CNN names Hoi An among Asia’s most beautiful towns

By Nguyen Quy   August 31, 2019 | 11:52 am GMT+7
CNN names Hoi An among Asia’s most beautiful towns
Tourists sail coracles at a mangrove forest in Hoi An in central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
U.S. cable news channel CNN has listed the 400-year-old Hoi An Town in central Vietnam among “the most picturesque” in Asia.

The UNESCO heritage site in Quang Nam Province ranks fourth in the list of 13 most beautiful towns in Asia, behind another UNESCO site, George Town in Malaysia, the beautiful river town of Zhouzhuang in China and Japan’s Yufuin.

Hoi An, which used to be the busiest trading port in Southeast Asia in the 16th century and was famous for ceramics and high-quality silk, is now "a heaven for photographers, foodies and architecture lovers", CNN said.

"Thanks to centuries as an important trade hub, the narrow streets of Hoi An ancient town feature rows and rows of charming mustard-hued merchant houses though many have since been transformed into low-key restaurants, bars, design boutiques and tailors' shops."

For many, Hoi An is not just a collection of 16th century houses for which the former port town has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. A cuisine particular to the town, influenced by many different cultures including Japan, China and Portugal, is a major part of its attraction too.

Don’t miss the array of delicious food experiences, from banh mi, a Vietnamese single-serving baguette filled with various savory ingredients, at the famous Banh Mi Phuong Restaurant (2B Phan Chau Trinh) that has been praised by bloggers and foreign media for several years now. Anthony Bourdain referred to the banh mi here as "the world's best", CNN said.

"Foodies can also enjoy local staples like herb-covered rice rolls, white rose dumplings and fresh seafood at Ms Ly’s café."

Foreign tourists walk around the ancient town of Hoi An in central Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Huy Thoai.

Foreign tourists walk around the ancient town of Hoi An. Photo by Shutterstock/Huy Thoai.

Famous towns in Southeast Asia appearing on the CNN list also include Vigan in the Philippines, Luang Prabang in Laos, Kampot in Cambodia, Kota Gede in Indonesia, and Phuket Old Town in Thailand.

Hoi An has been earning one laurel after another this year including topping this year’s tourism hotspot listing by New York-based magazine Travel + Leisure.

On July 16 Google Doodle featured an image of Hoi An with symbols of Chua Cau (Pagoda Bridge) and colorful lanterns, the first Vietnamese destination to be honored thus.

The number of foreign visitors to Hoi An skyrocketed by 90 percent last year to 3.7 million.

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