In our short time in Vietnam, we were fortunate enough to visit Hanoi, Halong Bay and Hoi An. Barring the beauty of Halong Bay, Hoi An was definitely my favourite place in Vietnam. The city is much more laid back, the food was equally delicious and we were so close to the ocean. There are a number of things to do in Hoi An to make the most of your time and keep you busy. Check out how we spent our time below.
Explore Old Town
The biggest “attraction” of Hoi An is the Old Town. It is a series of blocks located in the city centre that has been designated by the government as a historical site. Tons of restaurants, shops and boutiques fill the streets of Old Town but the owners are not allowed to change anything to the buildings in an effort to preserve its history.
Here you’ll find custom tailors willing to hand make any piece of custom clothing you could dream of (I recommend going to any of Yaly Couture’s locations), and local restaurants dotting the riverside serving the very special (only found in Hoi An!) Cau Lau dish. Be sure to also visit the Japanese Covered Bridge for some neat history and great pictures.
Tip: You will need to buy a “pass” in order to enter the Old Town. The pass comes with a set of tickets that can be used to visit things such as the covered bridge and temples within the town. However, it is possible to not buy the pass and enter just the town (without the temples) by being a little sneaky. Keep in mind *we think* the small amount of money for the pass does go towards preserving the Old Town which is really important.
Go to the beach
Because Hoi An is so close to the coast, you can easily rent a bike and visit the beach! Although I can’t quite recommend this in good faith. The part of the beach that is accessible to the public is covered in giant sandbags used to stop the tide from reaching the street and cause flooding. It isn’t your typical tropical getaway. But if you’re really adamant about sticking your toes in the sand then go for it! Keep in mind we were also visiting in January, things might be much more accessible and lively during the summer months.
Motorbike through the Hai Van Pass
By far, without a doubt, no questions asked, our favourite activity/day in Vietnam. Unless you’re really not comfortable driving a motorbike, this is a must do. It was cheap and let us see so much more of Vietnam than we ever would have otherwise. We rented our motorbike from our hotel so it was convenient when we returned at the end of the day.
Hoi An is about 2-2.5 hours away from the Hai Van Pass so you’ll have plenty of time to get used to the bike and be comfortable before winding through the mountain road. We decided to take advantage of our freedom and drove along side the ocean coast, stopped at a tiny little local restaurant for lunch and soaked up all the incredible views of the mountain and ocean, side by side. Even though the day was overcast, we were blown away. We can’t imagine the beauty on a clear, sunny day. If this is up your alley, make sure to wear a sweater and coat and bring water. I was also sorry I didn’t have gloves and a face mask to be honest.
Have you ever been to Hoi An?
What are your recommendations? Let us know in the comment section below!
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