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Our Destination Expert, Ben has just returned from a luxury trip to Vietnam. He was lucky enough to visit some fantastic destinations and hotels along the way. One town in particular caught his eye, the small town of Hoi An, located in the central region of the country. Here he tells us why he loved it so much:
Hoi An is one of the most fascinating and enjoyable places I have ever been. The centre of the town I learnt has very strict rules regarding traffic and construction. Thanks to this, it has created a wonderful warren of lanes and alleys where you can explore the architecture and history of a town that has had various influences. From the numerous Chinese Pagodas and temples to the Japanese bridge linking East to West, Hoi An has long been the place of choice for travellers to settle.
Our day started with a walking tour of the town, visiting various temples and pagodas as we made our way towards the heart of the town, the Japanese covered bridge. This bridge was built in 1590 to link the Japanese community with the thriving Chinese trading centre.
From here, we headed over to the newer part of Hoi An – a collection of cafes, bars & restaurants that has boomed in recent years. No trip to Hoi An is complete without the shopping. Between the historical and cultural sites, tailors, traders and hawkers sell everything from lanterns to suits, tablecloths and slippers.
There is a noticeable change to the pace of Hoi An once the sun sets. Bars turn up the volume in the newer part of town whilst in the old quarter, a lively night market opens up. Street food, lantern makers and entertainers vie for attention from the numerous tourist and backpackers who are traversing the alleys. After a Vespa guided tour of the various eateries and bars in the area, there was time for yet more shopping.
On the first day of the Lunar month, the river is filled with small lanterns and it is a tradition to set them afloat whilst making a wish! We were lucky enough to be here on this special occasion and experience Hoi An as it is, a cultural melting pot and a great fusion of tradition and tourism.