You'd be forgiven for thinking you'd stepped back in time during a stroll through Hoi An, a coastal city in central Vietnam. The former port, which saw trading between China, Europe and Japan between the 15th and 19th centuries, is as atmospheric as ever. In the pedestrian-only Ancient Town, lanterns illuminate close-knit buildings, merchant shop-houses and pagodas, all of which are extremely well-preserved.
Nearly every corner of UNESCO-listed Hoi An seems picture-worthy, but a few landmarks stand out, including the city's Japanese Covered Bridge. The Hoi An Museum of History & Culture is worth a few hours' time to see pre-Cham artefacts and ceramics, as are the handful of assembly halls – places where expat Chinese communities could gather – built here in the 1700s. Stop by the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation to take in intricate wooden carvings and stone sculptures.
Crafts are among Hoi An's greatest exports. During a visit to Thanh Ha Pottery Village, you can witness artisans firing earthenware in kilns and sample My Quang noodles – the neighbourhood's signature dish. At Kim Bong woodworking village, carpenters craft furniture, boats and housewares. Hoi An is perhaps most famous for its textiles and the local tailors that have been sewing and selling bespoke clothes here for centuries.
While exploring Hoi An, don't miss a visit to one of its famous nearby landmarks. The My Son ruins, a collection of Hindu temples dating back to the 13th century, offer a unique glimpse into early Vietnam's past.