Mirrored in the poetic Thu Bon River, the little postcard-setting Hoi An is perhaps the most beautiful old town in Vietnam. Not as majestic as Hue or flamboyant as Cho Lon in Saigon, Hoi An with its gentle grace is a big surprise to any jaded mind. Its quiet lanes lighted with lanterns, sleeping old houses and atmospheric riverfront restaurants, all echo with history and charm. Hoi An is the first place to record economic and cultural exchange of Vietnam with the outside world. Its architecture features a perfect blend of Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese styles. Even westerners will find something familiar while wandering around its historical streets that Marco polo once passed. Despite increasing number of visitors, the city remains a “lost in the time” peaceful old town with magical beauty that has survived through all ravages of wars and time. [caption id="attachment_344" align="aligncenter" width="631"] Hoi An City in Viet Nam[/caption] Apart from major attractions in the old town, Hoi An Central Market is also a must see. It makes a very good example of Asian markets with endless chains of stalls selling all kinds of fruits, vegetables, seafood, herbs and spices as well as clothes and souvenirs. Bargaining is common and generally, you may drive from half of the asked prices. There are also some good silk-tailoring shops on the east end. You may expect the same quality as major shops on Le Loi Street, but with lower cost. Even if you have no intention for shopping there, it is well worth a visit to learn about local life and to catch some nice photographs. Another fantastic market is morning fish market right on the river dock, but only for those who can afford to get up early around 6.am and 7.am. The surrounding areas of Hoi An also have a lot to offer, including Cua Dai Beach, Cham Island, Tra Que Vegetable Village and My Son Holyland.
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