Hoi An is a small, idyllic and almost Chinese-looking old port city that has been awarded a World Heritage Title by UNESCO. We walked comfortably through the small streets and looked at the most beautiful sights of the town.
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The Old Town of Hoi An – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hoi An is a picturesque town with about 80,000 inhabitants, located on the Vietnamese central coast. Hoi An once owned the largest port in Southeast Asia, located on the Silk Road. Over time, numerous Chinese and Japanese merchant families settled, whose countries had officially closed themselves off at the end of the 15th century and had their goods shipped to foreign ports.
Beginning to mid-middle of the In the 17th century, European commercial branches were established in Hoi An, but the business success of the companies was mediocre, so they soon withdrew. In In the 18th century, Hoi An became increasingly important as the port became increasingly consigned and merchant ships had to move to the port of Da Nang. A rebellion in 1780 largely destroyed the city, but was rebuilt thereafter.
The fact that the Old Town of Hoi An is the only one that remained unscathed during the Vietnam War is the reason why one finds such a preserved historical cityscape in Hoi An today. This was an opportunity for UNESCO in 1999 to put the Old Town on the list of world heritage sites on the grounds that “… a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian commercial port from the period between the 15th and 19th centuries, whose buildings show a fusion of local and foreign influences, especially in the style of southern Chinese small towns…”
The sights of Hoi An
Hoi An’s Old Town stretches between the Stream Dang waterfront and Phan Chu Trinh. Here you will also find the main sights of Hoi An. Far more than 800 buildings are historically significant in the town – including pagodas, temples, meeting halls and trading houses.
Tickets for the Old Town
To visit many sights in the old town you need an entrance ticket. A package ticket, which can be purchased at various sales kiosks in the Old Town for 125,000 Dong (about 5 EUR), includes admission to five attractions. When buying this package ticket, you don’t have to decide which things to visit, but you can use these tickets for all 23 historical sites. At the respective sites, one of 5 pieces of paper is simply torn down and is thus devalued.
For Hoi An, this tourist ticket is a huge source of income to renovate and beautify the old houses and monuments. In 2018 alone, the city has taken 266 billion dong (about 10.4 million euros).
Chaa Cu, the Japanese Bridge
The Japanese Bridge is the landmark of Hoi An. The construction of the bridge once united two historic districts: Chinese on the one hand and Japanese on the other. The bridge is even found in the coat of arms of the city and is a great photo motif.
Since the bridge is one of the main attractions of the city, it is unbelievable what is going on here. Crowds of tourists, especially large tour groups from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Here a beautiful picture without making people was a real challenge 😉
The Bridge of Lights over the Thu Bon River
Just steps from the Japanese Bridge, the Bridge of Lights is located over the Thu Bon River. From the bridge you have a beautiful view on both sides of the Thu Bon River. It is definitely worth taking a detour to the other side, because here you will find the Night Market as well as cheap restaurants. Especially when it’s evening, the bridge is a central port of call in the old town.
The Old House of Phung Hung
A symbol of hoi An’s former cultural diversity is the two-storey Phung Hung House from 1780, which impresses with its idiosyncratic architectural style with influences from China (balcony), Japan (roof) and Vietnam (beams). A fine example of the cultural mix, which also determines the style of other buildings of the old town.
The Old House of Tan Ky
The old house of Tan Ky was built more than two centuries ago by a Vietnamese family and preserved over several generations. The old house reflects the combination of both Japanese and Chinese architectural styles. If you leave the building via the rear exit, you get out right on the Thu Bin River. There is also a yellow wall, which is a very popular (Instagram) photo motif.
The Quan Cong Temple
The Quan Cong Temple was built in 1653 and is dedicated to a Chinese general revered for his compassion and sense of justice. The exterior of the temple is made of sandstone bricks; the roof is covered with green-glazed tiles and decorated with mythical creatures such as dragons and unicorns.
The Quang Trieu Assembly Hall
The Quang Trieu (Cantonese) Assembly Hall is one of the most famous historical buildings in Hoi An and therefore also a very popular tourist attraction. What was going on here was the purest madness: people crowded over people (especially Chinese) pushed themselves through the stone three-entrance gate into the temple complex.
