Hoi An is a small
riverside town about thirty kilometers south of Da Nang. It's
one of those historical places that time forgot, the kind that
fill Europe and make the best tourist stops.
Hoi An was one of the major ports in Southeast Asia during the
17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Ships from China and Japan would
visit when the winds were favorable, then would have to wait
several months for the winds to change direction and blow them
back home. This predictable monsoon cycle led the traders to
build or buy houses in Hoi An to wait out their short sojourn,
giving the town aspects of their culture and architecture. Then
the river that links Hoi An to the sea silted up and became too
shallow for navigation. The sea trade moved to other cities and
Hoi An slipped into oblivion, untouched by progress, until people
realized that it was perfectly preserved and gorgeous, a time
Photo: Japanese Bridge
Hoi An is now on the main tourist route and getting more popular.
Accommodation can be tight sometimes. Options near the river
fill up quickly, move further away to find better prices and
There are other attractions besides the setting. Craft and
art galleries abound, as do antique shops. Hoi An is quickly
becoming known for its many tailor shops. There are at least
sixty, all which will sell you custom-made clothes for amazingly
low prices, finished within 24 hours.