Tucked into Vietnam’s central coastline is the majestic port town of Hoi An. Filled with beautiful mango-colored streets, ancient architecture, historic sites and Vietnamese culture around every corner, this top tourist destination is one of Vietnam’s must visits. Whether you’re looking for a restful day on the beach or a walk through Vietnam’s rich and vibrant past, Hoi An will certainly deliver.
Most tourists will enter Hoi An through the city of Da Nang, a well connected central hub of the country. Flights come in from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi daily, with a handful of international destinations connecting the city as well (South Korea, Singapore, China, Malaysia). A thirty minute taxi ride from the airport brings you to the heart of Hoi An, and the drive itself reveals much of the central region’s beauty. With lush green rice paddies and kilometers of pristine shoreline passing you along the way, it doesn’t take long to fall in love with the “Old Town”.
If you have the luxury of choosing how long you can stay in Hoi An, it’s always better to stay longer. Though there aren’t endless sites and destinations within the town, its laid back feel, friendly locals and ancient charm make it quite difficult to leave. On top of the people and atmosphere, Hoi An has a number of award winning restaurants, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and endless accommodation options catering to all budgets and personalities. So what is there to do in Hoi An?
Here are a few must do’s:
The Ancient Town: a quarter of the city that is closed off to motorbikes and cars, well preserved in its state as an ancient Asian trade port. This is where the heart of Hoi An’s main attractions are found, with several notable museums, a picturesque esplanade, the iconic Japanese Bridge and the majority of the town’s restaurants and shops.
The Countryside: Hoi An’s favorite mode of transportation is the bicycle. Spend a day or two of your trip to bike out through the countryside, explore rice paddies and tiny alleys, cruise through the Old Town and visit the beach. Hoi An as a whole is an extremely safe town, small enough that you can never get too lost, and if you do, locals are always friendly and helpful.
The Beach: Hoi An boasts two beautiful beaches that are well worth a visit on any hot and humid day. Cua Dai Beach is the more ‘touristy’ of the two, with more vendors, street shops and activities geared towards visitors. An Bang is the ‘local’ beach, with bungalow restaurants, fewer hawkers and a high concentration of the town’s expat population. Both are equally as beautiful, well worth a visit and a refreshing swim!
The Shopping: It’s hard to leave Hoi An without adding some new bulk to your luggage! Home to Vietnam’s famous tailors, Hoi An is the perfect place to get that suit, dress, pants, pair of shoes or leather jacket that you’ve always wanted made. With endless tailors making beautiful products at competitive rates, you’ll be getting measured up in no time.
No matter where you go, what you do or see, Hoi An is a magical destination in Vietnam. Even more beautiful at night, give yourself at least a few days to soak in the splendor of this ancient town.