More and more people are realizing that simply getting a passport stamp and loading up on mass-produced souvenirs is not enough to remember their epic travels. It is gaining knowledge about the culture and a sense of connection to the destination that sticks with you forever. Along with this, using this time to bond with family members makes the experience that much better.
Hoi An (Source: Internet)
Along with the timeless charm and delectable culinary scene, the historic town of Hoi An offers the perfect mix of activities for those seeking life-enriching experiences with their beloved families. If you are seeking refreshing ideas on day tours in Hoi An, Vietnam for your multigenerational travel, look no more!
Why Hoi An?
Perched on the northern bank towards the mouth of the Hoài River (fed by the Thu Bồn River), the atmospheric and delightful Hoi An used to be one of the busiest international commercial ports in Southeast Asia from the 15th to the 19th century.
Leading up to the siltation of the water arteries, the maritime trade restrictions and political struggles during the 19th and early 20th century resulted in Hoi An ceasing to be a major entrepôt and was replaced by the nearby port of Da Nang. Being abandoned from a commercial perspective was, however, a blessing in disguise that spared Hoi An from the devastating wars, as well as the consequences of rapid urbanization and industrialization.
No longer a primary trade port for spices and textiles, Hoi An today thrives on tourism and ancestral crafts. Along with this, the old town of canary yellow houses draped in Bougainvillea and aglow with colorful silk lanterns looks almost the same way it did many centuries ago. Hoi An is now a beguiling manifestation of the fusion of Oriental and Occidental cultures as well as that of the North and the South.
Hoi An old and new (Source: Internet)
Imprinted with a distinct architectural and cultural overlay, Hoi An is redolent of its heyday. The architectural consistency of buildings and the grid formation of narrow lanes and alleys magically turn Hoi An into a de facto theme park, playing the role of muse to any artist. As the day winds down, the historic town of Hoi An comes alive. People from all walks of life come here to bask in the colorful streets and lose themselves in the night. The whimsical assortment of lanterns sporting different colors, shapes, and sizes jazz up the narrow alleyways and Thu Bon River, transporting its beholders to a Hoi An of yore – so close yet so far.
How to give back while traveling in Hoi An with your family
Here are some interesting Hoi An day tours allowing you to expand your travel horizons, as well as accumulate unique and personalized memories with the people you love.
Join lantern making classes
Hoi An silk lanterns (Source: Internet)
Hoi An is known as the ‘land of lanterns’ with the omnipresence of illuminating silk (or tweed) lanterns hung over the gutters, tree branches, pole mounts, etc., and the paper lanterns cast into waterways – especially on the 14th of the lunar month. Following in the footsteps of Chinese merchants, the first lanterns were introduced in Hoi An 400 years ago. Over time, the craft of making silk lanterns has been perfected, making Hoi An one of the 9 famous handicraft villages in Vietnam. And lantern classes are now one of the highlights in Hoi An day tours.
Traditionally, the sophisticated and refined silk lanterns decorated with Chinese calligraphy or ink and wash paintings were categorized as luxury goods, reserved for big celebrations such as festivals and contests. It took several generations for them to be made available to all households in Hoi An. Nowadays many lanterns come with collapsible frames and come in various shapes, from as simple as round/ellipsoid, oval, canary-shaped, hexagonal, squash-shaped, octagonal, cylinder-shaped, etc., to as complicated as dragon-shaped, fish-shaped, carousel, etc. In the realm of Feng Shui, hanging lanterns in front of the house is believed to drive off negative energy, as well as bring warmth, peace, and luck.
Lantern making class in Hoi-An (Source: Internet)
Kids love to create things that glow, and who doesn’t? Lantern making classes offer the opportunity for family members to learn and have fun together. Not only will you learn every step of the lantern making process - from constructing the bamboo or metal frame to covering it with beautifully dyed silk or tweed; but you will also learn the meaning of each type and color of the lanterns - for example, the typical round shape represents balance.
Looking forward to getting in touch with your inner artisan? Embark on a Hoi An day tour and join a lantern making workshop to stimulate your creative side for two hours, for as low as $4 (the minimum age for learners is 10). Alternatively, you can join the Life Start Foundation Workshop – an Australian non-profit charity, in their traditional painting and lantern making class. The price is much higher than average ($30), but the money will go towards people in need.
Join a kayak clean-up on the Hoài River
Hoi An, being one of the top tourist destinations in Vietnam, inevitably brings with it cultural and environmental degradation. Recently, the government has approved a plan to turn Hoi An into the first ecological city in Vietnam. However there are a few Hoi An day tours we can take part in to spare the environment and help ease the burden on the local community.
Picking up trash (Source: Internet)
With travelers being more conscious about their social and environmental footprint, the past few years have witnessed sharp growth in sustainable tourism. They don’t just want to sit still anymore – they want to fully experience the destination, and many are willing to give a little something back to the place. Held every Saturday since February 2017, this 3.5-hour kayak clean-up tour is a perfect opportunity. This Hoi An day tour allows families to work towards a common purpose, giving adults the chance to be positive role models, and jumpstarting children’s environmental consciousness.
This day trip from Hoi An centers around the lower reaches of the Thu Bon River, which is the buffer zone between the Cù Lao Chàm Nature Reserve and the ecologically diverse coconut swamps and salt marshes. The price is $10/person for international tourists and domestic tourists are free of charge, in order to promote deeper environmental awareness and care.
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