Hoi An doesn’t just have an artistic side. The town’s appreciation for all things beautiful and creative is inseparable from its identity. Gorgeous ancient halls and houses make up the living museum that is the Ancient Town. Centuries-old craft villages are the perfect places to learn about traditional crafts and buy products from local artisans. Hidden galleries add a little thrill to the search for great works of art. Of course, with scenes that look like they were cropped out of paintings, just being in Hoi An can already be a gift for art lovers. Here’s how you can best experience this storybook town as an art enthusiast.

Architectural gems

Walking around the Ancient Town is a great way to start your art tour of Hoi An. When the Japanese and Chinese merchants came and settled here hundreds of years ago, they built stunning wooden houses, shops, and assembly halls along the Thu Bon River with elements that reminded them of home. Many of these structures are well preserved until this day, inside which you’ll find remarkable designs and family heirlooms.

Begin your walk at the Japanese Bridge, Ancient Town’s most famous historical site with elaborate wood carvings and roof ornaments. From there, stroll along Tran Phu Street to explore the five Chinese assembly halls with magnificent entrance gates, intricate mosaics, and priceless relics. As for family homes, ancient Tan Ky House and Quan Thang House are still exuberantly furnished with household items that date back centuries.

Read more: The architecture of the Ancient Town

Traditional and modern crafts

Artisans from Hoi An’s traditional craft villages used to be recruited for the construction of royal navy ships, palaces, and costumes. These were some of Vietnam’s finest artistries. See how wood carving, pottery, silk weaving, and mat weaving traditions are being preserved and passed on at craft villages around town. Carpenters at Kim Bong Village and potters at Thanh Ha Village host workshops for travelers, while some families in Tra Nhieu Village still weave their mats out in the yard.

For modern adaptations of these techniques, check out Driftwood Village, where reclaimed driftwood is given new life as colorful sculptures, mirror frames, paperweights, and furniture. Driftwood Village also hosts weekend family-friendly art fairs featuring local painters, musicians, craftsmen, and experimental artists. If you love elegant ceramic works, drop by Reaching Out Teahouse for delicate tea sets, cups, and tableware.

Galleries and hangouts

Hoi An’s narrow alleyways conceal small, independent galleries, making gallery-hopping a fun scavenger hunt around town. Sculptors, photographers, and painters from all over the world come to Hoi An, fall in love with it, and set up their own space to showcase artworks inspired by the very town it’s in. For a more casual approach, art cafes, restaurants, and bars offer delicious bites and refreshing drinks surrounded by curated pieces.

Award-winning photographer Réhahn’s Precious Heritage Museum features his most famous portraits and a thorough collection of ethnic costumes in Vietnam. Nestled in a quiet alley in Cam Thanh, Kyara Art House hosts tasteful exhibitions in a stylish space and provides artist residencies throughout the year. Visit Xưởng Tái Sinh to see recycled materials turn into abstract sculptures and installations, or enjoy a sundowner at Chăm Chỉ Club, a groovy riverside hangout filled with vintage finds.

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