General Information About Hoi An
Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.
Hoi An Ancient town is located in Viet Nam’s central Quang Nam Province, on the north bank near the mouth of the Thu Bon River. The inscribed property comprises 30 ha and it has a buffer zone of 280 ha. It is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a small-scale trading port active the 15th to 19th centuries which traded widely, both with the countries of Southeast and East Asia and with the rest of the world. Its decline in the later 19th century ensured that it has retained its traditional urban tissue to a remarkable degree.
The town reflects a fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures (principally Chinese and Japanese with later European influences) that combined to produce this unique survival.
The town comprises a well-preserved complex of 1,107 timber frame buildings, with brick or wooden walls, which include architectural monuments, commercial and domestic vernacular structures, notably an open market and a ferry quay, and religious buildings such as pagodas and family cult houses. The houses are tiled and the wooden components are carved with traditional motifs. They are arranged side-by-side in tight, unbroken rows along narrow pedestrian streets. There is also the fine wooden Japanese bridge, with a pagoda on it, dating from the 18th century. The original street plan, which developed as the town became a port, remains. It comprises a grid of streets with one axis parallel to the river and the other axis of streets and alleys set at right angles to it. Typically, the buildings front the streets for convenient customer access while the backs of the buildings open to the river allowing easy loading and off-loading of goods from boats.
The surviving wooden structures and street plan are original and intact and together present a traditional townscape of the 17th and 18th centuries, the survival of which is unique in the region. The town continues to this day to be occupied and function as a trading port and centre of commerce. The living heritage reflecting the diverse communities of the indigenous inhabitants of the town, as well as foreigners, has also been preserved and continues to be passed on. Hoi An Ancient Town remains an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Far Eastern port.
Criterion (ii): Hoi An is an outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures over time in an international commercial port.
Criterion (v): Hoi An is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Asian trading port.
Hoi An Ancient Town has retained its original form and function as an outstanding example of a well-preserved traditional South East Asian trading port and commercial centre. It remains complete as a homogenous complex of traditional wooden buildings, with the original organically developed street plan, within the town’s original river/seacoast setting.
These original cultural and historic features demonstrate the town’s outstanding universal value and are present, well-preserved, and evident within the boundary of the inscribed property, even while it continues to be occupied and function as a trading port, as well as a popular tourism destination. As a result of this economic stagnation since the 19th century, it has not suffered from development and there has not been pressure to replace the older wooden buildings with new ones in modern materials. This has ensured that the town has retained its traditional urban tissue and is preserved in a remarkably intact state.
Hoi An Ancient Town has retained its traditional wooden architecture and townscape in terms of plot size, materials, façade and roof line. Its original street plan, with buildings backing on to the river, with its infrastructure of quays, canals and bridges in its original setting, also remains. The historic landscape setting is also intact, consisting of a coastal environment of river, seashore, dunes and islands.
Because most of the buildings were constructed in wood it is necessary for them to be repaired at intervals, and so many buildings with basic structures from the 17th and 18th centuries were renewed in the 19th century, using traditional methods of repair. There is currently no pressure to replace older buildings with new ones in modern materials such as concrete and corrugated iron.
Protection and management requirements
Hoi An Ancient Town was classified as a National Cultural Heritage Site in 1985 and subsequently as a Special National Cultural Heritage Site under the Cultural Heritage Law of 2001 amended in 2009. The entire town is State property and is effectively protected by a number of relevant national laws and governmental decisions, such as: the Cultural Heritage Law (2001, amended 2009) and the Tourism Law (2005). The 1997 Hoi An Town Statute defines in regulations that are implemented by the Hoi An Center for Monuments Management and Preservation, the responsible agency of the People’s Committee for the management of the property. Day-to-day management involves collaboration with various stakeholders, to maintain the authenticity and integrity of the property and to monitor socio-economic activities within and adjacent to the property. The capacity of the professional staff has been and continues to be developed by many domestic and international training courses. Revenue from entrance tickets is invested directly in the management, preservation and promotion of the property. Management and preservation are further strengthened through master planning and action plans at the local level. There are also regular restoration and conservation programmes.
