Travel+Leisure: Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City Among 15 Best Cities In Asia

Hoi An and the Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam are the two destinations standing in the winner list of World’s Best Awards 2023 as the favorite cities in Asia, voted by readers of by US travel magazine Travel + Leisure.
July 24, 2023 | 12:16

According to the website, whether you’re honeymooning in a dreamy Indian capital or eating your way through an awe-inspiring Japanese megalopolis, this year’s reader picks for the 15 best cities in Asia all share a wealth of options for fantastic food, layers of history, and a glimpse at the magic that happens when ancient history and modernity intersect.

US travel magazine Travel + Leisure hosts the annual World’s Best Awards, also known as the travel industry’s most trusted rankings, to share readers' opinions on a broad range of trip experiences based on recent trips you’ve taken. The 2023 World’s Best Awards chose its winner from the 122 lists of reader favorites, including the traditional categories like cities and cruises and two brand-new categories: trains and luxury villa rental companies.

With 87.86 points, Hoi An ranked 13th, followed by Ho Chi Minh City with 87.64 points. Over the years, Hoi An has maintained its position in the rankings of Travel Leisure as well as many prestigious international magazines.

Located in the central province of Quang Nam, Hoi An has long been known for its ancient quarters, a world heritage site, with a typical architectural heritage complex.

Serving as a trading port from the 15th to the 19th century, today it is easy to see the vibrant and lively atmosphere remains mostly unchanged in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hoi An is a walk of life, which is full of things to see, eat and do.

Previously, Hoi An was also honored by Travel+Leisure many times as the most wonderful city in the world in 2019, the leading city in Asia in 2020, the top 10 Asian cities in 2018 and 2021, and one of the 50 best places to travel in 2019.

Unlike the tranquility in Hoi An, Vietnam’s cosmopolitan metropolis – Ho Chi Minh City appears as one of the busiest hubs in the country. The city draws together old and new historical landmarks that give this city its distinct appeal. The city is also famous for its lively night scene filled with bars, live music, and plenty of entertainment for solo travelers looking to hit after dark.

Hoi An

Hoi An Town is an exceptionally well-preserved trading port from the 15th to the 19th centuries. It is also known as the most atmospheric city in Vietnam, or perhaps even in the whole of Southeast Asia. The city is full of picturesque historic houses, pagodas and cafes. It is extremely popular to buy handmade clothing. But even if you do not want to shop, Hoi An provides a relaxing destination in an otherwise hectic country. After all, a day at the beach is just a 20-minute bike ride from the city.

Travel+Leisure: Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City Among 15 Best Cities In Asia
Photo: Laluna Hoian Riverside Hotel

Merchants from China, Japan and later Europe settled in Hoi An from the 15th to 19th centuries, creating a unique architectural fusion. Bring your camera as you tread the Japanese Bridge, Tan Ky ancestral house, and Phuc Kien Assembly Hall.

Dining in Hoi An is a pure pleasure. Farms and fishing boats contribute just-picked vegetables, seafood, herbs, and fruit to the markets daily. Three quintessential Hoi An dishes are Cao Lau, Hoanh Thanh, and white rose dumplings.

Photo: Local Vietnam
Photo: Local Vietnam

Sunrise in Hoi An is a prime time to grab your hat and hop on a bike. With any luck, you’ll find yourself in a sea of green, with water buffalo flicking their tails. In Cam Thanh and Tra Que, you’ll pass vegetable farms and frond-fringed ponds.

My Son Sanctuary is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site 40 kilometers from Hoi An. Tucked into a valley near a shaded stream, these temples were built by the Cham people. The surviving structures date from the 7th to the 13th century.

Ho Chi Minh City

Vibrating with energy, innovation, and traffic – lots of traffic – Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is the economic heart of Vietnam and the main hub of the southern region. A freewheeling, cosmopolitan metropolis, HCMC's dynamic cityscape draws together old and new Vietnam in the most compact of spaces, representing the city’s past as well as its future.

Ho Chi Minh City has consistent temperatures year-round, and the weather is generally warm. Heatwaves hit the city from April to May, welcoming the rainy season from May to November. Slightly cooler temperatures emerge in December and January.

Travel+Leisure: Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City Among 15 Best Cities In Asia
Photo: Kayak

Walk down Dong Khoi Street to acquaint yourself with the Notre Dame Cathedral, the city's Central Post Office, and the Saigon Opera House. On a more local level, Ben Thanh Market and the Jade Emperor Pagoda are worth a visit.

Around District 1, a host of old apartments and former office buildings have been repurposed as shopping centers. Decades-old buildings such as 22 Ly Tu Trong and 42 Nguyen Hue are brimming with all kinds of fascinating stores.

Travel+Leisure: Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City Among 15 Best Cities In Asia
Photo: Kevin & Amanda

The Chinese neighborhood known as Cho Lon is great for exploring on foot. Head for Binh Tay Market, a colossal wholesale trading center, and Thien Hau Pagoda, an atmospheric temple that pays homage to the goddess of the sea.

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