Located on the coast of Central Vietnam, the city of Hoi An is one that has been an important trading spot in the country for a very long time, with records showing that it was the largest port in South East Asia as far back as the first century. The old city center is one that has many historic buildings and sites that are of a cultural interest, and these are protected and preserved. As well as the historic tradition of the city, there are also plenty of things to do in the city which has helped to make it a very popular stop on the backpacker trail, and an interesting place to visit for anyone coming to Vietnam.
Quan Cong Temple
This ornately decorated temple is located at the heart of the old city of Hoi An, and is one of the reasons that the old city center was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The temple itself was founded in the mid seventeenth century, and is dedicated to the Chinese General Quan Cong who lived during the third century, and is heralded for his virtuous nature and dedication to integrity and justice. There are a series of statues of Quan Cong and several other historic figures seen throughout the temple, while the quirky sight of the caretaker striking a bronze bowl like a gong can be seen every time someone makes an offering at the temple.
Just a short boat trip from Hoi An itself, these wonderful islands offer great surroundings for scuba diving, with a range of coral reefs and underwater gardens that make for some spectacular sites to explore. With a range of sites suitable for experienced and novice divers alike, this makes it a good destination for mixed diving groups, while the ease of access from Hoi An is also a great attraction. The islands also have some beautiful beaches and areas to relax which will often be included as a part of your tour if you are taking a diving trip to the area.
Fujian Meeting Hall
This assembly hall would traditionally have been used for meetings and religious gatherings for the ethnic Chinese population from the Fujian area of China that lived in Hoi An, and was later converted into a temple. The most impressive part of the site is the ornately decorated gate at the entry to the hall, with several arches and a series of statues. Dating from the late seventeenth century, it is one of the most impressive buildings in the city, and the interior is beautifully maintained, with the dragon carvings being particularly dramatic.
The Japanese Covered Bridge
This bridge is one of the most memorable sites in Hoi An, and is believed to have been constructed in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and is unique in the fact that it is a bridge with a small Buddhist temple built into its construction. The bridge was originally built to connect the Japanese population on one side of the river with the Chinese population on the other, and is a strong durable structure that has survived many earthquakes during its history. One interesting aspect is the statues of two monkeys and two dogs seen on each side of the bridge, and it is believed that this is because construction began in the year of the monkey, and the bridge was finished in the year of the dog.
Hoi An Museum Of History And Culture
This museum is located within the suitably historic Quan Am Pagoda, which dates from the mid seventeenth century, and is home to an interesting collection of artifacts and photographs looking at the culture of the country. There are some particularly interesting displays of coffins and examples of burial rituals in the museum, while there are also some great examples of Vietnamese ceramics housed here.