Hoi An – Graceful and Genial Town
We had high expectations long before arriving in Hoi An. Many travelers we met previously raved about the place and from the get-go the town did not disappoint. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old town packs in an impressive assortment of historic temples, bridges, merchant homes, picturesque alleyways, grand French colonial buildings, and creaky wooden boats along the riverside docks. Paul and I were happy to be in the thick atmosphere and elegance of this stunning town in Vietnam.
Once a thriving port town, the Thu Bon River silted up in the late 1800’s basically turning Hoi An into a ghost town, its old quarter effectively locked in time for a century. After the economic rebound of Vietnam in the 1990’s, Hoi An was well positioned to gain restoration funds for the historic buildings and a flood of tourists followed suit.
Today Hoi An is a heavily touristed town but it fortunately maintains a delicate balance between the needs of visitors and the laid-back locals. The old quarter consists of a relatively compact area, filled with monuments and buildings worth visiting. Another highlight of Hoi An is its culinary richness. We were immediately smitten with the food offerings in Hoi An, remarkable in a country celebrated for delectable food on every corner.