Have you been to Hoi An before? This small, sleepy coastal town in central Vietnam is located directly on the South China Sea. The largest port in Southeast Asia was once located here. Today the historic old town of Hoi An is the only one that was not completely destroyed in the Vietnam War. That is why it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. But enough of the facts! Here are my five personal reasons why you should definitely pay a visit to this beautiful place.
Visit Hoi An: A Travel Guide to Vietnam | Will Fly for Food
1-The absolutely enchanting old town
This town is most impressive after dark. Then the countless, brightly colored lanterns shine in all colors and illuminate the strolling people the way through the pretty, narrow alleys. Whether street performers, small stalls or the famous night market … There is something new to discover around every corner!
Of course, Hoi An also has its charm during the day. The typical, very special architecture of the houses comes into its own in daylight. The Thu Bon River flows through the middle of the city. The colorful boats offer you great photo opportunities – both during the day and at night. The night market takes place every day from around 5 p.m. in the old town of Hoi An.
2-Very special culinary experiences
In Hoi An you are spoiled for choice. One restaurant follows the next in the old town. Ice cream parlors, pretty cafés or the small mobile food stalls where men and women sell delicious banana pancakes line the paths.
Don’t miss these local specialties:
– Cao Lau: A spicy noodle soup with slices of pork in a dark, very aromatic sauce. Very tasty, but be careful with the chilli!
– White Rose: These are small dumplings filled with minced meat and shrimp.
– Banh Mi: Crispy white bread baguette with an Asian topping and refined with a spicy sauce. I loved it with beef!
A very nice way to try all of these things is on a street food tour. You can also dare to take on real challenges, such as the notorious balut egg or snake schnapps. Or maybe you fancy a cooking class?
3-The main market – an experience by itself
There is an incredibly colorful hustle and bustle and loud confusion here. In the covered outdoor area – located directly on the river – fish and seafood of all kinds are sold. It really doesn’t get any fresher … If you are not used to that very special smell, then you better hold your nose!
If you enter the actual market hall, you will be greeted by “exotic” smells of various origins. Everything is sold here. From ready meals, coffee and tea, dried fish to the fresh meat area. Maybe better to hold your nose here again …
In between, women prepare tasty Asian dishes, including the Cao Lau noodle soup mentioned above. And to round off the already colorful picture, there are countless flower and fruit sellers with fully loaded sales tables around the main hall. I simply cannot describe this blaze of color here with words. This market also takes place every day, but in the morning. Best to come as early as possible!
4-Hoi An – the shopping paradise
The most important tip from me: If you like to go shopping, then plan some time and money for your stay here. Shopping is great in Hoi An! In addition to the normal souvenir shops – you can buy these beautiful, colorful silk lanterns here – there are also a number of small boutiques that offer very nice clothes, jewelry and regional handicrafts.
But what you will notice most on a stroll through the old town are the countless “Taylor Shops”. Hoi An is also called the tailor town for a reason! From suits and shirts for men to evening dresses or trench coats for women, everything can be custom-made here. You just have to allow a little time for repeated improvements. So if you are interested, it is best not to plan it for the last day!
5-Beaches and sea are very close by
As if those weren’t enough powerful arguments to plan Hoi An firmly in your next Vietnam trip, it also scores with two really beautiful, white sandy beaches. From the city center you can reach the first of the two – Cua Dai Beach – after about four kilometers. You can easily cover the distance by bike. Most accommodations also lend these to their guests free of charge. The route is completely flat and you cycle beautifully through very idyllic, lush green rice fields in which water buffalo graze.
If that is still too strenuous for you, just take a tuk tuk. When you arrive at the beach, a deep blue, clear sea awaits you. Beach vendors are still limited. For the most part there are no loungers, so it’s best to take a large towel with you to lay on. The second beach – An Bang Beach – is located 2 kilometers further north. In my opinion the more beautiful of the two and almost deserted. There are also loungers here that you can use for free if you order a bite to eat in the associated restaurant.
For me, Hoi An is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Vietnam and is more than worth a visit. This special mixture of beach, charming place to stroll, eat or even for a foot massage, surrounded by a beautiful, typically Vietnamese landscape is not often found. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your suitcase and let’s go to Vietnam. But be careful not to lose your heart … to the magical Hoi An!