„You definitely have to visit Hoi An! And you should absolutely order something tailor-made!”
So said a friend of mine. Because of her enthusiasm, I planned to spend 3 whole days in Hoi An and therefore one day less in Ho Chi Minh. Personally, I didn’t like the city that much. Maybe because of the Vietnamese public holiday and the crowded city. Maybe I just needed some calm days. Maybe I suddenly felt lonely…
Yes, Hoi An is very cute and not for nothing classified as UNESCO World Heritage. The small colorful houses, the cute boats along the river and a great food hall give the city its special charm. I enjoyed the days unhurried, went to the beach once, but didn’t do a lot otherwise. Nevertheless, I didn’t really connect with Hoi An.
If you’re thinking about traveling to Hue: A friend of mine was recently there. The former emperor city is not really worth seeing. In my opinion, it makes more sense to spend more time in Phong Nha Ke-Bag or in the north of Vietnam, Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.
Getting to HOI AN!
The cute fisher’s village lies in central Vietnam. I flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang. Take a taxi at the airport (70k VND – app. 2,5€). Take bus line no. 1 from the Da Nang Bus Station or from any stop (30k VND – ca. 1,1€). I got on here.
- Getting on the bus was an adveture per se. The bus drove very fast and an employee got out. He took my luggage and “helped” me onto the bus. I was kindly offered a seat. The bus ride took app. 40 minutes and was a little adventure. But, it hasn’t always to be the comfortable shuttle. I took the bus for the return too.
- The transfer from Da Nang Airport to Hoi An costs app. 18 USD.
- Gia Lam Villa Hoi An (ca. 16€/night)
- Coconut Garden Homestay (13€/night)
- Red House Homestay (10€/night)
- Hai Yen Hotel (ca. 21€/night)
- An Bang Purple Homestay (at the beach!)
What to do in HOI AN?
Honestly, I used the time in Hoi An to relax and unwind. The last ten days have been very intense. You need a few calm days in between when traveling alone. For me it was time to sit into a cafè and work on my emails, write some blog posts and so on and so on… All the better, when you can have a fresh, cool coconut or a tasty smoothi. I preferred going to the CocoBox.
- Address: Cocobox 94 Lê Lợi, Minh An, Tp. Hội An
More sightseeing in HOI AN!
- Take the bike to explore Hoi An! Why walk, when you can ride a bike?
- Go to the beach: An Bang Beach or Cua Dai Beach. I went to the beach on the Vietnamese public holiday. Not the very best idea in hindsight. It was soo crowded.
- Visit a Pagode or a temple: for instance, Van Duc Pagode, Chuch Thanh Pagode or the Phuoc Lam Pagode
- Make a food tour or take a cooking class!
Buy something TAILOR-MADE!
Since I’d been to Hoi An only for 3 days, I directly went to YALY on my first day (the tailor shop was recommended to me in advance). I wanted to buy some toe sandals and immediately found something suitable. You better have a clear idea of what you want. Even the impossible seems possible. They can make anything.
I was shortly thinking about getting some bright suede boots in the style of Stuart Weitzmann (the original model is too high at the thigh for me). I think, I will regret that I didn’t this fall/winter. They would’ve cost 150USD. In the end, I decided to get golden toe sandals. Yaly was a bit more expensive than other suppliers. But the quality is good! I bought a second pair of sandals at a less expensive supplier, but compared to the Yaly-sandals, the quality is poorer. I spent app. 40€ for my sandals at Yaly.
- Address: YALY 47 Trần Phú, Minh An, Hoi An City
Try typical dishes, CA LAO – MI QUANG – etc!
It’s strange to be sitting alone in a restaurant when traveling on your own. I enjoyed the streetfood market of Hoi An a lot more. Not only is the market cheap but the food stalls offer super tasty dishes. Hoi An was an important trading point of China and Vietnam. You still see these influences in the kitchen.
You absolutely have to try these specialities:
- Banh Mi Phuong: while you can find Banh Mi everywhere in Vietnam, Banh Mi Phuong is only offered in Hoi An. Most known is the one of Madame Phuong, which is a mix of different pork meat with vegetables and a lot more. So amazing! I even ordered a second one.
- Ca Lao: thick, greasy noodles with pork and fresh sprouts – very tasty! For example at Morning Glory or in the Central Food Hall
- Mi Quang: typical Hoi An dish with noodles, peanuts and fresh herbs
- White Rose Dumplings (Banh Vac): Dim Sum with a meat and crab filling, inspired by the Chinese. Locations are Miss Ly Cafe 22 or Hoi An dumplings
- Com Ga: similar to the Hainan Chicken Rice from Singapure, this dish became very popular in Hoi An. I tried it one evening and really liked it. You can have it for instance at An Hien Com Ga or at Dung Com Ga
FOOD IN HOI AN
TYPICAL HOI AN FOOD
Tried & approved! Central Food Hall 14 Phan Châu Trinh, Minh An, Tp. Hội An
Banh Mi Phuong 2B Phan Chau Trinh Street, near the junction of Phan Chau Trinh and Hoang Dieu
Tried & approved! Madam Khanh Banh Mi 115 Trần Cao Vân tp. Hội An
Banh mi Lanh 430 Cửa Đại, Minh An, Tp. Hội An
An Hien Com Ga: 186 Ly Thuon Kiet St, Minh An, Tp. Hội An
Dung Com Ga: 226 Ly Thuong Kiet St, Minh An, Tp. Hội An
Com Ga Ba Buoi: 22 Phan Chu Trinh, Minh An, Tp. Hội An
WHITE ROSE DUMPLINGS
Miss Ly Cafe 22: 22 Nguyen Hue St, Minh An, Tp. Hội An
Hoi An Dumplings: 106 Nguyễn Thái Học, Minh An, Tp. Hội An
Morning Glory: 106 Nguyễn Thái Học, Minh An, Tp. Hội An
Bun Bo Noodle Soup: 101 Pham Hong Thai St, Minh An, Tp. Hội An
In my opinion, 2-3 days are absolutely enough for Hoi An. For me, it just got too touristy, idyllic and perfect after some time. I was really looking forward to my last stop in the chaotic and loud, authentic Hanoi!
More about that in the next post.
- From Hanoi to the famous Ha Long Bay
- Ninh Bình – the North & Southeast-Asia’s most famous Pagoda
- Central Vietnam – most scenic morning & a sea of butterflies
- Ho Chi Minh City: The pink church & how much textile fits in a trolley
- Hoi An: the mecca for tailoring & the best Banh Mi Phuong
- Back in Hanoi & the nightlife at Bia Hoi Street