Ultimate Hoi An Travel Guide – A UNESCO World Heritage site
The ultimate Hoi An travel guide will show you everything you need to know when you visit this beautiful fishermen village. It is a big highlight on the east coast of Vietnam. Hoi An one of the most popular destinations for travellers, who want to explore this unique country. There are so many cool things to do and see and it’s definitely no surprise that this small place is one of the most visited cities of Vietnam.
I went to Hoi An while I was on my motorbike trip through the whole country. I went from Ho Chi Minh all the way up to Hanoi completely on my own without speaking any Vietnamese. Hoi An was the place I went to right after I explored many parts of the eastcoast of Vietnam. I have to say that I really liked this place, which is why I wrote the ultimate Hoi An travel guide, so that you get a perfect overview of one of Vietnam’s most fascinating villages.
Hoi An Travel Guide – General information
Hoi An is a small and very charming fishermen village exactly in the east of the country. It already had more than 10 million visitors in total, which is quite a lot for a village of that low size. Hoi An has a population of only about 120.000. Most people earn there income from fishing and tourism.
The ultimate Hoi An travel guide will show you every important spot, so that you will see all the tiny colourful alleys, entertaining street food vendors, old temples and much more.
An interesting part of the ultimate Hoi An travel guide is the history of this city. It has been founded by the Portuguese and Lord Nguyen Hoang some time around 1595. It was built to be an economically and strategically important trading point and it completely mastered the task.
At some point of Hoi An’s history this small trading centre became the most significant port of Asia. All kind of products and goods have been shipped to far away foreign places like Europe, China, Japan and even India. Vietnamese shipwrecks have been discovered by the coast of India, which proves the outreach of Hoi An’s trading activities.
Over the hundreds of years and several wars Da Nang became the new trading centre of Vietnam. Hoi An was forgotten in the centre of the country for over 200 years, which lead to the fact that nothing had really changed. The result of it was that Hoi An became a famous spot for tourists and now is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How to get there
You can mainly get to Hoi An in four different ways. Once you fly in to Vietnam, or however you get there, you can choose from:
- Motorcycle/ Scooter
The first and the fourth one don’t really make any sense, because the streets are to full to use the car and the transportation by train just takes to long. These options are not very convenient.
Taking the bus would be an option, because you it’s very cheap and and many companies can easily take you to Hoi An. It might also take longer, just like with the car, but you can at least sleep during the drive.
This is why I recommend the motorcycle/ scooter in this Hoi An travel guide. You are completely independent, you won’t have a big issue with the traffic and it’s probably the fastest way to there.
Short tip: Closest airport in Da Nang
How to get around
Getting around in Hoi An is quite easy. The village is pretty small anyway, so you can cover a lot of attraction by walking. You can also use a Tuk Tuk, a scooter/ motorcycle (locals also drive you around) or a bicycle.
Every option is pretty cheap and a cool experience anyway. You’ll definitely enjoy the ride.
Hoi An has typical Southeast Asian weather conditions. It’s pretty humid and warm all year long. There is a dry season from March to September and a wet season, which falls from October until February. Because Hoi An is lying by the ocean on the east coast, which is pretty rough, it gets very windy from time to time.
Generally you don’t really have to think about the weather in Hoi An anyway, because the small village is extremly pretty and interesting in any season anyway.
Still you need to watch out for the weather forecast, because in some years the rain is so havy that streets are floated up to a hight of 2 metres. In this case you want to get accommodation in the high ground regions 😉
One thing I also have to mention in the ultimate Hoi An travel guide is the cuisine. Food in Hoi An is brilliant, just like anywhere you go in Vietnam. Almost everything you find is from organic farms and freshly made. Especially the street food vendors sell some incredible stuff, which you won’t get enough of. The best thing about it is, that the prices are very low in comparison to western standards and the quality is maybe even higher in my opinion.
You won’t get five star meals, unless you go to an expensive restaurant, but therefore you get solid dishes, which taste absolutely brilliant and are unbelievably healthy.
Obviously the ultimate Hoi An travel guide needs to include some information about the question of where to stay. Accommodation is cheap and pretty decent in Hoi An. You’ll find many sorts of accommodation:
- Homestay/ guesthouse
It’s really up to you what you prefer, but whatever you choose, you be satisfied. For myself I would always go for a hostel or a very cheap hotel, because the quality is quite good. You won’t stay in Hoi An for very long, so booking an expensive hotel would be quite pointless, because you won’t be able to fully enjoy it anyway.
The cool thing about Vietnam or any other Southeast Asian country is the fact, that literally everything you can think of is insanely cheap. To give you a couple examples:
- 6$+ for a hostel dorm room
- 10$+ for a hotel room with your own bathroom & a big bed
- 1$ for a noodle soup
- 1,5 $ for a big sandwich
- 8 $ for a full motorcycle tank
- 50 Cents for a coffee
- 25 – 50 Cents for a beer
And that’s exactly the same for Hoi An as well. If you want to keep the costs low, then you can easily do so 😉
Short tip: Always try to negotiate even though the prices are low already. You’ll always get a better one.
Hoi An Travel Guide – Highlights and what to do
As said, the ultimate Hoi An travel guide includes some cool things to do and see. It’s not like you gonna find the most impressive attractions, beaches, jungles or whatever you have ever seen, but the village itself is already a highlight on its own. This leads me straight to the first point.
