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Nov 24, 2014

Hoi An is an old town down the Thu Bon River, on the coastal plain of Quang Nam Province, about 30 km south of Danang City. Hoi An used to be known on the international market with many different names such as Lam Ap, Faifo, Hoai Pho and Hoi An. 

What is so special about Hoi An is that this little port town is in an incredible state of preservation. It offers some of the most densely-concentrated sights in Vietnam with its old streets bordered with ancient houses and assembly halls, its pagodas, temples, ancient wells and tombs. In total, more than a thousand places of interest. The architecture of Hoi An is characterised by a harmonious blend of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese influences. After many centuries, Hoi An is still respectful of its traditions, folk festivals, beliefs and of its sophisticated culinary art. Set in a quiet environment, Hoi An is surrounded by peaceful villages that have crafts such as carpentry, bronze making, ceramic... 

Researchers said most of the buildings in Hoi An underwent restoration at the beginning of the 19th century, even if they might be constructed long time ago. The ancient architecture shown most clearly in the Ancient Town that located in Minh An Ward. It covers about 2 square kilometres and almost of all famous relics in Hoi An are gathered here. The streets are very short and narrow, having a winding, crossing as the chessboard style. The topography of the ancient town tilt gradually from north to south. The buildings in the old town is built mostly with traditional materials such as: brick, wood and no more than two floors. The traces of time is able to find not only on the architectural design of each building but also everywhere like: on the yin-yang roof tiles covered with moss and plants; the old gray mold walls; the pictures carved on a strange animal, or describing a old story… Having inherited a multi-cultural architecture so varied and sophisticated, Hoi An must have attracted numerous and talented workers in carpentry, ceramics, and woodcarving from China, Japan and other regions of Vietnam. 

For centuries, Hoi An had developed into a melting pot of various nationalities who came to the area, bringing along their own cultures. Accordingly, Hoi An features the co-existence of indigenous customs and habits and those imported by foreign settlers.

There are animist cults, of the Genie-Whale and worship of deities of natural phenomena (such as rain, wind, thunder), but also the worship of Holy Protectors like Thien Hau, Quan Cong, Bao Sinh Dai De, Avalokitesvara, especially among the Chinese community. They hold regular festivals or cultural and religious activities on the occasion of Tet Nguyen Tieu (the 16th day of the 1st lunar month), Thanh Minh (3rd lunar month), Doan Ngo (the 5th day of the 5th lunar month), Trung Thu (the 15th day of the 8th lunar month), Trung Cuu (the 9th day of the 9th lunar month), and Ha Nguyen (the 15th day of the 10th lunar month).

The social and cultural diversity adds up to the uniqueness of Hoi An’s inhabitants. Rich in traditions and early exposed to the outside world, the Hoi An people feature a unique cultural identity, which has been well preserved from generation to generation. Lives of people who stay here incline to be interior with subtle quiet. In the mind of the natives of Hoi An, this town constitutes a large ancient home that shelters a big family of many descendants including hospitable dwellers, friendly hosts and hostesses, kind-hearted women, obedient children and so on. They together form a harmonious community who has lived peacefully side by side through successive generations.

Upon reaching Hoi An, visitors will immediately feel the hospitality and friendship the locals extend to them. One thing that has withstood the test of time, one thing that the Hoi An people today can be proud of and therefore, make every efforts to preserve is their popular ho (chants) and age-old cultural festivals. Among them, the "Nights of Hoi An" is held on the 14th night of every lunar month. Visitors can immerse themselves in a festive atmosphere imbued with the traditional identities of Hoi An.

The architectural significance of Hoi An has been recognized by UNESCO, during the 23rd Congress which took place in Marrakech (Morocco) from the 29th of November to the 4th of December 1999, since the town was officially listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site.


