Coming from the intensity and grittiness of Saigon to beautiful Hoi An with its well polished Ancient Town filled to the brim with souvenir shops, tailors and tourists took some getting used to. At first I was a little put off by the very crowded streets of the old district and the amount of shops, but there is something very pleasant about the place and it looks stunning. One soon learns where to go outside the main drags as well, which really helps.
Hoi An was founded as a trading port around 1595, and remained important and wealthy well into the 18th century when it was a powerful trading conduct between Europe and all major parts of Asia. At the end of that century, nearby Da Nang took over when the French got exclusive trade rights there. Because it lost much of its business around this time, very little changed in Hoi An for the following 200 years, effectively it was preserved almost untouched.