The country has witnessed a huge increase in tourism over the past decade – it welcomed a record high of almost 2 million visitors in January 2020. While it has yet to return to those levels since the pandemic, it’s likely to continue seeing growth as people become more comfortable with international travel again.

While Hanoi – the capital located in the north – and the country’s biggest settlement of Ho Chi Minh City are the most well-known to visitors, there’s another city that shouldn’t be missed during your trip.

Head to Hoi An

On the central coast of Vietnam is a city unlike any other. With canals cutting through the town, the old trading port of Hoi An has been dubbed the ‘Venice of Vietnam’.

But it’s not just the beautiful waterways that earn it that nickname – it’s the architecture and heritage too. The influence of Chinese, Japanese and French colonial styles is clearly visible, while the wooden buildings of the Ancient Town – which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – have been preserved incredibly.

What to do when visiting

With so much to do on a visit to Hoi An, it’s an essential part of any Vietnam tour. Here are the things you shouldn’t miss when you go:

  • Chua Cau: Constructed in the late 16th century by the local Japanese community, this iconic bridge is one of the most Instagrammable locations of the Ancient Town. It’s more than just a bridge too – it’s got a temple on it that’s well worth a look around.
  • Night Market: Next to the bridge is the site of the city’s famous night market. Colourful lights emerge when the sun goes down and their reflections on the water make it a fabulous setting. It’s by no means a massive market, so you’ll want to take your time looking around and grab a few things to eat to make the most of it.
  • An Bang Beach: Just a few kilometres outside of the city is this beautiful stretch of golden sand. Spend the day relaxing or head out on one of the many coconut basket boats, which were traditionally used by fishermen. It will be an experience you won’t forget.
  • Old House of Tan Ky: Built two centuries ago by the Le family, this unrestored home has been taken care of by seven different generations. Myriad fine details exemplify the influence the Chinese and Japanese have had on the city, making it a great place if you’re into history and design.

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