Impressed by Hoi An’s Beauty: An American Travel Blogger’s Experience

Hoi An was the most unexpected discovery among the 12 cities I visited during my year-long trip around the world, according to Christopher Elliott, a prominent American travel blogger.

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Christopher Elliot spent 365 days of 2023 traveling to 12 cities in the world. Throughout his journey, he dedicated several weeks to exploring local markets, immersing himself in the culture of each city, and forging friendships with the locals. Upon completing his global adventure, he compiled a list of the 12 best destinations to visit in 2024, serving as a valuable resource for travel enthusiasts worldwide.

Christopher Elliot spent 365 days of 2023 traveling to 12 cities in the world. Photo: USA Today

From January to April, he visited Antarctica, Doha (Qatar), Christchurch (New Zealand), and Kyoto (Japan). Each destination left an indelible mark on him. However, it was his trip to Hoi An (Vietnam) in May that truly astonished him, in a positive sense. Elliot declared, “Vietnam was the most pleasantly surprising highlight of my 2023 travels.” He spent a long weekend in Hoi An, a central Vietnamese city, and to this day, he remains captivated by its alluring natural landscapes, lush green mountains, and picturesque beaches.

Hoi An is an ancient city steeped in history, showcasing a harmonious blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese cultural influences. In the 15th to 19th centuries, it flourished as a pivotal trading port. Visitors shouldn’t miss the chance to experience the vibrant local market and witness the awe-inspiring sunset over the Thu Bon River, where colorful lantern-adorned boats glide along the water.

For the rest of 2023, Elliot spent his time journeying through Fukuoka (Japan), Santiago (Chile), Seoul (South Korea), Los Angeles (USA), Chiang Rai (Thailand), Siem Reap (Cambodia), and Hobart (Tasmania).

Hoi An is an ancient city filled with temples and a rich history of various cultural influences of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese. Photo: Indie Traveler

Hoi An Town is an exceptionally well-preserved trading port from the 15th to the 19th centuries. It is widely regarded as one of the most enchanting cities in Vietnam, if not all of Southeast Asia. The city boasts picturesque historic houses, pagodas, and cafés. Visitors can indulge in shopping for handmade clothing, or simply revel in the serene ambiance that Hoi An provides amidst the hustle and bustle of Vietnam.

This town is a haven with an array of activities awaiting its visitors. Aside from exploring the city’s old town on foot, there are countless day trips, cycling tours, scenic rice fields, beautiful beaches, islands, and craft villages to discover.

What sets Hoi An apart is its wealth of options. Visitors can embark on cycling expeditions, take boat trips along the river, have clothing tailor-made, partake in cooking classes, or even embark on a day trip to the ruins of My Son.

Hoi An Town is an exceptionally well-preserved trading port from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Photo: Klook

Hoi An boasts a captivating mix of ornate Chinese temples, a Japanese-style bridge, wooden shop buildings, French colonial houses, and captivating old canals. Many of the old shops have been transformed into modern establishments catering to tourists, offering an abundance of tailors, souvenir shops, art galleries, restaurants, and cafés. The best way to experience this city is by foot, exploring it during the day and letting the illuminating lanterns guide your evening exploration of the old town.

Notable attractions in Hoi An include the Japanese Bridge, Cantonese Assembly Hall, Fujian Assembly Hall, and Chuc Thanh Pagoda.

While the rice fields around Hoi An may not rival the grandeur of the terraced fields found in Northern Vietnam, they are no less captivating and easily accessible.

This town is easily a place where you could spend a week because there are so many things to do in Hoi An and around. Photo: Booking.com

After a day spent exploring Hoi An’s myriad attractions, you might be ready to unwind and relax. Fortunately, Hoi An and its surrounding areas are home to several beaches. The most popular ones are An Bang Beach and Cua Dai Beach, both easily accessible by bike from the city center. With a scooter or taxi, you can even venture to the beaches of Da Nang.

Charlotte Pho