Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An, Vietnam
Xin Chao and welcome to Hoi An!
Graceful, historic and atmospheric – Hoi An is the epitome of an otherworldly destination. It’s a must-see city that delivers everything any traveler could need – a rich cultural heritage, a beautiful charm that emanates through the whole city, an incredible gastronomic experience and a lot of history.
Canary yellow houses juxtapose beautiful rivers, and grand architectural edifices stand next to lantern-strewn streets that date back to hundreds of years ago. There are endless opportunities for things to do, and the entire city feels like a gorgeous backdrop to a postcard that you take back home.
Today – Now
PLANNING & BOOKING
The dreaded part of any vacation - planning! Every savvy traveler knows that it’s always better to plan and book early in advance to bag those irresistible bargains. Not only do you get to save up to 25% on flight and hotel prices, but you also get to never settle for second-best! Lower flight prices, room deals and early bird discounts are only some of the many benefits of booking your tickets, excursions and accommodation early on. We recommend planning and booking 3 to 6 months in advance – a surefire way to have a worry-free pre-holiday buzz when the time to travel is near!
Unforgettable Moments - Hoi An
The thing about Hoi An is the fact that you’ll get to see an effortless mixture between French and Vietnamese influences that reflect themselves in endearing food markets, merchant houses and beautiful architecture. It’s no surprise that the whole city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site! From the friendly locals, to the cozy atmosphere, to the food and the plethora of things to do and see – you’ll find yourself wanting to stay so much more than for just a week.
Day 1: Arrival + Exploration
You will be arriving at the Da Nang International Airport (DAD) and then transiting to the city of Hoi An. You can choose between a private car pickup from your hotel since the drive is an especially scenic one, or you can take a taxi but it will actually cost you more than a private car. We don’t recommend taking the bus because it will take you about 2 hours to get to the center depending on the traffic
Welcome to Hoi An! At this point you’ll be itching to go exploring and we’ll get there in a second! First, drop your bags off at the hotel, grab breakfast nearby and get ready for your first activity – having your suit tailored for you. While that may seem a little weird for being the first thing you do at a city you’re visiting for the first time, the truth is Hoi An is an extremely popular place for getting a custom suit tailored for you.
We recommend doing it first thing on your trip so the tailors can have time to create the suits and you can have time for fittings. There are hundreds of different shops but the absolute best place to go to is Yaly. They have in-house tailors, all types of fabrics and are experienced to create a high-quality suit for half of the price you’d usually be used to.
The best way to get yourself acquainted with a city is to go on a biking tour around it on your first day, and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing on your first day! Grab a bike and get ready to meander around the nearby rice fields where you’ll find stunning crops, gorgeous scenery and all types of little roads. Most accommodation options provide you with a bike free of charge, and the roads themselves are flat and are quite an easy cycle.
Once you’re back in town, grab lunch at Ong Hai, a restaurant that’s frequented mostly by locals and serves the best cao lầu and mì quảng. The dishes are simply delicious, and you can spend the entire afternoon there savoring on some Vietnamese delights.
Learn more about the Vietnamese culture by attending a Te Dahr Show where you’ll get to enjoy an incredible display of acrobats, modern dance, and extravagant customes. After, head over to Dive Bar right in the middle of the Old Town that is known for its excellent atmosphere, great live music and even better drinks. Who knows, you might also end up getting one of their free shots!
Start your morning by indulging in a heart Vietnamese breakfast at Hai Café’s elegant courtyard. If you feel like people-watching and really taking in the atmosphere of the city, then we recommend sitting on the front porch! After you’re done with breakfast, you’ll be learning how to make your own Vietnamese meal. After all, they say the best thing you can take back home from a country is a traditional meal. There are quite a few places you can learn at, but the best option is Red Bridge – a school and restaurant in one that will teach you how to cook some tasty treats and take you on a tour through Hoi An’s culinary gems and delights.
After you’ve spent your morning learning about Vietnam’s food, move towards the Ancient Town. This is the place to go to learn about the culture and go on quite the picturesque walk along the river. You’ll be walking amidst ancient buildings to your right and left, and you’ll get to enjoy the undeniable old world charm that emanates through the streets. Brush up on your bargaining skills before you go, since you will be haggling for any goods you want to buy.
Spend your entire afternoon walking between 17th century houses and enjoying the attractions there. You’ll also find plenty of restaurants to choose from for lunch.
Spend your evening sipping on fine drinks while gazing out at the river at White Marble Wine Bar
Have breakfast perched in a lush garden while savoring traditional Vietnamese food at The Secret Garden and don’t forget to try out their banh cuom thap. The restaurant is right next to one of Hoi An’s top attractions and your next stop – The Japanese Bridge. It is the only bridge in the world to house an actual Buddhist temple inside and will always remain a symbol of peace, unity and goodwill. Add to that gorgeous mixture of Chinese and Vietnamese architectural styles, two markets on each side, and dozens of people enjoying the character and of charm of this bridge and you’ve got yourself the perfect attraction!
