For the Love of Hoi An!
By Rachael Mussig
“There is no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this” – Unknown
I first went to Hoi An in 2013 and immediately fell in love with this little sleepy town in Vietnam and I knew that our Vietnam itinerary needed to make time for it when our family visited it with our wonderful friends. It is one of those places that could let you believe that you’re in another decade as the cars are kept out of the town and the people are so warm and friendly that you feel immediately at home. With the streets blocked off to cars, it’s easy to roam around and feel like you’re in a time past.
But don’t let the aged facades fool you! Hoi An is every bit the modern tourist destination with coffee shops serving the insanely delicious Vietnamese coffee and WiFi being very accessible. There is also a few bars serving boutique beers and restaurants with a distinctly western target market.
I was warned that it had changed alot since 2013 and was a bit concerned when I was planning the itinerary as I feared that it wouldn’t be how I remembered. That is not the case. There are definitely more tourists, but it doesn’t take away from the experience at all. It’s still very easy to fall in love with Hoi An. As Declan (our 14 year old son) said “I never imagined that I would ever get to visit somewhere so amazing!”
Rather than get into every little detail, I thought I’d give you some highlights of visiting this area in Vietnam.
1. Coffee Coffee Coffee!
Every morning we went in pursuit of the delicious deep brown nectar of the gods and we found it in so many amazing places! Vietnamese coffee is STRONG and with a generous dash of condensed milk, making it a sensational, not-to-good-for-you treat! We loved the Hoi An Roastery for the coffee, but also for the chilled out vibes and beautiful area. The Bird House was another one a beautiful area, but their menu is quite limited
2. Tailors Galore!
Hoi An has a reputation for being the tailoring capital of Vietnam and this was certainly a priority when we got here. Our friends, Rob and Kel did some research on the best places to go and we chose Tuong Tailor and have no regrets. They were extremely professional and had our clothes ready in just two days – and that included a fitting on the second day! They also have a family business next door that makes belts and shoes… so yes… we got belts and shoes….
3. Night Markets
No visit to Hoi An is truly complete until you visit the captivating Night Markets. The stunning illuminated lanterns line the streets and you can’t help but feel a certain sense of romance in the night market area. Yes, the streets are lined with markets stalls that you get everywhere in Asia, but what we loved is that the stall owners were not pushy and were only too willing to help. There are some really nice bars along that side of the river as well, so take some time to just relax and enjoy some people watching.
4. Where to from here?
The advantage of Hoi An is that it also puts you in a great spot for adventuring a bit further away on a day trip to Ba Na Hills (home of the incredible hand bridge), My Son, and Da Nang. The Tourist Information Centre in Hoi An was super helpful in arranging a tour for us. Sadly it was a very foggy and gloomy day in the mountains (it rained all day) but after not seeing rain in Cambodia (where we currently live) for so long, this day was actually the highlight of the teens whole Vietnam experience. They loved that it was so cold and we had to wear raincoats and we laughed so much at the craziness of it all. A lesson in letting go and an awareness that despite the meticulous planning, we can’t control the weather!
There is so much more that I could share, but it’s one of those things that you need to experience for yourself. Hoi An is definitely in my Top Five Asia experiences and I know you’ll love it too. Reach out and we can help you to make memories in Hoi An x