In the ancient town:
Chua Cau (Japanese Bridge)

Old Houses: Quan Thang Old House (77 Tran Phu); Diep Dong Nguyen Old House (80 Nguyen Thai Hoc) Tan Ky Old House (101 Nguyen Thai Hoc); Phung Hung Old House (4 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai); Tran Family Chapel (21 Le Loi)
Ancient Wells: Ba Le Well (Kiet Gieng Alley, Minh An Ward) 
Assembly Halls: Quang Dong Assembly Hall (17 Tran Phu); Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall (46 Tran Phu); Trieu Chau Assembly Hall (157 Nguyen Duy Hieu); Hai Nam Assembly Hall (10 Tran Phu)
- Museums
: Museum of Trade Ceramics Hoi An (80 Tran Phu), Museum of Sa Huynh Culture (149 Tran Phu); Hoi An Museum of History and Culture (7 Nguyen Hue); Hoi An Museum of Folk Culture (33 Nguyen Thai Hoc)
- Lantern Manufacturers
: Ha Linh Lantern Manufacturer (72 Tran Nhan Tong); Huynh Van Ba Lantern Manufacturer​​(54 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai) 

- Cua Dai Beach;
- Bay Mau Coconut Forest;
- Cu Lao Cham;
- Tra Que Vegetable Village;

- Thanh Ha Pottery Village;
- Kim Bong Carpentry Village;
- Tombs of the Japanese traders

- Ticket price: VND80,000/person (Vietnamese visitors); VND120,000/person (foreign visitors)
- Visitors can enjoy:

  1/ All streets in the Ancient Town, artistic activities, folk games, night market.
  2/ 5 of the 21 sightseeing places:

* Japanese Covered Bridge, Cam Pho  Communal House,  Minh Huong  Communal House, House of Tuy Tien Duong, Quan Cong Temple.
* Museums: History and Culture, Trade Ceramics, Sa Huynh Culture, Folk Culture.
* Old houses: Quan Thang, Duc An, Phung Hung, Tran Family's Chapel, Tan Ky.
* Assembly Halls: Trieu Chau, Quang Dong, Phuc   Kien.
* Handicraft workshop and traditional arts performance, XQ Hoi An.
* Ancient tombs of Japanese traders: Mr Gu Sokukun, Mr Tani Yajirobei, Mr Banjiro.
Note:  - Visitors can buy more than 01 ticket to visit more sightseeing places
          - Every ticket is valid for 24 hours.
          - Free guide fee for a group of over 08 tourists, local guides are available at ticket booths.

Services in Hoi An
Visitors can rent bicycles, motorcycles to visit around Hoi An. However, the most interesting thing is walking around the ancient town to feel the ethos of this place. Visitors can only visit the ancient town by motorcycles at periods: before 7:00; 11:30 – 14:00, 17:00 – 18:30 and after 21:00. 

- Free WiFi Internet access in Hoi An Ancient Town
- Discovering Hoi An Night is interesting with traditional games, folk songs, and local food...
 - Summer (from 16 April to 15 October): from 19:00 to 21:30;
          - Winter (from 16 October to 15 April): from 18:30 to 21:00.

- Hoi An Legendary Night

Date: The 14th day of every lunar month - Time: From 18:30 to 21:30
- Night Market: Open everyday from 17:00 - 23:00 on Nguyen Hoang Street (opposite the Japanese Bridge) with 40 stalls selling handicraft products such as ceramics, lanterns and traditional specialties of Hoi An - Quang Nam.
- The program of "Enjoy lifting ro (small square fishing-neton the river"
Two times per day: from 9:00 to 11:00 and from 15:00 to 21:00 at Hoai River (arc area of the Japanese Bridge).
- The program of "Piano performance place": from 19:00 to 21:00 daily at 106 Bach Dang.
- Folk performances: from 19:00 to 21:00 daily at 78 Le Loi.
- Hoi An specialties:
- Foods: cao lau noodles, girdle cake (rice paper – banh trang) mix with oysters, 
Steamed Bun (banh bao), white rose– Small Shrimp Dumpling (banh vac).
- Gifts: banh in 
(Moulded Snow-Flaked Cake), banh dau xanh (green bean cake), banh it la gai (Small Sweet Dark Jelly-like Dumplings wrapped in Banana Leaf Pyramid), chili sauce of Hoi An. 

