You know you’re in a special place when it’s against the law not to hang gorgeous lanterns from shops at night. Then there’s the UNESCO World Heritage status. That’s Hoi An, a unique place where Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and European influences lie at its historical core, nestled alongside a sleepy river that winds its way down to some of the country’s best beaches just a few kilometres away.
Packed with Chinese temples and Japanese merchant houses, the town’s conservation is in no small part due to it escaping the horrible devastation of last century’s French and American wars. Mercifully, it’s also devoid of the urban havoc so prevalent in many other South-East Asian destinations.