Hoi An Destination Guide
Hoi An Holidays
It’s easy to see why Hoi An, with its charming fusion of Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese architecture, ancient streets and glimpses of traditional life, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Possibly the most picture-perfect place in all of Vietnam, this atmospheric city can be easily explored on foot.
Wander down to the Thu Bon River and watch traditional boats float past, see farmers and fishmongers hauling their goods to market, and enjoy the fragrant aromas that arise from the colourful street food stalls, which can be found on almost every corner.
Hoi An is home to some of the most beautiful architecture in all of Vietnam, including the celebrated Tan Ky House. Situated in the Old Quarter, this exquisitely well-preserved 18th century merchant’s house features beautiful Japanese and Chinese design and architecture. Exploring Tan Ky House is like stepping into the past, where time has stood still for 6 generations.
Move on to the equally renowned and truly impressive Japanese Covered Bridge. This stunning bridge is among the most iconic attractions in Hoi An, and indeed the entire country. With a roof to protect pedestrians from the elements, the bridge, which dates back to the early 17th century, is solid in structure yet delicate in its ornamental design.
Hoi An is most definitely a food lover’s paradise – from the restaurants and markets to the street food, you’ll find fresh, delicious fare at very affordable prices. Seek out the local specialties, which include cao lau, a tantalising bowl of thick noodles with pork and fresh local greens, and banh bao vac, a dish of shrimp dumplings folded to resemble a rose.
For an authentic Vietnamese dining experience head to the vibrant Central Market, where the food is fresh and the atmosphere is positively buzzing with the energy of the locals. Want to take things a step further? Learn how to create traditional Vietnamese dishes yourself at one of the city’s many cooking schools.
For a drink after dark, sit back and relax at one of the open-air bars in the Old Quarter where you can people-watch and soak up the feel-good atmosphere of the town as it settles down for the night.
Where to Stay
Cua Dai Beach, the closest beach to Hoi An, has seen a development boom with 5-star resorts popping up everywhere to cater for tourists. Located just 4 kilometres northeast of Hoi An, it’s a popular place to enjoy an exotic beachside holiday, with the sights and sounds of the city just a short motorbike ride away.
If you’d prefer to stay in the heart of historic Hoi An, there are a few charming boutique hotels in the Old Town that offer convenient access to the markets and sightseeing attractions and a more authentic Vietnamese experience overall.
A trip to Hoi An will guarantee you leave with armloads of tailor-made suits, dresses and even shoes. Downtown Hoi An is teeming with experienced tailors, all at the ready to sew custom-made clothing for tourists at prices that simply cannot be matched back home – and in record-breaking time to boot.
Go to town buying beautiful silks, ceramics, woodcarvings and handmade Chinese lanterns, all of which can be found at the popular Central or Riverside Markets. Most of the city’s colourful, enticing shops and markets are specifically aimed at tourists, meaning prices are inflated, so be prepared to haggle.
Hoi An Like a Local
An ideal way to escape the tourist traps and discover the local way of life in Hoi An is to hire a bicycle. Bicycle hire comes cheap and gives you the freedom to dictate your own sightseeing itinerary. Venture into the countryside, along rice paddy fields, over little bridges, past beautiful beaches and through fishing villages, and watch the locals going about their day as you peddle past enjoying the serenity.