Hoi An is a well-preserved old town in the central coast of Vietnam. Previously a port city, the history of Hoi An can be easily found in the architecture style, from the Chinese shophouses and temples to French colonial structures, the unique Japanese Covered Bridge and the Vietnamese tube houses. Get yourself some bespoke clothing from talented tailors in the city.
Wooden boats on the Thu Bon River in Hoi An Ancient Town (Hoian), Vietnam. Yellow old houses on waterfront reflected in river. Hoi An is a popular tourist destination of Asia. (Copyright: Efired)
HOI AN, VIETNAM, OCTOBER 24, 2012 : Hoai river in Hoi An ancient town, Quang Nam, Vietnam. Hoi An is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. (Zephyr_p / Shutterstock)
HOI AN, VIETNAM – OCTOBER 24, 2012 – View of an ancient Japanese Bridge. Hoi An is the World’s cultural heritage and famous attraction in Vietnam (Zephyr_p / Shutterstock)
HOI AN, VIETNAM Ca February 2014:Japanese Bridge in Hoi An, a popular travel spot. (Shanti Hesse / Shutterstock)
HOI AN, VIET NAM – FEBRUARY 4, 2015: Two unidentified asian female tourists in historical vietnamese clothes walk on a street in Hoi Ah on Feb 4, 2015. Hoi An is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. (Romas_Photo / Shutterstock)
HOI AN, VIETNAM – November 14: couple walking on the streets of Hoi An, Vietnam on Apirl 14, 2014 in Hoi An. Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a major touristic destination in Central Vietnam. (junjunalex / Shutterstock)
People passing between buildings in Hoi An, Vietnam (Movie color tone) (Copyright: iamtripper)
Hoi An. Vietnam. February 25, 2013 .Drevny town Hoi An, central Vietnam. Street scene (Svetlana Eremina / Shutterstock)
HOI AN, VIETNAM – FEBRUARY 7, 2016: Asian tourists wait for their cyclo tour of Hoi An old town to begin. The city was an important trade center even before the french colonial time. (AsiaTravel / Shutterstock)
HOI AN, VIETNAM – OCTOBER 21: Pedicabs sight seeing city tour for traveller on the street in old town at UNESCO World Heritage on Oct 21, 2014 in Hoi An, Vietnam. (maodoltee / Shutterstock)
Hoi An, Vietnam -January 7, 2015: Tourists in the streets of Hoi An ancient town, Vietnam (Igor Dymov / Shutterstock)
Hoi An, Vietnam – August 14, 2015: tourist shop selling clothing in Hoi An Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Nils Versemann / Shutterstock)
HOI AN, VIETNAM, January 30: on an old town of Hoi An on January 30, 2014 in Hoi An, Vietnam. Hoi An was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. (Quang nguyen vinh / Shutterstock)
HOI AN, VIETNAM – FEB 3, 2015 – Woman sells vegetables and fruit at the Central Market of Hoi An, Vietnam (steve estvanik / Shutterstock)
HOI AN – VIETNAM – JANUARY 6, 2014 Portrait of an unidentified Vietnamese girl in Hoi An, Vietnam, Asia. The young girl is smiling in the camera and showing the victory sign. (Jazzmany / Shutterstock)
Colorful vegetables for sale at the Central Market of Hoi An, Vietnam (Copyright: steve estvanik)
Keychain souvenirs of local cuisine sold on streets of Hoi An, Vietnam (Copyright: Jina K)
HOI AN, VIETNAM – FEB 3, 2015 – Stall selling incense, calligraphy supplies and other items in the central market of Hoi An, Vietnam (steve estvanik / Shutterstock)
HOI AN, VIETNAM – FEB 3, 2015 – Musicians play ancient Chinese stringed instruments, Hoi An, Vietnam (steve estvanik / Shutterstock)
Hoi An, Vietnam – january 17, 2016: Panorama with girl in traditional Vietnamese dress in the Hoi An ancient temple (dach83 / Shutterstock)
Hoi An, Vietnam – january 17, 2016: Girl in traditional Vietnamese dress in the Hoi An shop (dach83 / Shutterstock)
A girl in traditional Vietnamese costume against the wall with the gongs in the town of Hoi An (Copyright: dach83)
Hoi An – Vietnam – January 9, 2014 Portrait of a young vietnamese girl from Hoi An, Vietnam, Asia (Jazzmany / Shutterstock)
Sunbeds on the beach in Hoi An, Vietnam. (Copyright: Milosz Maslanka)
HOI AN, VIETNAM -APRIL 16: Cua Dai Beach in Hoi An, Vietnam on April 16, 2014 in Hoian, Vietnam. (Daily Images / Shutterstock)
My Son, Vietnam – August 14, 2015: My Son UNESCO World Heritage site near Hoi An in central Vietnam is an ancient Hindu temple complex of the Cham people. (Nils Versemann / Shutterstock)
My Son, Ancient Hindu tamples of Cham culture in Vietnam near the cities of Hoi An and Da Nang. (Copyright: Romas_Photo)
