Picturesque, calm, preserved and silk induced, this town of tailors is a UNESCO World Heritage city in Central Vietnam. Myself, it has been a place of rest and relaxation in a country full of seemingly chaotic cities, as well as a place of indulgence. While the hundreds of tailors can be overwhelming at times, it is worth stepping in to a couple shops to get measured up for a tailored suit. (I caved my most recent trip there.)
With that said, my enjoyment of this ancient port city is simply strolling through the streets lined with pale yellow shops. Stopping for a coffee and watching the boats pass or waking early to watch the fish come in off the boats amongst the hustle and bustle of the market. A bike ride into the countryside to the nearby beach for a day on the sand. Here, life slows down, especially with a plate of the local eats in front of you. Cao Lau, a noodle dish which is the essence of Hoi An food, found nearly anywhere one looks. Mi Quang won’t be far behind, a similar dish to Cao Lau. White Rose, a shrimp dumpling named after its appearance and Com Ga, Hoi An style chicken rice.
To do a little sight-seeing, a combination ticket can be bought for approximately $5 allowing entrance into a number of the museums spread throughout the streets. Boat rides are impossible to miss with dozens of people along the river calling out, trying to hail you over. (Don’t hesitate to negotiate). To learn a little of this delicious cuisine, cooking classes are on offer throughout the city at quite a few restaurants as well in the travel agencies. A week can easily be spent here without even noticing the time has passed, so get lost and dive into the culture.
How to get there: The closest airport and train station are both located in Danang. A taxi from the airport should costs around $20. From the train station you can catch a xe om for approx. $8.
By Bus – A bus can be caught from nearly any major city heading towards Hoi An. From Nha Trang to the south it takes about 12 hours and costs around $12US. From Hue to the north it takes about 5-6 hours costing around $9US.
The best way in my opinion to reach Hoi An is if you’re coming from Hue is to rent a scooter and ride the Hai Van Pass. Many companies will transport your luggage to Hoi An while you spend the day riding through the countryside, climbing the lush mountains overlooking the South China Sea and onwards through Danang to your destination. Your luggage can then be picked up in exchange for the scooter once you have arrived. There is lots to see on the way that would be missed by other forms of transport.
Related post: Hai Van Pass – Hue to Hoi An
Note: A side trip worth taking is to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of My Son. Hit by bombs in WWII, the temple complex ruins resemble that of Angkor Wat, while bomb craters are scattered through the area.