"UNESCO HERITAGE Site..a Vietnamese HIGHLIGHT..." Top 5 Page for this destination Hoi An by Greggor58
Hoi An Travel Guide: 802 reviews and 1,717 photos
We originally had Hoi An on our itinerary of a four week “tour” of Vietnam and towards the end of our planning we took it off…What we were discovering was that in fact four weeks was not going to be enough time to do everything that we wanted to do.
Long story short…..it was added again after some deliberation and we spent four GREAT days here exploring the town and getting to know Hoi An just a little. I’m certainly happy that we did spend the time here that we did because as it turned out it was to be a “highlight” of my tour of Vietnam.
I had some clothing made for me [one of the many things Hoi An is known for are the many tailors making a living there]. I spent the better part of a day on a tour to the My Son Sanctuary, another UNESCO Heritage site, I managed a part day tour with a guide investigating some of the buildings and historical sights that has made Hoi An a popular stop over on so many tourists itinerary. I did some shopping and took some time to explore and talk with some of the people that live and work here..
OK.. So…maybe like you… I had read about the constant hassles by vendors and the constant onslaught of people "welcoming" us into they're shops and restaurants to “buy from me”. I have to admit that it was at times a little irritating…but I turned it into a game...to fend them off I would “slash” my hand through the air…and tell them…smirking…”NO SHOPPING”…they would laugh….I would laugh...and Id repeat myself. The smiles and laughter became an instant opportunity to talk with them, swap some stories, and sometimes photograph them…Most if not all of the people I encountered this way were quite pleasant and it made my time there fun!
What I found was that Hoi An is a vibrant and lively town with many many wonderful and friendly people, most of them still in a sense still at war, caught up in a battle for survival… everyone from my favorite “peanut and candied ginger” vendor to the shop keeper... to the hostess of the many restaurants that would invite us into they're business. Everyone was simply struggling to make a living and earn a little "piece of the pie"...just as we in the Western World enjoy.
The hotel that I found on-line was a charm and was likely the best of all that I encountered while booting around SE Asia for six weeks. The personal attention that Minh and Yumi provided was second to none...and certainly added to my experience here in Hoi An.
If I was ever able to return to Vietnam I'm sure that Hoi An would be on my list of stopovers, if for no other reason to surprise some people I met that lived there and to say hello to them again.
And to quote the UNESCO web site...
"Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site."
Here you will have many opportunities to see and hear and experience what life was like in this part of Asia in times gone by...
One can see craftspeople at work,musicians making music,women carrying heavy loads with traditional means,markets selling goods the way they have done for hundreds of years,even metal workers using the same tools and methods used to fashion household items that have been used forever..f generally. ...people carrying on as they would have hundreds of years ago except maybe nowadays they're using bicycles sometimes and motorbikes.
Its thought that people have lived here in the area of Hoi An for upwards of two thousand years...current excavations reveal occupation to the late-Iron Age..
Persian and Arab documents from the late 10th Century mention Hoi An as a stop along the Trade routes that brought them back and forth to and from the Far East....
From the fifteenth century onwards Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Indian, Filipino, Indonesian, Thai, French, British and American ships came to Hoi An to purchase high-grade silk fabrics, paper, porcelain, tea, sugar, molasses, and other commodities..
Chinese and Japanese traders sailed south in the spring, driven by winds from the northeast. They would stay in Hoi An until the summer, when southerly winds would blow them home..Some of these traders began leaving full-time agents in Hoi An to take care of off-season business.Japanese stopped coming to Hoi An about 1637 when it was forbidden by the Japanese to have any contact with the outside World....
Hoi An was the site of the first Chinese settlement in southern Vietnam and its easy to see the cultures influence in modern day Hoi An...Chinese Assembly Halls are common here and you can enter and view a few of them..
As it did in the early years of Hoi An…the river and the waterfront of Hoi An still today plays a tremendously important role in every day life here.
The market is located here....close to the water...as is the fish market, adjoining the area where the vegetables, salt, and noodle stalls can be found.. You can watch at the noodle stall where the woman will in front of you, prepare noodles that she sells to anyone that's interested in buying. Vegetable stalls abound...wood carvers work on masks and Bhuddas.almost anything that you might want to buy can be found here .Its more than a splash of colour..its full of life and sometimes almost hectic with a constant flow of people, motorbikes ,and a constant buzz of everyday life here in Hoi An...
The proximity of the river to the Old Quarter has influenced even the design of the structures found here…all of the buildings that I saw in the Old Quarter had a trap door designed and built into the ceiling of the first floor…used to move belongings and property off of the main floor when the annual floods occur…which often coincide with the Typhoon season. This past season…in the Fall of 2009…international media focused on the sever flooding caused by Typhoon Ketsana…
As you walk along the waterfront street [Bach Dang Street ] or maybe while you are visiting the old Tan Ky House you can see the high-water marks left by receding flood waters.
Buildings in the Old Quarter are preserved and some date from the early 1600’s... some of the Chinese Assembly Halls that are found here are the best and oldest structures found here in Hoi An with the exception of the Japanese Bridge...a structure that is synonymously associated with Hoi An. Although it has been renovated many times throughout its history...it’s thought that the bridge dates to sometime around the 1630’s. Most of the buildings that you'll find in the Old Quarter at one time served as business locations...at the time they also served as homes...the living quarters built above the main floor.
Walking along the river...you'll submerge yourself in the Old World of what is still today Hoi An..sounds, incredible sights and smells...Hoi An really is a treat..and maybe a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to see a little of the past of Vietnam...
DO ENJOY your time here...I certainly did.
- Pros:Amazingly interesting people and historical archetecture.
- Cons:In spite of it being a little fun..so many people want YOUR money!
- In a nutshell:Dont miss this little gem if you're anywhere NEAR here...
We took a walk one day across the Thu Bon River to explore a little of Cam Nam Island...and found it was a GREAT way to... more travel advice
My Son is a UNESCO Heritage site that is essentially the remains of a religious settlement about an hours drive from Hoi... more travel advice
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