The ancient town of Hoi An, 100km south from Hue city where was Vietnam’s former imperial capital, down the coast, is a much more beguiling place to spend a few days, with its lazy river lined with mustard-yellow merchants’ houses, and beaches a few kilometres away. It owes its wonderfully well-preserved state to the silting-up of the Thu Bon river in the 19th century, which put an end to its importance as a trading post.
Hoi An has charm, history and beauty to spare. It is also budget-friendly, and for foodies, a delight.
Renowned for its romantic scenery, friendly people, and vast cultural and historical offerings, it’s easy to see why Hoi An has become a haven for expats and jet-setters from different corners of the globe.
Tourists flock to Hoi An’s Ancient Town to see the yellowed buildings, the energetic banks of the Thu Bon River and its shimmering waters adorned with boats and colorful candles, quirky street performers and brilliantly-lit lanterns decorating trees, baskets of fruit balanced on Vietnamese ladies’ shoulders, and authentic market stalls packed with local specialities and souvenirs … you’ll find magic everywhere you look.
For much of the day motorized vehicles are banned from the streets in the Old Town affording an extraordinary walk back in time as one navigates narrow, curved lanes, the buildings of yesteryear now filled with stylish restaurants, cafes, bars, tailors and fashion houses.
Venture a kilometer or two out of town and you’ll find waterways, rice paddies, farming communities and sun-kissed beaches just minutes from the city center, each with a fine array of restaurants and bars by the waterside. Further afield, the larger city of Da Nang and its attractions are just 25 minutes away.