Hoi An is a delightful town on the east coast of central Vietnam. The Old town of Hoi An is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as is quite unique to Vietnam.
Getting to Hoi An
There are several ways to get to Hoi An. By train or airplane, you must go indirectly through the town of Da Nang. Da Nang is located about 1 hour away from Hoi An. An easy taxi ride or bus ride can then be taken from Da Nang to Hoi An.
Alternatively, there are some buses you can take from other cities in Vietnam that will take you directly to Hoi An.
Where to stay in Hoi An
You have the choice to stay in and around the Old Town of Hoi An itself or to stay closer to the beach. My advice would be to stay near the town. Since the best way to get around the town is by foot or bike (motorbikes are not allowed to be driven down some streets in the Old Town), being close to the town is ideal. There are plenty of hotel, hostel, and homestay options that range in budget.
I stayed in a Homestay called Starfruit Homestay which was hands down the best place I stayed in all of Vietnam. Amazing host family, great rooms and delicious breakfast- all for about $30 a night. Along with many other homestays, bike rentals are free which is ideal for exploring the town!
Read more: Where To Stay in Hoi An
The best thing about Hoi An is that exploring the colourful streets is free! That being said, your money could go quickly with all the custom tailor shops throughout the town. The price to get to Hoi An will vary depending on your mode of transportation and where you are coming from.
How much time do you need in Hoi An
Most people spend between 2-4 days in Hoi An. At least a couple of days are needed to get a good feel for the town. If you are planning on getting tailored clothing, make sure to go to the tailors on your first day. It takes them usually at least 24 hours to make your clothes and then you will need to go back a couple more times for fittings.
When is the best time to visit Hoi An
The best time to visit Hoi An is between February and May. The temperatures are comfortable during this time, with reduced rain and humidity. If you can manage, try to be in Hoi An during the Lantern Festival which happens on the 14th day of any lunar month.
During this time, colourful silk lanterns light up the streets. Even if you can’t be in Hoi An during the Lantern Festival, you can still experience the lanterns lit by shop owners every evening.
What to do
The best way to explore the Old Town of Hoi An is by foot or bike. Get lost wandering through the little streets filled with cafes and shops. There are several museums that you can check out during the day time as well as the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge.
With hundreds of custom tailors, it’s a great place to get custom made clothing. You can get great quality suits, dresses, coats, etc made for very cheap. My favourite time to walk around town is in the evening. The town transforms as silk lanterns light the streets.
You can take a cheap boat ride down the river and release paper lanterns into the water. There are many restaurants, patios, and pubs along the river which offer a pretty great view.
What not to do
If you want to get custom made clothing, the vast number of shops can make it pretty overwhelming. My advice would be to check online reviews in order to find the most reputable shops.
Some of the shop owners can be pretty pushy so have a good idea of what you want and what your budget is. Also, be very specific! If you don’t like the look of an item or it doesn’t fit perfectly, let them know!
The town has many friendly ladies walking around with baskets of fruit and offer to take photos of you holding the fruit and wearing a traditional Vietnamese hat. They say “for free, for free” but quickly demand that you buy some fruit from them after you get a photo.
If you want a photo, my advice would be to wait until you are hungry and want to buy some fruit anyways!
Why should Hoi An be on my bucket list
Hoi An is becoming more touristy and for good reasons too! Unlike many places in Vietnam, The town is completely pedestrian friendly. It has a stress free vibe and is a nice escape from the craziness of Saigon or Hanoi. This picturesque town is the perfect place to stroll around and explore!
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