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Top 5 things to do in Hoi An
Graceful, atmospheric and just plain stunning, this cosmopolitan melting pot deserves its status as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visit the ancient town
With more than 800 buildings preserved, this is Hoi An’s pride and joy. Its beautiful, rustic streets are dotted with tasteful glowing lanterns and Japanese merchant houses that adorn the banks of the Thu Bon River. The Ancient Town really flourishes at night when its 400-year-old Japanese bridge lights up in regal oriental red and sends reflections dancing across the rippling river below.
The clothing made in Hoi An is the best in Vietnam – and it’s tailor-made just for you! It’s helpful to take pictures or drawings of the clothes you want made in order to get the best result; it’s remarkable how they can create such incredible copies so quickly. If you’re travelling extensively, most of the larger shops will ship your items to your home address.
The Hoi An night market is renowned for being one of the friendliest markets in Vietnam. Expect passionate (and slightly pushy) shop sellers, but rather than loth it, embrace it as there are some great trinkets to be found. Much of the strip is lit by multi-coloured lanterns and the stalls are aimed at locals as well as tourists. It is a must.
Full moon festival
On the 14th night of every lunar month, Hoi An switches off its electric lights and closes its roads to motorised traffic, powering the city instead by thousands of coloured lanterns. With the Ancient Town doused in candlelight, people flock from all over Vietnam to celebrate this special time and, as is customary in most Vietnamese festivals, give offerings to their ancestors.
Assembly Hall of the Fujian Chinese Congregation (Phuc Kien Pagoda)
This glorious Chinese assembly hall and its beautiful gateway were built in 1690 to function as a meeting place for an ethnic group from Fujian. The hall was later transformed into a temple used to worship Thien Hau, the goddess of the sea, but it still maintains all the fundamentals of a classic Chinese assembly hall. Its gorgeous courtyard and colourful gardens are underrated and attractive.