With its cobbled back streets full of small tailor shops, cafes, old merchant houses and temples Hoi An is quite simply a must see on any itinerary to Vietnam! So many towns in Vietnam were destroyed in various wars but the ancient town of Hoi An, in the past also referred to as Faifoo, Faicfo or Hai Pho, managed to remain largely in tact.
First founded by the Champas in the 7th century, Hoi An became an important trading port on the silk route in the 16th and 17th centuries. Traders from China, Japan, India and Europe all have settled here and the architecture bears witness to this cosmopolitan past and allows today's visitors a glimpse of a Vietnam that no longer exists elsewhere.
Originally Hoi An was a divided town with the river separating the Japanese merchants from the rest of the populous. The Japanese built the curious bridge (Chùa cầu) but no one is quite sure of exactly when. It is a unique covered structure and is the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist pagoda attached to one side. In 1999, the old town was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Today, Hoi An is still a small town with the ancient centre now fully pedestrianised. Several internet cafés, bars and restaurants have opened along the riverfront.