HOI AN, VIETNAM – MARCH 12: Traditional pagoda in the street of Hoi An old town, Vietnam on March 12, 2015. Hoi An is a city of Vietnam, on the coast of the East Sea. (Arseniy Krasnevsky / Shutterstock)
HOI AN, VIETNAM – November 14: People relax in coffee of Hoi An, Vietnam on Apirl 14, 2014 in Hoi An. Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a major touristic destination in Central Vietnam. (junjunalex / Shutterstock)
Open door to old cafe in Hoi An. Restaurant at night in Vietnam, Asia. Stand with menu at entrance. Plants in pots. Light from lamps. Traditional asian place to eat. Beautiful design of windows. (Copyright: Konstantin Yolshin)
HOIAN, VIETNAM, MAY 08, 2015: Handcrafted lamps in night market on MAY 08, 2015 in Hoi an, Vietnam. Hoi an is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. (CPM PHOTO / Shutterstock)
Hoi An, Vietnam – January 31: Vietnamese girl selling candle offerings during the Chinese New Year celebrations in Hoi An, Vietnam. (R.M. Nunes / Shutterstock)
Hoi An ancient town at night, UNESCO Heritage City, Vietnam. (Copyright: Elena Ermakova)
Hoi An – The Legacy of the Champa Kingdom Revealed
By Sylvia Arad
Rich in history and culture, Hoi An has remained a well-preserved model of a traditional Vietnam port city of an earlier era. Named a UNESCO World Heritage site, it remains a charming, small riverside town with its history intact.
Historically, Hoi An was the commercial capital of the powerful Champa Kingdom, who built the city in the 1st century AD and ruled it until the 15th century. Hoi An quickly became the largest harbor in Southeast Asia and one of its most important seaports. From here, the Champa gained control over the highly-lucrative spice trade, generating great wealth for the city. A key stop on the silk road, Hoi An became the dominant power in the spice and silk trade spreading its influence as far as Baghdad.
In the 15th Century, when the Champa Kingdom fell to the northern Viet people, Hoi An gradually lost its primacy as a seaport, though in the next century it was briefly restored to its glory by the Nguyen Dynasty, following the settlements of Japanese, Chinese, Dutch and Indian merchants in the city.
Today, Hoi An is a popular travel destination. Its beautiful old buildings and architecture, its quiet narrow lanes (cars and motorbikes are mostly banned from its streets), its many craft shops including local ceramics and fabrics and its history as a central ancient seaport all draw travelers to this lovely city. In addition, The town is renowned as the tailoring capital of Vietnam, with its hundreds of skilled tailors whipping up custom-made clothing at great value.
Not far from Hoi An, the Champa’s commercial capital, lies My Son, its spiritual capital. Once a holy valley of impressive Hindu temples and burial grounds of the Champa kingdom’s royalty, My Son is often compared to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.
My Son dates back to the 4th century AD when the Champa King Bhadravornan created the first temple on the site and appealed to following generations to honor the temple and respect the site. Over the centuries, more temples were erected and at its peak, My Son embraced more than 70 temples and monuments. With the disappearance of the Champa Kingdom in the 15th century, My Son gradually deteriorated and fell into ruins. In the 1930’s, the French restored the site only to have it destroyed during the Vietnam War. In spite of that, the site remains an impressive monumental site of the Champa Kingdom and an icon of the early heritage, history and culture of Vietnam.
Centered around Hoi An, this is a region to enjoy life at a slower pace than elsewhere in Vietnam. Nearby, the Marble Mountains offer a taste of adventure, where hiking and cycling opportunities abound, and the long stretch of lovely China Beach close by features white sands and turquoise waters for the best water adventures around. Most of all, walking around Hoi An’s quiet streets, visiting the city’s museums, merchant houses and neighboring My Son, and sitting quietly by the banks of the river in the relaxed atmosphere here make Hoi An a top destination in any Vietnam adventure.
Sylvia is a trip consultant, planner and manager who creates unique intercultural adventures for families and loves to impart information,tips and personal experiences especially related to family adventure travel.