Graceful, historic Hoi An is Vietnam’s most atmospheric and delightful town, says Lonely Planet. “Once a major port, it boasts the grand architecture and beguiling riverside setting that befits its heritage, and the 21st-century curses of traffic and pollution are almost entirely absent.” The town has “shed most of that history in favor of its 18th century incarnation as a vital Southeast Asian trading centre, with ships calling from as far as Britain and America,” explains David Swanson in The Los Angeles Times.
Here are some of the best things to do in Hoi An:
Soak up the Old Town: “Wandering around the old quarter is like walking through a living museum; almost 1000 historic buildings have been preserved and look just like they would have hundreds of years ago … but it’s night-time when things really become magical: the streets are lit up by locally made paper lanterns, and the results are as near to a fairytale town as you’re ever likely to see.” (Escape)
Get a tailor-made suit: “The city’s streets are filled with skilled tailors and leather goods workshops where you can have any item of clothing or accessory you like made to order … always go to the tailors with the specific details (material, fit, stitching, etc.) of what you want, shop around for the best rates, and never depend on hotels’ or taxi drivers’ recommendations, if you want the best of Hoi An’s craftsmanship.” (The Culture Trip)
Eat: “The town offers a conga line of dining options, from enticing street food sold by vendors on almost every corner, to full-on gourmet meals served in lovingly maintained historic buildings, to cooking schools that dish cultural insights alongside hands-on preparations … Hoi An's best-known chef is Trinh Diem Vy … at Morning Glory, Vy dished the street food of her childhood -- crispy pancakes made from a batter of mung beans and rice, banana flower salad, caramelized pork with peas and mushrooms -- all delicious.” (Los Angeles Times)
Savour the tastes of the market: “Mangostene, rambutan and papaya are some of the sweet juicy tropical fruits sold in abundance at Hoi An's lively produce market … the market is a kaleidoscope of colour and a hub of activity … make sure to visit first thing in the morning for the freshest produce. (Traveller)
Cross the Japanese Covered Bridge: “Famous as being the most recognised symbol of Hoi An, this lovely (and amazingly sturdy) bridge has been standing for more than 400 years … it was built by the town’s Japanese community to link their area with the Chinese quarter.” (Escape)
Head to China Beach: “Known for its starring role in the movie Apocalypse Now, China Beach conjures images of helicopters, surfing and napalm … after US forces withdrew from Danang in 1972, China Beach became famous worldwide. It was also the title of a popular 1980s television series depicting a field hospital during the war … these days, it's a popular spot for holiday makers.” (Traveller)