Nestled in Central Vietnam is one of my favorite cities, Hoi An. This quaint beach town is filled with colorful lanterns, beaches and delicious food. Hoi An was my favorite city we went to on our 4 city stop from Southern Vietnam to Northern Vietnam. If your planning a trip to Vietnam, it is a must-see!
WHAT TO DO:
–Rent a moped. Renting a moped was the best way to see Hoi An. The streets are a lot less chaotic than in the bigger cities like Saigon and Hanoi and everyone is very friendly. We were able to ride our moped down to the beach and also through the rice fields. You are technically supposed to have a Vietnamese driver’s license to rent one, but no one even asked to even see our passports. Go for it!
–Go to the Beach. There are two beaches in Hoi An, An Bang Beach and Cua Dai. We had read that An Bang was the best beach to go to because Cua Dai got ruined in a typhoon. When talking to a locals later on in our trip, they told us that Cua Dai has recently been rebuilt and that it’s now a great beach to go to also.
When at An Bang beach, we arrived around 8:30 (thank you jet lag). We were the first ones on the beach and had the whole beach to ourselves for another 30 min. When going to the beach, there are huts that are owned by the beach bars. You can sit in them all day in exchange for ordering a drink from them. We went to Soul Kitchen on the beach and they had great food and drinks. I ordered the passion fruit mojito and it was delicious! The huts did fill up around 10:00 and people were having to sit on the beach in the direct sun. I definitely recommend starting your beach day early!
–Go Through the Rice Fields. The rice fields were so pretty and peaceful! My husband and I rode our moped through and we saw rivers, workers, water buffalo, and cows. People also rent bicycles and bike through these fields. You can also sign up for a tour and have a guide take you through the fields if that’s what you’re more comfortable with.
–Get Something Custom Made. Hoi An is the city to go to if you want something custom made for an afforadable price. My husband got custom made suit made for him in 3 days! They work around your schedule and you go through the entire process from picking out the fabrics to the last fitting. I recommend going to Bebe. They had great reviews, were very friendly, and did quality work.
–Go to the market. There is a market filled with fresh fruits to try that we don’t get here in the States. I loved walking through the market and tasting all the new fruits. I also loved trying the Sugar Cane drink! Just look for a sugar cane stand on a corner. They will make it fresh in front of you.
WHERE TO EAT:
My husband and I are foodies and basically plan each day around where we are going to eat. Food in Vietnam is very cheap especially if you eat street food. We would eat many of our meals for $5 and be full! In a restaurant with an appetizer, two dishes and alcohol, our total was usually around $20.
–Banh mi: A banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich filled with delicious meats and fresh veggies on a baguette. I ate them in every city we went to and I found my favorite in Hoi An! The barbecue pork sandwich at Madame Khanh’s Banh Mi was my favorite. We also ate at Banh Mi Phuong, where Anthony Bourdain proclaimed this shop as having the best banh mi in Vietnam. I recommend trying both to see which you like the best!
–Faifo Cafe: For coffee and a view, I would recommend going to Faifo Cafe. Order coffee when you come in at the counter and then head up to the rooftop to enjoy the view! The only coffee I ordered while I was in Vietnam was Vietnamese ice coffee. It comes with condensed milk and is delicious! Faifo opened the earliest so that’s why we chose it. Other rooftop coffee shops we didn’t make it to are The Chef and The Cargo Club.
–Mr. Son: Mr. Son was very friendly and had a huge menu to choose from. We enjoyed this spot so much, we went back a second time. My favorite items from here were the Vietnamese pancakes and spring rolls. There are a lot of other restaurants close by, but Mr. Son is the best! Make sure you sit at the table in front of his sign.
–Morning Glory: If you’re more of a restaurant kind of person, I would recommend Morning Glory. We ordered 4 things off the menu and liked them all!
–Nu Eatery: Nu Eatery was my favorite restaurant we ate at in Hoi An! It’s in a small alley and hard to find, bit definitely worth it. You are supposed to have a reservation, so I recommend making one before you go. There were only 3 tables outside on the rooftop so ask for one of those and show up earlier rather than later. We got the steamed buns for an appetizer and they were so tasty! I also got the noodle dish for my main course and loved it! I’m not sure what it was, but it was the only noodle dish on the menu.
HOW TO DRESS:
-I felt most comfortable when I had a t-shirt and linen midi skirt on or linen pants on. Local women dressed modestly in Hoi An, covering their shoulders and legs – some women were even wearing long sleeves and pants in the 90 degree weather. Tourists stood out wearing tank tops and shorts and no one said anything to them. One day I wore a tank top with pants and felt comfortable. If I showed my shoulders, I made sure to cover my legs, and vice versa. I suggest packing linen since it is light weight and breathable fabric. Traveling in August, the rainy season, meant that we 90% humidity and 90 degree weather almost every day. Showering multiple times a day was a must because I felt so sweaty every time I left our hotel!
What do you think? Do you want to go to Hoi An? I already want to go back!