What to do in Hoi An in 1, 2 or 3 days?
- on Oct 28, 2019       By: BN
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hoi An city is a beautifully preserved example of a city that was once a commercial port in south-eastern Asia. From the 15th to the 19th century, this area was rife with trading with the countries of the South East and East Asia as well as with the rest of the world. It’s a city full of charm and tourist attractions acclaimed by travellers because Hoi An has everything to offer. In 1, 2 or 3 days, let’s discover the treasures of beautiful Hoi An.
Visit Hoi An for 1 day
A day will certainly be a bit rushed to properly; explore the charming city-museum of Hoi An but however much time you have, you will surely have an unforgettable stay in this delightful port city. Start this day of discovery early enough to experience the unique atmosphere of the Hoi An fish market where every morning at dawn, the fishermen return from their night of fishing and unload their cargo which is then sold directly at the market. Early in the morning is still the best time to discover Hoi An ancient town as the sun caresses the yellow facades of the beautiful old wooden houses, a witness to the rich past where Chinese, Japanese and European traders helped prospered this market city. This is certainly a legacy of outstanding Asian culture that has earned its World Heritage status by UNESCO.
Take the quiet morning to discover the famous Japanese covered bridge,the oldest bridge in Hoi An. Built in the 1590s by the Japanese community in Hoi An to create a link with the Chinese neighbourhoods on the other side of the river, this bridge also houses a pagoda. You will find different statues at each end of the bridge: dogs on one side and monkeys on the other which symbolize the 3 lunar years of work for the construction of the bridge, from the year of the monkey to that of the dog. Continue to explore charming Hoi An by visiting one or more of these old centenarian homes that belong to families of traders. Among these is Tan Ky ancient house, an architectural gem of two centuries listed as a Historic Monument in 1985 where seven generations followed one after another. Phung Hung ancient house is also worth a look as it is a commercial house typical of Vietnam's urban areas in the 18th century, with its unique blend of Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese architectural styles.
The old city also houses temples belonging to the various communities that populated the city, including the Chinese. Do not miss a visit to the Phuc Kien temple, built in 1697 by families from Fujian, China. Dedicated to the goddess of the sea, Thien Hau, the Phuc Kien temple is characterized by its majestic pink entrance and its countless incense spirals hanging from the ceiling. Chaozhou Hall is also worth a visit for its porcelain of great finesse and beautiful frieze carved gilded wood symbolising two junk boats represented by two deities riding two dragons, all on a rough sea. A representation that reminds us that this hall is dedicated mainly to Phuc Ba, a Chinese general and great slayer of rough waters.
For lunch and dinner, enjoy the exquisite charm of the beautiful old houses to taste the finesse of the cuisine of Hoi An that mixes perfectly the flavours of the garden and the sea. Every 14th day of each month on the lunar calendar, all the lights of the old city are extinguished so that only the lanterns illuminate Hoi An. A magical moment during which songs, dances, traditional folk games take place.
Visit Hoi An in 2 days
For this second day, you can meet in the morning the gardeners of Tra Que, a small village at the gates of Hoi An. These farmers grow vegetables, plants and herbs using traditional techniques that they are always very pleased to explain. This meeting can be extended with a Vietnamese cooking class with ingredients from the Tra Que Vegetable Village.
You can enjoy the beautiful beaches of Hoi An in the afternoon or take a pleasant boat and bike ride to discover some of the craft villages. Crossing the beautiful countryside, you will discover villages of artisans who perpetuate ancestral traditional craftsmanship. It is very interesting to discover the work of its eminent craftsmen by going to their workshops. There are more than a dozen traditional crafts created in the area of Hoi An including pottery, carpentry, wood carving, lacquering, weaving, embroidery and of course the making of lanterns is certainly a craft specialty of Hoi An.
This afternoon can also be spent visiting one or more museums in Hoi An old town including the museum of traditional medicine, the museum of the Sa Huynh culture, the ceramics museum or the museum of Hoi An folklore.
Visit Hoi An in 3 days
For this third day you could go to discover My Son sanctuary, an archaeological site that was the religious and political capital of the kingdom of Champa from the 4th to the 13th century. This UNESCO heritage site brings together the remains of a series of impressive sanctuary towers in the heart of a beautifully lush natural setting. After visiting this site, you can return to Hoi An by boat, enjoying a beautiful cruise on the river Thu Bon where you can enjoy the magnificent landscapes along the banks.
Or, why not go on a day trip by boat to discover the Cham Islands? Discover the beautiful seabed, heavenly beaches and have lunch on one of the tropical islands!
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