Hoi An is still one of my favourite locations in Vietnam, and this was my second time there! There is just something about the atmosphere and town that just draws me in every time. It is culture-rich Asian beauty at its best. It’s not like there is even loads to do, it is just a comfortable place to be – hence why I spent over a week there!
Note: Be ready for a trek from Nha Trang, it is a disgustinggggg 12 hour bus trip ugh!
Where to stay!
I stayed at the ‘Sunflower Hostel‘ which is raved about by many backpackers. Literally everyone I met on the way up that was heading south had stayed there and highly suggested it to me. I stayed there for a few days and didn’t find the atmosphere to be as welcoming as other places I had stayed at. Sunflower Hostel has an AWESOME buffet breakfast though which definitely won it points. It has a nice pool and bar communal area to hang out at. I found the internet was dodgy in some of the dorm rooms, but that’s just a personal experience and I’m sure will change. I also stayed at ‘House Backpackers‘ which was basic budget accommodation. I found the dorm to be better set out and nicer than Sunflower – for a much cheaper price! The aircon worked better and the powerpoints were next to the bed unlike the scattered arrangement at Sunflower. The restaurant/café next door was super convenient too. I was lazy for a whole day and stayed in my dorm and only walked next door for my meals. Nice food and pretty cheap also!
What to eat!
There is a food market in Hoi An, and a, less known to backpackers, food court right next to it. Many backpackers have not heard about it, only see the market but never venture into the food court next door! Most meals were 20,000DONG (about $1.30AUD!!) and were crazy good. While you’re in Hoi An you must try there two specialty dishes, only found in Hoi An, Cao Lau and White Rose Dumplings! Personally I looooooved the white rose dumplings, especially the ones I got at the food market.
There is plenty on banh mi carts around the town and loads of other equally great places to eat around at!
What to do in Hoi An!
- Most days I hired a bicycle (20,000DONG) or scooter (80,000DONG – had to barter for that) from the places directly in front of Sunflower (bicycles to the left, scooters at the tour place to the right). I spent many hours a day just riding around the town, also visiting ‘ancient town’. It is a beautiful place to ride. There are many massage and beauty places in the old town too. I treated myself and got a manicure and pedicure (1st time ever!) for 150,000DONG.
- You can also ride to An Bang Beach. It is a beautiful beach, less popular than Cua Dai Beach but much nicer. The ride there is a little long, but well worth it and beautiful scenery on the way. While you’re there make sure you visit the Mexican restaurant ‘Hola Taco!‘! Best burritos I have ever had and that is a big call. Take a left at the road just before the beach and it isn’t far up the road, to your left. I got the breakfast burrito I think 3 days in a row?! It was amazing. Tip: Have it wet – they load it with cheese and sauce and stuff, yummmm!
- There is also an AMAZING vegetarian on the other side of the road.
- We hired scooters one day and rode to Da Nang and visited Marble Mountain which makes for a beautiful day. Tip: Wear cool clothes – it is very hot inside the mountain, we all came out dripping in sweat!
- When in Hoi An you have to get something tailor-made! Hoi An is famous for its tailoring. I was planning on not getting anything made (no room in my backpack!) until I was hawked while eating lunch and a woman sat down and convinced me to come to her store (I know, I don’t usually fall for that but I had nothing else to do so I thought I may as well have a look!). You can get anything from suits to shoes handmade in Hoi An, make sure you barter though because you can be ridiculously overcharged versus what other people can get.
- Bars: There are lots of quality bars in Hoi An. Most nights I went to the bar across the road from Sunflower called ‘Lava Bar’. Many travellers work and hang out there, making it a fun place for tourists to commune. While I was there they would sell a whole bottle of Sprite and a whole bottle of Vodka for 100,000DONG, which made for a very cheap night on the town! I spent many nights there playing (and learning) drinking games and a bit of pool. It has a nice chill pub vibe. One night they also ran a pool party at a different location, which was loads of fun too. I also went to Tiger Tiger which has a bit more of a club scene, also enjoyable.
- Cham Island – This is an island about 9 miles from Cua Dai beach and most people visit it through a tour company usually as a day trip. However I did it independently of a tour company. Tune in to my next post to learn how!
Travellers! Tell me your Hoi An highlights! 🙂
I hope you’ll stick around and follow me on my adventure,
The Virgin Backpacker xx
Ps. If you have any travel questions/queries or feedback, don’t hesitate to comment, hit my socials, or use the contact form below!