Hoi An (or Hoi’An to many) is a charming city on the east coast of Vietnam. Steeped in rich history, the main part of town is largely closed to car traffic, so embrace being a biker or pedestrian for awhile.
If you have 3+ days, Hoi An is a place to linger; restaurants, shops, tours and highly-skilled custom tailors are ubiquitous here. Within a 48-hour turnaround, you’ll have measurements taken and be strutting in your one-of-a-kind wares. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask this girl.
If you plan to bring your kiddos on your next trip, read this: 7 survival skills for travel with tots.
To Get there*:
To get to Hoi An, you must fly into a nearby city. The nearest airport is in Da Nang, which is 45 minutes away. Buses and taxis travel from the airport in Da Nang to Hoi An. Once you arrive in Hoi An, the main bus station is merely 1 kilometer from the town center.
We travelled by train from Mui Ne to Da Nang, then took a taxi from Da Nang into Hoi An. While I recommend travelling into Da Nang to reach Hoi An, I do not recommend the 11 (14+) hour train ride from South Vietnam to Da Nang, unless you are certain you are guaranteed a couchette (bed) in a private train car.
Another option which is less expensive but further from Hoi An is flying into Hanoi. You’ll want to spend a day or two in Hanoi (don’t miss Halong Bay), then travel south to Hoi An.
* I make no claim to be a travel agent or expert on booking travel. I am simply offering a ball park idea for what to expect when booking a flight from the U.S. to Da Nang or Hanoi, Vietnam.
To Get Around:
Hoi An is best travelled by bike. Most hotels and guest houses offer inexpensive daily/weekly bike rentals. You can also travel by foot around town. The main areas of Hoi An restrict car traffic, so a taxi ride will get you only so far. The best things to see and experience are in town near the river.
A plethora of restaurants of every flavor exist along the waterfront and throughout the town of Hoi An. We enjoyed a sunset dinner cruise/cooking class – it was an amazing experience! If you don’t wish to cook, the chef will happily cook a lovely Vietnamese meal for you while you soak in the sunset on the Thu Bon River. Check out Cinnamon Cruises here
Take a trip to the farmer’s market in town to eat and shop. Fresh seafood daily, handicrafts and seeing locals going about their day-to-day routines. Such a cool experience!
Some favorite restaurants we enjoyed include:
Cinnamon Cruises – 72 Hai Thuong Lan Ong St|The Pier opposite 82 Bach Dang riverside street | Hoi An 0510, Vietnam. Phone: (+84) (0510) 3 623 777 – 8505605 | Website: Cinnamon Cruises
Thuan Y – 94 Bach Dang | Hoi An, Vietnam. (+84) 510 3 863 179
The Hai Au Hotel – Brunch is amazing! – 576 Cua Dai Street | Hoi An 084, Vietnam | phone: 011 84 510 3914 578
My friends and I love window shopping the custom tailors in Hoi An to shop for one-off wares. Once you find your favorite tailor, you walk in, have measurements taken, choose your fabrics, and come back in 24-48 hours for a fitting or finished product. Voila! Best souvenirs ever.
There are many spas, restaurants and riverside shops to enjoy. If you happen to be in Hoi An on the 14th day of a lunar month, you’ll get a treat – the monthly lantern festival is a beautiful, unforgettable cultural experience.
No matter what you choose to do while you’re in Hoi An, I guarantee you’ll be pleased. The kindness of the locals and the beauty of the city are equally lovely.
Which city would you most love to visit in Vietnam?
Helpful Resources for Travel in Hoi An, Vietnam:
Review of Cinnamon Cruises – Trip Advisor
Hai Au Hotel – enjoy a family-friendly stay in Hoi An
Places to Stay in Hoi An – Trip Advisor
Hoi An, Vietnam – Vietnam Tourism
Overview of Hanoi – Travel ideas for nearby Hanoi, Vietnam from Lonely Planet
For more on the lantern festival, go to here and scroll down to the “Light Bright” and “Let there be light” sections.
Song du Jour: Getaway by Earth, Wind & Fire