One of the loveliest places we visit in Vietnam is Hoi An. Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the 16th to the 19th century, Hoi An was a major port for international trade. About 45 minutes’ drive from DaNang, Hoi An today is a great destination because although it is tourist friendly, it is not overrun with tourists and the city retains its natural charm.
Because of trade ties, a large number of Chinese and Japanese people settled in Hoi An and there are remnants of both. One of the attractions in town is the Japanese bridge which is a covered bridge guarded on one side by a statue of a dog and on the other by a statue of a monkey. On the bridge itself, there is a side room that was used for prayer!
There are beautiful Chinese assembly halls in the city. This one, Quang Dong, has elaborate mosaic covered sculptures. This is the entrance gate.
Like China, Vietnam has had a silk trade for many years. Hoi An is famous for its hand tailored, custom made silk dresses and suits. After several days in Vietnam, one comes to regard the Ao Dai, the traditional Vietnamese dress, as very beautiful and graceful as well as modest. They can be made to order from a large variety of colors and patterns. Amazingly, one can be fitted in the evening and have a dress ready to wear by morning.
Hoi An is also noteworthy because of the beautiful silk lanterns that are made and sold there. Each lunar month, on the 14th night of the month, the night before the full moon, the lights in the downtown area are switched off and the town is lit by only silk lanterns. Of course, silk lanterns/lampshades are available for purchase as well. Here are some.