The house was built in 1885 by Chinese from overseas. It used to be a place for Chinese fishermen and traders to temporarily rest and exchange goods. Today, assembly hall features dragon fountains, various Cantonese statues, bronze incense vessels, Chinese terracotta seats, and documents about the Chinese community living in Hoi An.
The Ba Mu Temple Gate
The Ba Mu temple complex was built in 1626 elsewhere in Vietnam and then moved to the present site in Hoi An. The complex consists of the Tam Quan Gate, an entrance gate in the classic Vietnamese style, often seen in front of pagodas and temples, as well as a small pond, arranged flower beds and a lawn.
At the beginning of 2019, the facility was only reopened to the public after it had been extensively renovated.
Craftsmanship for lampions, embroidery pictures & apparel
With our Gebeco tour group, at the end of our walk we visited a traditional craft shop where we were shown the production of the ubiquitous lampions. Furthermore, we could see here the elaborate creation of embroidery images, for which the seamstresses sometimes need weeks and months per single image. That was really very impressive.
Hoi An is also known beyond the borders of the city for the production of tailor-made items at a very reasonable price. Some of the garments are made overnight and you can pick them up the next day. We were also able to look at the process from the caterpillars to the production of silks to the production of the garments in this craft 🙂
More impressions of the old town
In the old town we just let ourselves drift, walked through alleys and were able to collect many impressions. A beautiful Instagram spot is hidden in the gift shop SUNDAY in Hoi An: Here in the pink courtyard is the well-known photo motif “Hoi An vibes only”.
The Night Market
In the evening we took the free shuttle bus of our hotel to the old town again to experience Hoi An at night. Since we were hungry anyway, we first walked to the Night Market, which can be reached via the Bridge of Lights on the other side of the river. Here you will find everything from lampion shops to souvenir stalls to extraordinary food stalls (frog legs, octopus, Vietnamese pizza, etc.). We always like to stroll around such markets, because you can just discover so much new things here.
In a restaurant next to the Night Market we ate something, which was significantly cheaper than in the old town itself.
The City of Lampions – The Magic of Hoi An at Night
We really liked the romantic and picturesque Hoi An – even if the city is totally crowded by tourists. Especially in the evening, Hoi an sprays a charm that you must have experienced! Shining lanterns hang everywhere in the alleys, on the river there are tons of illuminated boats and paper boats with candles. It was a lot of fun to stroll through here and just stop in beautiful places and enjoy the moment 🙂
Map with all sights & photo spots in Hoi An
On the following Google MyMaps map we have drawn all important photo spots and sights in the old town of Hoi An.
All travelogues from VietnamDuring our 10-day trip with Gebeco through Vietnam we got to know many different sides of the country. Starting with the pulsating capital Hanoi and the millions of scooters on the streets, the majestic beauty of Halong Bay, an exciting night train ride to the cultural centre of Hue, further to the old town of Hoi An, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and on to the megacity of Saigon in the south of the country. Our trip was very varied and full of contrasts and here you can find an overview of all travel reports: Day 1: Our trip “Typical Vietnam!” with Gebeco (Vietnam)
Day 2: Hanoi – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots (Vietnam)
Day 3: Halong Bay – A day trip from Hanoi (Vietnam)
Day 3: The Night Train from Hanoi to Hue (Vietnam)
Day 4: Hue – Citadel & Imperial Palace with the Forbidden City (Vietnam)
Day 4: Hue – Emperor’s Tomb of Minh Mang & Thien Mu Pagoda (Vietnam)
Day 5: From Hue to Hoi An – The Cloud Pass & Da Nang (Vietnam)
Day 5: Hoi An – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots (Vietnam)
Day 6: My Son – The ruins of the ancient temple city at Hoi An (Vietnam)
Day 7: Saigon – Die Sehenswürdigkeiten von Ho Chi Minh Stadt
Day 7: Saigon – A culinary Vespa tour of the city (Vietnam)
Day 8: The Mekong Delta – A bike & boat tour (Vietnam)
Day 9: Cu Chi – The Tunnels of the Vietcong in the Vietnam War (Vietnam)