A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, Hoi An has been a popular destination for tourists traveling to Vietnam. Hoi An is just an hour drive away from Da Nang International Airport. Lucky me, my visit coincided with the Mid Autumn Celebration, an annual festival that made my trip to this charming city more worthwhile.
The ancient town of Hoi An is relatively small and can be covered by foot or bicycle within a day. Walking on the narrow streets, you can’t help but think that you have been transported back to an old Chinese village. From the tiled roofs, the carved wooden structures and signboards with huge Chinese characters, the town is just laced with rich Chinese influence.
A contrasting architecture in the ancient town is the Japanese Bridge. The bridge was built by the Japanese in the 17th century and its original facades are still very well preserved.
My stay in Hoi An coincided with the annual Mid Autumn Celebration and this annual event is a huge thing for locals. During the day, various troops perform the lion dance on the street and in front of the shop houses. At night, children carrying colourful lanterns line the streets with the celebration stretching over to the riverside.
Hoi An is not only about the ancient town. A surprise find for me was the beautiful Cua Dai beach. The distance from the ancient town to the beach is about 4 to 5km. With a map in hand, I rented a bicycle from the hotel and biked my way to the beach. On the road, bicycles have the lowest priority so be prepared to give way and put up with the incessant honking from the motor vehicles.
If you have an additional day to spare, book a tour to the historic site, My Son. An organised trip leaving in the morning costs just under USD4 per person. For more flexibility you can also opt to hire a private car.
Lastly, for photographers looking for that extra shot. I would recommend you to join the Hoi An photo tour organised by a French man named, Etienne Bossot. He has been leaving in Hoi An for several years and will take you to fantastic spots to capture that special shot.