WHY GO TO HOI AN?
Hoi An is a quaint riverside town and one of the most popular destinations in Vietnam. Its appeal is heightened by Hoi An’s well-preserved architecture and old-world charm.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Hoi An (unlike other major Vietnamese cities) does not have its own airport. The closest city to Hoi An with an airport is Da Nang. You can fly to Da Nang Airport or alternatively take a train or bus. Hoi An is only about 40 minutes away from Da Nang. Take a taxi to Hoi An for about $15 USD (or about 340,000 Vietnamese Dong). Many hotels and guesthouses can arrange transport if you request it ahead of time.
WHAT TO DO:
In the words of Barney from How I Met Your Mother, “Suit Up!”
One of the most popular things to do in Hoi An is to visit the tailor for a custom-made suit, dress, purse and/or pair of shoes. The options are unlimited!
Hoi An has hundreds of tailor shops in and around town, and for a decent price, how could you NOT purchase something made especially for you! TWOTRAVELHOLICS has a great article on buying couture clothing in Hoi An.
BIKE IN AND AROUND TOWN
Thanks to local authorities, roads are closed off to traffic. So, you can enjoy Hoi An’s old world charm by bicycle. You can rent one for as little as $2 a day (most guesthouses can arrange this or have some available to rent).
Alternatively, you combine passions by going on a photo/bike tour with Hoi An Photography Tour.
Get your grub on at Bahn Mi Phuong. While I personally have never been much of a sandwich kind of gal, I had to see for myself what all the hype was about. Afterall, it is JUST a sandwich!
Boy, oh boy. Was I wrong! I still salivate thinking about the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and spicy. The French-inspired baguettes are made fresh daily from the bakery next door. Best yet, it’s cheap at 20 Dong or about $1 USD per sandwich. (Score one for the traveler!)
The place itself isn’t much to look at, and easy to miss if you’re not looking for it (save for the huge line outside of the restaurant).
Tip: Walk past the people in line outside of the restaurant, and there are (usually) seats available inside the restaurant. If you can’t find anywhere to sit downstairs, you can also sit rooftop…(be sure to order before you sit upstairs; this place is popular and quite busy, and sometimes staff doesn’t check to see if anyone is sitting elsewhere). Enjoy one of the many Banh Mi sandwiches (my favorite? the BBQ pork) coupled with an iced Vietnamese coffee.
COOK LIKE A PRO
After having had your fill at Bahn Mi Phuong, you may just want to try your hand at preparing your own Vietnamese food. Morning Glory Cooking School has rave reviews.
CATCH SOME RAYS
Hoi An has a couple of beaches where you can catch some rays. An Bang Beach was named of one Vietnam’s best beaches. Cui Dai Beach is also nearby. However, much of the beach has been eroded severely over recent years by storms and currently being held intact by sandbags. Still, the water is warm and there are a number pop-up restaurant-like shops nearby where you can have a cheap beer oceanside. (Entrance to the beach is free, but 5,000 Dong to ‘park’ your bike)
LIGHT A LANTERN
At dusk, Old Town is lit up with lanterns and lights. Visit the lantern market to see how lanterns are made. Then, take a stroll riverside to enjoy the lovely ambiance of Spanish guitar. There, you can purchase a candle box to make a wish and set it adrift on the water.
Don’t forget to see the traditional Vietnamese dance! The show is free and performed from 9-10 pm on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.
Have you visited Hoi An?
What was your most memorable experience?
I’d love to hear from you!