I can understand why folks return again and again to Hoi An - which also translates into peaceful meeting place. It really is uniquely charming, the "Old Town" being well deserving of it's place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The whole vibe of the place had me hooked from the get go.
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Being a very short 2 hours and 30 mins plane ride from Singapore, it is a fantastic place to go for a long weekend, or in our case a 5 day break.
Silk Air (www.silkair.com) now fly direct to Da Nang which is about a 30 minute drive from Hoi An.
Situated on the South Central Coast in the Quang Nam province, Hoi An nestles against the Thu Bon River. The 'Old Town" is an area to each side of an old Japanese covered bridge. These streets are only accessed by foot or bicycle. Motorbikes and cars are only allowed at certain times of the day. There is a loud speaker announcement which will let you know that the mopeds are coming, the mopeds are coming!! Bicycle rentals are very popular as you can imagine, and a great way to get around. We just chose to walk and explore the myriad of shops and art galleries, stopping for a cool drink now and again at a lovely cafe or bar.
"The city possessed the largest harbour in Southeast Asia in the 1st century and was known as Lâm Ấp Phố(Champa City). Between the seventh and 10th centuries, the Cham (people of Champa) controlled the strategicspice trade and with this came tremendous wealth. The former harbour town of the Cham at the estuary of theThu Bồn River was an important Vietnamese trading centre in the 16th and 17th centuries, where Chinese from various provinces as well as Japanese, Dutch and Indians settled. During this period of the China trade, the town was called Hai Pho (Seaside Town) in Vietnamese. Originally, Hai Pho was a divided town with the Japanese settlement across the "Japanese Bridge" (16th-17th century). The bridge (Chùa cầu) is a unique covered structure built by the Japanese, the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist temple attached to one side."
courtesy of Wikipedia
At night Hoi An comes alive, around the river especially so. Lanterns are everywhere. All along the river as dusk falls, you will find Aunties and young children selling lanterns for you to buy and float down the river, along with a wish. As the full night descends, the atmosphere becomes even more magical. Lanterns hang from the bridge, the trees, the buildings.
Possibly the major tourist industry in Hoi An, are the Tailors. There are many, many tailors all over the town who can either copy a favorite garment for you, or help you design something new. Not only clothes, shoes and bags can also be custom made. Tripadvisor has some recommendations for tailors, and also most of the Hotel concierge will have their recommendations too. We went to Blue Gecko mainly because a friend had been there the week before. With only a few days, we did not want to spend too much time going from one place to another.