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Hoi An, Vietnam-Beyond The Tourist Crowds

By John Saboe | Travel Ideas

Oct 14
One of the loveliest times to explore and wander the atmospheric streets of Hoi An, Vietnam is in the early morning

One of the loveliest times to explore and wander the atmospheric streets of Hoi An, Vietnam is in the early morning

Hoi An is one of the most atmospheric towns in Vietnam boasting Unesco World Heritage status with beautifully preserved Japanese Merchant Houses and Chinese temples. I started out the mornings here in their open air market, one of the best ways to experience true local culture. There was the usual fresh produce and live birds and fish for sale as well as lots of flowers ready to brighten up homes for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations.

Down by the river these men let me look in on their Buddhist puja, a prayer ceremony to celebrate the past year’s many blessings and good fortune.

Right beside them the local ladies that offer boat rides were working tourists for fares. You may think it’s a little touristy but it’s a great way to experience Hoi An from a different perspective and to appreciate the Thu Bon river still very much a regular place for transit. Hoi An was once one of the busiest ports and Vietnam’s most important trade center in the 16 and 17th centuries.

Had the river not silted up in the late 19th century making it impossible for large ships to dock Hoi An would be a very different place today. What was left behind was the legacy of a rich trade center and port with money that was spent on mansions, merchant houses and temples with varying but complimentary styles of architecture. Meanwhile back at the market.
And the ingredients as you can see are either super fresh or still alive!

There are so many wonderful dishes to try in Hoi An, amazing salads featuring herbs, seafood and chilies, the local specialty white rose, a delicate wonton filled with prawns, this is a paradise for people who love and appreciate great food.

Temples abound throughout Hoi An, many established by Chinese immigrants like the Cantonese Assembly Hall near the market.

Close by The Fujian Assembly Hall established in 1690 served the Fujianese, the largest Chinese ethnic group in Hoi An.
There are many animal symbols inside the temple. The dragon symbolizes power, the fish achievement.

Templed out? Head outside of town by bicycle passing by rice paddies and Vietnamese countryside and in 15 minutes you are at one of the loveliest beaches facing the South China Sea. An Bang Beach.

Cua Dai further south is the more popular beach destination with more development, resorts, restaurants and beach hawkers. An Bang is the perfect quiet getaway beach for the day or even just a few hours. This is over night and long-term stay accomodation as well. There are some great spots on the beach to retreat into the shade with a drink or lunch, and they’ll even bring the menu right to you!

Heading back to Hoi An village past rice paddies and the countryside gives you a fuller sense of life here. Vietnam is one of the richest agricultural regions in the world and is the second largest exporter of rice coming second only to Thailand.

One last bit of advice that could round out your experience of this incredibly atmospheric town. Get up before everyone else, and take a walk around the village. It won’t be hard to beat the rush as Hoi An is a tourist town where most visitors like to head to the bars and lounges for a late night. At 7am or earlier the town takes on a completely different feel even with the few motorbikes racing around. The tailor shops and lounge bars are closed and the crowds are absent. It’s the closest feeling you can get to a different time and place where ancient tea shops, merchants, temples and the river port were the main sources of activity. This Hoi An may not have been possible to enjoy without the tourism boom, magically it’s still in reach with an early rise.

Always looking for feedback and ideas for the podcast, send me an email, john@fareastadventuretravel.com, I would love to hear from you. Please like the Far East Adventure Travel Facebook page, and follow me on Instagram and on Periscope for live streaming all over Asia. All of the links are at fareastadventuretravel.com
That’s it for this episode of Far East Adventure Travel Podcast, thanks so much for joining me! Until next time this is John Saboe, safe travels and Namaste!

Hoi An is one of the most atmospheric towns in Vietnam boasting Unesco World Heritage status with beautifully preserved Japanese Merchant Houses and Chinese temples. I started out the mornings here in their open air market, one of the best ways to experience true local culture. There was the usual fresh produce and live birds and fish for sale as well as lots of flowers ready to brighten up homes for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations.

Down by the river these men let me look in on their Buddhist puja, a prayer ceremony to celebrate the past year’s many blessings and good fortune.

Right beside them the local ladies that offer boat rides were working tourists for fares. You may think it’s a little touristy but it’s a great way to experience Hoi An from a different perspective and to appreciate the Thu Bon river still very much a regular place for transit. Hoi An was once one of the busiest ports and Vietnam’s most important trade center in the 16 and 17th centuries.

Had the river not silted up in the late 19th century making it impossible for large ships to dock Hoi An would be a very different place today. What was left behind was the legacy of a rich trade center and port with money that was spent on mansions, merchant houses and temples with varying but complimentary styles of architecture. Meanwhile back at the market.
And the ingredients as you can see are either super fresh or still alive!

There are so many wonderful dishes to try in Hoi An, amazing salads featuring herbs, seafood and chilies, the local specialty white rose, a delicate wonton filled with prawns, this is a paradise for people who love and appreciate great food.

Temples abound throughout Hoi An, many established by Chinese immigrants like the Cantonese Assembly Hall near the market.

Close by The Fujian Assembly Hall established in 1690 served the Fujianese, the largest Chinese ethnic group in Hoi An.
There are many animal symbols inside the temple. The dragon symbolizes power, the fish achievement.

Templed out? Head outside of town by bicycle passing by rice paddies and Vietnamese countryside and in 15 minutes you are at one of the loveliest beaches facing the South China Sea. An Bang Beach.

Cua Dai further south is the more popular beach destination with more development, resorts, restaurants and beach hawkers. An Bang is the perfect quiet getaway beach for the day or even just a few hours. This is over night and long-term stay accomodation as well. There are some great spots on the beach to retreat into the shade with a drink or lunch, and they’ll even bring the menu right to you!

Heading back to Hoi An village past rice paddies and the countryside gives you a fuller sense of life here. Vietnam is one of the richest agricultural regions in the world and is the second largest exporter of rice coming second only to Thailand.

One last bit of advice that could round out your experience of this incredibly atmospheric town. Get up before everyone else, and take a walk around the village. It won’t be hard to beat the rush as Hoi An is a tourist town where most visitors like to head to the bars and lounges for a late night. At 7am or earlier the town takes on a completely different feel even with the few motorbikes racing around. The tailor shops and lounge bars are closed and the crowds are absent. It’s the closest feeling you can get to a different time and place where ancient tea shops, merchants, temples and the river port were the main sources of activity. This Hoi An may not have been possible to enjoy without the tourism boom, magically it’s still in reach with an early rise.

Always looking for feedback and ideas for the podcast, send me an email, john@fareastadventuretravel.com, I would love to hear from you. Please like the Far East Adventure Travel Facebook page, and follow me on Instagram and on Periscope for live streaming all over Asia. All of the links are at fareastadventuretravel.com
That’s it for this episode of Far East Adventure Travel Podcast, thanks so much for joining me! Until next time this is John Saboe, safe travels and Namaste!

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About the Author

I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.