Warm-hearted, welcoming and traditional, but never out of touch with
the outside world, the people of Hoi An are in overdrive mode trying to
catch up to the opportunities their new found fame has recently given
A History of Asian fusion
A slow stroll through town reveals its gems. Hoi An has to this days
well preserved its most sacred treasure, the centuries-old architecture.
The town used to harbor foreign traders back in the 17-18th, and once
is an important heavily-frequented trading port in Southeast Asia. The
foreigners come from all corners of the world, but mostly are Chinese
and Japanese nationalities. Some come and go, but many settle in
permanently and etch their marks into the history of Hoi An.
Chùa Cầu - A popular attraction in Hoi An
Mixing together with Vietnamese design, Chinese and Japanese accents
melt and create a picture-perfect Hoi An of the late 19th century, which
it has somehow remained mostly intact since. The end product is an
oddly strange-yet-familiar sight that exists nowhere else in the world.
To this day, few descendants of the foreign traders remain but the
architectural setting manages to survive the damage of time.
Little town gathers world fame
In 1999, UNESCO formally recognizes Hoi An as a World Heritage Site.
There are the things that make up the reputation. Hoi An is home to
many temples, pagodas and the ancient homes that bear its very unique
mark. The density of such sites is unlike any other in Vietnam. These
places carry with them the history of Hoi An itself. The depiction of
its formation, its once-prosperous merchant past, its progress and how
it manages to become one of today are all well documented, in words and
in priceless relics.
Hoi An earned UNESCO recognition since as early as 1999
The town is not just reminiscent of the past, it truly takes one for a
slow enlightening journey to the past. Such journey is simply
unthinkable most elsewhere in Vietnam. It is only possible because of
the careful and dedicated works that have gone into preserving and
presenting its way - efforts that have come as the result of the UNESCO
recognition. Enjoying the spotlight and catering to the increasing
number of tourists flooding its narrow streets hoping to catch a glimpse
of the past, hotels and resorts are now sprouting up all over town.
Hoi An Accommodation and Shopping
One shall find his accommodation options ranging from lowly affordable
motel rooms as low as $8 per day to the world-class 6-star
top-of-the-line allegedly-best-in Southeast-Asia Nam Hai resort nearby,
which starts at a whooping $600. Vietnam may be small, but there will
always be an extra bedroom for the staying- over guest. These days, the
guests may well outnumber the homeowners however. True to its origin,
Hoi An today still boasts a booming trade.
Nam Hai Resort amongst the most luxury in the world's hotel industry
Of the things sold in town, there are only 3 different
categories. First is souvenir, the second being clothing and the last is
food, both western and Vietnamese. The souvenir is not something to
write home about, since offerings are limited in diversity throughout
the country. Hoi An is better known for its tailor shops, which mostly
service personal bespoke orders. Tourists circulate rumor that people
stay in this little sleepy town for entire weeks doing nothing, waiting
just to have their shirts made to the perfect fit. Most designs are
traditional Vietnamese in nature, with some offer contemporary twists
and touches of foreign taste as well.
Hoi An lantern makes a perfect house deco - and inexpensive
Coupled with the right prices, Hoi An is truly a shoppers’ paradise,
one that dictates its western customers on a unique oriental sense of
style. Paradox does not end. One imagines never being able to find
western food in such a hardcore Vietnamese setting. That turns out not
the case. Hoi An is home to multiple restaurants that serve big hearty
American meals with only a small portion of the menu dedicated to local
food. The locals prefer their sidewalk vendors to the many re-innovated
house-turned-restaurants out there.
Of Food and Cuisines
There is no shortage of bacon in town, but cao lầu is the dish that one
simply can not miss. Prices and service are rightfully on par with the
latest venues in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Yet in the
face of all the hurrying capitalist business going on, for some reason,
somehow, Hoi An retains its quite serenity. Life just seems to flow by
at an uneventful rate. People seem to slowly enjoy things as they are.
While foreigners come to experience the old way, natives also come to
Hoi An for a break in the hustling busy path of life.
Hoi An Chicken Rice - A must try of Hoi An
And it is in Hoi An that their inner peace shall be found,
paradoxically in the face of all the money being changed hand. As for a
fitting end to a story of many extremes, Hoi An is, sadly, situated in
one of the poorest provinces in the country. Apart from the glamour of
the tourism-enriching little town, Quang Nam’s population generally
lives at the poverty line level. A typical drive from Danang’s airport
or train station to Hoi An soon enough will reveal all the stories that
are silently told.