Travel guide to Hoi An - The ancient town in Vietnam
Where to go?
If you are looking for an ancient city in Asia or Vietnam, you can visit Old Quarter in Hanoi or Hoi An in Quang Nam. Hanoi Old Quarter is bustling and hectic till mid night but Hoi An is different, everyone talks softly, walks, smiles without hurry.
In order to choose a word to describe Hoi An, my best word would be “gentle”. If you have a chance to visit Hoi An, there are some places that you should never miss.
1. Japanese Bridge
Japanese Bridge was built in 17th century by the Japanese businessman in Hoi An. It was appreciated by the Hoi An people and last till this 21st century as a symbol of Hoi An. The bridge has 18 meters long, over a small rivulet of Thu Bon River. The roof is covered by Yin Yang tiles; designs are carved sophisticatedly.
2. Tan Ky Ancient House
The houses were built 200 years ago, mostly from wood. The decoration and the arrangement follow Feng Shui rules that express the harmony of human and nature.
3. Phuc Kien Communal House
In the 17th century, the Chinese came to Hoi An and settled down here so they established their own society’s premises. In the past, it was made by wood but it was rebuilt and to be even more beautiful and keep a deep culture nowadays.
4. Trieu Chau Communal House
This communal house was built in 19th century by Trieu Chau people to hope for their business on boats run smoothly. The hope and belief of people are lying in the premises, in every detailed of the architecture and stories left inside.
5. Quang Dong Communal House
Quang Dong Communal House. Image: Instagram
This ancient architecture was also built in 19th century with the special architecture of oriental culture. On 26th June in Lunar Calendar, there is a ceremony that attracts a lot of people participating every year.
6. Romantic moments on the beach
7km from the center of the old town, there is a beautiful beach named Cua Dai which has white sand, turquoise water and gorgeous sunset and sunrise scene.
The world is developing and changing but not Hoi An, it is out of the trend, stays with the time and the “gentle corner” of anyone who has been here.
Where can you stay?
5 Star hotel: Sunrise Premium Resort Hoi An
This is a fantastic resort with the 1st class facilities. The location is great because it's near the beach and away from the bustling city centre
4 Star hotels: Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa + Golden Sand Resort And Spa Hoi An
Good hotel with open views overlooking the sea, beautiful decoration with a lot of trees and garden. Hotels have the private beaches and organized tours to Cu Lao Cham Island.
3 star hotel: Van Loi Hotel
This is a good budget option. It"s really amazing to see how central it is located and just two minutes walk to old Town. The breakfast is served on the rooftop with a great atmosphere and view. Especially, the architecture is made from wood and this hotel has a spacious swimming pool
A Homestay is ideal for a few day stay in Hoi An. Loc Phat Hoi An Homestay is run by a lovely family. And they have a good location with 15 minutes walk from the old town and a riding bicycle to the beaches. They have a beautiful garden.
What to eat?
1. Cao Lau
It is said that Cao Lau was in Hoi An in the 17th century. It is not 100% Vietnamese cuisine but is a combination of Vietnam, China and Japan. However, the taste is different but still keeps the culture of Asia.
2. Quang noodle
Quang noodles and Cao Lau are one of my best favorite foods when I have a chance to visit the center of Vietnam. They are easy to eat, delicious with crispy rice cake and fragrant herbs and meat accompany with noodle and raw vegetable. Quang noodles have many types and you should try them all: Phu Chiem noodles, fried noodles with chicken
3. Banh My - Bread
You can find bread with meat inside in every corner of streets in this world but they are not the same as delicious level is different. There are 2 brand names that you should taste at least 1 time. I guarantee that you will find unbelievable for such yummy bread!
1) Madam Phuong Banh Mi
2) Madam Khanh The Banh Mi Queen
Cham Island (Cu Lao Cham) Tour
One day tour to this beautiful island is interesting and easy. Depend on your budget that the price may start from $25. Price includes transferred by canoe (sharing with others), 1 lunch near the beach, go snorkeling and walk around the village with the tour guide.
The Island still keeps it natural beauty as the government has been protecting Cu Lao Cham carefully. You will not be permitted to bring nylon bag to the island and bring back anything belongs to the island.
The tour generally lasts for 5 hours. You will travel by boat or canoe to the island, take a walk through the village, visit a small museum that exhibits many types of fishes and marine creatures and observe the live style of local people here. Then go snorkeling in Bai Chong or Bai Ong where you can see coral reef, fish star and colorful fishes. Come back the island and having lunch. After lunch is your free time. You can rest on the beach, under the shadow of coconut trees to see the green ocean or swim in crystal water. Come back in the afternoon.
However, if you want to stay on the island, there are also homestays (there is no hotel). You can call to book with the owner and enjoy your day with beautiful sea and friendly local people.