Travel back in time. Get a taste of a special place in Central Vietnam. Located right at the South China Sea, you find harmony and more than 2000 years of history around every corner. Welcome to Hoi An. Here, ying and yang are so wonderfully in-sync.

Referred to as Vietnam’s most atmospheric town, you have the history of this once major seaport town at your fingertips. Boasting a grand mix of architectural styles along a number of calm canals, tourists have not overrun this city, yet. Hence, it is as authentically Vietnamese as one could imagine. Further, this friendly city is the epitome of peaceful living and skillful work. Moreover, it possesses a humble worldview – beyond inspiring.

Architecture Mirroring Modesty and Joie de Vivre 

Step into a place that will make you feel inspired and humbled. Visit a city that encourages you to re-think your outlook on life. Hence, find what really matters. Hoi An keeps masses away. By doing so, it maintains its original charm. This is because it neither has a train station nor an airport. Certainly, this suits its spirit well.

The Old Town of Hoi An seems lost in time. It provides a view into former eras that even the younger generations still value today. Let the atmosphere embrace you as you walk along the simple narrow streets of this “off-the-beaten-path” destination.

Traditional Architecture Along Canal

Traditional medley of architectural styles reflecting history along the canal – Hoi An, Vietnam

An amalgamation of different architectural styles reflects the city’s colorful history. From simple wooden buildings, to typically narrow Vietnamese town houses. The latter, here, combines Chinese tiled roofs. In addition, find Japanese support joists, and artfully decorated facades, with French louvered shutters and lampposts. While the buildings are far from being architectural masterpieces, they are functional. Specifically, they are designed to be welcoming. The houses emphasize the people’s general modesty. They are as well-preserved as the folk’s traditional virtues.

He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough. – Lao Tzu

The Vietnamese exude modesty in all they build, create, do. By that, they are wiser than anyone showing off abundance of wealth. Also, it shows another thing: the values of learning and respecting those who are well-educated matter more than a facade of material things and wealth. It is what makes the Vietnamese’s spirit beautifully humble. Further, it is more “valuable” than any material belongings could.

Life Above Wealth

Moreover, where on earth can we find such authentic, thorough happiness than is exuded by everything Hoi An’s residents do? Their smiles are contagious. The city image might not be glamorous and shiny, but does it matter? Not here. It is bright – as bright as their personalities. Authenticity of a nation, respect for its elders, their wisdom, and all things spiritual are ranked far higher than a glitzy outward appearance.

Colorful Building in Hoi An

Colorful buildings, temples, shrines that grace the city image and reflect the joyful spirit of the residents – Hoi An, Vietnam

Vietnamese are the best example of: Be happy with what you have, even if it is not much, but you worked hard for it and created it with your own hands. So, they are not ranked the 12th happiest country on earth for nothing. It’s a mindset deep-rooted in their life values.

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. – Lao Tzu

Looking up at the photo makes us realize just how beautiful seemingly simple architecture can be. It is not about the fancy materials used, nor is it about extravagant building styles. More so: the colors, the thoughts behind, the historic influence and the stories those carefully built little houses bear. Symmetrically aligned plants underline people’s uplifting and totally in-sync spirits. And plants are even more: life. Of that, the Vietnamese have a lot. It makes us stop and realize just how much beauty there is in the simpler things. We begin to understand just how much richer this can make life, and us.

Harmony in All Existence 

Feel the spirit of wisdom and positive zen vibes here in Hoi An. It is a safe, peaceful haven where the good prevails. Not only the friendly facades of the city exude this feeling. Here, people traditionally believe that human nature is good. Therefore, the optimism of Hoi An’s residents is an inspiration. These non-self-centered people, who are so warm, welcoming, sociable, and caring about others, are the soul of the city. Hoi An means “calm community” or “a place for peaceful gatherings”. This is exactly the impression the visitor gets as the city’s polite residents demonstrate their value of respect for each individual. Feel the sense of deep and abiding harmony.

Hoi An Art Gallery

Hoi An Art Gallery; its residents are very crafty and artsy and their work reflects harmony and traditions – Hoi An, Vietnam

Skillful Work Reflecting Art of Traditions

The inhabitants like to create. Granted, they are good at it. Their hands – apart from their minds – are their most valuable tools. This means that being crafty and artsy plays an important role in Vietnamese traditions. Look at all the embroideries, paintings, sculptures, traditional writings. Those are reflections of their harmonious lives in a community that is seeking to co-exist in peace and pure harmony.

Vietnamese Writings on Rolls

Vietnamese writings on traditional rolled paper mirroring the intellectual spirit of this nation – Hoi An, Vietnam

Its humble folks are very talented and wise. This makes them truly wealthy, wealthier than anyone else. In fact, their art reflects centuries of wisdom passed on to generations. Also, it shows the Vietnamese’s thirst for continuous learning. Here, people speak highly of intellectuals and creative thinkers. Never stop learning for life an from others. Always appreciate seemingly simple, yet most essential, things that will bring us further.