Hoi An distils all the finest attributes a town in Vietnam could possibly offer. It boasts some of the most sophisticated and elegant architecture in the country, which combined with its location on the banks of the languid Thu Bon River make it arguably the most alluring urban centre in the country.
Hoi An is a UNESCO world heritage site largely thanks to the Old Town, which is one of the best preserved examples of a trading port in the region. Its culture and heritage derives from the ancient Cham kingdom, which once controlled the lucrative spice trade from far eastern Indonesia. But atop there are a myriad other influences – notably Chinese – and the Old Town is filled with Chinese shop fronts and temples as well as Japanese and European influenced buildings.
The town’s cosmopolitan character has continued to develop with the advent of tourism – it’s a great foodie destination and alongside its traditional aspects, the town offers a host of comforts to visitors, from boutique restaurants to sophisticated bars.
Most foreigners require a visa in order to enter Vietnam, though some countries are entitled to a free 30 day visa on arrival. It is easy to apply online and approval usually takes two working days – but be sure to apply at least a week in advance to be safe. You can fill the online visa application and find out if you are exempt here