Multi-disciplinary research conducted by teams of international and national scholars has informed the conservation and interpretation of the town’s heritage. This research is on-going. Within the property boundary, the landscape, the townscape, the architecture and all material cultural artifacts are preserved.
A Management Plan was implemented at the time of nomination of the property, and is being kept up to date and reviewed as required by UNESCO to ensure that it remains effective.
The buffer zone is managed to protect the property from external threats. The potential adverse effects to the property caused by annual flooding and urbanization are being effectively controlled with the active participation of all authorities and the local community.
The Master Plan for the Hoi An Ancient town conservation, restoration and promotion together with the city and tourism development was approved by Prime Minister on 12 January 2012, covered the period until 2025.
Long-term management should aim to promote improvement in the living conditions for local residents. As tourism increases a strategy to manage it within the parameters of the site will be required. Strategies to deal with adverse effects of the climate are being developed and should be included in the Management Plan.
In the future, it is an aim to link the Hoi An Ancient Town with the adjacent UNESCO Cu Lao Cham Biosphere Reserve and to build Hoi An into a community integrating ecology, culture and tourism.
Best sports activities in Hoi An
Like all modern cities the best sports and leisure activities are not always in your face when you first arrive in Saigon; they have to be tracked down. In some cases you are likely to stumble across them, others need a bit of research. Watching sport is easy in this vibrant city, the number of sports bars is growing exponentially. Taking part takes a bit more effort, literally.
Most hotels in Hoi An offer complimentary bicycles, or you can hire one for roughly 20,000d–40,000d per day. For a low-impact, highly scenic workout, rent a bicycle and ride 20 minutes from the center of town to An Bang Beach, a splendid place to catch a breeze and relax in the sun. To get to An Bang, ride 5 km (3 miles) northeast of the town center along Hai Ba Trung Street, all the way to the beach. If you are feeling really energetic, turn right at the An Bang beach intersection and follow the road out to the Victoria Hoi An Resort and continue on it until you arrive at Cua Dai lighthouse where a small dirt road to the right leads through a picturesque small village.
Active Adventures Vietnam. This country-wide tour company specializes in Hoi An and has an expansive menu of off-track activities and adrenaline-fueled adventure tours. Mountain biking, trekking, kayaking, and rappelling into the depths of Hell's Cave in the Marble Mountains are just some of the options. 111 Ba Trieu, Hoi An, Quang Nam.
Hoi An Cycling. If ricocheting between rocks and potholes on two wheels built for city shopping inspires less than comfortable thoughts, Hoi An Cycling offers international branded, full-suspension mountain bikes for rent, as well as helmets. Offtrack tours include a rather challenging 80-km (50-mile) loop to the top of the Son Tra Peninsula north of Danang. More relaxed itineraries take in the countryside and waterways closer to home, with the option to return to an action-packed cooking class guided by Vietnam's Masterchef runner-up, Chef Hung. 27 Le Quy Don, Hoi An, Quang Nam. 919/882–783.
Hoi An Culture and History
Hoi An is located 30km south of Da Nang city, and 60 km Northeast of Tam Ky city. Hoi An used to be an international trade center by sea on the eastwest area in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was the busiest trading port in Dang Trong region of Vietnam under the reign of Nguyen as merchants from Japan, China, Portugal, Spain, Holland...often landed for exchanging, purchasing commodities. In the historical progress of establishment and development, Hoi An was known by foreign merchants as Faifo, Haisfo, Hoai pho, Ketchem, Cotam. Based on archeological relics and architecture documents, Hoi An was not only a place of converge and exchanging of many cultures such as: Champa, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese, especially impacted most by Vietnamese and Chinese civilisations.
