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Exploring Hoi An, Vietnam in Stunning 4K | Travel + Leisure

In the heart of Hoi An lies a district known as Ancient Town, a name that truly represents its history. Located on Vietnam’s central coast, where the Thu Bon River meets the South China Sea, this city has been an important port for thousands of years. It was a hub for traders and seafarers from China, Japan, India, France, the Netherlands, and Portugal who traveled along the spice route.

Ancient Town, situated inland from the coast, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. This recognition helped preserve its pagodas, wooden bridges, and merchant houses, which were mostly constructed between the 15th and 19th centuries. Since then, tourists have flocked to this historic center, essentially turning it into a romantic living museum, although some may find it a bit kitschy.

However, the attention is now shifting back to Hoi An’s oceanfront thanks to a recently renovated beach resort. The city is experiencing a lively renaissance, as entrepreneurs from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other places are investing in its development.

Despite the new developments, Ancient Town still retains its dreamy golden facades that transport visitors to a bygone era. The streets are filled with the aroma of argan wood incense, which is lit by locals in the morning and perfumes the sepia-tinged lanes throughout the day. Farmers sell herbs, fishermen clean catfish and eels, and street vendors promote noodles and dumplings. At night, the river is adorned with floating candle offerings. Hoi An has gracefully matured as a colorful port city, but it is also entering a new golden era.

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