Hoi An is a city on the South Central coast of Vietnam along the East Sea and Thu Bon River. In 1999 the town was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once the largest harbor and busiest port in Southeast Asia, the town grew prosperous with trade between China, Japan and Vietnam before finally expanding to India and Europe. The primary commodity were spices, textiles, and ceramics.
Today the town boasts the exceptional historic preservation of buildings, shrines, and temples dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries, many demonstrating the unique cultural influences of traders and visitors from around the world. The town’s most famous historic site is the Japanese Bridge or Chùa cầu, dividing the town between the original native and the Japanese settlements. The site is unique in being the only covered bridge with a Buddhist shrine attached to one side.