Travel Guide: Hoi An

Arguably Vietnam’s number one tourist destination, Hoi An is like a step back in time to a bygone era. The ancient town if full of cobbled streets, old wooden shop houses, small temples and lanterns. Rich in heritage and culture Hoi An was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 1999 and that is what draws the crowds here. This town has a bit of everything: the beaches are beautiful, the ancient town rich in culture, food is amazing and shopping is next level as you can get anything made from custom suits to dresses to leather boots!

IMG_4184Where To Stay

Split into two areas you’ve either got the option to stay by the beach or in the heart of the action in Ancient Town. If you can deal with the crowds and enjoy people watching then Ancient Town is a good choice. If you want peace and quiet opt for some of the budget hotels by the beach, with only a short bicycle ride into the center of Ancient Town. Dorm beds start at about 200,000 VND with double rooms in guesthouses starting at 400,000 VND.

If you opt for the beach definitely check out Binh Yen Homestay (Peace Homestay) in An Bang, it’s a 5 minute walk from the beach and the family that runs the place is incredible. Made up of 6 rooms it’s a small homestay with a boutique hotel feel to it. Double rooms are 300,000 VND, as there was 3 of us we managed to get a triple room for 400,000 which was an incredibly good value. Breakfast is included which is a delicious selection of fresh fruit and a choice of scrambled eggs or pancakes. The rooms are spacious with A/C and satellite TV, most importantly the owners are awesome and will help in any way they can.

IMG_4179Where To Eat

Not only famed for its custom made clothes the food scene in Hoi An is also a big draw for visitors. Arguably some of the best local food in Vietnam, from small food carts to upscale restaurants there is exquisite, cheap food to satisfy any food lover. For cheap street food eats head to the central market which sits on the riverside of the Ancient town. There are food stalls selling all manner of local delicacies, typical costs for a dish are 15,000 – 30,000 VND.

During your time here you’ve got to try Cao Lau, a local speciality of fat chewy noodles, roasted pork, bean sprouts, rice crackers and a dark rich broth. You can get a bowl for 20,000 VND from most local restaurants and it is nearly always exquisite.

IMG_4178Things To Do

Explore The Ancient Town

You can spend days wandering around the Ancient Town. Walk over the famous Japanese bridge, built in the 16th century. Explore the old wooden shop houses that open their doors to the public. Or marvel at the 16th and 17th century temples, such as Quon Cong Temple or the Fukkian Assembly hall.

My Son Temple

Situated 50 KM outside of Hoi An a trip to the ancient Champa ruins of My Son is an absolute must! The complex was built between the 4th and 13th centuries making it much older than Angkor Wat. This is one of the most culturally significant spots in all of Vietnam.

img_4177.jpgMarble Mountains

Sitting between Hoi An and Danang are the marble mountains, a series of five mountains each named to represent the elements. Explore the caves, climb the mountains to take in the views and marvel at the ancient pagodas built into the steep mountain outcrops.

Relax on the Beaches

There are two beaches near Hoi An Ancient Town: An Bang and Cua Dai. Both beaches offer white sands and beautiful views over to the islands calm seas making the swimming decent. There are many beach side restaurants with sun loungers outside and as long as you buy a drink in the restaurant you can sit on the loungers for as long as you like.

Leave a Reply