Renowned throughout Southeast Asia for its antique charm, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An Ancient Town is a must-see for first-time visitors to Vietnam. The pedestrianized streets provide a calming break from chaotic traffic, while the colorful facades of lantern-clad houses harbor history that dates back more than 2,000 years. The Basics
Options for exploring Hoi An Ancient Town are plentiful and varied: travelers can explore the area on foot or by bike, or avoid the crowds on land during a Thu Bon River boat or kayak tour. Evening excursions are a popular choice with travelers wanting to see the illuminated lanterns. These tours often focus on Vietnamese street food and Hoi An’s bustling markets. Food lovers can combine a walking tour with a Vietnamese cooking class. Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Hoi An Ancient Town is a must-see for history buffs and photography enthusiasts.
- The popularity of Hoi An Ancient Town means it attracts thousands of visitors, so be prepared for large crowds.
- A short bike ride from the city is Cua Dai Beach, so don’t forget your swimwear.
- Be sure to keep a close eye on your belongings, especially when Hoi An Ancient Town is crowded at night.
The center of Hoi An Ancient Town is a 10-minute walk from Hoi An bus terminal and a 10-minute bike or scooter ride from Cua Dai Beach. If you’re taking a day trip from Da Nang, buses depart regularly for Hoi An Ancient Town and take around 50 minutes depending on traffic.
When to Get There
Most travelers would agree that Hoi An Ancient Town is at its most magical during the evening, when hundreds of hanging lanterns are illuminated. If you want to beat the crowds, try to arrive just after sunrise, when crowd-free photographs are guaranteed and the temperature is cooler. The History of Hoi An Ancient Town
Although the port town of Hoi An was officially established in 1595, traces of human habitation here date back 2,200 years. Due to its strategic location near the ocean, Hoi An was one of the first places in what is now Vietnam to be exposed to Christianity. Its function as a port town ended in the 18th century, leaving the area untouched by modernization.