Travel Guide: Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam.  One of the more romantic cities we visited on our tour of Tri’s home country.  Nestled on the Eastern shore in the center of it all, Hoi An is a must stop if you are planning a Southeast Asia trip. From the ancient city, to the INCREDIBLE food, and the eco tours, you are sure to fall in love with this magical city of lanterns.

Having just come from 2days in the craziness that is Ho Chi Minh City we were delighted to be in this quieter place that immediately brought us peace.

Old town Hoi An is located on the beautiful river Thu Bon River.  Because it has been so well preserved for so many year UNESCO has declared it as a WORLD Heritage Site and we instantly could see why.  The buildings with their ancient architecture and incredible details blew us away.  Unfortunately tourism has taken over this area a bit, so you’ll have to do some walking to find a more authentic experience.  It however THE PLACE to get anything custom made.  From suits to leather shoes to dresses, skies the limit in Hoi An.  You can walk up and down the streets of Old Town and haggle with 20 different seamstresses if you want and in return you will be rewarded with an inexpensive, custom tailored item that is sure to wow people back home.  My husband bought two custom suits for only $100 each!  That’s a steal!

In the evenings you can take a stroll long the river and light a wish lantern, or take a boat ride with a local for less than $5.  (Be careful getting into the boats as there is a long drop and no ladder.  Whitney almost fell in the river lol!)

Don’t even get us started on the street food.  We could have eaten meat sticks all night long, but we did finally head to the local market for an authentic, and incredibly delicious dinner.  You won’t find anything more local than Chợ Hội AnMarket.  We walked in here two nights in a row and were greeted with stall after stall of incredible local cuisine, prepared in front of you while you sit on plastic stools.  For us this is the only way to eat in Vietnam.  If it doesn’t seem a little unsanitary and if you aren’t sitting on a plastic chair chances are the food will disappoint you.  We learned this the hard way after a few meals at nicer restaurants.   Just try not to think about it and dig in, you won’t be disappointed.


Places to Eat:

Cho Hoi An Market

Bánh mì Phượng

Café 41

Things to do:

Coconut Eco Tour and Cooking Class:  This was a super fun day.  It starts out with a ride down the river in traditional circle boats.  You can catch crab on your way to the cooking school, and when you arrive you learn to make a 6 course meal including homemade rice paper.  Everything was sooo good and they gave us all the recipes and special utensil to take home.

Rent a Bicycle and ride around the neighborhoods and the rural rice paddies that lie on the outskirts of town.

Day trip to watch the sun rise at My Son.  We didn’t get a chance to do this, but I’ve heard great things.  If you like temples and ancient history, this is for you.

Get a custom made suit or dress!

Where to stay

There are a lot of local homestays in Hoi An which we highly recommend for a more authentic experience!  Avoid the beach resorts, they aren’t as nice as the pictures make them look.