Hội An Ancient Town to resume tourism activities

Located just 30KM away from the central city of Đà Nẵng, the Hội An Ancient Town is a world-renowned attraction of Vietnam thanks to its rich cultural heritage and vibrant nightlife.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, local authorities have had to halt all tourism activities in the town, much to the discontent of travel enthusiasts.

Luckily, that’s all about to change as it has been confirmed that several attractions in the area will be reopening their doors to visitors starting 1st June.

Awakening after months in hibernation

When a British tourist was found positive for COVID-19 in Hội An back in March, local authorities were quick to respond, suspending all tourism activities around the town. A couple of weeks later, restaurants, cafes, and other services also had to close as Vietnam entered social distancing across the entire nation.

A street in Hội An, Vietnam
Image credit: @andre.wittig

Since the social distancing order was lifted on 23rd April, many businesses have resumed operation. However, tourist attractions in the area have remained closed.

But here comes the good news: we’ll get to see the lively Hội An return soon, as Mr. Nguyễn Văn Sơn, Chairman of Hội An’s People Committee, has confirmed that the pedestrian streets in the town – home to most of its tourism activities – will be reopened again on 1st June, which is next Monday.

As they were before the shutdown, the streets around the center of Hội An will bar all vehicles from entering between 9AM-11AM and 3PM-10PM, allowing tourists to enjoy a stroll along the charming Thu Bồn River, marvel at the architecture of ancient houses and pagodas, and bathe in the light of lanterns hanging on the streets at night. Many activities such as traditional games and folk music performances will make a return as well.

Hội An is a charming site with rich cultural heritage

Once a major trading post in Southeast Asia in the 16th-17th centuries, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hội An is home to a fascinating cluster of structures influenced by Chinese, Japanese, and French architectural styles.

A signature activity of the town that no visitor should miss out on is taking a ferry ride on the Thu Bồn River at night. Coming to the river bank, you can easily find locals on boats offering their service for a moderate fee of VND100,000 (~USD4.33).

Ferry riders on the Thu Bồn River in Hội An

Water lanterns are displayed aplenty for sale here for as little as VND20,000 (~USD0.87). Get a couple of these to bring on the boat with you, then send them off down the water once you reach the middle of the river. It’ll feel as if you’ve ventured into the world of the Disney movie Tangled.

Water lanterns aplenty are displayed for sale at the riverbank

A lantern festival is held in the town every month on the 14th and 15th day of the lunar calendar. On these nights, all electric lights in the area will be turned off, and the only source of illumination will be the lanterns hanging on the streets and in front of stores. Time your visit to immerse in the mesmerizing atmosphere.

Tourism to resume in Hội An next week, but only to domestic travelers

For now, however, the charms of Hội An are reserved exclusively to domestic travelers, as Vietnam will not be recommencing international tourism in the near future. The decision was made yesterday by the National Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control, in light of the fact that the threat of imported infections is still present.

Still, the reopening of tourist attractions in the ancient town will be a major boost to the domestic tourism industry in Vietnam, which the government has been trying to bolster.

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Cover image adapted from The Smart Local

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