Up to now, the ancient town of Hoi An intactly preserves its original architectures, including houses, temples, pogodas, streets, ports, civil buildings, religious structures and other non-religious worshipping structures. The every day lifestyle with deep-rooted customs and cultural activities is fascinating.
Hoi An also attracts tourists thanks to its poetic and picturesque landscapes such as Thuan Tinh islet, Cua Dai beach, together with traditional handicrafts and famous local specialties.
Hoi An was listed as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in December 1999. As statistics shows, in Hoi An there are 1,360 relics and landscapes. These relics are divided into eleven kinds, including 1,068 ancients houses, 19 pagodas, 43 temples, 23 communal houses, 38 family temples, 5 assembly halls, 11 old wells, one bridge, 44 ancient tombs. In old quarter, there are more than 1000 relic sites.
Japanese Covered Bridge
Connecting Tran Phu st. with Nguyen Thi Minh Khai st., Japanese Covered bridge was constructed in the middle of the 16th century by Japanese merchants in Hoi An. Due to natural disaster, Japanese Covered bridge was restored so many times that it gradually lost its original Japanese architecture style and was impacted by Vietnamese and Chinese design. The bridge was provided with a roof which was arched shape and skilfully carved with many fine patterns. Over the door, 3 Chinese characters “ Lai Van Kieu” (it means Bridge for Passers-by From Afar) were carved prominently to name the bridge by Nguyen Phuc Chu Lord in his trip to Hoi An in 1719.
The two entrances to the bridge are guarded by a pair of monkeys on one side and a pair of dogs on the other. According to legend, these once lived an enormous monster called Cu whose head was in India, its tail in Japan and its body in Vietnam. Whenever the monster moved, terrible disaster such as floods and earthquake befell these places. Thus, aprat from the purpose of transportation, building the bridge aslo is to speak-killing the monster to preserve safe and peaceful life.
Japanese Covered Bridge is an invaluable property and has been officially selected to be the symbol of Hoi An.
Quan Thang ancient house (77 Tran Phu st, Hoi An city)
Quan Thang is, currently, evaluated as one of the nicest ancient houses in Hoi An. It is an over 150 year old house with architecture style of Hoa Ha, China. Through years, the style as well as interior decoration of the house has been lovingly preserved. That helps us partly imagine the lifestyle of its owner generations who were the merchants class in Hoi An earlier. It is known that the whole of lively and fine architecture and sculptures were made by craftmen of Kim Bong carpentry village.
This is a main spot in the journey of discovery the world cultural heritage in Hoi An.
Tan Ky ancient house (101 Nguyen Thai Hoc st, Hoi An city)
Built about 200 years ago, Tan Ky’s architecture style is piped shape - a typical style of Hoi An ancient houses. Its interior is divided into many apartments and each one has its own function. The front of the house is used for stores and the back of the house near the river was the place for import and export goods. The interior decoration item was made of unique wood skilfully carved with symbols of dragon, fruits, eight weapons, silk fillets showing well-off of its owners.
On 17th February 1990 Tan Ky house was listed as a national historical vestige.
Phung Hung ancient house (4 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai st, Hoi An city)
Over 100 years old, Phung Hung house possessed a unique architecture. The high wooden ceiling and large corridors represent the development of architecture and exchange among Asian architectural styles in Hoi An in the earlier centuries. The house exhibits a lot of information about the lifestyle of merchants who lived in Hoi An long time ago. Although being made from unique woods, Phung Hung house was not carved at all by the owner on purpose.
On the 29th of June 1993 the house was listed as a national historical vestige.
Phuc Kien Assembly hall (46 Tran Phu st, Hoi An city)
It is said that Phuc Kien Assembly hall was once a small temple where Thien Hau Thanh Mau statue (a goddess who protects merchants sailing in the sea) was worshiped. It was picked up on the beach of Hoi An in 1697. Due to restorations and support of the Fukien people, the Assembly hall became resplendent and spacious taking part in the embellishment of Hoi An architecture. Arranging the statues for worshiping means “ human happiness” profoundly expess the oriental philosophy.
