Hội An is known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals. The former port city’s history is reflected in its architecture, from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colourful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge.
It’s a beautiful little town with some lovely cafes along the water and winding alleyways lined with shops selling handmade crafts and souvenirs. A lot of the hotels have pools, so treat yourself. I stayed at the Hoa Binh Hotel for $5 a night with clean, air-conditioned rooms and a small pool.
The main reason people come to Hoi An is for one of the many, many tailors. It’s ridiculously cheap to have a suit or literally anything made up from a huge choice of fabric in less than a day. You get what you pay for, so make sure you shop around before agreeing to anything.
If you are already missing the ocean then you can take a taxi to the beautiful Cua Dai beach where you can rent deck chairs and spend the entire day napping, reading and eating. If you want to explore further then follow the coast up and see what you can find.
Back in town, in the early evenings, a lot of places serve 3000D beer (8p, no that is not a typo), and later on, it goes up to a whopping 5000D (14p). It’s definitely one of the cheapest nights out in South East Asia. A popular (but more expensive) place is Before and Now Bar, definitely worth checking out.
Try and arrive here in time for the Full Moon Lantern Festival on the 14th of every lunar month. All lights are switched off and the roads are closed to traffic as the whole place is lit up with candles and lanterns, even the river is full of floating flames. For the locals, it’s a time to honour their ancestors, for us it’s super romantic and you can get some great photos.
Jump on another night bus to get out of town, either North to Hanoi or South to Nha Trang, which I did… couldn’t stay away from that place!
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