Hoi an ancient town

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From the moment you enter the city, the mystique of an secluded ancient town isolated from the modern world will take your feeling back to old countryside society of Vietnam.

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Hoi an ancient town

  1. 1. Indochina Treks Travel Co.,Ltd Add: 24 Au Trieu Str, Hoan Kiem Dis, Hanoi Tel: (84) 4 66821230; Fax (84) 4 33769113 Website: www.indochinatreks.com Email: info@indochinatreks.com Hoi An Ancient Town From the moment you enter the city, the mystique of an secluded ancient town isolated from the modern world will take your feeling back to old countryside society of Vietnam.Lying on the banks oncient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-EastAsian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century.Over the last few years, Hoi An has become a very popular tourist destination in Vietnam.Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, thathave combined to produce this unique heritage site. In 1999, the old town was declared aWorld Heritage site by UNESCO under the criteria C (II) and criteria C (V):Criterion (II): Hoi An is an outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures overtime in an international commercial port.Criterion (V): Hoi An is an exceptionally well preserved example of a traditional Asiantrading port.
  2. 2. Occupied by early western traders, Hoi An was one of the major trading centers ofSoutheast Asia in the 16th century and 17th centuries, where Chinese from variousprovinces as well as Japanese, Dutch and Indians settled down.Light Bright No fluorescent lights, no motorcycles, no television, on the 15th dayof each lunar month, the riverside town of Hoi An gives modern life the night off.In a wood-fronted shops a woman in traditional dress sits at a desk, bathed in the light of alantern made from a simple bamboo fish-trap. Outside, two old men are absorbed in acandlelit game of Chinese checkers. Hoi An, a sleepy riverside town in the central provinceof Quang Nam. In the air of legendary, just experience the existence by tasting and feeling.Hoi An has long been a cultural crossroad. More than five centuries ago the Vietnamesenation of Dai Viet expanded its territory southwards, encroaching on the IndianizedKingdom of Champa, which covered much of what is now central Vietnam. Hoi An, locatedon the Hoai River, emerged when Japanese and Chinese traders built a commercial districtthere in the 16th century.These diverse cultural influences remain visible today. Visitors will find Hoi Ans Old Quarterlined with two-storey Chinese shops, their elaborately carved wooden facades and moss-covered tile roofs having withstood the ravages of more than 300 years of weather andwarfare. These proud old buildings, which back onto the river, remind visitors of anotherera, when Hoi Ans market was filled with wares from as far afield as India and Europe.Colourful guildhalls, founded by ethnic Chinese from Guangdong and Fujian provinces, standquietly, a testament to the towns trading roots.While Hoi Ans old-fashioned charm is always visible, on the 15th of every lunar monthmodernity takes another step back. On these evenings the town turns off its street lampsand fluorescent lights, leaving the Old Quarter bathed in the warm glow of coloured silk,glass and paper lanterns. In ancient times, Vietnamese people made lamps out of shallowbowls filled with oil. Later, foreign traders introduced lanterns, ranging from round andhexagonal designs from China to diamond and star shaped ones from Japan.Let Hoi An be lightWhen developing plans to preserve their towns ancient character, Hoi An residents decidedto revive the practice of using coloured lanterns. Starting in the fall of 1998, one night eachmonth is declared a "lantern festival". On the 15th day of each lunar month, residents onTran Phu, Nguyen Thai Hoc, Le Loi and Bach Dang streets switch off their lights and hangcloth and paper lanterns on their porches and windows. Television sets, radios, street lightsand neon lights are turned off.In the ensuing quiet the streets of Hoi An are at their most romantic, the darkness brokenonly by jeweltoned lanterns in all manner of shapes and sizes. Strolling through the lantern-lit streets is like walking into a fairytale. It is all the more picturesque since motor vehiclesare banned from Hoi Ans Old Quarter. On Trai Phu Street, stop at the beautifully preservedFaifo Restaurant to sample some traditional Chinese-style pastries. Or walk on to theTreated Caf6, where bamboo baskets, commonly used to wash rice, have been transformedinto unique lanterns. These basket lamps are but one example of peoples creativity as theyexperiment with new shapes and materials, including lights made from hollow bambootubes.A Warm GlowThe 15th day of the lunar month is a Buddhist day of worship. Residents place offerings offood and incense on their ancestral altars and visit one of Hoi Ans many pagodas. The scentof incense and the sounds of people singing add to the towns enchanted atmosphere. Onthese evenings, visitors will get a rare glimpse into another era. These nights are a welcomereminder of lifes unexpected beautyTourists can visit the relics of the Sa Huynh and Cham cultures. They can also enjoy thebeautiful scenery of the romantic Hoi An River, Cua Dai Beach, and Cham Island.

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