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CNN Travel reveals 7 reasons to visit Hoi An

Released at: 09:32, 23/06/2019

CNN Travel reveals 7 reasons to visit Hoi An

Photo: Le Diem

Seven great reasons to pack your bags and head to the ancient town in Vietnam's central region.

by Le Diem

CNN Travel has recently listed reasons for tourists to visit Hoi An ancient town - one of the most beautiful towns in Southeast Asia.

Set on the banks of the Thu Bon River in central Vietnam, Hoi An was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1999 and is where dreamy canals, French-colonial merchant houses, Japanese bridges, Chinese shophouses, and low-key restaurants vie for your attention, the site wrote, before listing other reasons that make the charming little town worth a visit.

The first reason is a “whole lotta history”. Once a major player in the coveted spice trade, Hoi An served as a busy Asian trading port between the 16th and 19th centuries. “The city attracted merchants from Japan, China, Portugal and France, and the resulting cultural milieu remains visible in everything from the mustard-colored shophouses to dining traditions, folk crafts, and robust coffee culture,” CNN wrote.

The second reason is its delicious food. Hoi An is commonly considered one of Vietnam’s best destinations for food lovers and it delivers on the hype. CNN advises travelers that they’ll devour every kind of food experience here, graze on street food snacks from roadside vendors, slurp noodles on plastic stools, enjoy fresh seafood by the beach, or shell out and splurge. It also mentioned signature local dishes like white rose dumplings (made from shrimp or pork with shallots wrapped in translucent rice paper) and crispy “cao lau” (a noodle dish starring pork belly and rice crackers), as well as some of the city’s best “banh mi” - pate, barbecued pork, chili sauce, and vegetables wrapped inside crispy baguettes and found at well-known shops like Madame Phuong or Madam Khanh the Banh Mi Queen.

The third reason is its high-quality souvenirs, which tempt you at every corner, from silk tailoring shops and custom leatherware workshops to coffee roasters, handmade ceramics stalls, beautiful bamboo lantern makers, and contemporary home décor boutiques.

Its beautiful beaches are the fourth reason you should visit. The ancient town is more of a river town than a beach getaway, but sun seekers can easily reach the coastline. About a ten-minute drive northeast, travelers will find themselves overlooking the East Sea with sweeps of sand running for miles in both directions. An Bang Beach is recommended as the most beautiful, for its tranquil and largely-undeveloped shoreline, low-key beach shacks, chilled beer, and live music. Another safe bet is the beaches around the Son Tra Peninsula, a nature reserve about 25 minutes north by car in Da Nang, where the water is clean and clear.

The next reason is Hoi An being home to some of Vietnam’s most alluring hotels, such as the Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai on the coastline, where you can dine on upscale Vietnamese street food, the remote InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, designed by prolific resort designer Bill Bensley and which spills across the hills of the Son Tra Peninsula, a nature reserve that’s home to rare red-shanked douc monkeys, and nearby Fusion Maia - a wellness paradise promising guests unlimited, all-inclusive spa treatments.

Whether you prefer to pedal around on a bicycle or zip off on a Vespa, Hoi An’s wide open country roads are ideal for exploring on two wheels, which is CNN’s sixth reason. The city just launched a new bike-sharing program in June and most hotels offer bike rentals. It’s easy to gently cruise through the old town or cycle over to Cam Nam village - the island just to the south across the river - for a peek at rural life.

Last but not least, Hoi An also has amazing neighbors: Da Nang and its beautiful bridges, especially the “Insta-famous” Golden Bridge, and Hue, with its rich history and architecture as the former imperial capital on the picturesque Perfume River.

Hoi An welcomed 6.5 million visitors last year, an increase of 21.5 per cent against 2017. International visitors totaled 3.8 million, up 36.6 per cent.

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