Vietnam - Getting to know Hoi An

For many visitors, Hoi An really is the ‘Jewel of Vietnam’. Our guests rarely pass up the chance to wander its ancient streets, enjoying the country’s finest cuisine and some of its most charming buildings. Hoi An is also a great spot for clothes shopping, thanks to the town's famous (and unbelievably good value!) tailors! Or perhaps you fancy kicking back for some well-earned R&R on An Bang, the clean uncrowded local beach a couple of miles from town.

Vietnam Hoi An Travel Guide

Hoi An's entire town centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, protecting its unique Chinese, Japanese and European influenced architecture for future generations. Motorised traffic is banned for several days a week on the narrow streets, and as darkness falls, all electricity is switched off. And yet the town begins to glow, illuminated by hundreds of beautiful traditional silk lanterns.

In more recent years Hoi An has unfortunately lost some of its previous charm. The huge development work around the nearby city of Danang and along the beach road linking the two has led to a significant increase in day trippers and group tours. This is of course not ideal but they are a fact of life and we would still unquestionably recommend Hoi An to any first time visitor to Vietnam. In the evening, once the day trippers have departed and whilst 'new Hoi An' across the river can be noisy and garish, it's still easy to find a quiet spot in the old town to enjoy the twinkling of candlelight and some of the finest food in the entire country.

What to do in Hoi An

  • Try the food. Incredible cuisine is a significant highlight of any visit to Vietnam, and this is especially true in Hoi An. Most Vietnamese people agree that Hoi An is the home of Vietnam's finest food, and the town isn't shy about this accolade. You can eat well here on almost any budget.
  • Many of the most atmospheric restaurants line Hoi An's harbour front, where you can admire the traditional fishing boats over a plate of delicious fresh dumplings. There are several 'must eat' local dishes, such as Cau Lau, a noodle soup that can only be made with water drawn from the local well.
  • Hoi An’s market is a hive of activity on any day of the week. It’s interesting and vivid enough to revisit day after day, never tiring of its colourful sights and sounds.

Around Hoi An

Although many beach-bound visitors to Hoi An flock to Cua Dai beach, it has in parts become quite heavily eroded and almost non existent in a few places. We prefer the northern section of Cua Dai, heading up towards An Bang, and also the beaches surrounding Danang. Whilst a little further away they offer plenty of space and clean sand.

Kate says...

'Hoi An is a truly remarkable destination, combing culture with beach and relaxation. We love to cycle the maze of quiet lanes that run between the old town and Cua Dai beach. You may get lost, but you can be sure a friendly farm hand will point you in the right direction... if your Vietnamese isn't up to asking, just try sign language!'