Proper walk/ Old Town
The first thing I have to mention in the ultimate Hoi An travel guide is that you need to go for a proper walk. I know this mind sound very oldschool, but make sure to have a close look at everything and soak up all the unique vibes. Along your way you will see all different kind of shops, many poor people, a couple artists, colourful houses as well as old temples and much more.
It’s very enjoyable to walk through Hoi An, because the feeling you get is pretty rare. This little fishermen village has something very intense and charming to it, which is hard to explain. But the best way to experience this, is a walk.
During the stroll you should also stop by at the Old Town of Hoi An. The Old Town has been an important trading point for the village since the 15th century and it still is. A cool detail about the Old Market is that customers can attend the shops from the front side while the owners constantly get new products from the river in the back. So they never run out of products.
Besides that, the Old Town of Hoi An has 22 buildings (points of interest) that you can visit. If you want to do so, you would have to pay for a special ticket, which includes 5 coupons. With that you are allowed to visit 5 POI’s. If you want to see more, you would have to pay again. It seems like a rip-off, but trust me, it’s definitely worth the money.
At night you can see a lot of different musicians, artists, folk dancing and traditional games. It’s good fun!
Short tip: Make sure to visit the Japanese Bridge, Quan Cong Temple and Hoi An Art Museum (POI’s)
The second thing, which needs to be included in the ultimate Hoi An travel guide, is to visit the local markets. They are so cool!
You’ll find all sorts of interesting goods there. From food and clothes to games, souvenirs and much more. The local markets are also a great attraction, because there is a lot of action. Screaming vendors, tight alleys, live cooking and so on. It’s very authentic and a good representation for the Southeast Asian lifestyle.
Plus you might get some useful as well as antic products that you won’t find anywhere else.
Try all sorts of food
The markets lead me to the next point of the ultimate Hoi An travel guide. Try out as much different food as you possibly can. It’s so delicious!
Markets are a good place to do that, but also the countless street food vendors. They mostly prepare typical Vietnamese dishes like rice with veggies and meat or noodle soups.
What’s really fascinating in Hoi An and anywhere else in Vietnam is the fact that Vietnamese literally use everything of the product that they have in front of them. I have seen them using every part of a chicken or a pig they could possibly exploit. Nothing gets wasted. Even the blood becomes a souce. Very exceptional!
Especially western people can learn from that…
And because they use it all, the food tastes even better than the stuff we western people are used to. It’s just way more intense.
Short tip: Always go for the Vietnamese noodle soups 😉
An Bang & Cua Dai Beach
Very close to Hoi An you can find two very nice beaches, which have to be mentioned in the ultimate Hoi An travel guide. Even though Hoi An is not known to be a beach spot, these two are still very nice. An Bang is about 4 kilometres away from Hoi An and a good alternation to the buzzin UNESCO World Heritage village. Fine white sand, the beautiful South China Sea and almost no tourists around. Very nice!
Cua Dai Beach is also very pretty. It has once suffered from severe erosion, but it’s still a cool spot. Unfortunately you can’t walk on several parts of the beach anymore without staying waste deep in the ocean. Therefore you still find many restaurants and some nice resorts to stay at, which actually have their own human made beaches with launchers and swimming pools. If that’s something for you, give it a try 🙂
Also make sure to visit some temples while your are in Hoi An. This small fisherman villages is full of them. A couple good ones to go to are:
They all have been built hundreds of years ago and they all symbolize something important for the locals and their whole community, which is why they have to be a part of the ultimate Hoi An travel guide. The people back in the days built the temples in a typical traditional Vietnamese style. The constructions included a lot of wood and an open architectural style, so that the endogenous spirit is free to spread.
All of the temples are/ have been inhabited by monchs and it’s a pleasure to meet them. Definitely put a temple visit on the list of things to do in Hoi An.
My Son temples
If you have the time to go a bit further outside of Hoi An, then I’d highly recommend to visit the My Son temples. They lie southwest of the city an they are an insider from the Hoi An travel guide.
I have been there during my motorbike tour through the centre of Vietnam. The temples need to be part of the ultimate Hoi An travel guide, because they are a real quite hidden treasure and therefore something truely special. They have been damaged through the Vietnam war, but you can still see a lot of remainings. It’s a fantastic scenery. You’ll feel like a real explorer running around this unique area.
Hoi An Travel Guide – What I have learned
Hoi An was a good teacher for something quite valuable. I almost always learn something anywhere I travel. It does not really matter where I go to or for how long travel to a specific place/ area.
I have learned a lot of travel lessons on the road already, but this one is very basic but quite important one in my opinion.
Everything you see and do from the ultimate Hoi An travel guide is very basic. Still the people seem so happy – actually way happier than most of us do…
A lot of them live with a really low standard, but nevertheless they are so friendly and they seem to enjoy their basic life to the fullest. They don’t drive expensive cars, they don’t wear fancy clothes and they don’t have a lot of money. All that doesn’t really matter to them. People in Hoi An and all over Vietnam are thankful for what they have, even if it’s not a lot.
All this shows me, that you always have to
be grateful for the simple things in life
The simple things in life are the ones that matter. Don’t get me wrong, money and material things are important and I love those two. But, if you have learned to be satisfied with less/ the small things in life, then you will always be happy, doesn’t matter which situation you are in. If you follow that premise, then it doesn’t matter, if life is good or bad right now. Appreciating the small things is what’s important. And I always try to remember that, anywhere I go…
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