Hoi An is a charming place to visit and take pretty pictures. But there’s definitely more to this little town adorned with lanterns.
We spent our days roaming around the Old Town and crossed the river many times to catch a glimpse of the other side. We were also very lucky to have the chance to see a Lantern Festival which happens every month on the full moon.
The Charm of Hoi An
To start with, Hoi An is a small city even though the guides make it look big and popular. Well, maybe it is popular, but it has certainly kept its small town charm. A charm that indeed makes thousands come to visit.
To start with, if you want to experience Hoi An, get yourself an accommodation close to the city centre. Keep in mind though that if you stay inside Old Town, you’ll pay the price for it. Hotels are usually a lot more expensive around that area. If you want the convenience to be close by and still have a very active area to eat, drink and shop we recommend you stay around Trần Hưng Đạo which is the main road and there’s plenty of access to all areas of town, plus great food and accommodation options.
To make the most of your time there, try to stay for 2-3 days. If you are lucky you’ll have sunny (or at least not rainy) days and can explore Old Town with plenty of time. Also make sure you do walk around at night to witness the city light up. You can even take a ride on a little boat if you feel like. It’s not gonna cost much.
During the day, the shops and cafés are always bursting with customers and tourists. If you have the means, buy some beautiful hand-crafted souvenirs, otherwise, keep your money for cheaper places.
As Hoi An is famous for its lanterns, when you get there you’ll definitely will understand what it means. They are scattered by the hundreds in the streets, not only of Old Town but all around. A nice touch that makes this place so remarkable.
Did you know? Hoi An is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site! It took a long time and lots of work to get this recognition which now grants the city plenty of fame and a strong tourism industry.
Another very strong industry in the area are the Tailor Shops. Clothing made in Hoi An is of very good quality, cheap and custom-made. Perfect place to buy a special dress or a typical piece. But remember, it’s Vietnam, so try to bargain a bit too.
While you are around town, check out the numerous museums that tell the Vietnamese story in a different perspective. And visit the ancient temples which were carefully carved and painted and show the Chinese and Japanese heritage.
In Vietnam and haven’t tried Vietnamese coffee? You are missing out! Sit at the many coffee shops around town and enjoy a traditional coffee which can mean: Coffee with egg? Weasel coffee? Drip? There’s always a great variety to choose from!
If in Hoi An…
If you stay in Hoi An long enough and want to make a little trip to neighbouring Da Nang, make sure to visit the Marble Mountain. A series of temples and beautiful sculptures and caves at the top of a mountain craved with marble. Hold yourself not to buy any of the amazing artwork or even a necklace made with marble or abundant semi-precious stones. The views are worth the climb!
Once you visit Hoi An, you’ll understand why this tiny city has stolen so many hearts.
Larissa & Jean