Hoi An was once an important trading port in Indochina and today is a tourist hub retaining authentic Asian traditional architecture. As an UNESCO World Heritage Site, its nostalgia vibe makes it an incredible place to see, though today the division between the locals and the magnificent restaurants and tourism services is apparent. Though the whole town is worth visiting, there are some you should spend time explore as mentioned below.
The Old Quarter
The whole Old Quarter can be seen as a huge museum with endless reminiscences of the past time with ancient houses, narrow streets and shops remained the same as they were a few centuries ago. Walking around the Old Quarter, you can feel the cultural essence of the Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese intermingling harmoniously into the unique culture of Hoi An. You can also enjoy traditional arts performance or enjoy specialties in restaurant scattering the area.
Tan Ky ancient house
The ancient house is close to a perfect example of the typical architecture of a merchant’s residence in the 18th century in Hoi An. Located at 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street in the Old Quarter, the house has been kept in good condition through seven generations. Its name means “progress shop”, expressing the owner’s wish for prosperity. Though not being the oldest house in the town, Tan Ky is the most well-preserved in Hoi An.
The bridge in red faded colour has long been well-known for its graceful curves, decorations and inspiration from Zen spirit.
It was constructed by Japanese trading community in Hoi An in the 16th century to connect two areas separated by the canal. It is also said that the bridge was built as a weapon to deter monster Mamazu that caused earthquakes and other disasters.
Chinese assembly halls
These buildings were used as places to socialize for the Chinese immigrants and protect the Chinese traditions. There are now 5 remaining assembly halls (Fujian, Ghaozhou, Hainan, Cantonese and Chinese) sharing similar architecture with a grand gate, a garden with ornamental plants, a main hall and a large altar room. Visiting these places, tourists can admire beautiful statues, lacquered boards, murals, etc carrying the beliefs of the Chinese community.
Among the five assembly halls in Hoi An, Fujian Assembly Hall is greatest and most famous. Trung Hoa (Chinese) Assembly Hall is the oldest among these five. Hainan Assembly Hall is used to worship 108 Chinese merchants, who were mistakenly killed and later were vindicated and named “deities” by King Tu Duc.
Kim Bong Carpentry Village
When in Hoi An, you can spend half a day to visit Kim Bong Village by bicycle or by boat to see artisans there making furniture, religious statues or other wooden items.
The village originated in northern Vietnam and it artisans has involved in work on furniture and house across the country, including those in Hue and Hoi An.
There is no entrance fee for visiting the village.
Tra Que Vegetable Village
Just 2km away from the Old Quarter is Tra Que Vegetable Village, where you can watch the simple and healthy life of farmer beside the touristy town. You can also experience the farmer’s life, attend traditional Vietnamese cuisine cooking class and try fresh vegetable grown in the village. It can be reached by bike or boat.