The ancient town of Hoi An is extremely charming, and the fact that many people have come back after their first visit proves that. Entitled the Best City in the world in 2019 by Travel + Leisure, this tranquil town is now a must-visit destination on any Vietnam trip.
If you haven’t been here, don’t wait any longer! All these interesting activities will persuade you to travel to Hoi An.
Walk around the Old Town centre
The first thing to do in Hoi An is visiting its Old Town. This part of Hoi An is characterized by traditional yellow-mustard houses lining up along Thu Bon River. You will find the unique presence of mixed cultures right in the heart of Hoi An. As it was a thriving trading port during the 15th to the 19th century), it is easy to see the clear differences in the architecture of Japanese merchant houses, Chinese temples and ancient tea warehouses. Some of the most impressive landmarks are the Japanese Bridge, Tan Ky House, and Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, the museum of Hoi An, the museum of Sa Huynh culture.
And yes, Hoi An is touristy, but you won’t feel overwhelmed. The Old Town is well preserved with historic sites that are within walking distance from each other, and the dreamy atmosphere has never changed since it starts to welcome more visitors from all over the world!
View the countryside on a bike
Grab your hat and join a bike tour to the countryside of Hoi An. You’ll be welcomed with the green rice fields and lovely local villages. It is also possible to get to the beaches with a bike, and it doesn’t take long either. The best time to do this is at sunrise to avoid the heat. Feel the breeze of the wind on your skin and the fresh earthy scent in the air as you bike past the rice paddies. Some locals working on the fields will wave at you with a bright smile on their faces, ride leisurely to admire the natural scenery and wave back at the friendly locals!
Experience Hoi An’s nightlife
“City of lanterns” – the name itself is a big suggestion for what we are going to talk about. While during the day Hoi An is attractive for its distinctive buildings, the nightlife is beautiful with the riverside lightened up by hundreds of lanterns. It’s a sight that you will never get tired of looking at. Every big and small alley becomes dazzling under the lantern light, take a stroll around the town after dark to enjoy another beautiful face of Hoi An.
The evening is also a great time to chill out, sit down and grab a beer by the riverside, there are a ton of restaurants, coffee shops and pubs for your interest. It is likely that you will come across some street performances in the evening too.
Try delicious local dishes
It’s a fact we all know that Vietnamese food is one of the tastiest in the world and many have come to love the many dishes with fresh ingredients and cooked by skilled hands. For gourmets, the good news is each region in Vietnam has very distinctive dishes, and Hoi an is definitely the food hub of central Vietnam.
Banh mi Phuong (Vietnamese sandwich), com ga (chicken rice) and cao lau (Hoi An’s specialty) are the dishes you wouldn’t want to miss out on. Vietnamese cuisine including Hoi An’s food features a wide range of fresh ingredients, supplied by the neighboring villages, which emphasize the perfect balance and delicacy of flavours.
Learn to make local dishes
After enjoying delectable food in Hoi An, you may want to bring them home so that your friends and family can try them too. Join a cooking class in the town and learn how to cook local delicacies.
You will learn to make the dishes from scratch, from shopping for ingredients at the local market to practicing the local techniques. Along the way, you will understand more about not only the dishes you are making but about a part of the Hoi An and Vietnamese culture, because, in this country, its cuisine reflects a great part of its thousand-year history.
Tip: Red Bridge cooking school is one of the best in Hoi An for cooking sessions.
Shop for an outfit made by skilled tailors (at a surprisingly cheap price)
Hoi An is where you can find some of the best tailors in the country. Looking for a new suit, dress, or perhaps a tailor-made ao dai… you can get them all here. A new suit would not have to make a hole in your wallet and a new dress would be made with fine silk and delivered in like 2 days? (This is not a joke!) Don’t hesitate to reward yourself with new clothes on your adventure.
Get on the water
Cruise along Thu Bon river to see the beautiful local life unfold before your eyes. As you get further from the town’s centre, the atmosphere and the scenery become more tranquil. The feeling of being embraced by pristine nature can be a much-needed break between days of traveling.
You will also have the choice of doing a sunset cruise tour. Enjoy the awe-spiring sight of the town coated in golden light and the entire river water turn sparkling.
Laze around on the beach
“How can this place be real?” You may ask yourself this question when you are in Hoi An, an ancient town surrounded by scenic rice fields and small villages, with its well-preserved heritage, mouth-watering food, and is only a short distance from the beach?!
Just 7km from the old town is An Bang beach, one of the most idyllic beaches in the central region of the country. Unspoiled by development, this spot has become popular for travelers wanting to soak up the sun and to enjoy an array of beach activities – swimming, paddle-boarding and surfing. For lunch or dinner, obviously, the best option is fresh seafood, but you can also go for western cuisine, so choose what suits your appetite from the many restaurants along the beach.
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