Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThere is no better place in Vietnam than Hội An, with a mixture of beach and city life it's the perfect destination. Hội An is located 525 miles North East of Ho Chi Minh City, right by the coast and is home to 120,000 people. The beaches are lined with white sand and the sea is a bright turquoise. In the city of Hội An there are tons of unique little restaurants and clothes shops that produce "made to measure" clothing. The city is separated by a river with small bridges, making it easy to cross, and hundreds of scooters fill the winding roads.
HistoryIn the first century, the city owned the largest harbor in South East Asia known as Lam Ap Pho. Between the 7th and the 10th century it became extremely wealthy due to a strategic spice trade, being controlled by the people. It was then in the 14th century that the river system was used to transport goods into other countries like Laos and Thailand. In 1535, a Portuguese explorer came down from Da Nang and tried to establish the port-village into a trading center. As a result, Hoi An grew and ended up becoming the most important trading post in South East Asia.
Today the city is a tourist attraction due to its history, architecture and crafts. The port and boats are still used to this day, but instead for fishing and tourism.
What To ExpectThe city of Hội An is very picturesque with hundreds of small craft shops, crowding the winding roads. A river runs through the center of the city and during the evening, it is part of the culture to send a candle floating down this river. The food in Hội An is incredible, there are so many different varieties and if you like cooking you can even learn a thing or two at one of the Vietnamese cooking classes. The freshly brewed beer in Hội An is famous and at only $0.20 or € €0 ($0.17) for half a pint, it is one of the cheapest beers you will find in South East Asia.
The famous landmark in Hội An is the Japanese Bridge which was first constructed in the 1590s, which they used to link to the Chinese quarters across the stream. The architecture of the bridge is fascinating and most definitely worth a visit.
The beaches in Hội An are idyllic and not spoilt like most of the other tourist beaches throughout the country. To get to these beaches it is best to rent out a scooter. Daily rental is about $ 4.00 USD from shops and its a perfect place to try riding for the first time, as once you are out of the city there are hardly any vehicles on the roads.
When To GoThe best time to go is from May to the end of August, when the weather is mild and the seas are calm. Throughout the rest of the year the weather seems to constantly change its mind from being cold and rainy one day to being hot and sticky the next.
How To Get ThereYou can reach Hội An by bus, train or by flight. You can catch a night or day bus from Nha Trang which takes around 11 hours. The bus will drop you directly into Hội An. Travelers could jump onto the sleeping train from Nha Trang to Da Nang which takes around 10 hours, however, you will have to arrange for a taxi or bus to take you to Hội An afterwards which is roughly, a 30 minutes journey. The last option is to fly into Da Nang Airport from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City which is only 1 hour and 20 minutes from either city, but again you will have to arrange alternative transport to take you directly into Hội An.
Safety TipsAlthough Hội An is generally a safer part of Vietnam, bag snatchers are about, especially during the evening so ensure you wear a bag that is difficult to snatch. If you are thinking of renting a scooter, it may be best to do it from your hotel rather than a local scooter shop, this is to prevent scams and to stop you getting ripped off. If you do hire a scooter, always make sure you wear your helmet, the Vietnamese are crazy drivers so you want to make sure to protect yourself as much as possible.
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Author: LucyMclean. Last updated: Aug 07, 2014