Just an hour’s ride south of Da Nang, the historic town of Hoi An sits along the peaceful Thu Bon River and just off the coast of the Eastern Sea. Hoi An is famous for preserving traditional Vietnamese architecture and way of life, and was designated a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The rustic settings that flip past on the ride to Hoi An are almost as scenic as the town itself. Farmers work the rice paddies with wooden carts and buffalo as the paths wind over little hillocks and footbridges. Fishermen cast nets from wooden boats into still water.
The center of Hoi An and the reason for its world heritage status is the picturesque old town preserved in its original state as a major trading port in the 15th and 16th century. No motorbikes are allowed and footpaths wind through narrow streets bordered on either side by open air shops offering local woodwork, clothing, and art.
Hoi An is renowned for its tailors and dressmakers that set up shop in these traditional homes. A stone Japanese foot bridge acts as a landmark and inside local and visiting Buddhists light incense and pray.
The walkway along the riverside passes open air cafes and local boat captains offering a cruise down the river. The riverside ends at a bustling local market, where amongst the spices, fruit, and root vegetables, shoemakers will craft footwear to custom order.
The colors of Hoi An truly come out after the sun sets, the yellow facades of houses are lit up along the riverbank in the shadows of palms and red paper lanterns hang above the streets. The old town bustles as the notes of local musicians mixed with conversation and the clinking of glasses spill out into the night air.
Markets spring up around noodle shops and jade trinkets and jewelry are on display alongside snacks of nuts and quail eggs. Locals and travelers eat, drink, and take in the cool nights where Vietnam’s past blends into the present. Buses for Hoi An leave Da Nang bus station every 20 minutes and a ticket costs 20,000d.
Entrance fee for Hoi An Ancient Town: 120,000d (international visitors) and 80,000d (Vietnamese). Buy the ticket one time and keep it for re-entry.