Possibly the most beautiful town in Vietnam and definitely the most atmospheric heritage town, Hoi An (which means ‘peaceful place’ in Vietnamese) has the perfect combination of old-world charm and modern-day comforts and luxuries. This historical town is gloriously devoid of high-rises and ugly concrete buildings thanks to its Unesco World Heritage Site status. Chinese merchant shop fronts dating as far back as the 15th Century encase shops, restaurants, art galleries, museums and especially tailors, ensuring Hoi An has something to suit all tastes.
What really makes Hoi An live up to its ‘peaceful place’ name is the blissful ban on motorbikes and scooters in the old town during certain parts of the day and most of the evening.
The Venice of Vietnam
One of the biggest factors in creating the rich cultural history that brings such a special ambience to Hoi An, is the river that it’s built around. The ‘Thu Bon’ river has been responsible for bringing in foreign traders and settlers from far-flung places for hundreds of years and brings a beautiful, romantic, ‘Venice of Vietnam’ quality to the town. A river-boat ride during the town’s monthly Full Moon Festival is particularly atmospheric since colourful locally-made lanterns are floated on the water for good luck.
A Culinary Mecca & Shopper’s Paradise
Several centuries of foreign trade has influenced the local cuisine as well as the architecture, earning Hoi An the reputation as a culinary mecca. Hoi An’s narrow streets offer a dazzling array of eateries ranging from traditional local cuisine to regional favourites, western fare and just about everything in between.
Hoi An is also a heaven for shopaholics; talented tailors can whip up bespoke suits, dresses, skirts and shirts for a fraction of the price they’d cost back home.