Annually, on the 15th of January lunar year, 16th of February lunar year and 23th of March lunar year many activities are organized, attracting a lot of foreigners as well as domestic tourists.
On 17th of February 1990 Phuc Kien was listed a national historical vestige.
Trieu Chau Assembly hall (157 Nguyen Duy Hieu st, Hoi An city)
Trieu Chau Assembly hall was built in 1845. The General Phuc Ba, who was claimed to be able to make winds calm and waves quiet, was worshipped there.
The house possesses a special value in architecture with its skilfully carved wood house-frame and wooden decorated alter and many glazed terracotta carving works.
Quang Dong Assembly hall ( 17 Tran Phu st, Hoi An city)
Founded in 1885 by Cantonese people, Quang Dong Assembly hall was firstly used to worship Thien Hau Thanh Mau and Khong Tu, and later in 1911 was used to worship Quan Cong and their ancestors.
The harmonious combination of wood and stone material and beautiful decorations bring the house the unique and sacred design. Annually, on the 15th of January lunar year and the 24th of June lunar year festivals are held, attracting many people.
Ngu Bang assembly hall ( 64 Tran Phu st, Hoi An city)
Ngu Bang is also called Duong Thuong or Chinese Assembly hall. It was built in 1747 by five groups of Chinese people: Fukien, Trieu Chau, Cantonese, HaiNam and Gia Ung. Here, they worship Thien Hau Thanh Mau and it is used as a meeting place to do business. Its architecture is influenced by Chinese style.
Ong pogoda ( 24 Tran Phu st, Hoi An city)
Founded in 1653, Chua Ong was restored six times in years of 1753, 1783, 1827, 1864, 1904, 1906 and restored six times. Chua Ong possesses a magnificent and impressing architecture, and is also called the Quan Cong temple. Quan Van Truong, (a symbolic image which represents loyalty and integrity according to Confucianism, is worshipped here). This place was once both a religious center of ancient Quang Nam people, and a place where people came to consult oracles and believed it to bring luck.
Quan Am pogoda (7 Nguyen Hue st, Hoi An city)
Being the only remaining Buddha-worshipped pogoda in Hoi An ancient town., Quan Am pogoda possesses a nice scenery and interresting architecture. Special wooden scultures carved by skilful craftman of Kim Bong carpentry village are intact preserved here. Quan The Am Bo Tat and other bodhisattvas are worshipped here. On the fifteen day of the lunar month, people come here participating actively in religious activities.
Tran family temple (21 Le Loi st, Hoi An city)
Founded in 1802 by Tran mandarin (a large family emigrating from China to Hoi An in 1700s) built in 1802 in accordance with the traditional science of winds and waters of Chinese and Vietnamese. Located on the area of 1500m2, Tran family temple consits of many sections such as temple of ancestor worship and display of relics relating to family, house...
This is the place where descendants get together, worshipping, and solving affairs in their lineage. Tran family temple is one of the place attracting attention and interest from visitors.
Historical- cultural museum (7 Nguyen Hue st, Hoi An city)
Established in 1989, the museum displays 212 artifacts and documents made from porcelain, pottery, bronze, iron, paper and wood. They represent many stages of development of Hoi An trading port from Sa Huynh civilisation (the second century AD) to Cham civilisation (from the 2nd to 15th century). Visiting Hoi An Historical and Cultural museum, tourists get an overview of history development and culture of the ancient town.
Pottery trade museum ( 80 Tran Phu st, Hoi An city)
Founded in 1995, the Pottery trade museum exhibits a rare collection of 430 artifacts from the 8th to the 18th century. Most of the artifacts are originally from central Asia, India, China, Japan, Thailand and Viet Nam playing an important role of Hoi An trading port in pottery trading in the earlier centuries. This museum aslo shows that Hoi An was once a busy international exchanging town for culture and business.
