I was so excited to be visiting the pretty lantern lit Hoi An and its surroundings after reading so much about the town. Basing ourselves by the beach we had the best of both worlds. The weather in their summer is hot so sight seeing all day was not for me. There is so much to see and do here, something for everyone. People are so friendly, the food was out of this world, I would return here in a heartbeat! Three days was definitely not enough but we crammed in as much as we could, here are my suggestions. Other places in Vietnam I would recommend are Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. Read these blogs to find out what else you can see other than the ‘Top 10’ sights.
Undoubtedly one of the main attractions of Hoi An are the beautifully lit lanterns which you will find everywhere. Walking along the streets especially in the Old Quarter you will be blown away by the hundreds of pretty lights everywhere.
Find Your Perfect Old Town Organised Tour Here
As most people focus on seeing the Old Quarter in the centre of Hoi An they often overlook it’s right on the beach. We based ourselves At a beachside hotel which meant we could relax when we wanted and sight see at our leisure. The weather in February is lush and warm, the beach has golden sand and is beautiful. Factor in at least one day taking in the fresh sea air and spot the local fishermen going out to sea in their conical boats. That is certainly something you wont see often.
We feel it’s so important to support the local community we will seek out locally run restaurants for lunch and dinner. Often the best food is served here too which is a bonus. Right opposite our hotel was the most amazing restaurant we eat in during our trip to Vietnam. It was called Ha Nhi, the husband was the chef, the wife the front of house for all our needs and the two cutest children wandered around with big smiles on their faces. We eat here every night and despite ordering many courses could barely make our dinner cost more than £10 English pounds! The food was fantastic, the people were amazing and they gave me a little bracelet on our last night. A family I will never forget.
Hire A Bike
For less than the equivalent of £1 (GB) each we hired a bicycle from the shop next to our hotel. We were given a map of where to find the Coconut River (see below) so off we went. The roads are safe to cycle on although you may encounter the odd buffalo in your path. With no issues we relatively quickly found our destination.
Here is an example of a ‘Bike & Bite’ Tour you may enjoy!
The traditional round boats the fishermen use have also been turned in to a little tourist attraction. We hired bikes and easily found our way to the inland river area where we could hire one. Luckily a local paddled us around as it was really tricky to make the boat go straight, as it’s round! It was great fun, we got to wear the traditional hats and were given gifts of reeds woven in to cricket shapes.
Coconuts don’t just grow on trees, we found out there are enormous river beds full of water grown coconuts. Take a conical boat trip as above around these and have a look for yourselves. There is so much more to do in Hoi An than just shop in the centre. The countryside is full of produce, from these coconuts to pineapple and obviously the rice fields.
Here is an example of an Eco Conical Boat Tour you may enjoy.
Hoi An Market
The centre of any City is never complete without a market is it, and Hoi An is no different. In the centre there is a large food market, some of which is indoors then spreading out in to the streets. Here the locals buy their produce and travellers get to try out all of the street food on offer. Amazing! We tried the fried stuff bread ‘sandwich’ which was delicious!
Easily one of the top five attractions in the Old Quarter of Hoi An is the ancient Japanese Bridge to the west. Surrounded by tourists it was exceptionally busy. If you are patient (unlike me) you can queue to stand on it.
The River In Hoi An
Famous in the evenings for the many floating candles tourists and locals float down it, the river in the centre is another big attraction. Maybe less so at the moment due to Covid, it was really busy and was patrolled by police when we visited. We chose a cafe nearby to sit and people watch, locals selling food and drinks, tourists taking selfies, it was all happening here.
Hoi An Old Town
Whether it’s a present for your family or a hand made silk suit for yourself, the Old Quarter is where you can find all you need. The hustle and bustle is all part of the atmosphere, and your ticket for the centre lets you walk around as much as you like.
With so many to chose from you wont be short of a temple to visit in the centre or outside. We chose this Chinese styled one to visit, the enormous incense burners inside were something I had never seen. Tickets are needed to enter some of the temples, check what one you have purchased.
Hire a Boat
Why not take a paddle down the main river by hiring a boat. We didn’t do this as we were short on time but saw there were plenty lined up ready.
Beer or Wine?
After a long day sight seeing why not relax with a local beverage. Which one would you dare to drink though? Would you play it safe and go for a local beer as I did? Or are you braver and up for trying the local rice wine infused with snake??
Where To Stay?
We rested our weary heads at the Boutique Hoi An Resort which is right on the beachfront. The rooms were large, clean and comfortable and as stated earlier, the local restaurant opposite are to die for! If you don’t fancy eating out then there are a couple of restaurants inside the hotel to chose from. It is in a great location to visit the centre but also to see what else the area has to offer. The hotel runs a free shuttle bus to & from the centre which you just need to book yourself on.