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The Ancient Town of Hoi An

Hoi An Ancient Town The ancient town of Hoi An, 30 km south of Danang, lies on the banks of the Thu Bon River. Occupied by early western traders, Hoi An was one of the major trading centers of Southeast Asia in the 16th century.

Hoi An has a distinct Chinese atmosphere with low, tile-roofed houses and narrow streets; the original structure of some of these streets still remains almost intact. All the houses were made of rare wood, decorated with lacquered boards and panels engraved with Chinese characters. Pillars were also carved with ornamental designs. Tourists can visit the relics of the Sa Huynh and Cham cultures. They can also enjoy the beautiful scenery of the romantic Hoi An River, Cua Dai Beach, and Cham Island. Over the last few years, Hoi An has become a very popular tourist destination in Vietnam.

Light Bright
In a wood-fronted shops a woman in traditional dress sits at a desk, bathed in the light of a lantern made from a simple bamboo fish-trap. Outside, two old men are absorbed in a candlelit game of Chinese checkers. These scenes, straight out of the 19th century, still take place in Hoi An, a sleepy riverside town in the central province of Quang Nam.
Hoi An has long been a cultural crossroad. More than five centuries ago the Vietnamese nation of Dai Viet expanded its territory southwards, encroaching on the Indianized Kingdom of Champa, which covered much of what is now central Vietnam. Hoi An, located on the Hoai River, emerged when Japanese and Chinese traders built a commercial district there in the 16th century.
These diverse cultural influences remain visible today. Visitors will find Hoi An's Old Quarter lined with two-storey Chinese shops, their elaborately carved wooden facades and moss-covered tile roofs having withstood the ravages of more than 300 years of weather and warfare. These proud old buildings, which back onto the river, remind visitors of another era, when Hoi An's market was filled with wares from as far afield as India and Europe. Colourful guildhalls, founded by ethnic Chinese from Guangdong and Fujian provinces, stand quietly, a testament to the town's trading roots.
While Hoi An's old-fashioned charm is always visible, on the 14th of every lunar month modernity takes another step back. On these evenings the town turns off its street lamps and fluorescent lights, leaving the Old Quarter bathed in the warm glow of coloured silk, glass and paper lanterns. In ancient times, Vietnamese people made lamps out of shallow bowls filled with oil. Later, foreign traders introduced lanterns, ranging from round and hexagonal designs from China to diamond and star shaped ones from Japan.

Let there be light


Hoi An Japan BridgeWhen developing plans to preserve their town's ancient character, Hoi An residents decided to revive the practice of using coloured lanterns. Starting in the fall of 1998, one night each month is declared a "lantern festival". On the 14th day of each lunar month, residents on Tran Phu, Nguyen Thai Hoc, Le Loi and Bach Dang streets switch off their lights and hang cloth and paper lanterns on their porches and windows. Television sets, radios, street lights and neon lights are turned off. In the ensuing quiet the streets of Hoi An are at their most romantic, the darkness broken only by jeweltoned lanterns in all manner of shapes and sizes.
Strolling through the lantern-lit streets is like walking into a fairytale. It is all the more picturesque since motor vehicles are banned from Hoi An's Old Quarter. On Trai Phu Street, stop at the beautifully preserved Faifo Restaurant to sample some traditional Chinese-style pastries. Or walk on to the Treated Café, where bamboo baskets, commonly used to wash rice, have been transformed into unique lanterns. These basket lamps are but one example of people's creativity as they experiment with new shapes and materials, including lights made from hollow bamboo tubes.

A Warm Glow

The 14th day of the lunar month is a Buddhist day of worship. Residents place offerings of food and incense on their ancestral altars and visit one of Hoi An's many pagodas. The scent of incense and the sounds of people singing add to the town's enchanted atmosphere. On these evenings, visitors will get a rare glimpse into another era. These nights are a welcome reminder of life's unexpected beauty.
Hoi An Tours

