Hoi An, a beautiful city with a population just over 120.000 people and under protection and care from UNESCO as a Heritage site from 1999.
The old city centre of Hoi An is a very well preserved historical site with buildings coloured in yellow by the French invaders. From 15th-19th century it was considered as one of the most important trading ports in South East Asia. In the middle of the city centre, over one of the many river channels, stands a Japanese covered bridge from 16th century. A beautiful and very well preserved piece of Japanese architecutre-especially as the night falls, and Hoi An lights up-that’s when the bridge really comes into it’s own.
It is the most vivid and lively city of all the cities we’ve seen here. The weather was bad, it was cloudy, a little bit rainy, a little colder than we would like-but that didn’t stop the tourists from pouring in. I can only imagine what it must be like on a sunny day in the middle of a high season ;). City centre, by itself, is pretty small-you can easily walk all across and around it in 2 hours. You’ll be strolling around on both sides of the river, with many restaurants up and down the riverfront, coffee shops, buddhist temples and ancient buildings all around you. All offering a sneak peak into the old ways, with craftsmen, tailors, a big market and all touristy stuff you can imagine-especially the river boat tour guides/drivers are pretty pushy, offering you a romantic boat ride up & down the riverside.
It’s a great place to be during the day…but as the night falls-that’s when the city really lights up-literally.With all the lights, especially lampions (there are many shops in the city, showing you how they’re made), with a bunch of entertainers in every corner of the city. You can get even quicker through the city with a rented bike or a bicycle tuc-tuc. You can also rent a motorbike for 4-5$/day if you want to go little further from the town-to explore.
Because the weather was still bad, we decided to go on a organised tour of My Son sanctuary-a complex full of partially ruined Hindu temples, hidden away in a dense forest, constructed somewhere between the 4th-14th century by the Kings of Champa. A great tour, just long enough for one day, if you’re a history enthusiast like me.