Hoi An - the city of Lanterns
Hoi An has always been my favourite destination in Vietnam. I remember this town from 6 years ago as it was graceful, historic and filled with incredibly picturesque architecture. I was praying it would still be Vietnam’s most atmospheric and delightful town, the way I remember it.
Spoiler alert – IT IS! The town reflects a fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures (principally Chinese and Japanese with later European influences) that combined to produce this uniquely beautiful ‘’instagram friendly’’ town.
We booked 2 nights at ‘9dream hostel’ a small family run business which has next to no rooms, cost about $20NZD a night but was brilliantly situated and clean, spacious and everything we needed. The best thing about this hostel is that it’s balcony overlooks a busy street which is great to people watch but it is also quiet, AND it is also directly across from Bahn Mi Queen – THEE best place to get Bahn Mi in Hoi An for sure!
So pretty much this town is incredible, and for walking around its brilliant. I wouldn’t say that during our time here we did anything spectacular as for us we just love to explore.
A few things/ places that we would recommend checking out while here are:
Japanese bridge: Everyone was rabbiting on about this bloody bridge, so we hunted it down and decided to check it out. A little history behind this is, in the early 17th century the Japanese settlers built it to make it easier to do business with the local people in the residential area. Later the Chinese and Vietnamese continued to restore the bridge and built a small temple, dedicated to the God of the North. Throughout the centuries the bridge became famous for its supernatural powers and it is still a sanctuary for the local people. For us, it was nice, but incredibly busy, hot and near impossible to take any pics.
The Ancient town: Here is where the magic happens. On one side the areas is protected as it’s UNESCO world heritage so no loud music can be played and the area is peaceful and intriguing to walk around. Whereas on the other side of the bridge you will be overwhelmed with the old town style building but mixed with vars, restaurants, live music and many street sells. It’s also where the night markets are held.
An Bang beach: Located about 4.5km from the town is An Bang beach. It’s really popular with tourists and has a lot to offer in regards to surfing, bars, shops and restaurants dotted along the beach. For us it was a great way to escape for a few hours and get our 10km in before 10am. We even managed to fly the drone despite it being slightly overcast and not ideal photo taking weather. You can either hire a bike or just walk.
FOOD: Ok, maybe the most important thing for me in any new place os the food scene and I can assure you, Hoi An has it all! Some of the nicest most authentic Vietnamese cuisine can be found here and we found it all! The places we would recommend are:
Madam Khanh Banh Mi Queen – open from 6am – 7.3pm these guys do the best filled Vietnamese baguettes and are just over $1 each! We ate there 3 times in 2 days! YIKES.
Birdhouse café - we stopped in here as I was desperate to try and coconut coffee and this tranquil heaven was the place that drew us in. The decoration gave me such ‘new house’ inspiration and mixed with the gently music, stunning natural décor and people watching while sipping on the best coffee of my life, this was a definite pivotal moment in our Hoi An experience.
Seashell cafe by Nu - only a 2 min walk from our hostel was this little gem with the best spring rolls and Asian inspired salad we have had in a long time. The price was great but the overall atmosphere was instantly inviting and we really loved it.
We also ate from a small local restaurant twice but after googling it we couldn’t find it, however a must do dish would be Cao Lau, historically from Hoi An these beautiful noodles can only be produced here as the water from the dish must be drawn from a nearby well ‘Ba Le’ which is dug by the Cham people.
Go to Hoi An, try these noodles and thank me later – they were delicious and for only 50,000 dong – approx. $3NZD 😊
That was our experience in Hoi An, it’s a wonderful destination and we could easily have spent 5 days here, but we are off the Hue. Coronavirus is now ramping up here in Vietnam as well and I would by lying if I said I wasn’t slightly worried about our upcoming flights.
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Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!