Vietnam is also very popular when it comes to its coffee culture, and it would be a waste to visit Hoi An without indulging in some Vietnamese coffee. Head over to Mia Coffee and ask their bartender for a recommendation. Don’t forget to take a bag of coffee back home as a souvenir from Hoi An. Your last stop for the morning will be the Tan Ky family house, a historically prominent building that showcases a diverse range of architecture. The building will take you on a journey back in time to show you how merchants used to leave over 700 years ago. Don’t miss out on the intricate carvings on the walls, and the columns that are decorated with poems.
Hoi An in general is every photographer’s dream. The city boasts eccentric, colorful and authentic edifices that it will be hard to put your camera down. Explore the Riverside area until sunset where you can watch the sun dip into the river and the lights start to flicker to illuminate the charm of this town at night. We recommend having a mini river cruise so you can explore Hoi An while gliding across the river.
Stop for lunch at Aunt Bay for some banh beo.
Spend your evening at Morning Glory. You’ll find this restaurant on pretty much every Hoi An guide and for good reason. Incredible Vietnamese food that is presented meticulously, delicious food and a cooking class with a side of shisha is pretty much the perfect mixture for the ultimate dining place.
Day 4: Day Trip to My Son
Here are some ways to get to the My Son ruins:
· Book a guided tour to take you through the history of the ruins + to arrange all the transportation and remove the hassle of planning (highly recommended.)
· Hire a car and a driver from your hotel.
· Ride a bicycle to there.
· Take a taxi.
Morning + Afternoon.
My Son is a site that encapsulates the most extensive collection of Cham remains in Vietnam that were built to honor Hindu divinities. The whole area dates back to the 4th century, which may explain why the temples are not in their best shape, but 20 structures still stand there. The site is quite intimate, with stone pillars surrounded by cascading streams.
Spend some time exploring the complex, learn about the worship rituals that were carried out back then, take pictures of the surrounding high mountains, and learn about the Cham monarchs who are buried there.
You’ll probably be starving by the time you reach Hoi An, and Ancient Faifo will satisfy all your needs. The restaurant serves up incredible local food, but also has live music and its own art gallery that showcases artwork by Vietnamese locals and artists. Choose from any of their four menus, and enjoy the general atmosphere of the place.
After you’re all stuffed up head over to Q Bar for some music, cocktails and a cool crowd.
You can’t just be in Vietnam and not have Vietnamese banh mi. And if you need to try the best banh mi in town, Banh My Phuong is a local favorite that you need to have breakfast at. Let’s just, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain himself is a fan! We recommend having a heart breakfast because you’ve got a long day ahead.
After you’re done having an incredible Vietnamese breakfast, head over to the Fujian assembly hall located right in the heart of the city. The best thing about this hall is how it completely juxtaposes the hustle and bustle of the outside city. The minute you enter you will be met with a sense of tranquility where you’ll get to enjoy the colorful carvings of mythological figures, the Chinese deity of the sea, gorgeous sculptures, and beautiful carved statues and figures.
Bike towards the Central Market where you’ll find goods that are authentic to Vietnamese, and embody the charm of Vietnam. Once you’re done exploring the Central Market, pay the old house of Phung Hung a visit. This will feel like entering a real-life history book since this place reflects Vietnam’s history, culture, and will take you through everything that makes Hoi An what it is today.
Grab lunch at one of the best restaurants in town, Mango Mango that mixes Vietnamese cuisine with ingredients like chocolate and fruit – definitely worth a try if you’re adventurous when it comes to food!
Spend a magical evening walking amidst the most beautiful night market in Vietnam and pay the Lantern Market a visit. Imagine walking between lit lanterns of all shapes, sizes, and colors while surrounded by the embodiment of Vietnamese allure
Your sixth day will be all about relaxation, rejuvenation and health. Start off your morning by having a healthy breakfast at Dingo Deli and then get ready to spend most of your day by the Cua Dai Beach. Think powdery white sands, blue waves lapping across the sands, great seafood restaurants and a stunning coastal shore. It’s the main tourist beach and you can easily get there by bike and just spend the rest of the chilling out and enjoying the scenery.
After you’ve had your fair share of beach, head over to one of Hoi An’s multiple spa establishments and spoil yourself with a massage and sauna. Have some afternoon tea at the Reaching Out Tea House that is both, a social enterprise and a tea house at once. They employ people with disabilities and serve incredible food and coffee so it’s the perfect place to actually make a different while you eat.
Have dinner at Streets Restaurant Café and then get ready to go shopping again at Hoi An’s night market. It’s the place to be for all shopaholics and you will be required to haggle a bit – but that’s all part of Hoi An’s charm!
Day 7: Tam biet Hoi An!
For your last day, we recommend taking the last flight out so you can get a couple more hours to explore the place the city. If you do have time, have brunch at Goda Boutique Hotel’s restaurant and then spend the rest of your time walking around Rue des Arts where you’ll pass by dozens of galleries, museums and cafes.