City Life at a Slower Pace in Hoi An, Vietnam

in Vietnam

Vietnam is a country of extremes, with bustling cities and quiet rural villages. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find Hoi An, a small city on Vietnam’s south central coast which enjoys the best of both worlds.

Hoi An is the place to come if you want to experience cosmopolitan Vietnam without the traffic or the crowds. With relatively few cars on the roads, pedestrians rule here. It’s becoming increasingly popular with tourists, especially backpackers who flock to the city for its inexpensive dining and interesting array of shops.

Hoi An was a major international seaport in the 16th and 17th century, and these foreign influences are still apparent today. Hoi An is a cultural melting pot, with the flavors of France, The Netherlands, Spain, China, and Japan informing the city’s food, architecture and culture.

The streets are lined with stores peddling arts and crafts, silver jewelry, and made-to-measure clothes and shoes. Such stylish indulgences would cost a small fortune in the West, but the services of tailors and shoemakers here are surprisingly inexpensive.  While these stores cater to the tourist trade, Hoi An’s buildings have been largely preserved. This makes walking around the city an exciting experience, even if your wallet is bare.

Tourists must purchase a sightseeing pass before entering Hoi An’s Old Town. They cost approximately US$5 and include a pass to a historic house, a landmark, a museum, an assembly hall, and a cultural experience. Visitors can choose which of the local attractions interest them most in each category.

These tickets are available at various entry points to the area including some of the attractions and Hai Ba Trung Street.

While a dress code is not strictly enforced, tourists are advised to dress conservatively when visiting the Old Town. Sleeveless blouses and short skirts are frowned upon, particularly when visiting sites of culture significance.

Da Nang is the closest airport to Hoi An. You can catch a connecting flight from major Vietnamese cities including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and international destinations such as Bangkok, Singapore, and Cambodia. A taxi from Da Nang airport to Hoi An costs approximately US$15.

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