its style made as bungalow and contains much architecture of Hoi An characters.
You should spend time on visiting some temples and pagodas in Hoi An Old Town such as Phuoc Lam Pagoda, Van Duc pagoda, Chuc Thanh pagoda. You admire various religious statues and learn much about culture of Hoi An.
Must do in Hoi An Ancient Town
Tourist can spend hours on shopping at Hoi An. Take a few hours in Hoi An Market, you will find many unique and beautiful items with reasonable price to buy as gift for friends. Besides, Hoi An is famous for tailoring, you can get clothes in Hoi An. Silk lantern is remarkable thing you should purchase in Hoi An. Strolling to the town, you will see lantern hanging out through the town. It becomes more beautiful with lights at night.
People said that Hoi An is heaven of food culture. Since many dishes become symbol of Hoi An. It is a legacy of the many nationalities, including Japanese, Chinese and Portuguese, that lived or traded here. As the result, Cao Lau is one example. So you are still not coming to Hoi An if you do not taste Cao Lau. What make Cao Lau special is that the dish cannot be replicated outside of the town because water using for Cao Lau only take from Bale Well. Moreover, you can taste other special foods: Chicken Rice, White Rose Dumplings, Fried Tofu and Rice Vermicelli with Fermented Shrimp Paste Sauce, Vietnamese Baguette… Try to enjoy Hoi An street food or take Hoi An Cooking Class to have unique experience on food culture of Hoi An.
Hitting on the Beach
Not only architecture and culture, Hoi An riverside city is very close to beautiful beaches like An Bang or Cua Dai. Cycle from the town to beaches, you will enjoy fresh air and beautiful moments of sunrise and sunset on the sea.
Discovering traditional villages
Not too far from Hoi An Ancient Town, there are some villages you should visit to get a real experience on how the farmers or workers do. Tra Que village is one of the places you can visit. The interesting thing is to take bicycle from town to go to Tra Que to see how farmer grow organic veggies to supply Hoi An and nearby areas. You also visit fishing village and experience basket boat by your guide, ride buffalo… It is very exciting part in Hoi An trip.