From the16th to the 18th centuries, Hoi An attracted international traders because of its location on the banks of Thu Bon River, conveniently flowing into the East China Sea. The merchants chose to stop here to wait for the right wind directions for their next destinations. Among them were traders from China, Japan, the Netherlands, France, Portugal and India.
Of all the streets in the Old Town, the one that runs east-west to the river’s edge is the liveliest. The traditional buildings and shops have welcomed foreign merchants since the days when the town was known as Hai Pho (Seaside Town). Nowadays it no longer greets foreign traders but tourists and travelers.
However, the seemingly untouched architecture in Hoi An’s Riverside and Old Town was built only about 200 years ago and is made up of a mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and colonial styles. Those who wish to see older buildings will have to go further inland where they can find, for example, a 15th century pagoda.
Hoi An Riverside Attractions
The Riverside is the main landmark of Hoi An. It is where both traditional and modern boats drop their anchors and where local housewives go every morning to shop at the wet market.
The whole town is reintroducing the use of gorgeous and colourful hand-crafted lanterns and on special nights of the month, hundreds of them hang on verandas and windows as they did over 300 years ago. Welcome to Hoi An, one of Vietnam’s prettiest destinations.
Cruising Thu Bon River in Hoi An
Attending a cooking class while on holiday might not be everyone’s cup of tea but many actually try it here in Hoi An and the experience usually wins them over. Learn to cook at one of the riverfront restaurants that take students to the market to select fresh ingredients before cooking. It is also a chance to understand more about Southeast Asian spices and tropical products.
Another worthwhile activity is to hire a boat for fishing or just for relaxation. There are plenty of local boats to charter at the docks. At certain times of year you can also buy beautiful floating lanterns and release them onto the river at night. It’s a lovely activity especially for young kids and lovers.