Hoi An (map) is a beautiful city in Vietnam about 30 km to the south of Da Nang. The Old Town of Hoi An is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hoi An, once known as Faifo, with more than 2,000 years of history, was the principal port of the Cham Kingdom, which controlled the strategic spice trade with Indonesia from the 7th-10th centuries and was a major international port in the 16th and 17th centuries.
While the serious shipping business has long since moved to Da Nang, the heart of the city is still the Old Town, full of winding lanes and Chinese-styled shophouses, which is particularly atmospheric in the evening as the sun goes down. While almost all shops now cater to the tourist trade, the area has been largely preserved as is, which is unusual in Vietnam, and renovation has proceeded slowly and carefully. It’s mercifully absent of towering concrete blocks and karaoke parlours.
The centre of Hoi An is very small and pedestrian-friendly, so you will be walking around most of the time. The Old Town, with its historical architecture and very walkable streets filled with shops and restaurants, is arguably at its best at night, when the activity along the river front is lit by the soft light of silk lanterns.
The main thoroughfare in the Old Town is Tran Phu (map). Just south of the Old Town, across the Thu Bon River, are the islands of An Hoi to the west, reached via Hai Ba Trung, and Cam Nam to the east, reached via Hoang Dieu.
Japanese Covered Bridge (map). The bridge was constructed in the early 1600s by the Japanese community, roughly 40 years before they left the city to return to Japan under the strict policy of sakoku enforced by the Tokugawa Shogunate, and renovated in 1986.
Quan Cong Temple (map). Founded in the 15th century, this temple is dedicated to Quan Cong, a Chinese general who is remembered and worshipped for his qualities of loyalty, integrity and justice.
Old house of Phung Hung (map). Traditional two-story wooden house, inhabited over 100 years by eight generations; and the current one guides you around in hope of a tip. + Old house of Quan Thang (map) / Old house of Duc An (map) / Old house of Tan Ky (map).
Hoi An regularly floods during November. Visitors who plan to arrive during one of their floods should book ahead.