Travel Tuesday; Hoi An – my favorite city in Vietnam!

When we lived in Ho Chi Minh City, we tried seeing as much as possible of Vietnam. It’s a once of a lifetime experience to live in this country, so we wanted to get to know it as well as we could. So we traveled the entire country, and saw most of the highlights.

We loved the country, but the place we loved most was Hoi An. It’s definitely my favorite city of Vietnam, and I think even on my top 5 lists of favorite cities overall. Every time I can enjoy walking around the small streets where motorbikes are banned {such a nice change for a city in Vietnam!}, and all the things that you can get made here {clothes, sneakers, flip flops, jewelry and much more}.

In today’s Travel Tuesday I will give you a look at my most favorite places in Hoi An. Hope you enjoy them!

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Hotels:
There are two ways you could visit Hoi An. One is to stay in the city itself, the second one is to combine it with a hotel in Danang. You can enjoy the beach during the day and visit the city in the afternoon. There are many different hotel chains on the beach of Danang, but we always loved staying at the Hyatt Regency Danang. It’s a great resort, with spacious rooms, lovely restaurants and a free shuttle service to Hoi An.

For the first option I would only recommend to stay in the old city. Then you will be able to really enjoy the city, and you’re within walking distance of all the restaurants, bars and tourist activities.

We have stayed in two really great hotels:

  • Vinh Hung Resort: This is a resort of a local chain and has a couple of other hotels in the city.
    It’s set at the other side of the water and has a big pool. They offer a small boat to bring you to town, but if you want to walk that’s possible as well {it’s only a 5min walk to the old town}.
    The rooms are a bit dark, but very spacious and the rooms are maintained well and clean.
    We stayed there for around US$75 per night, inclusive of breakfast.
    http://www.vinhhungresort.com
  • Ha An hotel: Lovely small hotel with only 24 rooms situated in the old town. The rooms are nice {a little small} and the hotel has a beautiful courtyard where the restaurant is situated.
    We stayed at Ha An Hotel for around US$65 for a standard room.
    http://haanhotel.com

Restaurants:
I absolutely love Vietnamese food, it’s very healthy {especially if you compare it to the other countries in South East Asia such as Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia} and it has tons of flavor, without being too spicy. The food in Hoi An is even more special, just because of the presentation of the food – they all look like small pieces of art!

The restaurants I can recommend in Hoi An {with no. 1 being my al time favorite!}:

  • Ms. Ly: 22 22 Nguyễn Huệ, Tel: 0510 3861 603
    The restaurant of Ms. Ly is situated outside of the real walking area of the old town, but definitely worth a visit.
    They offer the most amazing Hoi An cuisine dishes. The restaurant takes up two dining spaces with a wall in between, but don’t worry its one and the same restaurant. Also don’t look surprised if a foreigner will greet you at the door – he is the husband of Ms. Ly {or so we’ve been told}. And yes, the restaurant is full of tourists, but usually there are not a lot of Vietnamese in a restaurant for tourist. This as they just can’t afford spending this amount of money on a diner.
    I fell in love with the deep fried wontons and the White Rose dumplings, but just ask the staff and they will give you great recommendations.
    Just note that for lunch they usually have space, but in the evening they get really crowded. So I recommend you to make a booking in advance!
  • Mango Mango: 45 Nguyen Phuc Chu, Tel: 0510 3911 863
    This restaurant is located on the other side of the water, over looking the river and the Japanese bridge. It’s a little bit pricier than most of the Vietnamese restaurants in town, but the dishes all have a little twist to it, which makes it worth the spend.
    Ask them whether they have space available upstairs, as you can sit at the balcony {bar style} overlooking the street and the water.
  • Morning Glory: 106 Nguyen Thai Hoi Str., Tel: 0510 3241 555
    Morning Glory is one of the restaurants in the middle of the city centre. Besides a restaurant they also offer cooking classes. Unfortunately we have never had the time to attend one of these classes. Nevertheless, we always enjoyed eating in this restaurant with its amazing Vietnamese cuisine.
  • White Marble Restaurant & Wine Bar: 98 Le Loi Str., Tel: 0510 3911 862
    This is a great place to have a drink, as you’re in the middle of the old city and can see anyone and everyone passing by. The food is delicious, and they offer amazing set menus {with or without wine pairing} for a really good price.
  • Cargo Club: 107 D Nguyen Thai Hoc, Tel: 0510 3910 489
    This restaurant has a café feel to it, and besides their regular dining menu they offer lovely pastries and great coffee.
    We found this to be a great place for lunch, especially when sitting upstairs on the balcony overlooking the river.

Shops:
I think they can make almost everything in Hoi An – from shoes to clothes, from flip flops to jewelry. Some of the shops we’ve tried and tested are:

  • Bi Tuong Shoes: 54 Le Loi Str.
    In this small shop we have had our shoes made. Ruben went for some puma sneakers {he brought a picture} and I saw the coolest snake leather ballerina’s. They let you stand on a piece of paper, draw out your foot and let you come back the next day. The shoes were amazing {not 100% sure whether mine were real snake leather though…} and ranged from US$30 for the ballerina’s to US$40 for the pumas.
    TIP: before you start wearing the shoes/sandals, make sure the glue is dry! If not they will be ruined quickly.
  • Number One Jewelry: next to the market in the middle of the old town.
    This small shop made some amazing silver cufflinks for us. I told the lady what I wanted and she designed it on the spot. It was a great gift for Ruben!
    There are many shops in the old town that custom make jewelry. When making jewelry, make sure that the metal they use is genuine. Not that you pay for silver and you walk out with just a random metal with a silver coating.

Besides the above, Hoi An is mainly famous for making clothes. We have never made suites or any kind of clothes there, as we had our own tailor in HCMC {if anything was wrong we could go back easily…}.
Should you want to make clothes (and you still have enough space in your suitcase) I can recommend you to bring a picture of the item you want to have made, or better yet bring the item you want to have copied (for instance a nice shirt or dress you have, but want in a different color, or just renewed as it started to get old}. From experience I know they are better in copying items than coming up with something themselves. So it would be a lot easier to do it in this way.
They say they can make a suit within one day, and yes they can, but then {most of the time} it will look horrible… I mean it will not be tailored to your size; you’ll have too much space in places where you don’t want to… So please take at least a couple of days so that you can try it on and have it tailored to fit you perfectly.

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Have you ever been to Hoi An? Do let me know if you have any good recommendations and we’ll try them out next time! Hope you’ve enjoyed the tips.

2 thoughts on “Travel Tuesday; Hoi An – my favorite city in Vietnam!

  1. Great post. I really enjoyed reading your tips. I only have one to add. If you see a street vendor selling a candy made of sweet silken strands, buy some. Banh Kien To is delicious! It’s pure theatre watching it being made and you eat it as a wafer sandwich.

    • I love that you enjoyed reading my tips. And thank you for giving your tip on the Banh Kien To. I’ve lived in HCMC for almost 4yrs and never heard of this. Will def tr it nect time!

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