Hoi An ! Absolutely one of my favourite town in Vietnam! I love how chilled out this little ancient town is especially in the morning, where the crowd is significantly lesser. Last I visited this place was back in December 2015. I didn’t have the opportunity to explore much because it was a different agenda all together. In 2015, a bunch of friends and myself gathered in Hoi An for a 450 km loop motorbike tour to Hue and return. That tour was epic in its own league – and I should probably write about it if my memory still serves me right.
“Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. It is located in Vietnam’s central Quang Nam Province, on the north bank near the mouth of the Thu Bon River. The town reflects a fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures, from Chinese to Japanese and later European influences, that combined to produce this unique survival. – UNESCO Heritage Centre “
I’ve always wanted to go back and it didn’t take me long to book a flight to Hoi An. I booked my flight about a week and a half prior to my travels and it costed about RM450 for a return ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Da Nang, Vietnam. This time, I spent 4 days 3 nights and stayed right in the centre of the ancient town, precisely the end of Le Loi Street. Everything was well within walking distances and just merely steps away from restaurants and cafes.
First thing upon arrival – treat yourself to a Banh Mi. No where else does it better than the local Vietnamese people. I would highly recommend Banh Mi Phuong – one of the best I’ve had in years. It surely didn’t disappoint, that crispy baguette and succulent barbequed pork laid in between were tantalizing to the taste buds. Oh yums! It was so good, you won’t regret it and might even go back for another dose of Banh Mi! The second time around, the queue extended to the middle of the road.
So, what’s next? For a coffee addict, I couldn’t resist the Vietnamese cà phê sữa đá (in other words, Vietnamese Iced Milk coffee). Hoi An Roastery is akin to the “Starbucks of Hoi An”. It has franchises at almost every corner and practically every street, you can bet that you won’t miss it. I also reckoned it is one of the best spots to kick back, relax and just people watch. Throughout my stay, I visited this coffee house at least twice or thrice. Hoi An Roastery with the pretty bougainvillea at the junction of Le Loi street is a good photo spot.
Breakfast for the champ! Eating clean during the holidays is often a challenge, but thankfully there is a joint called Coco Box here in Hoi An. Coco Box serves an extensive selection of juices, healthy breakfast options ranging from Beetroot sandwiches to Granola with yogurts and berries. A quick observation of Coco Box tells me that it is the sister company of Hoi An Roastery. I felt like I was in Bali for a moment and was longing for a smoothie bowl.
All eat and no workout is a recipe for disaster! Why not, rent a bicycle and make your way to the beach. There are two beaches located nearby the ancient town; Cue Dai beach and An Bang beach. It was nice to break away from the tourist crowd, as they flocked into the ancient town usually in the late afternoon and evening. The scenery was picturesque along the way to the beach. However, please be mindful on the road. It was pretty intense to cycle with motorbikes, cars, trucks, cyclists and people coming from every possible corner. Awareness level is off the roof!
Cue Dai beach was much quieter compared to An Bang beach. I guess it is a normal thing for the vietnamese to hustle you for a fee just to park your bicycle. If you enjoy some privacy and away from the crowd, make your way to the beach in between Cue Dai and An Bang. Well, nothing is free in this world and of course, these Vietnamese men or lady will pester you to buy drinks from them in exchange for sitting under those umbrellas. At least, parking is FREE! Weather was perfect for a swim and cocktail by the beach.
Instead of taking Cue Dai back to Hoi An, opt for Hai Ba Trung instead! It was busier compared to Cue Dai and seemed to be the main road leading up from Da Nang city to Hoi An. It was pretty challenging for me as I’ve not been on the bicycle for a while now and several times, I ended up swerving off the tar road and onto rocky pavement.
Hoi An is full of energy in the evenings. It is famous for its lanterns and they lit up nicely during the night. I couldn’t resist capturing them yet again and made my way in between flocks of Korean tourists trying to get their selfies. I really enjoyed my stay in this ancient town and I even got myself a maxi dress for just USD $8. What a steal !
Points of Interest
- Japanese Bridge
- An Bang Beach
- Cue Dai Beach
- Hoi An Ancient Town
Food and Drinks List
- CocoBox cafe (94, Lê Lợi Street)
- Hoi An Roastery (47, Lê Lợi Street)
- Miss Ly restaurant (22, Nguyen Hue Street)
- Faifo Coffee (130, Trần Phú)
- Banh Mi Phuong (2B Phan Châu Trinh)
- Soul Kitchen, An Bang Beach
- The Deckhouse, An Bang Beach
- The Little Menu Restaurant (12, Lê Lợi)