Hoi An: A foodies dream and a fashionistas paradise

Hoi An is situated on Vietnam’s central coast and getting there from Saigon is about a one and a half hour flight to Da Nang and then a 45-minute drive. It’s a perfectly preserved historic town with a blend of Chinese, Japanese, French and Vietnamese culture and architecture.

The town itself showcases the melting pot of cultures that gathered there over the centuries as the town was an important hub on the Silk Road route.

There are plenty of things to see and do such as a bike ride through the rice paddies where you’ll see farm life and buffalos, Hoi An Old Town which is World Heritage Listed, there are pagodas to see and many more sites and attractions. You can find more of the top things to do in Hoi An on sites such as Lonely Planet.

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Hoi An Old town boasts a wonderful array of cultures. From its Chinese storehouses to it’s French inspires architecture and Japanese Bridge, there’s no wonder why this colourful town is such a tourist hot spot. One word of advice is that it gets pretty hot and humid in August so if you are travelling through during that time be prepared to change your clothes at least twice a day.

When in the Old Town there are plenty of tailors that line the streets as this is what Hoi An prides itself on.  I had a few items of clothing made at AoBaBa and they were pretty great! Pricey but great.  Now, don’t go overboard because just outside of Old Town there are plenty more tailors in the region and they get cheaper in price as you move further away from Old Town. My suggestion is that you do your tailoring on the first day as it takes a few days to get your clothing and you will have to go back for fittings to ensure that your items are just right.

So you’ve done your tailoring and you’ve explored Old Town, it’s time to grab a bicycle and head out of Old Town and take a tour through the farms and rice paddies. Buffalo Tours have some great cycling tours available.  Their guides are very knowledgeable and are wonderful locals. You can also go and visit a fishing village as we did.

If you’re hot Ah Bang Beach is the perfect place to go cool off. It’s a short 10-minute cab ride from Old Town and is lined with restaurants and bars that provide sun lounges and beach service. And if you want to party then I suggest that you go later in the day when the beach turns into more of a party atmosphere well into the night.

When it comes to food there are plenty of local eateries if you want to stick to traditional Vietnamese cuisine. If you’re in Old Town, then Morning Glory is a great place to grab a bit. It does get pretty busy so be prepared to wait a while for a table. There are plenty of food options in and around Old Town both local and international, you can get anything from a Banh Mi to pizza. Speaking of Banh Mi, it’s cheap to buy (like really cheap) and delicious and there are two places you can go to for the best Bahn Mi in Hoi An. Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen – that I can personally vouch for, is simply YUMMY! And, Banh Mi Phuong, now I’ve been told this place is good by locals and tourists, but Madam Khanh had me at “what would you like?”.

Restaurants and bars that align the shores on both sides of the Thu Bon River so trust me when I say you won’t go hungry or thirsty.

Speaking of food, if you want to learn how to cook Vietnamese cuisine take a cooking class at the Red Bridge Cooking School. Not only do you get a cooking class, but you also get a tour of the markets where produced is purchased in the early hours of the morning, then you’re taken on a cruise down the river to the cooking school and restaurant where you’ll be shown how to cook by world-class chefs.

If you have seen Hoi An and have an extra day up your sleeve head back towards Da Nang and go see Ba Na Hill. Located atop of Trường Sơn Mountains west of the city of Da Nang you’ll need to take the cable car to access the French Village and also go for a walk along the Golden Bridge (Instagram worthy photos can be taken here). There are a few things to do in Ba Na Hill it also has a fun park and a few places to eat in its French village.

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Golden Bridge, Ba Na Hills

Hoi An is simply a must on the to-do list if you’re visiting Vietnam. So if Vietnam is on your next travel destination then make sure you stop here, if not then definitely put it on your list!

Bon voyage and happy travels.

 

 

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