Vietnam’s answer to fast-paced development, traffic madness and growing number of high rises in cities such as Saigon is Hoi An Ancient Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. A former trading port, Hoi An boasts of some of the finest and well-preserved buildings dating back to the 15th century, displaying architectural influences of both East and West. An early example of a global city and cultural melting pot, you may find here bright colourful buildings with European shutters sitting harmoniously just off the road from an ancient Japanese covered bridge.
Hoi An is best seen on foot or on a bicycle. If you like, you can hire a rickshaw for a tour around its pagodas, Chinese temples, old Vietnamese traditional homes and riversides. But the slower your pace is, the better you can journey through the past in this unique destination almost unsullied by time.
Despite the unwanted changes mass tourism may have brought to Hoi An, you will be remissed if you don’t spend some time here if you happen to be in Vietnam, even if it is just to chill and laze around its canals sipping a cup of ca phe. It is this laid-back Hoi An that I love the most.
Hoi An is situated on the central coast of Vietnam, and is reachable easily by flight to Danang City. It is only 30 minutes by road from this popular seaside resort town, so if you ever find the touristy-ness here a little too much, Danang beach is always an option for more relaxation.