What I loved about Hoi An, Vietnam
This little town located up the east coast of Vietnam has no airport or train station so the only way to get here is by car. We flew into Da Nang and hired a taxi to take us to our accomodation in Hoi An.
Now there is Hoi An, and then there is the Ancient Town in Hoi An. All the famous photos you see of pretty lanterns everywhere? Thats the Ancient Town. So don't be disappointed if you arrive in Hoi An and you can't see any lanterns anywhere, you probably just haven't made it to the Ancient Town yet!
Where to stay
When choosing where to stay I would highly recommend trying to find a place close to the Hoi An Ancient Town. This is where I spent most of my time in Hoi An as it just has the coolest vibe and the best places to eat! You think seeing this place during the day is amazing but it truly comes alive at night. We stayed at the Hoi An Hideaway Villas which had a perfect location as it was nice and quiet but was within walking distance to the town. If you stay here, you have to order the banana pancake for breakfast. Trust me, it's good!
While in Hoi An we also stayed at a place that was a bit further out but still within biking distance to the Ancient Town. However I definitely preferred staying in the town and being closer to all the action.
What to eat
With so many places to eat and some many good meals to choose from you can't really go wrong. From street food, to nice restaurants to little cafes, you honestly can't go wrong. I ate so many Banh Mi's which are pretty much just a filled baguette roll.
We choosing where to eat, we mainly went with a place that had a good happy hour and a nice view of the river. It's so pretty at night with all the lanterns and boats, you really can't go wrong.
If you walk round the night markets after dinner you might find some ice creams rolls for dessert!
Things to do
My favourite thing to do while in Hoi An was to get on one of the hotel bikes and just ride around and explore the town. At night it's a little tricker cause the streets get pretty busy but during the day it's the best way to get around! It's also fine to ride the bikes on the roads as the scooters are so used to tourists, as long as you keep to the right they'll just ride around you.
Hoi An is a great place to get things made. I got a jumpsuit made while I was here and it's quite fun choosing your material and pattern. Sometimes when getting things made they don't turn out quite as you had hoped but that's the fun of it I guess. If in doubt, stick to a simple pattern. There will often be pieces on the mannequins in their stores so the safe option is to go with one of these. If you don't have much time in Hoi An you might want to double check that your items will be ready in time because some things can take a few days.
There's lots of places to shop in Hoi An! Either the little market stalls in the Old Ancient Town or in some of the stores along the main roads, you'll be spoilt for choice. However you will tend to see similar things over and over again, particularly the designer knock offs. This does make it easier to barter though and bartering is welcome in places where there are no set prices.
A must do activity in Hoi An is buying a little lantern with a candle in it, making a wish, and releasing it into the water. Yes it's a bit touristy but it's fun and cheap to do. If you want to be super cool, one of the little row boats can take you out on the river. Super romantic and perfect for couples!
If you started your journey in Ho Chi Minh City, you'll be pleased to know the Hoi An will be a much more comfortable temperature - in December anyway! When the sun was out it was gorgeous and probably about mid 20s. We did get quite a bit of rain while we were here which definitely cooled the place down a bit however I still didn't find that I needed a jumper. I would either go for some long pants and a tee or long sleeved shirt and some shorts. Mind you, I don't tend to feel the cold that much so if you like to be warm, might be worth packing a jumper if you are there in December!
Overall I really enjoyed my time in Hoi An, especially the Old Ancient Town and I would highly recommend paying this little town a visit! It's so different to the places I've been so far and I loved it. Have you ever been?!