12 things to see in Hoi An
Hoi An is a beautiful town that is part of a very popular and populous region in central Vietnam. Each year, thousands of holiday makers set sail for this part of southeast Asia. Some people are happy to come and lie by the pool of their resort for their time here, but for those wanting more we have put together 12 of the most popular things to see in Hoi An:
1) Cua Dai Beach
We will start this with one of the most simple and cheapest options, yet always a winner with holiday makers. Cua Dai beach is not the most popular beach in Vietnam, but it has a quiet and alluring charm. About 2 kilometers from the Old Town, this sleepy stretch of sand has some nice beach cafes and is a great spot to chill out. Unfortunately, mainly due to weather, the state of the beach has began to decline in recent years but still remains one of the popular things to see in Hoi An.
2) Ancient town (Old Town)
Secondly, Ancient Town is likely the most popular of things to see in Hoi An. Yes, the Ancient Town does consist of many different things to see and do, but in this point we suggest literally strolling through the streets at your own leisure. There is no better way to absorb the local culture through the sites, sounds and smell - and Hoi An Ancient town is no exception. We will touch in later points about specific things to do within the Ancient Town.
3) Japanese Covered bridge
Built in the 1590's when occupied by the Japanese, this bridge has been impressively preserved in almost original condition and the ornamentation stays faithful to Japanese design. It was constructed by the Japanese community to link them to the Chinese headquarters. At one end of the bridge, there are two large sculptures of both a dog and a monkey - representing sacredness in Japanese cultures and also being the year in astrology that the emperors were born.
4) Museum of Trade Ceramics
Now - this might not be everyone's cup of tea. But, we certainly recommend it as it is an integral part of Hoi Ans history. Hoi An had strong trade relations with Japan, China and India, especially in ceramics that are unique to this region. It is located in an attractively restored wooden house which is likened to those of Kyoto.
5) Museum of Sa Huynh Culture
Another one of the things to see in Hoi An is the Museum of Sa Huynh Culture, which showcases terracotta work with roots from 3000 years ago. The museum displays a unique collection of artifacts from Sa Huynh culture, considered to be the first settlers of the port town. The collection on display provides visitors with useful information about the Sa Huynh culture and its inhabitants - detailing burial customs, conceptions of life and death, the developmental history of the region and relationships that were built.
6) Ang Bang Beach
Yes... another beach! If you are a beach lover, which many of Hoi Ans visitors are, then Ang Bang beach is definitely one of the things to see in Hoi An. Now a popular alternative to Cua Dai beach and situated 3 kilometers north, Ang Bang hosts an array or nice resorts, cafes and restaurants. In recent years it became more popular due to the condition being better the Cua Dai - however both have their own unique qualities! It is definitely one of the things to see in Hoi An if you like water, a boundless horizon and a happening vibe!
7) Hoi An handicraft workshop
Once again, this may not be for everyone - but don't be deceived! Housed in a 200-year-old Chinese trading house, the Handicraft Workshop has artisans making silk lanterns and practicing traditional embroidery in the back. What we like about this is it allows you to take a break from the streets and watch some magic happen. This workshop enlivens cultural importance in Hoi An, making it one of the definitive things to see in Hoi An.
8) Old House of Tan Ky
Anything that is 2 centuries old and still standing in good condition is worth seeing. The old house of Tan Ky has been preserved through 7 generations and the interior is brightened with beautiful detail. Chinese poems written in inlaid mother-of-pearl hang from some of the columns that hold up the roof. It contains a courtyard, and the back of the house faces the river. It gives you insight and allows you to feel for yourself what it would have been like to live in Hoi An many years ago.
9) Quan Cong Temple
Founded in 1653, this small temple is dedicated to Quan Cong, a Chinese general who continued to be worshiped for his sincerity, integrity, loyalty and justice. His statue is constructed with paper mâché and partially covered with gold glitter in the central alter at the back of the sanctuary. Most noteworthy about the temple, when someone makes an offering while looking at Quan Cong, the caretaker of the temple will ring a bronze bowl that makes a bell like sound. If you are after a humbling experience, we recommend this as one of your things to see in Hoi An.
10) Tran Family Chapel
This particular chapel dates back to 1802 and was used as a place of worship for family ancestors. What makes this chapel interesting is the architecture and combination of Chinese and Japanese influence. It has a turtle style roof (Chinese) and triple beams (Japanese) with some interesting vernacular styling. The central door is reserved for the dead and is opened at Tet and on 11 November - the death anniversary of the main ancestor which we found interesting.
11) Duc An Old House
This old house is certainly one of the things to see in Hoi An as it isn't overrun with tourists or souvenir sellers like some of the other popular locations. Whats interesting about this property is that it has been inhabited by the same family for over 400 years, although the current house was built in 1850. Duc An Old House presents some real untouched history for those wanting to see. Many locations in Hoi An will seem similar in nature to the average traveler, but we liked this one especially for its antique work inside.
12) Hainan Assembly Hall
This location is particularly interesting due to its history. It was built in 1851 and used to worship 108 Chinese merchants who were unjustly and mistakenly killed because they were mistaken for pirates. They were later vindicated and money was pledged by King Tu Duc to build this assembly hall in remembrance.
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