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Hoi An Hotels & Resorts
Agribank Hoi An Beach Resort
Address: Tan Thinh - Cam An - Hoi An - Quang Nam
Location: Cua Dai Beach
Located right on the Cua Dai beach, Hoi An Beach Resort of Agribank is an ideal place for holiday makers for all seasons, be it summer or winter there's always a difference...
Ancient House Resort
Address: 377Cua Dai Street, Hoian, Vietnam.
Location: Cua Dai Beach
Basing on Hoi An's long history and mix of cultures, the Ancient House Resort (opened in Oct 2003), was built with special style of the town's ancient houses...
Cua Dai Hotel
Address: 818A Cua Dai St, Hoi An town, Vietnam.
Location: Hoian Old Quarter
Cua Dai Hotel is surrounded by a beautiful, cool and comfortable 1, 000m2 garden. Guests can enjoy breakfast in the garden or on the balcony...
Essence Hotel & Spa
Address: No 132 Hung Vuong Street, Thanh Ha, Hoi An City, Vietnam
Location: Hoi An City
This story begins with an unfinished diary that had been left in an old trunk. It was written by a Vietnamese woman, Lieu An, chronicling her happy life in Faifo with her Portuguese husband, Antonio. The diary is unfinished because the war of 1858 brought their life to a tragic end...
Golden Sand Resort
Address: Thanh Nien Road, Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An Town, Vietnam
Location: Cua Dai Beach
Opening on 30 March 2005, Golden Sand Resort is the only one five star resort in Hoi An. Managed by Swiss-Bel Hotel group with professional service staffs...
Hoai Thanh Hotel
Address: 187 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hoian, Vietnam.
Location: Hoian Center
Hoai Thanh Hotel is 3 star hotel. Located about 200 meters far from the center of the Ancient Town of Hoi an...
Hoi An Beach Resort
Address: Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An, Quang Nam, Vietnam
Location: Cua Dai Beach
Hoi An Beach Resort is located 4km away from the Hoi An ancient town at a beautiful place between De Vong river and Cua Dai beach in the east.
Hoi An Hotel
Address: 6 Phan Boi Chau Road, Hoi An, Vietnam.
Location: Hoian Old Quarter
A very pleasant boutique style hotel close to the old town, the Ha An is beautifully situated amid peaceful gardens and water features...
Hoi An Pacific Hotel
Address: 321 Cua Dai Street, Hoi An Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.
Location: Cua Dai Beach
Hoi An Pacific Hotel is a calm, comfortable and relaxing hotel which overlook from it 6th floors the picturesque Hoi An town...
Hoi An Riverside Resort
Address: 175 Cua Dai Street, Hoi An Town, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.
Location: Cua Dai Beach
Hoi An Riverside Resort occupies 9, 000m2 of lush, tropical gardens and landscaped terraces along the banks of the Song Do river just a short walk from the golden sands of Cua Dai beach Hoi An...
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World Heritage Sites


Young people now enjoy new music that comes to them from the radio, television, audio and video tapes, as well as compact discs. So, do they still show any attachment to the old folk tunes so loved by their elders, such as the melodies of ca tru?


Gongs are musical instruments made of alloy bronze, sometimes with gold, silver, or black bronze added to their composition. In the Kinh language, the word cong identifies convex gongs and the word chieng refers to the flat ones.


Halong Bay
Situated in the North-East region of Vietnam, Halong Bay is a bay in the Gulf of Tonkin comprised of regions of Halong City, the township of Cam Pha, and a part of the island district of Van Don. Halong Bay borders Cat Ba Island in the southwest.


My Son Temple
My Son, located 69 km southwest of Danang, was an imperial city during the Cham dynasty, between the 4th and 12th centuries. My Son Sanctuary is a large complex of religious relics that comprises more than 70 architectural works.


On November 7, 2003, UNESCO bestowed world heritage status on 28 relics of nations as masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. Among the 11 masterpieces of Asia, nha nhac (royal music) represents the first intangible.


Phong Nha Cave
Viet Nam's Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park has been recognised as a world natural heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at its 27th general assembly session being held in Paris from June 30-July 5.


The birth place of quan ho folk songs is Bac Ninh Province. During village festivals, which are held every year, particularly in spring, young men and women gather in the yard of a communal house or pagoda, on a hill or in a rowing boat, and sing quan ho..


Hue Citadel
The complex of Hue Monuments straddling the Perfume River, most of which remaining unchanged were officially recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2003 by UNESCO. The Imperial City of Hue, the capital of Viet Nam during the reign of the Nguyen Dynasty.
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