Hoi An offers an authentic taste of Vietnam as it once was. Situated 900 kilometres (560 miles) south of Hanoi, it’s considerably less westernised than the rest of the country, although still a popular tourist destination.
One of the city’s most popular attractions is Hoi An Ancient Town. This is a well-preserved historical trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Watch fish traders as they work from their boats on the dock or walk along the narrow alleys lined with rickety buildings. Japanese Bridge is one of the Ancient Town highlights. It stands as a symbol of Hoi An’s multicultural background, and a reminder of the skilled craftspeople who have lived here.
There is also considerable Chinese influence in Hoi An, most notably seen in the Quan Cong Temple. This elaborate shrine is dedicated to a great military general. Gilt statues, incandescent tiles and plumes of incense make it a particularly atmospheric place to visit. Wander down to the old docks and Hoi An Central Market for the sights, sounds and smells of a genuine Vietnamese market.
The centre of Hoi An is small and easy to get around. Walking is a good option, although some prefer to use push bikes. These are cheap to rent and are convenient when travelling out to the countryside and coastline.
A popular excursion from Hoi An is to Cua Dai Beach. This picturesque stretch of beach has palms, golden sand and good options for dining. Take the short boat trip from Cua Dai Beach to explore the Cham Islands, a territory of protected forests and marine life.
Hoi An has a tropical climate. The temperature is pleasant enough throughout the year, reaching highs of around 35 C (95 F) in the summer. September through January is monsoon season and October and November are usually extremely wet.