"Lovely Old Town" Hoi An by NedHopkins
Hoi An Travel Guide: 27 reviews and 117 photos
Hoi An today must look much as it did a half century and more ago. Few new buildings have been erected in the town; much French architecture and many Chinese temples survive from the colonial period, a time before masses of Chinese were expelled from Vietnam (following independence and reunification in 1975).
French colonial architecture is evident on both sides of Phan Boi Chau, a relatively short street that runs from the central market to the Life Resort hotel and the Thu Bon River.
The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its well-preserved 16th-19th century structures. (Few actually go back more than 250 years, however.) One reason they're well-preserved is that both sides in the Vietnam or American War refrained from bombarding or fighting in this jewel of a place.
I was in Hoi An five days -- one day before Tet and three after. It was overcast and drizzly on all but the last day. Over half the shops and restaurants were closed for the holiday -- as were a few of the temples -- though most of those catering to tourists were open and doing a good business. In any event, I strolled about the old city for hours at a time, enjoying what is one of Vietnam's most fascinating towns.
"Tet Trees" were everywhere -- in homes, temples, restaurants, hotels, and on sale. There were two kinds: kumkwat and a dainty red flower.
Kumkwat trees on motorcycles were a common sight. This one was on Hoi An's main street, Phan Dinh Phung.
- Pros:Small town, friendly people, interesting temples
- Cons:Closest airport is in Da Nang, over an hour away
- In a nutshell:One of the most pleasant towns in the world
Hoi An is -- as are Ouro Preto, Firenze, Takayama, and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites -- a wonderful place just to... more travel advice
Another of the beautiful Chinese congregation halls, this one was begun in 1776, a year in which Vietnamese independence... more travel advice
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