It’s hard to believe, but it was nine years ago that we were last in Hội An. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and draws tourists from all over the world. In addition to this, our stay corresponded with the Tết holiday, the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture.
My favourite part of Hội An is definitely the riverfront of the Old Town. It’s a great area for people watching and photography. The city itself was a major trading port from the 15th to the 19th century, and has been well preserved throughout the years with a blend of Southeast Asian and foreign influence in the architecture.
Hội An is renowned for local cuisine. A few examples of this are Cao lầu, a noodle dish made of pork and local greens found only in this area, Bánh Đập, or special rice cakes, and hến trộn, a salad made using small river mussels as the main ingredient. All of these can be found on the table below, a perfect breakfast in Vietnam.
Few people come to Hội An without falling in love with the mesmerizing lanterns that adorn the Old Town. At night these beautiful lanterns are out in full force and make for a breathtaking walk down the streets and side alleys.
As mentioned, our time in Hội An coincided with Tết, the beginning of spring in the Vietnamese calendar. Regardless of religious orientation, everyone in Vietnam celebrates this holiday and excitement was in the air. On the morning of Tết itself we received a lovely surprise when the owners of our guesthouse invited us to their home. Evidently the first guests of the day are meant to import the luck to the home for the remainder of the year. No pressure!
All told, we had a fantastic time in Hội An. It is extremely touristy, but if you can peel back the layers and get off the main streets a bit, it’s a wonderfully charming place to spend a few days (we ended up staying eight nights) in Central Vietnam.