Hoi An – an ancient town

Hoi An

Hoi An gate to bridgeHoi An is a small town located only 45 minutes by local bus or a bit shorter by taxi south of Danang. Quite central of Vietnam.

Hoi An ancient bridgeIt is an ancient town but nowadays has a population of over 163.000. That gives it a density of over 2600 per km2. Hoi An is placed on the world heritage list of UNESCO since 1995.

Hoi An History

Tourist Map of Hoi AnThe history of Hoi An dates back to prehistorical times. Archeological relics of up to 3000 years ago have been found. Under the collected artifacts are materials like copper, stone, glass, coins and much more.

Hoi An bridgeSome of the items coming from as far as India, the Middle East and other countries. A port made that possible and it also shows the trade of wet rice and other things being done. Several tribes and residents lived in early centuries in Hoi An. Followed by Japanese and Chinese immigrants.

Museums

Minh HuongA number of museums can be found in ancient Hoi An. Since 1989 there is the museum of cultural history. In here are over 200 artifacts on display. Things like porcelain, paper, wood, iron, etc. can be found together with information about the development stages of the port. Also is there info about the cultures and residents.

Hoi An museumAnother museum is that of the trading ceramics. Ceramic artifacts from trade with other coutries are the main items to be on display. This museum is open since 1995 and has over 400 artifacts. Museum of Sa Huynh culture is another museum. This museum has over 200 artifacts on display. When you’re an archeological artifacts lover the museums will be all interesting but for the others it’s more or less the same in each museum and therefore a visit to just one would do.

Villages

Village near Hoi AnThere are all kinds of villages bordering or belonging to Hoi An. They are supporting the trade as well as local souvenir sales to both domestic and international tourists. There is a carpentry village across the river which was long famous for wood carving. Thanh Ha pottery village dates back 500 years and lies 3 km west of the town. A vegetable village with over 200 households working on 40 hectares of land. A number of local vegetables and spices are grown in this village.

Village people working on the landAnother village is the bronze casting village which is located 30 minutes from town along the 1A national highway. It is a traditional craft village.

 

Activities

Round Boat activity There is one more village trip as a possibillity. This trip has some more activity to offer. At least to expect. A trip to Cam Thanh coconut village is a different one from just looking at crafts or how people make things. Actually, nothing is being made on this trip. It might depend on the season but possibly you hardly see coconuts despite the name this village or trip has been given. A half day trip cost around $15. You will be picked up by either a car, van or motorbike to bring you to the village. Its location is about 10 minutes away from town.

Party time in round boatsWhat makes this trip somewhat special is the bamboo basket boat tour. You step in a round shaped bamboo basket with a paddler. He paddles you through small waterways between the coconut trees which are in huge numbers in the water. This sounds like a wonderful, peaceful tour but reality is different. There is a huge number of bamboo baskets on the water, easily 100+. Those baskets are filled for 95% with Asians and domestic visitors and a handful of westerners. The paddler brings you to a lake point where DJ’s play loud music through big speakers. Locals are dancing and doing tricks with the bamboo baskets in order to get more money out of your pockets and so called fishermen throwing with nets to catch your basket which usually doesn’t work out. Though, good enough to make people laugh and give money.

Floating through the coconut fieldsIf you want to get away from this act and noise, tell your paddler to move ahead and he’ll get you through quiet waterways. Back on shore they are pushy to cook a meal for you for a nice price and they are pushing too in offering a traditional food cooking class. You’ll be brought back and the trip takes just a few hours max. Is it something special? Yes. Is it something not to miss? No. Is it better than hanging around in this small town of Hoi An where shopping is the only thing? Depends per individual.

Cham island

Cham island beachAnother option for you is to take a trip to Cham island. During the rain season however there are often no tours going there. The prices for diving for a beginner are around $85 for only one dive. Two dives cost around $105.

Cham island with view on mountainsThere are also options to stay overnight on the island for an excursion and snorkeling for the same price. A 1 day program snorkeling cost around $55.

 

Shopping in Hoi An

Shopping in Hoi AnMore for women is the town of Hoi An. A shoppers paradise in this old colonial style buildings town. Suits and dresses, bags, leather products, souvenirs. If you’re not into shopping you’ll be bored pretty fast in this town but otherwise you’ll love this place.

Hoi An tourists shoppingOverall is Hoi An different from other places in Viernam and therefore worth a visit.

Video impression

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