One of Vietnam's most charming cities, Hoi An is brimming with historic architecture. It was built here on the Thu Bon riverside between the 15th and 19th centuries and owes its dynamic, multicultural character to the early success of its trading port. The level of preservation here isn't common in Vietnam, with a vibrant collection of cafés, museums and Hoi An hotels housed in restored heritage buildings.
Hoi An was heavily influenced by Chinese and Japanese merchants drifting in along ancient trade routes. Local museums explore the city's unique cultural upbringing, providing background information on sites like the Japanese Bridge and the opulent Tran Family Home. Days can be split between touring the heritage buildings and heading to Hoi An Beach, where upscale resorts on the beach front are increasingly common. Hotels in Hoi An are more affordable along Cua Dai and Hai Ba Trung streets.
On nights with a full moon, motorbikes are banned from the city center, electric lights are turned off, and the historic quarter is bathed in the glow of silk lanterns. Tourists are left to wander the narrow alleyways, stopping by traditional shops or taking in a cultural performance. On these enchanting evenings, hotels in Hoi An city center are the best place to be. As UNESCO status limits what developers can do, the accommodation in Hoi An historic center takes the form of boutique hotels and cozy inns.
Most visitors arrive from Danang, where Vietnam's third-busiest airport links to Hanoi, Ho Chin Minh City and Nha Trang. Buses and taxis connect to Hoi An in less than an hour, but some tourists pick up a rental car instead to capitalize on the potential for daytrips.