Hoi An is a gorgeous city located in central Vietnam. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its preservation of a traditional South East Asian trading port and commercial center from the 15th to 19th century. There are many Chinese and Japanese influences in the architecture in the city.It is a gorgeous city full of lanterns. This was definitely one of my favorite cities I’ve visited in Vietnam so far. It is a super cute romantic little town. A lot of people have mentioned how commercialized it has become, but I still really enjoyed it a lot.
Da Nang Airport (DAD) – closest airport to Hoi An, take a taxi or shuttle from DaNang to Hoi An
– We took a taxi to our hotel from the airport. There are many taxi companies and personnel trying to get you to take their taxis. I would stick with someone who is with a taxi company vs a more private car service. We went with Mailinh taxi service since that company and Vinasun were the most popular taxi companies we noted in Ho Chi Minh City. From what I’ve read, Da Nang to Hoi An should be around 350,000-400,000 dong, however usually booking through a hotel will give you a better price. Always insist the meter be turned on when riding in any taxi!
WHERE TO STAY:
DA NANG: Melia Danang Resort
– We decided to stay in Da Nang beach area since it was only about 20 minutes or so between Da Nang City and Hoi An. I think staying in this area is a great choice because we got to relax by the beach, it was close to Marble Mountain, while being easily accessible to Hoi An. Read more about the resort and Da Nang in my post here!
Tip: Hoi An seems to be pretty bike friendly especially compared to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon). I saw many people bicycling around the city. I would definitely recommend doing this or if you don’t feel comfortable in the city, there are a bunch of rice paddies and a large paved road between Hoi An and Da Nang beach area that I would recommend.
WHAT TO DO:
Visit a tourist center (pictured in link) and purchase a ticket to be able to see the tourist sights in Hoi An ancient town. You will not be able to enter the sites without a ticket ahead of time which are not sold at any of the sights. There are booths scattered throughout the city, where you can get a map and find more information. The ticket price is 120,000 VD and it allows you up to 5 tourist sights to visit.
There are many tourist sights to choose from, these are the ones I went to:
Fukian Assembly Hall (Phuc Kien)
– This was definitely the most picturesque of the sights. There is a gorgeous garden area, beautiful temple with hanging incense all through the ceilings.
-Houses an ornate dragon statue and garden as well
-Most iconic architecture of Hoi An. It was built as a link between the Japanese and Chinese community across the river
-Showcases the preservation of an home of a merchant in the 18th century
There is a daytime market where you can buy fresh fruits and plenty of stores where you can buy lots of trinkets and even get clothes tailored. Hoi An is known for their tailoring shops so definitely a custom made outfit could be a nice souvenir to consider.
Definitely walk around the ancient town especially in the evening. It is so beautiful with all the lanterns lit up, pictures does not do it justice. You can also light a lantern into the river and make a wish. We saw a couple get engaged right after sending off a lantern, very very sweet!
In the evening, the city lights up. There are many outdoor vendors at the market, where you can bargain for souvenirs and try different street food vendors.
WHAT TO EAT:
Banh Mi Phuong – As featured on Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, very delicious banh mi! Maybe the best I’ve ever had. I was split between Banh Mi Phuong vs. Madam Khanh on which I liked most! The bread was so fresh and the ingredients so delicious. I have never had a more delicious banh mi in the U.S. They break around 2:30PM until dinner time, so make sure you go when its open! The owner was right there making the banh mi in front of us!
Madam Khanh Banh Mi (Banh Mi Queen) – The ingredients are slightly different from Banh Mi Phuong and it has a little bit more of a kick to it due to the red sauce. TIP: Add an EGG, you will never be sorry! I noticed there were more foreigners here vs. Banh Mi Phuong
Chu Chu – Fresh fruit juices, great place to relax for a little bit
Hoi An Roastery – Very cute place, there is an upstairs area where you can people watch and surf the internet (free wifi!) Definitely more expensive, catered more to tourists, but definitely a comfortable spot for a break!
Cao Lao – Noodle dish that is very specific to Hoi An. Definitely a must try! Similar to Mi Quang, which we tried in Da Nang.
Another dish more specific to Hoi An would be hen xuc banh trang (minced clams). I’m always open to trying different foods especially those found more commonly in certain regions. However, this dish personally was not my taste, but worth a shot for you! 😉
There are a bunch of restaurants to try, but we were there for such a short time and we stuffed ourselves with banh mi (which was so worth it) so we will have to come back another time for more food adventures! We also ate at some outdoor stalls right by the river to the right of the bridge. Great little view of all the lights of Hoi An, but cheap, delicious outdoor eating. I would highly recommend this!
ENJOY HOI AN! Read my article on Da Nang next! Let me know if you have any questions about Hoi An 🙂