Sa Huynh cultural museum (149 Tran Phu st, Hoi An city)
The museum supplies a plenty of information about ancient people of Sa Huynh civilisation who were the first owners of Hoi An trading port, having exchanging relationship with China, India, and South East Asia. About 216 objects which are some 2000 years old of Sa Huynh civilisation are exhibited. These items are found through explorations and excavations of archaeological sites in such the places as Hau Xa, Thanh Chiem, An Bang, Xuan Lam from 1989 to 1994.
The artifacts at the museum are evaluated as the most unique collection of Sa Huynh civilisation in Viet Nam
Hoi An Nightlife
Nightlife in Hoi An is concentrated within the tourist-friendly Ancient Town and Riverside, featuring trendy bistros, cafes, bars, artistic lounges, and live music venues. Unlike cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, most of these nightlife venues are within walking distance and stay open until 03:00, where you can barhop with fellow tourists and fun-loving locals.
When the sun sets, the streets of Hoi An Ancient Town are illuminated with hundreds of colourful lanterns, traditional dance performances, and candles floating down Thu Bon River. Meanwhile, numerous bars and pubs offer attractive happy hour promos with local artists and international DJS playing a variety of music genres. Whether you prefer a relaxing evening or dancing till the sun rises, our list of Hoi An’s most popular nightlife is below.
Top 10 Nightlife Experiences in Hoi An
1. White Marble Wine Bar
White Marble Wine Bar occupies a refurbished heritage building within Hoi An Ancient Town, where you can enjoy exquisite wines, spirits, and cocktails with sweeping views of the bustling streets and Thu Bon River. Set along Le Loi Street, this stylish bar, restaurant, and lounge is a two-minute walk from Hoi An Museum of Trade Ceramics. The nightlife venue serves 14 premium wines by the glass from USD5 onwards, including Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, Australian Pinot Gris, and Red Bordeaux. Meanwhile, its food menu comprises authentic Vietnamese, French and Italian fusion dishes – we highly recommend the cheese platter, mini crispy pancakes, and chicken satay.
Q-Bar offers an extensive list of unique cocktails, opulent interior, and upscale ambience, attracting a stylish crowd of affluent locals and tourists in Hoi An. Set within a traditional shophouse in Hoi An Riverside, the bar is fitted with Japanese-style furnishing, plush chairs, and colourful mood lighting, with lounge music and electronica playing in the background. Drinks-wise, cocktails are priced between VND 120,000 and VND 150,000, local beers for VND 50,000, and margaritas for VND 95,000. Despite the hefty price tag, Q-Bar remains as one of the most popular nightlife spots in Hoi An.
3. Dive Bar
Dive Bar draws in a fun-loving crowd of diving enthusiasts, expats, and travellers from all over the world, making it a popular nightlife spot for drinks and live music in Hoi An. The bar is fitted with lounge sofas, pool tables, garden courtyard, and an Internet café, while its live music performances are held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening. Priced between VND 25,000 and VND 110,000, Dive Bar’s drinks menu comprises imported beers, strong cocktails, and premium wines with a variety of Vietnamese and western pub grub.
4. Tam Tam Bar
Tam Tam Bar has been a staple in Hoi An’s nightlife scene since it opened in 1996, with tropical-inspired décor, pool tables, relaxed setting, and a spacious upstairs lounge area that’s ideal for relaxing and people-watching. Set within a restored tea warehouse in Hoi An Ancient Town, it’s a five-minute walk from the Japanese Covered Bridge. For drinks, you can find a standard array of imported beers, cocktails, spirits, and wines by the glass. Tam Tam Bar also serves a selection of Vietnamese and European fare such as banh xeo, pho, omelettes, sandwiches, pizzas and pastas as well as homemade ice-cream, sorbet, and cakes.
