From the 1600s to the 1800s, Hoi An was a major trading outpost known as Faifo. However, when the river silted up and the harbor became too shallow, trade moved north to Da Nang - and Hoi An lost its significance. Today, this cosmopolitan heritage is reflected in its mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese influences. Because of its rich blend of aesthetics, the entire old city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Once a hill resort favored by the French for its lush mountain scenery and cooler climate, Ba Na is still beautiful - though many of the colonial villas are in ruins. While the French elite were once carried up in sedan chairs, these days the summit is accessed by a three and a half mile cable car ride - considered one of the best in the world. At the top is a charming replica of a French town, a funicular railway that ascends even higher, and a downhill luge. Hiking trails lead off into the surrounding countryside, revealing waterfalls, a pagoda and a giant seated Buddha.
Take a private boat to the nearby Cham Islands. These islands are a quiet little fishing area populated by ethnic Cham people, an Austro-Asiatic group that fought the north Vietnamese for this territory for centuries. The islands are famed for salanganes, swallows whose nests have long been considered a delicacy by aristocrats and the wealthy. The islands are also a fine place to go snorkeling, as its waters are filled with all the manner of coral reefs and dazzling tropical fish.
The pristine, white sands of China Beach are famed for having been a favored rest and relaxation spot for American soldiers during the Vietnam War.
Take a cooking class at Brother’s Cafe and feast on your creations for dinner. This grand, U-shaped colonial building by the Thu Bon River is a window into a bygone era, with its gourmet Vietnamese cuisine and romantic garden courtyard.
Hoi An is one of the best places in Vietnam for bespoke clothing. Visit one of the finest tailor shops in Hoi An and choose from a variety of fabric swatches (linen, silk, cashmere wool, etc) and have your measurements taken for traditional garments, such as an ao dai, a form-fitting, traditional Vietnamese woman’s outfit composed of long silk pants and a long-sleeved top, or place an order for a Western suit or dress.
Explore the notable buildings of Hoi An on two wheels. Notable sites include the Japanese Covered Bridge, the Old House of Phung Hung, and the Sa Huynh Culture Museum.
In Danang's Hai Chau District near the Han River, the world's largest collection of Cham artefacts is displayed in a charming museum. Housed in colonial French buildings, visitors can see original items from Vietnam's indigenous people - from altars and lingas, to garudas and apsaras, to images of the Hindu gods - from Ganesha and Shiva, to Brahma and Vishnu. The collections date back as far as the fifth century and there are also regular exhibitions on modern Cham culture.
South of Danang, a cluster of five marble and limestone mountains are named for the five elements: water, air, wood, fire, earth. Riven with caves and grottoes, and cut with winding mountain paths and steps, the hills are well-worth exploring for the many Hindu and Buddhist sanctuaries and pagodas - not to mention stunning views of Danang and the coast.
Not to be confused with Monkey Mountain in Nepal, Son Tra (as it is known locally) is a scenic national park to the south of Danang, which sits at an elevation of nearly 2300 feet. The peninsula below is fringed with beaches and the views from the summit take in Hai Van Mountain Pass, Cham Island and Da Nang City. A popular attraction within the mountainous scenery is the 23-foot tall statue of the goddess of mercy - the tallest sculpture of this deity in southeast Asia.
Explore the abandoned Hindu temples of My Son, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples were constructed by the Champa kings between the 4th and the 14th century A.D. and are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva. Beyond the beauty of the temples themselves, My Son area is home to rich scents emanating from neighboring coffee plantations and the sound of freshwater streams running through the tropical forest. Learn aout the sculptural details here that are specific to Cham design, as well as about the history of this period.
Take a day trip along the Thu Bon River on a private river boat. Pass through Hoi An and take in the fishing villages and local markets along the riverbank before continuing upriver, where you will be immersed in the sights and sounds of sleepy, rural Vietnam.
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With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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