On the central coast of Vietnam, the honey-coloured architecture and breezy walking streets of charming Hoi An make it absolute must-see in the country. But what makes it so special? This is our round up of the reasons we love Hoi An.
Peaceful, sparkling and ancient, Vietnam’s Hoi An Ancient Town is a favorite for visitors to the country, and a must-see destination for travellers looking for beautiful scenery alongside rich cultural experience. Between ancient stone bridges, friendly locals and traditional handicraft villages, Hoi An has everything even a seasoned traveler could hope for.
But Hoi An isn’t known for just its quaint countryside atmosphere or historical downtown walking district (although that’s certainly part of its charm). Together, all of these elements come together to make Hoi An a must-see spot for anyone traveling in Vietnam.
Among the incredible array of handicrafts available in Ho An’s shops lining its quiet walking district are hundreds of the township’s claim to fame — silk lanterns. The brightly colored lanterns come in all shapes and sizes, but have one thing in common – they’re all handmade by local artisans who have passed down the technique for generations.
The lanterns are so popular, in fact, that every month with the full moon, hundreds are hung outside homes, restaurants and shops in a lantern “festival”. The largest collection of lanterns comes for Mid-Autumn Festival, when the handicrafts are on full display for one of the country’s most significant holidays.
Cao Lau Noodles
One of the most well-known dishes in Hoi An is Cao Lau noodle, a local delicacy that has a distinct taste and quality. According to local residents, Cao Lau was created in Hoi An since the 17th century, during the decades that Hoi An served as a major port town where Chinese and the Japanese came to exchange goods.
It lent Cao Lau a certain Chinese influence and taste, while also serving as the inspiration for the type of noodle itself, which tastes remarkably like the Japanese udon noodle. However, Cao Lau still maintains its unique flavor and can only be found in Hoi An, Vietnam. A visit to Hoi An wouldn’t be complete without trying a bowl.
In Vietnam’s Hoi An Ancient Town, to call Hoai River poetic would be an understatement. As quiet as it is iconic in Hoi An, Hoai River is usually calm, and is lined with quiet roads that hum with nighttime calm. During the daytime hours, Hoai River is central to the lifestyles of communities along its banks, but when the night falls, working boats make way for hundreds of floating lanterns that glide down the quiet water in a stunning showcase of quaint beauty.
For an even closer look at Hoai River, make sure to hire a small wooden boat to float along the river, or release your own lanterns from the banks.
Hoi An used to be a main hub for trade in Southeast Asia as far back as the 11th Century. Consequently, much of the city’s most incredible architecture is also some of the country’s oldest, with some buildings dating back hundreds of years.
Most of the traditional architecture in Vietnam’s Hoi An is built in classic 19th and 20th century styles with a unique mixture of Asian influences, with elements borrowed from the many cultures that settled here during the height of its port. Japanese and Chinese styles are integrated with classic Vietnamese architecture, with some of the city’s most famous relics being the Japanese Covered Bridge (also known as Cau Pagoda) and ancient Chinese pagodas.
In the breezy central coast of Vietnam, life moves slowly and happiness is prized. The people in Hoi An are the epitome of these values, and the happy, smiling locals are by-and-far one of the best things about this charming part of Vietnam. Many families that live in Hoi An have done so for centuries, so you’ll find yourself meeting both young children and old souls alike, each with beaming faces and a kind heart.
Before you pass through this magical destination too quickly, find as many opportunities as you can to meet and interact with the locals here. With such a rich story to tell, you’ll be glad you took the time to get to know them.
Can’t wait to experience Hoi An’s quaint countryside vibes for yourself? Travel back in time with our Story of Hoi An day tour, which explores Hoi An’s ancient charms and cultural relics at the leisurely pace of this sleepy seaside town.