Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site, south of Danang was a trading port, originally for the Chams and later for the Japanese – who built an ornamental bridge, the Chinese, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Indians.

Formerly known as Lâm Ấp Phố (Champa City), who traded spice using Hoi An’s strategic location, the town derives its name from Vietnamese word: Hội An phố (the town of Hội An). With the rise of Danang as a prominent trading port, Hoi An became a backwater and therefore remained untouched over the years.

Place to stay: Highly recommend Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa. It has cycles to borrow and has a string of great restaurants to ride to. The beach is pristine, combed each morning by a plough tied to a bullock cart. Pool is large and rooms a sizable. Buffets are great and guests are treated to ancient Khmer dance (or its near rendition).

The town has a number of restaurants – western, Vietnamese, Chinese, French and others too. The city has beautiful ceramic ware as well as great tailoring service with suits stitched in 24 hours + delivery.

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Chinese temple, Hoi An

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Cycle rickshaws, Hoi An

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Day traders near Japanese Bridge in their ubiquitous conical hats

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Chinese lanterns in all shapes and sizes can be found here

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The iconic, Japanese Bridge that was constructed in the 1590s by the Japanese to link with the Chinese quarters

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Japanese Bridge from the other side of the river

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The Tao temple dedicated to the God of Weather inside the Japanese Bridge. The Vietnamese pray to stave off earthquakes.

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The town’s architecture is magnificent, yet extremely tranquil

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Roads are devoid of any big vehicles, barring the occasional horns by the rickshaw pullers, it is pretty much a place left to you to discover.

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The houses on the main road are commercial dwellings but walk into the by-lanes and you will find the normal hum of life – washing, cooking, drying of shrimp, laughter.

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An old house converted into a museum

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A courtyard house converted into a museum

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Oh the beach and its tranquil breeze

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At peace

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The Khmer dance which we were treated to on one evening as an accompaniment to our dinner buffet.

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Very graceful dance sequences

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