Hoian is one of Vietnam’s oldest cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over 120,000 people live in Hoian today, and the city attracts thousands of Vietnamese and international visitors. It is less than 30 minutes’ drive from Da Nang, one of Vietnam’s most famous diving sites.
Hoian is one of the few towns in Vietnam where the Chinese influence is clear: old temples, narrow streets, lacquered walls and colorful tiled roofs. Hoian’s most famous sight is the Japanese Covered Bridge or Cau Nhat Ban. Built during the first half of the 17th century, the bridge houses a small temple dedicated to Tran Vo Bac De, the god of weather. The 18th-century Phuoc Lam pagoda and several ancient wells also are of interest to tourists.
When to Visit
Hoian has a rainy season that lasts from September to January, with the heaviest rains falling between September and November. Typhoons and floods are common during that time, so tourism decreases considerably. Scuba diving, boating and other water sports are more difficult in this season, so water-sport companies simply close their doors during this time because the risk of accidents is just too high as waves and winds get stronger. In general, it’s best to visit between February and August. Year-round temperatures average in the high 80s to mid-90s F.
On the 14th day of every lunar month, Hoian has a very special celebration: The whole town abandons modern life for 24 hours. People turn off televisions and Internet connections, and artificial lights; people use traditional Chinese lanterns to find their way around. Instead of driving, locals take to the streets walking. The festival is a huge tourist attraction and tourists take part in various outdoor celebrations, special events and temple blessings.
Hoian is home to two small museums: the Museum of Sa Huynh Culture and the Museum of Trade Ceramics. The museum of Sa Huynh Culture is connected to another, small museum called the Museum of the Revolution, which covers the history of Vietnam’s participation in the U.S.-Vietnam war, as well as other conflicts.