NEHA PATNAIK / VIETNAM, TRAVEL GUIDES / UPDATED: DECEMBER 2019
If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, make sure to include Hoi An in your itinerary. Hoi An is often overlooked by tourists who travel directly from Hanoi to Ho chi minh city without making a stop here. But this cultural capital of Vietnam deserves your attention. With this Hoi An travel guide, get all the information you need about this charming town. Hopefully this Hoi An travel guide can inspire you to plan a visit here.
This blog was born out of my love for travel and writing. None of the posts are sponsored in any way. All opinions and recommendations are my own.
With that said, lets begin!
Lonely Planet has described Hoi An as one of the top 5 cities to visit in South-East Asia and after our visit in 2018, we understood why. This picturesque little town is filled with pretty streets, world heritage sites, an amazing riverside with a vibrant night market, delicious food and beaches. In addition, it also boasts of some of the best boutique accomodation in Asia. No wonder we fell in love with it at first sight!
Hoi An was the last stop in our (pretty exhausting!) Vietnam trip and was one of the highlights along with cruising in Halong bay and experiencing the crazy chaos of Hanoi. We could not have chosen a better place to end the holiday. Thoroughly relaxed and chilled out like there was no end!
THE HOI AN TRAVEL GUIDE
ALL THE ESSENTIALS
WHEN TO GO
Hoi An is suitable for year round visit, except during July to September when the town gets flooded from the rains and the sea is rough with little to no swimming possible.
The nearest airport is Danang. There are plenty of international as well as domestic flights. Domestic flights from HANOI and Ho Chi Minh City are via Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Airlines. Our return flight to Kolkata was via Singapore Airlines.
Take a taxi from Danang airport, or better yet arrange a pick up with your hotel. The ride takes around an hour and costs approximately 20 USD for a 4 seater.
VISA ON ARRIVAL is available for 25 USD per person but an approval letter is required. This letter has to be arranged before you enter the country. Many travel agencies or hotels provide this service at a cost of 10-20 USD per person.
From homestays to Five star resorts, Hoi An boasts of some of the best accommodation in South east Asia. If you want to relax and splurge at the end of a long and tiring vacation, this is the best place for that.
We stayed in The Hoi An Travel Lodge, a three star boutique hotel with wonderful staff,excellent service and perfectly located within walking distance of all the attractions. Our stay cost us 50 USD per night with breakfast included.
The best way to explore Hoi An is by walking. You can easily walk all around Ancient town and the riverside by foot. For going to the beach or the town outskirts, rent a bike or grab a taxi. Most hotels also offer free bikes for guests. Cyclos offer hourly tours of the Ancient Town (at around 5 USD for an hour).
Hoi An has a mélange of cultural influences-Vietnamese, Chinese as well as Japanese which contribute to its rich character.
Lantern town, as it’s popularly called, is one those places where you can simply relax and There’s nothing better than wandering around the town, amidst colorful lanterns hung everywhere, cocktail in hand, getting massages and watching the sunset.
However, there’s plenty of activities to fill up your days, should you wish for that.
THINGS TO DO
- TAKE A TOUR OF THE PERFECTLY PRESERVED ANCIENT TOWN
Walk through the lovely little streets which are filled with restored old houses, town halls and museums. Lying on one side of the riverbank, this UNESCO Heritage site is usually crammed with tourists and that can be a little disconcerting. However, do not let this put you off and explore the quaint alleys. the place is very charming i assure you! lanterns hang all over town and when lit up at night, the town comes alive and resembles a fairytale.
You don’t need a very high budget for adding Hoi An to your Vietnam itinerary. Read our detailed Vietnam travel budget for one week to find out all the expenses for your trip.
2. STROLL THROUGH THE RIVERSIDE PROMENADE AT NIGHT
The brightly lit up riverside lies just across the Ancient town, separated by a bridge and is the best spot for dinner because it’s filled with lots of restaurants, bars, musicians and spas to while your time! Additionally, Sunset boat rides on the river are extremely popular, though I found it a bit lame.
3. ENJOY THE VIBRANT NIGHT MARKET
It’s situated amidst the riverside itself and is the place to hit for souvenirs and street snacks. You can easily spend a couple of hours here browsing through the stalls and picking up a lantern or two while snacking on some Hoi An specialities like Mango cake and Banana pancake!
4. VISIT A TAILOR FOR SOME CUSTOMISED CLOTHES
Tailoring shops are one of Hoi an’s specialities and are present all over town. many tourists come here solely to take advantage of these shops! These shops can rustle up a dress or suit within a day or two at very cheap prices.
5. HIT THE BEACH FOR A DAY
6. DAY TRIPS TO MY SON RUINS AND CHAM ISLANDS
While nothing like the temples of Angkor, My Son well worth a visit. This is another UNESCO site, ruins of a group of ancient Hindu temples of the Cham dynasty, which lies around an hour’s car ride from Hoi an and can easily be visited on a half day trip.
Alternately, a day trip to the nearby Cham islands is another option for beach lovers with a number of boat operators offering diving trips, just off the coast of the islands
7. CYCLING TOURS THROUGH THE COUNTRYSIDE
A culture trip HoiAn would not be complete without this delightful way of discovering the nearby villages and getting away from the tourist trail.
START YOUR PLANNING
I HOPE THIS HOI AN TRAVEL GUIDE PROVED HELPFUL FOR PLANNING YOUR TRIP. HAVE YOU VISITED HOI AN BEFORE? SHARE YOUR VIEWS AND STORIES IN THE COMMENTS !