Hoi An

Hội An, or rarely Faifo, is a city of Vietnam, on the coast of the South China Sea in the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is located in Quang Nam province and is home to approximately 120,000 inhabitants. It is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The city possessed the largest harbour in Southeast Asia in the 1st century and was known as Lâm Ấp Phố (Champa City). Between the seventh and 10th centuries, the Cham (people of Champa) controlled the strategic spice trade and with this came tremendous wealth. The boats still used today in Hoi An probably have the same hull shape as those used by the Champas for ocean voyages.

The former harbour town of the Cham at the estuary of the Thu Bồn River was an important Vietnamese trading centre in the 16th and 17th centuries, where Chinese from various provinces as well as Japanese, Dutch and Indians settled. During this period of the China trade, the town was called Hai Pho (Seaside Town) in Vietnamese. Originally, Hai Pho was a divided town with the Japanese settlement across the "Japanese Bridge" (16th-17th century). The bridge (Chùa cầu) is a unique covered structure built by the Japanese, the only known covered bridge with a Buddhist pagoda attached to one side.

Calm mild weather is limited to the season of May/June to the end of August when the seas are calm and wind changes direction and comes from the South. This is the season for sun & fun, swimming, snorkeling & diving, sailing, etc. With the effects of global warming, the traditional rough weather season of September - December is now rougher than previous years (highlighted by 2007 & 2009 typhoons and serious flooding, loss of life & damage to property). During this season, great care must be taken by tourists in flood conditions. The remainder of the year the weather is intermittent between rain & cold and hot and mild. It is now very difficult to predict weather conditions from December through the end of May. Popular activities such as visiting offshore Cu Lao Cham islands are only guaranteed to be likely during the short season of end of May to the end of August, which is the high season for domestic tourists.

In 1999, the old town was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port of the 15th to 19th centuries, with buildings that display a unique blend of local and foreign influences.

Information based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoi_An