6 Reasons Why Hoi An is our Favourite Place in Vietnam
6 Reasons Why Hoi An is our Favourite Place in Vietnam
We’re often asked what place in the world is our favourite which of course is very difficult to answer. Each place has something unique to offer however there are a few qualities in a place, like Hoi An for instance, that make us linger longer than we originally planned.
After looking back on our month travelling around Vietnam, the beach side town of Hoi An was definitely our stand out favourite. We planned on spending three nights in this ancient port town and ended up spending a full week!
Check out our popular 2 Week Itineraries for Vietnam for more travel inspiration!
We are not alone in this feeling either as many other travellers we met in Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia would sing the praises of this quaint ocean front town that definitely punches above its weight . There is just something about this place that seems to have an almost complete universal appeal amongst travellers of all types of backgrounds.
Here now are 6 Reasons Why Hoi An is our favourite place in Vietnam.
Hoi An is blessed with gorgeous clean white sand beaches and in our opinion are the nicest in the entire country.
One of the things we loved most was the ability to hop on a bike and get to wherever you wanted to be. I will never forget our daily ride to the beach, passing miles of paddies and the sweet smell of rice wafting in on the warm breeze.
For the price of a coconut water and beer (about $2) we secured a couple of fine looking’ chairs on this postcard perfect beach.
Travel Tip: Head to the local’s beach of An Bang (rather than Cui Da) which we understand is not a beautiful or clean.
Hoi An is quite small and so the UNESCO World Heritage town site is extremely walkable. World famous tailors, local markets, pub, restaurants, discos and anything else you can imagine are within a quick 10-15 minute walk from the centre which means you don’t need to hire transport.
3) Friendly Locals
We found the locals of Hoi An to be very welcoming and warm, some of the friendliest in Vietnam. The people of Hoi An were some of the nicest we have come across in our travels. Our final night was a perfect example of the kindness, generosity and hospitality of the locals
Our Dutch friends had been looking to buy a motorbike in town and had been discussing it over cheap beer (Bia Hoi). A man at the next table, leans over and starts to talk to them about motorbikes and one thing leads to another and he offers to help them buy one. Little did they know, he would actually go a few steps further as he personally checked out the entire bike for mechanical issues and then negotiated the deal for them so that they got a local price vs. the foreigner price which was a savings of a few hundred dollars. That evening, they invited the Dutch couple and us to dinner at their house where they prepared a home cooked meal of chicken and rice (cơm gà) along with fresh sugar cane juice. We even tried our hand at making the sugar cane drink ourselves!
4) Fantastic Markets
Undoubtedly one of the best markets in Vietnam, the market along the water in old town has anything and everything you could want or need. Fruits, veggies, fish, butchers, T-shirt hawkers, pho stalls, tailors, beauty salons, the market has it all in a small area. This market is also one of our favourites in Southeast Asia because of how colourful and beautiful the surrounding buildings are, relics of this country being under French control.
5) The Tailors
Our good friend gave us a heads up that the tailoring in this town was world-class and she was definitely right. In some ways we wished we were going home after seeing the beautiful wool winter coats and suits in the front of the hundreds of tailor shops in town. For a fraction of what it would cost at home you can have virtually anything you want custom-made, including shoes! We both could have done some serious damage but instead opted for more practical items. Between the two of us we had four pairs of linen shorts, a jersey sun dress (for Ross), two pairs of sandals and a bunch of alterations to some warmer weather clothing for about $90 US, and all custom-made.
We opted to go with the tailors located within the old market as many of them are struggling to find business as dozens of other tailor shops have moved into fancy digs on the main streets. The sister and sister team of Kim Only did a fabulous job for us and we would highly recommend Kim. They were so incredibly kind and fair to us, going far beyond what we could ever have hoped for.
6) The History
Although it was difficult to pry ourselves away from the beach we decided to take a day trip out to My Son (pronounced mee-sun, meaning “Beautiful Mountain”). It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most finely preserved relic of the Cham Empire; built-in 200 A.D. Our enthusiastic guide (major understatement) infused life and passion to the ruins as he spoke to us of the temple’s creation and subsequent destruction by the French (taking the heads of statues, unjustifiably still on display at the Louvre in Paris) and then by the Americans who heavily bombed the area which was being used by the Viet Cong as a base. He shared with us that his father was a commander in the Viet Cong and how he lost many friends during the My Son attacks. Craters from the bombing are still very apparent here and a stark reminder of the war.PIN This!
For many of the same reasons we loved Yangshuo in China, we adored Hoi An. No trip to Vietnam would be complete without a good long stay here. Hoi An recharged our bodies and souls, and there is no question about it, we will definitely be returning here in the future.
Check out our popular 2 Week Itineraries for Vietnam to help plan your upcoming trip!
Alyse and Ross