Center for Culture and Sports of Hoi An City

Address: 01 Nguyen Truong To Street, Hoi An City
Tel: (84-510) 386 1327

Fax: (84-510) 386 3761



Hoi An Center for Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation
Add: 10B Tran Hung Dao Street, Hoi An City
Tel: (84-510) 386 2367/386 2946
Fax: (84-510) 386 1779
See more Useful Website about Hoi An

- Hoi An City Tour: Hop on a bike at the local market for a leisurely one hour cycling tour through the countryside surrounding Hoi An. Ride alongside rice paddies and waterways and view local life. Back in Hoi An, discover the old town, which used to be a prosperous seaport city during the 15th to 18th centuries, by foot. Its sizeable community of foreign merchants resulted in a unique architectural style with Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese influences. Visit the assembly hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation (Phuc Kien Hoi Quan), the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Tan Ky House. Finish this trip back in time with a visit to a handicraft workshop, where you learn about the history and art of lantern making. Make your own lantern with the guidance of a local craftsman and take home a handmade souvenir!

- My Son Tour: Drive to My Son (55 km), the site of Vietnam’s most extensive Cham remains and once the centre of the kingdom of Champa. Walk through the lush green valley and visit the ruins of the brick sanctuaries (Cham towers) built between the 4th and 13th century. The remaining structures conjure images of the majesty of the Champa Kingdom and were granted Unesco World Heritage status in 1999.
- Hoi An & My Son Tour

- Da Nang City Tour (from Hoi An): Visit the only accessible of the five marble mountains, named after the five elements kim (metal), thủy (water), mộc (wood), hỏa (fire) and thổ (earth). Thủy Mountain is home to several Buddhist and Hindu grottoes, sanctuaries and pagodas. From the top marvel at the panoramic view of the area and the other marble mountains. This area is famous for stone sculpture making and stone-cutting crafts and many shops selling these items are located at the foot of the mountain. The Museum of Cham Sculpture has the world’s largest collection of Cham artefacts and displays around 300 pieces dating from the 5th to the 15th centuries. After the museum visit, we take you to the local market. Have a closer look at local specialties such as dried squid and dried bats. Before heading back to your hotel, take time to stroll along the beautiful white My Khe beach.


  • Hoi An, an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Asian trading port, is an outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures over time in an international maritime commercial centre.
  • The town is a special example of a traditional trading port in South-East Asia which has been completely and assiduously preserved: it is the only town in Viet Nam that has survived intact in this way. Most of the buildings are in the traditional architectural style of the 19th and 20th centuries. They are aligned along narrow lanes of traditional type. They include many religious buildings, such as pagodas, temples, meeting houses, etc., which relate to the development of a port community. The traditional lifestyle, religion, customs and cooking have been preserved and many festivals still take place annually.
  • Archaeological finds and excavations have shown that there was a port and trading centre of the local Sa Huynh people along the Thu Bon River as early as the 2nd century BC. This continued to expand, especially during its most flourishing period from the late 16th to the early 18th centuries. It was through Hoi An that Christianity penetrated Vietnam in the 17th century.
  • By the end of the century, the rise of other ports on the coast of Vietnam, in particular Da Nang, and silting of its harbour, led to the final eclipse of Hoi An. As a result of this economic stagnation, it has preserved its early appearance in a remarkably intact state, the only town in the country to have done so. The ancient town is situated on the north bank of Thu Bon River. There is a street running east-west along the river's edge and three further streets parallel to the river. They are intersected at right angles by streets and alleys. Within this area there are houses (often combined with shops), religious monuments such as pagodas, temples, communal houses and family cult houses, a ferry quay and an open market.
  • The architecture of Hoi An, which is almost entirely of wood, is of considerable interest. It combines traditional Vietnamese designs and techniques with those from other countries, above all China and Japan, whose citizens settled there to trade and built houses and community centres to their own designs.
(Source from Unesco)


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