Top things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam

attractions - Hoi An: Nov. 1, 2013

This picturesque town is a wonder and a beautiful example of a Southeast Asian trading port straight out of the fifteenth century. Hoi An has something for every kind of traveller: UNESCO World Heritage Sites, custom tailoring, unspoilt beaches, gourmet restaurants, traditional crafts and much more.

So far the authorities have avoided the temptation to allow modern development to intrude on Hoi An as the city’s attraction comes from the combination of its French colonial architecture and old world charm.

Once the commercial capital of the Cham Empire, Hoi An is now the garment centre of Vietnam. Whether you’re looking for a reproduction of your favourite ensemble, an outfit clipped from a fashion magazine or simply a tailored suit, Hoi An is the place to shop.

It’s easy to arrive in Hoi An and be overtaken by your quest for a new wardrobe as your sightseeing agenda falls by the wayside, but don’t miss out on some of the ancient treasures tucked away. In addition to the countless old houses featuring well maintained traditional architecture, there is a wealth of colourful markets, grand halls, natural formations, stunning pagodas and fishing villages just a motorbike ride away.

This may be a traditional city better known for its shopping and historic architecture, but that does not preclude the presence of quality restaurants, innovative cuisine and informative cooking classes. The food scene is alive and thriving, a magnet for gourmets and amateur eaters alike. While in town, make sure to try the town’s specialty, Cao Lau Hoi An, made from.Top off your touring with a trip to the coast and a dip in the ocean at the nearby Cua Dai beach, or a visit to Thanh Ha village – 3 km to the west of Hoi An – where friendly villagers are more than willing to teach you traditional pottery.

Hoi An is most picturesque during Tet Nguyen Tieu, which usually falls around 15 January. This marks a hugely important festival in Hoi An, and residents always put enormous effort into making it the most colourful, meaningful, and cultural festival in Vietnam. It is the time when good food, traditional music and performance art is on every corner, and hundreds of lanterns hang on almost every street. If that’s not impressive enough for you, then stroll to the river, where thousands of lanterns float toward the ocean. Get yourself a lantern, make a wish, and drop it into the drink. Who knows, maybe your wish will come true!

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