Hoi An is one of the best-preserved places in Vietnam. The first impression many tourists get upon arrival in Hoi An is the charm of the many houses of a dark yellow color.
Hoi An houses built in the French colonial time, Japanese temples, and wooden houses of Chinese merchants. However, the conversion of culture and architectural style is not what makes the unique impression. The most striking thing entering the old town is the characteristic dark yellow color of the majority of houses.
Hoi An has nearly 1,000 ancient houses and of these 844 houses are included on the list of UNESCO’s cultural heritage. These houses have attracted many visitors and artists for centuries.
Why is it yellow?
There are a number of reasons why this colour is the chosen colour in Hoi An. Yellow symbolizes royalty and superiority in Korea, China and Vietnam. In ancient architecture, red and wood-like colour is preferred for some of the walls and pillars. Some Japanese temples and traditional Vietnamese shop fronts are painted in varying hues of yellow.
There are a number of theories as to why yellow is the chosen colour. Some believe it symbolizes royalty; others believe it’s for practical reasons because it absorbs less heart. Whatever the case, this shade is highly revered in Vietnamese culture. Most Vietnamese homes have an altar dedicated to departed ancestors, which is decorated in yellow ornaments and flowers, and during the Lunar Year celebrations, bright yellow daisy flower pots adorn the front of every local’s home.
Yellow is also a light colour on the colour spectrum so it absorbs less heat. Because Vietnam is a tropical country, this is an ideal colour to prevent the over-heating of buildings. Also, there’s a lot of humidity in the air which results in moss growing on buildings. The yellow colour and the green moss make these colours contrast beautifully.
Houses in the old town are unique in design as the entrance faces the street, while the rear door looks to the Thu Bon River.
The sunlight illuminates the yellow walls, creating a ravishing morning scene. In the quiet of the new day, the rare sound that one can hear is the sound of the broom sweeping houses and clearing the roads.
A lot of time has passed but many things in Hoi An are still alive, such as the images of vegetable and fruit vendors. Every day, hundreds of tourists visit the old town.
If tourists in Vietnam tour have a chance to visit Quang Nam Province, Hoi An is a must-see place that should not be missed.