Best places in Hoi An
Hoi An is known for it’s ancient city, where no scooters interrupt an evening stroll and where the lanterns are always shining bright. What do your need to know about Hoi An and what are the cool things to do? The city has a long history as a port and was first spotted by the Portugese in the 16th century. In the early 80’s Hoi An was titled World Heritage by Unesco, after a restoration of the ancient city. There’s an annual flood that turns the city streets into canals, there are beaches and beautiful landscapes in a hand reach. Let me tell you a few things about Hoi An that are fun and practical!
Making a list of top things to do in Hoi An is harder than I thought, there’s a lot to do and see in the area. Hoi An itself is quite touristic and if there were this much tourists anywhere else, I probably wouldn’t recommend going there. Despite the tourists, I had such a great time visiting Hoi An! First of all our ride from Hue to Hoi An was unforgettable. We contacted Le Family Riders to take us on a motorcycle tour from Hue to Hoi An (more about that soon). Then we checked in at the Royal Riverside Hotel, that was just finished. We rented some bikes and cruised around town, spotted a rooster fight in someones backyard, visited the beach and enjoyed some excellent seafood.
I’m not quite sure what is the best time to visit Hoi An to be honest, but we went there in January and the weather in central Vietnam was pleasant – shorts, bikini and flip flop pleasant. We heard the annual flood is in October, so that’s probably a time you should stay away… Although I can imagine the city to be beautiful as well and you’ll have an experience you won’t forget, rowing the ‘canals’ of Hoi An!
Best restaurants in Hoi An
We loved Cocobox for coffee and juices after a stroll in the city or for a quick stop during a bike ride.
Nu Eatery is an excellent Vietnamese restaurant with an european atmosphere and great food!
Night market stalls along the waterside of Ancient city Hoi An. Have a seat and enjoy a budget dinner of true traditional Vietnamese food.
Hotels in Hoi An
From what I see, Hoi An is still up and coming. There are not many cool hotels or even shops for that matter… What’s there is made for touristic bulk and that’s not really what we prefer at Pulp Collectors. We stayed at the Royal Riverside Hotel, which was literally just finished. The floors were still dusty from the grouting of the tiles… I think we were one of the 3 couples who stayed here. The Royal Riverside Hotel is located on the ancient city side of the water, left before crossing the main bridge to ancient city. The river runs into open water here, there are some local gardens nearby and the view is quite lovely. It is clean, it is as ’boutique’ as it gets in Hoi An and it only opened it’s doors last January! It’s a pretty ok score.
Hoi An nearby beach
An Bang beach is close to Hoi An. It is about a 30 min bike ride on good roads in a scenic area. Think rice fields, local farmers, little villages and children playing and waving at you. An bang beach itself has a broad sand beach, there’s enough space for everyone. Most of the people stay close to the food, but the further you go the more beautiful it gets. So get a nice coconut and start walking. When you return you should grab a bite in one of the beachy decorated eateries. Don’t go for the first one you see, here too the same rule: the further the better… They serve delicious seafood, uber fresh! I had a local shrimp dish, that was to die for! MUST DO!
As I mentioned before, there are not a lot of really hip shops in Hoi An. You could consider to design your own bag and have it made by a local leathershop. If it turns our good you are lucky! I tried too, but my Sac du jour inspired design, didn’t turn out very lovely… For local gifts stop by Cocobox too! They sell cute designed tea packs and Vietnam made chocolate for example.
One more thing you should do while your visiting Hoi An is to go on a short boat trip. You can bargain about a trip along the riverside near Hoi An ancient city, we got a 1h boat trip for 150.000 dong (€6,38). Oh… don’t think the fishermen are real… you can throw the fishing net (which is quite fun actually!) and they model for you, but negotiate about a price first.
Well, that’s about it for Hoi An! Are you excited about your trip to Hoi An, Vietnam? Have a look around in our destinations section to find other inspirational Vietnam articles!