The Old Town in Hoi An stretches along the Thu Bon River on the southern edge of town. On December 4, 1999 UNESCO declared Hoi An's Old Town a World Heritage Site to preserve the historical structures. Old Town's real charm comes out at night when the cobbled streets are dimly lit by lantern; the setting along the river is so tranquil that people feel compelled to speak in hushed voices.
For an authentic Hoi An Old Town experience, try a bowl of local cao lau noodles - made nowhere else in the world - before checking out one of the traditional performances.
- Read more about the town of Hoi An.
Admission Into Old Town
Anyone can stroll around Old Town for free, however tickets are required to go inside of the museums, houses, and other attractions. With the purchase of one ticket ($4.50) visitors can choose five of the approximately 18 sites to enter. A ticket allows you the choice of one museum, one assembly hall, one old house, one traditional performance, and either the Quong Cong Temple or Japanese Bridge.
Tickets to Old Town can be purchased all around Hoi An, however to avoid hassle just purchase your tickets directly from one of the two official offices on either Hai Ba Trung Street or Hoang Dieu Street.
Popular Sites in Hoi An Old Town
- Japanese Bridge: A symbol of pride in Hoi An, the Japanese Bridge was constructed early in the 17th century. Although it was restored in 1986, the wooden bridge still beams with age and character. There is a small shrine inside the bridge as well as sacred statues of a dog and pig that guard each end of the span. Crossing the bridge requires a ticket, however people rarely check when foot traffic is high. Read more about the Hoi An Japanese Bridge.
- Nguyen Thi Minh Khai just beyond the bridge is a peaceful street lined with art galleries of all sorts. Location: Eastern edge of Tran Phu Street.
- Quong Cong Temple: Constructed around 1653, this temple is dedicated to Quan Cong - a Chinese general famed for his loyalty and integrity. Location: Tran Phu Street.
- Traditional Theater: Catch live presentations of folk songs, dance, and traditional instruments. The show starts at 9 p.m. - arrive earlier. Location: Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.
- Hoi An Handicraft Workshop: See live musical performances at 10:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. every day but Mondays; shows last 30 minutes. Location: Bach Dang Street.
Museums of Old Town
- Museum of Trade Ceramics: This museum is barely more than an old house with vases and shards of broken pottery. Location: Tran Phu Street.
- Museum of Folk Culture: Small but interesting, the Museum of Folk Culture portrays the daily lives of villagers. Location: Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.
- Museum of Sa Huynh Culture: This museum is two in one; a small display upstairs contains weapons of war including machine guns while the downstairs has pottery dating back to the 1st century. Location: Banc Dang Street.
- Museum of History and Culture: Probably the most interesting museum to choose with your ticket, this museum houses an old cannon and artifacts dating back over a thousand years. Old photographs show what Hoi An looked like before it became a tourist town.
Historic Houses in Hoi An Old Town
Most of the old houses are still active residences turned into tourist attractions; visiting may seem awkward, but it does provide a chance to see how local residents live. Many of the house tours include free tea; tipping is not required but is a nice gesture if your host was helpful.
- Tan Ky House: A 200-year-old house with combined Japanese and Chinese influences. Location: Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. Read more about Tan Ky House.
- Phung Hung House: A traditional house located on the other side of the Japanese Bridge. Eight generations have lived there to the present day. Location: Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street.
- Quan Thang: Constructed in the 18th century by a wealthy sea captain, this house is very artistic. Location: Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.
- Tran Family Worship House: This house/chapel was built in 1802 inside of a beautiful garden. Location: northern part of Old Town on Le Loi Street.
Congregation Halls and Communal Houses
The congregation halls were where Chinese immigrants held meetings and socialized. Each house is dedicated to a family clan or region in China. Although historically important, most of the communal houses don't have much to look at other than impressive wooden architecture.
- Cam Pho: This communal house was last restored in 1817.
- Minh Huong: This congregation hall was built in 1820.
Folk Games in Old Town
Every night around 7 p.m. locals and tourists alike gather near the river at the intersection of Nguyen Thai Hoc and Bach Dang Street. For 50 cents you can participate in a traditional form of gambling where everyone chooses a paddle with a code. Paddles are hung on a line throughout the musical show; if a paddle matching yours is drawn, you win a bag of prizes. Even if you choose not to participate in the game, the traditional drums and singing are worth hanging around for!
As you will be entering into temples and homes, visitors are requested to dress appropriately. Women should wear knee-length skirts or dresses; both men and women should not wear sleeveless tops.