The ancient town of Hoi An, a small coastal city in central Vietnam, lies on the banks of the Thu Bon River. It was an important port and commercial centre in the 16th and 17th centuries, when trade with China and Japan flourished. During this period Chinese, Japanese, Dutch and Indian traders settled down. Much of the traders wealth was spent on temples and clan houses (socalled Chinese assembly halls), which are very well preserved. Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage site, which attracts a large number of tourists due to its impressive historical and cultural heritage, its tranquil riverside setting and its wide array of shops and galleries.
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