Although long since swallowed up by the sands of time, the spring fair of Fai Fo, the former name of Hoi An, had a measurable influence on the city of today. From humble beginnings in the sixteenth century, the event grew into an exotic showcase of world produce. From Southeast Asia came silks and brocades, ivory, fragrant oils, fine porcelain and a cornucopia of medicinal ingredients. The Europeans brought their textiles, weaponry, sulphur and lead – as well as the first Christian missionaries in 1614. During the four-month fair, travelling merchants would rent local lodgings and warehouses; many went on to establish a more permanent presence through marriage to Vietnamese women, who were (and still are) renowned for their business acumen.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Vietnam features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City: where should you visit first?

Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City: where should you visit first?

Situated at the northern and southern extremes of this long, thin country, Vietnam’s two main cities lie more than one thousand kilometres apart. Southern …

22 Aug 2017 • Helen Abramson insert_drive_file Article
An expert's guide: the best homestays in Vietnam

An expert's guide: the best homestays in Vietnam

Vietnam’s emergence as one of Asia’s most vibrant destinations shows no sign of abating. And with the rapid pace of change affecting everywhere from hectic …

16 Aug 2017 • Joe Minihane
The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

Elephants are born free, but are everywhere in chains – and it’s tourism which is increasingly to blame. Riding an elephant used to be on every visitor’s …

11 Aug 2017 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month