3 days in Hoi An, Vietnam

Vietnamese Flag, Hoi An
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Hoi An is nestled along the central coastline of Vietnam, and is a place that flows with tranquility, indulgence, and charm. In particular Hoi An Old Town, also known as Ancient Town.

Quick facts:
Currency: Vietnamese Dong VND
Dialect: Vietnamese. English is understood but remember it is a second language, primarily learnt to accommodate tourists.
Province: Quang Nam
In 1999 was listed as a World Heritage Site*

The Thu Bon River running through Hoi An was a major trading port through the 15th to 19th centuries, with trading history dating back to the 2nd Century*. Due to changes in rulers and trading ports, Hoi An became a forgotten town and has remained relatively unchanged (and therefore well-preserved) over the last two hundred years. Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese influence is reflected in the architecture and street design of this beautiful place.
Streets are laced with brightly painted buildings, splashed with lanterns of varying colours and sizes. In the evenings especially, it is a sensory wonderland of vivid colours and an abundance of flavours.

With a plethora of things to see and do in Hoi An, here are a few to get you started:

Eating Out:
Hoi An is plentiful with cuisine – from street vendors to restaurants. There are many popular places to dine as well as bars that will delight, such as The Banana Leaf, Lanterns Restaurant, Q Bar, and Morning Glory.

Local Cuisine Specialities:
White Rose, Spring rolls, Cau Lao, Mi Quang and of course the Vietnamese Speciality – Pho.

Dietary notes:
Watch out for peanuts, nut and seed oils, etc which make an appearance in many local dishes.

Faifoo Restaurant & Bar
104 Tran Phu St, Hoi An town

Faifoo Restaurant Hoi An

Faifoo Restaurant Hoi An

Specialising in traditional Vietnamese food, there is much to choose from. The restaurant has two levels, the upstairs section overlooking the streets below. Watch the town pass by as you sip on a cocktail and devour the local cuisine. The staff are very friendly and speak good English as well. Offers free wi-fi.

Karma Waters – Vegan Cuisine
213 Nguyen Duy Hieu, Hoi An, Quang Nam Province
A completely Vegan establishment that prides itself on preparing food and drinks with no MSG or refined sugar, no animals products including eggs and dairy, and purchasing much of its products from Tra Que organic vegetable village. Alcohol is not permitted, nor is smoking. Karma Waters serves Vietnamese, Indian and International cuisine. Top picks are the Mushroom Tofu Pattie Burger, Seaweed Soup and the Orange + Ginger + Cucumber juice. Offers free wi-fi.

My Hiep Cafe
562 Cua Dai, Hoi An, Quang Nam Province
Cafe My Hiep

Cafe My Hiep

Cafe My Hiep just before close

A great way to judge the quality and authenticity of a cafe in a foreign place is by the number of locals found within. My Hiep Cafe is a cafe packed by locals during breakfast and lunch hours. The lovely woman running the cafe speaks English well, although some of the other wait staff do not. Be patient, and you will be rewarded with a delicious and traditional black iced vietnamese coffee. Be warned – you may need to top up your glass with some water; their coffees pack a punch. Pair it with lemon and sugar pancake and your day will be off to a delicious and inexpensive start.

EatSeekTravel Recommended:

Gioan Cooking Class

Ms Hanh instructing our Cooking Class

Gioan Cookery has cooking classes that are provided both at Gioan Restaurant and at their home. We recommend the at-home cookery class with Ms Hanh who is a lovely, lively young woman with a great sense of humour and warm personality. Ms Hanh was taught by her Mother and Aunt; her authentic dishes and ability to perfectly balance sweet, sour and spice will surprise and delight you.
Classes for 2 people or more are $30USD for a two and half hour class.
Check out their website for more details: www.gioancookery.com
Home address: 22/17A Ly Thuong Kiet street, Hoi An, Vietnam
Tel: +84 0510 3914183
Email: gioancookery@gmail.com
Dietary note: Ensure you inform Gioan of any intolerances or allergies such as chilli, onion, peanuts, fish sauce, sesame oil etc which are common ingredients in Vietnamese cooking.


Hoi An TailorsHoi An Old Town is famous for skilled tailors who can prepare custom made clothing within days. Everything from coats to business suits, wedding dresses and leather sandals. You may also be delighted by the markets running day and night along the river front in Old Town, selling souvenirs, clothing and fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. A personal tip is that the food markets are better just to look at; be prepared for a whopping assault on the senses. Some would argue it is a cultural experience one shouldn’t miss.

Getting around:Yellow Wall
Exploring Old Town can be accomplished on foot, or hire a bicycle for around 20,000 Dong a day (about a dollar). Explore the rice fields and far reaches of town, or perhaps head down to An Bang beach. If you do explore the paths around, ensure you remember where you came from or have your CityMaps2Go app handy for when you inevitably get lost. Although sometimes getting lost is half the fun!

Where to stay:
There are plenty of hotels to accommodate any budget, but why not look into home-stay accommodation? Home-staying is generally cost effective, beautiful, peaceful and centrally located. How better to truly experience everything that local Vietnam has to offer.

Hoi An is a place of warmth and enchanting charm. If you are thinking of heading Vietnam, your itinerary will not be complete if you miss this historical gem.

Eat. Seek. Travel.

*Reference: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/948

Other images taken by Justin in Hoi An:

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