Hoi An is an ancient prosperous city in Vietnam, of course, you know it. But have you ever heard about this city’s vicissitudes as the land of cultural interference between generations, Asia and the West from early days?
The memory of Hoi An
Hoi An belongs to Quang Nam province, Central Vietnam. This city has archeological value with many artifacts collected dating back to 2-3 thousand years ago from archaeological relics. They are tools of daily life, production, combat, jewelry, and beliefs… made of ceramic, copper, iron, stone, and glass. In particular, there are also ancient Chinese coins along with agate jewelry and glass that originated from South India, Sri Lanka, and the Middle East. All are proof of people existing here from prehistoric times with the culture of wet rice cultivation, fishing, and making handicrafts. In particular, it used to be widely traded and established a primitive port market, which was the foundation for future ports-markets.
The 2nd to the 15th century is said to be the period of Champa residents with brilliant culture, opening the golden age for a flourishing Port Market. This land used to be the main port of Champa. Lam Ap town is where foreign ships often visit to get fresh water from delicious and clear Cham Pa wells; exchange products such as agarwood, cinnamon, jade, glass, silk, tortoiseshell…
Around the end of the 15th century, Hoi An was inhabited by Dai Viet people. From the end of the 16th century to the 17th century, more Chinese and Japanese people came to settle down, helping Hoi An trading to develop. Combined with a suitable geographical location, Hoi An quickly became a prosperous trading port for many centuries.
In the 18th century, after a period of war and turmoil, a new policy was issued by the feudal government causing the commercial area to close, Vietnamese and Chinese merchants brought their wealth to Saigon – Cho Lon (Ho Chi Minh City today) to have a new start. Leaving behind a ruined Hoi An, works of cultural interference, and a golden trading period of this land.
For a time after the war, it seemed that trade could be restored. But in the 19th century, the mouth of the Cua Dai river was increasingly narrowed and the Co Co river was also filled with alluvium, making it impossible for large boats to visit Hoi An port. In addition, the Nguyen court also implemented a closed-door policy, limiting relations with foreign countries. Since then, Hoi An has gradually declined, losing its position as an important international port. Despite this, as a major commercial center, the city was still developed, new roads south of the river were built and neighborhoods expanded. This place is no longer as busy as before, but still more prosperous than other towns of the Vietnamese people.
For hundreds of years, the bustling city-commercial port that once slumbered by the Hoai River like a “city of old age”, has been awakened, washed away the dust of time, and erased many forgotten things to reveal. Wearing fanciful brocades, and being “painted with makeup” make the beauty more shimmering and seductive!
The prestige and position of Hoi An are increasingly enhanced and won the sympathy, support, and sharing of everyone, from domestic tourists to foreign tourists. Hoi An with its beauty has created a strong attraction for tourists around the world. Each year over one million tourists come to Hoi An, and each year on average, a Hoi An resident welcomes a dozen more friends from all over the planet.
Amidst the hustle and bustle, there is still a quiet and peaceful Hoi An. Amid a constantly changing and volatile world, Hoi An is still the first choice of destination. Anyone who has come here to travel, will certainly not be able to forget the beautiful, unforgettable moments and indescribable deep down emotion in Hoi An. Therefore, a small Hoi An is constantly being named on tourist rankings, standing with other big cities in the world.
5 months after Vietnam reopening the border, let’s see remarkable achievements of this charming ancient town:
- Time Out ranked Hoi An the 9th out of the 21 most romantic destinations in the world for couples on Valentine’s Day.
- The Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards has ranked a motorbike ride from Hue to Hoi An as the 12th best tourist activity in the world, under the ‘Travel Experience’ category.
- com’s Traveler Review Awards 2022 names Hoi An as top 10 most hospitable cities in the world.
- Dubai-based Time Out magazine has listed Hoi An ancient town in central Vietnam among “the very best places” to travel to in July 2022.
- Hoi An cooking class among top 25 best travel experiences in Asia – by Tripadvisor
- Hoi An is also among the 25 best cities in the world in 2022 voted by Travel + Leisure magazine.
- Hoi An recently entered the top 25 of Asia’s Overall Experiences in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.
The yellow-painted houses, old tiled roofs covered with moss, the streets filled with the colors of lanterns, and the intricately carved diaphragms, all bring us a feeling of nostalgia. There is still a shadow of a resounding time, of cross-cultural features, of 400 years Hoi An up and down. Some things got lost, something got forgotten, something has changed, something old and something new.
As the flow of life.