5. Mango Mango
Mango Mango is a colourful eatery that’s set along the tranquil Hoi An Riverside, offering a wide range of signature cocktails and authentic Vietnamese fare. With a spacious upstairs terrace overlooks the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge, Thu Bon River, and Hoi An Night Market, its prime location attracts mostly tourists looking to unwind after a day of exploring Hoi An. Imported beers and wines by the glass cost approximately USD12, but cocktails are the main attraction at Mango Mango. Our favourite is the berry cocktail, which consists of fresh strawberries, vodka, hibiscus, mint leaves.
6. Fusion Café
Fusion Cafe serves over 20 types of mojitos, tapas, and American fare in a cosy lounge setting. This cocktail café is set along Thu Bon River, where you can enjoy beautiful evening views of the lantern-lit streets of Hoi An Riverside. Attracting a steady clientele of trendy locals and travellers, its menu ranges from cold pressed juices, wraps, pastries and sandwiches to creative Vietnamese-inspired cocktails and Lavazza coffee. Guests of Da Nang’s Fusion Maia Resort can enjoy gourmet breakfasts, complimentary back massages, and manicures at Fusion Café. Every Friday, the café hosts international DJs spinning soul, funk, disco, reggae, and house tunes between 18:00 and 22:00.
7. Mango Rooms
Mango Rooms is a bistro bar facing Hoi An Riverside, boasting vibrant interiors, friendly service, upbeat music, and an impressive menu of signature cocktails, fruity smoothies, and Vietnamese fusion dishes. Made with fresh mangoes and lots of booze, popular drinks here include margarita, daiquiri, fandango, and mojito while beer lovers can enjoy ice-cold pints of Tiger, Heineken, Saigon, and LaRue. If you’re feeling peckish, try its homemade spring rolls, papaya salad, or baguette with shrimp mousse and mango coconut curry. Happy hour promos are between 17:00 and 19:00, where you can enjoy selected drinks at half price.
8. Hoi An Sports Bar
Australian-owned Hoi An Sports Bar mainly caters to travelling sports fans, where they can watch live events such as NRL, Super Rugby, AFL, Australian Open Tennis, and NBA. Located within Hoi An Ancient Town, this lively bar is a five-minute stroll from the Hoi An Museum of History and Culture. Its upstairs lounge area is fully air-conditioned and fitted with a foosball machine, darts, Xbox, Wii, PlayStation, and plenty of board games. Priced at VND 25,000 onwards, Hoi An Sports Bar serves a diverse range of local and imported beers, including Stella, Corona, Asahi, LaRue, and Coopers Stout.
9. Before and Now Bar
Before and Now Bar’s popularity has slightly dwindled over the years, but it’s still a nice nightlife venue for a relaxed night out in Hoi An Ancient Town. The two-storey bar is five minutes away from the Japanese Covered Bridge, featuring an open-air terrace that’s decorated with plenty of potted plants and colourful lanterns. You can play a game of pool and foosball or simply enjoy a chat with its friendly staff. Before and Now Bar’s main draw however, is its four-hour happy hour promos, where you can get two drinks for the price of one between 18:00 and 21:00.
10. King Dragon Restaurant and Bar
King Dragon Restaurant and Bar is an expat-owned establishment in Hoi An, serving inexpensive booze and authentic Vietnamese dishes until 03:00 every night. The staff here is very friendly and you can also catch the latest rugby, baseball, football, NFL matches or request for your favourite songs to be played here. For drinks, cocktails are priced at VND 80,000 onwards while fresh bia hoi costs only VND 5,000. Its food menu ranges from green mango salad and spring rolls to Hoi An chicken rice and pumpkin soup. King Dragon Restaurant and Bar’s all-you-can-drink promo lets you enjoy whiskies, vodkas, gin, and rum with mixers for only VND100,000.