Hoian at glance
The ancient town of Hoi An, 30km south of Danang on the coast of central Vietnam, is an enchanting, sleepy riverside town that offers a glimpse of a bygone era.
In a country so ruined by war, Hoi An managed to escape untouched and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of the town is extremely well preserved, with traditional wooden houses, bridges and temples surviving in their original form. Hoi An is a wonderful holiday destination for seeing the Vietnam of a bygone era.
In the 16th century, Japanese and Chinese traders built a commercial district at Hoi An, and the town became one of the major trading centers of Southeast Asia. As a result, Hoi An has a distinctly Sino-Japanese flavor, with these cultural influences visible in the elaborately carved wooden facades, narrow streets and tile-roofed houses of the Old Quarter that have survived for centuries. The Japanese Bridge, built in the 17th century, is an outstanding example of Japanese architecture.
Adding to Hoi An’s old-fashioned charm, on the 15th of every lunar month, modernity takes a back seat. On these evenings, street lamps, neon signs and televisions are switched off, leaving the Old Quarter bathed in the warm glow of traditional silk and paper lanterns of various colors. Wandering through the old streets in the ensuing quiet is a special experience.