NEHA PATNAIK / VIETNAM / UPDATED: DECEMBER’ 2019
Are you a culture vulture who loves visiting UNESCO heritage sites? Then you should definitely put ‘Ancient Town’ in Hoi An on your list. In this post, i have written everything you need to know to take a culture trip through Ancient town. Plus the five must visit sites here.
As usual, this blog is the result of my love for travelling and writing. Nothing is sponsored and everything is based on our own honest reviews and experiences.
So, let’s begin!
‘Ancient Town’ is a UNESCO heritage site located in Hoi An which lies just across the riverside, connected by a bridge. I love visiting cultural sites and this was one of the cultural highlights of my Vietnam trip. This place has been kept beautifully preserved with picturesque streets, merchant houses, quirky shops, museums and temples. Numerous shops and restaurants operate out of the restored and preserved heritage sites. Chinese and Japanese elements have influenced the architecture and there are colourful lanterns hanging all over town, making it beautiful and brightly lit at night.
To enter the town and wander through it, you will need tickets. The Entrance fee is 120,000 VND (5 USD/pp), which gives access to 5 different sites within the town. This money is used in the upkeep and restoration of the town. Ticket booths are dotted all over the place.
NOTE: You can be asked to show your ticket at any time while walking through the town so make sure to have it on your person.
HOW MUCH TIME WILL YOU NEED?
Take a half day to walk around the streets. Enjoy the atmosphere by getting lost in the alleys and chance upon something new! Cyclo tours are available which cost around 500,000 VND(20-25 USD) that will take you to five of the sites. This can be a good option especially during summer, when the heat and humidity gets unbearable.
SITES TO VISIT
While there are a number of Heritage sites present, only 5 can be visited using the entrance ticket. So what 5 sites should you visit ?
1. JAPANESE BRIDGE
This little bridge, with it’s arched shape is symbolic of Hoi An and is a major tourist draw . Built by the Japanese to be connected to the Chinese quarters on the other side, the Japanese architecture has been beautifully preserved and it houses a shrine inside. However, it can get really crowded, so its best to visit it first thing in the morning.
2. FUJIAN ASSEMBLY HOME
This was by and far, our favourite heritage site in the Ancient Town. The beautifully constructed triple gateway leads to a hall which houses a shrine dedicated to Thien Hau (a deity from the Fujian province of China) and is one of the best examples of Chinese architecture in Hoi An. The interiors have been richly restored and house murals depicting the story of Thien Hau.
3. QUAN CONG TEMPLE
This little Chinese temple houses both a temple as well as a Buddhist pagoda and is dedicated to Quan Cong, a Chinese general. The altar is housed at the back of the sanctuary with a koi pond a small garden overlooking it.
4. TAN KY HOUSE
Chinese and Japanese elements have influenced this beautifully preserved merchant house. Walk through the rooms and take a look at the furnishings and the beautiful ceiling. Descendents of Tan Ky still live in this house on the upper floors.
5. HOI AN FOLK MUSEUM
Occupying a restored wooden house, this little museum houses a number of artefacts and pictures depicting the culture and lifestyle of the people.
The pretty streets are filled with numerous shops selling various souvnirs. Vendors selling pop up cards, a Hoi an speciality are found everywhere. In addition, silk scarves, wooden puppets, quirky posters and frames are some of the items to buy. We also came upon a beautiful shop selling wooden carved boats of every size and bought one.
So this was our little guide on taking a culture trip through Ancient town in Hoi an. Hopefully you enjoyed it! Do you like visiting UNESCO heritage sites? Have you been to any in Vietnam? Share your stories in the comments!