A taste of atmosphere
Hoi An Travel Blog› entry 10 of 23 › view all entries
We soon discovered that strolling through the old centre of Hoi An is like taking a step back in time. The small town hasnâ€™t changed much since the 17th century, when Hoi An was an important harbor town. The harbor attracted traders from China, Japan and even Europe. All these international traders and the prosperous inhabitants of old Hoi An left countless characteristic markings, making this place one of the most atmospheric visits we had in entire Asia.
There are numerous sights and we decided to start with the Japanese covered bridge. This is the most important landmark of Hoi An, even though it is quite small. The wooden construction was built by the Japanese community, and the most remarkable is the little temple that is built into the side of the bridge.
Our next stop is The Assembly Hall of the Cantonese Chinese Congregation. With a glimpse of the beautiful entrance hall, we need some time to understand the man at the doorway. It seems he wants entrance tickets, but the tickets canâ€™t be bought at that particular place. We have to walk back for about half a mile to get tickets. At the corner of a street we find a woman sitting behind a low table and she is selling what seems to be tickets. She doesnâ€™t speak English, so we just buy two entrance tickets (75.000 Dong a person) and hope for the best.
It turns out these tickets give entrance to one museum, one old house and one assembly hall. We show the man at the Assembly Hall of the Cantonese Chinese Congregation our new tickets and he makes a cut at the Assembly Hall part. We finally get in.
The Assembly Hall is lovely, with colourful murals and a beautiful mosaic statue of a dragon.
On our way to the Tran Family Chapel, we get sidetracked by the typical streets, the aged houses and attractive shops. And there are so many nice cafĂ©â€™s! An hour later we finally find our way to the Tran Family Chapel, which was built for worshipping family ancestors in 1802. A young woman shows us around and tells about the altar, the Tran Family and their customs. The goal is to lead us right into the adjacent shop, which is fine by me. I havenâ€™t lost my shopping mood yetâ€¦
We then head for the Museum of Trading Ceramics, with a small exhibition of artefacts from all over Asia. The displays canâ€™t hold our attention for very long, itâ€™s the beautifully restored wooden house that gets most of our interest.
Now we want to visit the Tan Ky House, but since we already used our entrance tickets for another house, the Tran Family Chapel, we have to buy new tickets at another street corner.
Since we have the new entrance tickets with a lot of new stubs, we decide to also visit the Museum of Folklore, but we donâ€™t think it is that interesting. We only spend about fifteen minutes in here.
There are plenty more sights in Hoi An, but we donâ€™t want to overdo it. What we saw was charming and beautiful, and absolutely worth visiting.