Think lazy days by the beach, cycling through rice paddies, and sipping cocktails next to the river while watching the sunset. This Hoi An travel guide will help you plan your stay.
Historic Hoi An can be found in central Vietnam, on the coast just south of Da Nang. Once a sleepy trading port, this ancient riverside town it is now one of Vietnams top destinations. People flock here every year to soak up the charm and grace of the place, with many finding themselves extending their stay. Hoi An’s old town is a UNESCO world heritage site which has helped preserve the town, making it very different to anywhere else in Vietnam. Its winding streets, Chinese architecture and colourful lanterns create the magical atmosphere that has made Hoi An so popular.
Hoi An Travel Guide
Hoi An has the usual accommodation options of cheap and cheerful hostels from around $5/night. Here many come with swimming pools and some offer free breakfast. If you are looking to upgrade slightly, there are a great selection of homestays and villas on offer. From $15-$25 a night you can find a beautiful and spacious double room with ensuite in a small villa, with swimming pool and breakfast included.
One recommendation is Botanic Garden Villas, which boasts 2 swimming pools nestled in a tropical garden, a great buffet breakfast and is ideally located half way between the town centre and the beach. Free bicycle hire makes getting around super easy and convenient. Click here to see their website.
Things to see and do
An Bang Beach
Hoi An is a lot about long days relaxing by the ocean, and it boasts one of the better beaches in Vietnam. An Bang beach is about 6km from town. You will find deckchairs and umbrellas down on the sand which you can rent, and many bars and restaurants. If you would prefer less people and cheaper sunbeds (but less facilities), then head further north or south from the main tourist section.
Hoi An Old town
Wandering through Hoi An’s old town is a real joy thanks to its charming streets and unique architecture. Be sure to check out the Japanese covered bridge, Guan Yin temple and the Museum of History and Culture, all within walking distance of each other. At night, head to the river front to see it all lit up beautifully, with the famous coloured lanterns hanging aglow from every angle.
Thu Bon River cruises
A really lovely thing to do is catch a sunset river cruise. Head down to the river front late afternoon and you can find cheap cruises for around $5/person that last for an hour. Get your camera ready for the gorgeous sunset views, and don’t forget the mozzie spray!
My Son Temples
A great option for a day trip is a visit to the My Son temples. The UNESCO world heritage site is a complex of ruins left behind from the ancient Cham kingdom. It’s only an hour’s journey from Hoi An by motorbike and admission is 150,000VND. Enjoy the day riding through the mountains and jungle, and exploring the different temples.
Hire a bicycle and head off for a relaxing ride through the paddy fields surrounding Hoi An. It’s a great way to get to the beach and discover the countryside around the town.
How to get around
If you are staying near the old town, most things will be in walking distance. If you are staying a little further out, most people hire bicyles to get around. The beach is about 6km from Hoi An, so it’s easy to cycle. If you aren’t cycling you can grab a taxi. Taxis are simple to find, just hail one from the street, and if you can go for a green ‘Mai Linh’ taxi as they are a more reputable company. Motorbikes can also be hired.
What to eat
No trip to Hoi An is complete without slurping down a tasty bowl of Cao Lau. Cao Lau is Hoi An’s speciality dish which is comprised of thick noodles topped with slices of roasted pork, crunchy croutons, beansprouts, fresh herbs and finished with a spoonful of sauce, which you then mix together yourself.
Hoi An has some wicked Banh Mi stalls, quite often just a glass cabinet at the side of the road. Although found all over Vietnam, here they don’t hold back on the fillings so expect goodies like roast pork, egg, cheese, pate, fresh herbs and fiery chilli sauce. Find some good ones on Cua Dai road, between Hoi An and An Bang beach.
If you are feeling the need for some home comforts, Hoi An has plenty to offer. Try Circle (click here for more details) for amazing homemade burgers, hotdogs and salads alongside cheap drinks. For authentic pizzas, italian coffee and ‘build your own sandwiches’ from the amazing deli selection head to Dingo Deli (click here for more deatils). Both are a bit pricer than the local fare but are a real taste of home.
If you are looking for a jazzy new addition to your wardrobe, then Hoi An is the place to get it. Here there are over 200 shops offering tailoring services, which makes it a cheap place to buy tailored clothes. From suits to dresses to traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai, you can get something to show off in that would be too expensive to consider at home.
So what are you waiting for…
Dive in for the amazing food, beautiful old town and laid back charm. Hoi An really is a great place to visit and I hope you get to experience it for yourself.
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