Category Archives: Hoi An

Ten Awesome Things to do in Hoi An

 

We loved the rustic colors displayed on some of the buildings throughout Hoi An.

Hoi An was one of the most enchanting cities we were able to visit during our travels in Vietnam. From the pastel-colored buildings, delicious food, and rooftop cafes. It’s hard for one not to fall in love with Hoi An. If you find yourself in this beautiful city on the coast here’s a few things I recommend you try to enrich your stay.

The Cheapest of Beer

First things first, you have arrived in the land of incredibly cheap beer! I know other cities such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi boast about their cheap beer, but only in Hoi An can you find it everywhere! Some restaurants sell it as low as 3,000d ($0.13 USD)! The beer is brewed fresh from the restaurant you’re buying it from, which is why it is so cheap. I know what you’re thinking, because of the price it must be poor quality right? WRONG! I had a fresh beer at the Fish and Chips restaurant that was 3,000d and that was one of the most refreshing beers I had in Vietnam! Not saying that there are some out there that do taste like what you would imagine a beer under 0.50 cents would taste like. I had one beer near the night market that gave me a headache within a few sips, but that was the one out of 5 different restaurants that I sampled.

3,000d beer!

Get Something Tailored

You want to get a suit tailored just to your liking? Hoi An is the place to do it! With a plethora of tailors throughout the city you can find one that suits your needs (see what I did there?). Just making my way old town I biked by at least half a dozen tailors displaying their work in front of their shops. And by cheap, I mean custom three piece suit around $50 bucks kind of cheap. The shops are able to make a suit or dress for you in just a few days time making it very convenient for those spending only a small time in Hoi An.

Hoi An Tailor
One of the many tailors we passed in Hoi An.

Stay at a Homestay

If you’re planning on spending some time in Hoi An I highly recommend that you stay in one of the many homestays available in the town. Why a homestay? For one, most if not all of the homestays offer free bike rentals which is an awesome way to explore the town for no money. Two, the families at the homestays are incredibly friendly and will offer advice on what to do and see in Hoi An. The homestay Lisa and I stayed at, The Strawberry Garden Homestay, offered free bike rentals and free breakfast every morning. Our host, Ruby, helped us with any questions we had and even helped us arrange a private car to take us to Da Nang. Click  Here to read a detailed post about our stay at the Strawberry Garden Homestay.

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Get a Custom Stamp Made

Do you wish to immortalize your face in the form of a stamp? Well I got some good news for you! There is a shop in Hoi An that will do just that! For just 300,000d($13.21 USD) you can get a custom stamp made of any picture. Located at 48B Bach Dang St. Hoi An, the lovely lady at Kha Dau Nghe Thuat shop will make you a customized stamp that she hand makes herself! Perfect for stamping all those postcards you still need to mail out! It takes about day to make and will last a lifetime.

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Check out the Japanese Covered Bridge

Built in the late 1700’s, the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge is a sight to see for anyone visiting Hoi An. The Japanese Bridge is a reminder of how culturally diverse Hoi An was in the past and arguably still is. You can purchase the Hoi An Tourist ticket at the price of 120,000d to cross the bridge and see the temple at the other side. The Hoi An Tourist ticket allows you access to other historical buildings and landmarks in Hoi An. The Japanese Bridge can get pretty crowded so I recommend seeing it as early in the day as possible to avoid the crowds.

The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An.

Shopping at the Night Market

If you love shopping as much as Lisa does, then Hoi An is your land of milk and honey. Hoi An has dozens upon dozens of shops sporting anything from homemade lanterns to custom leather boots. There is a night market located across the river from Old Town where you can find a whole bunch of goodies like paper pop-up cards, Vietnamese rice picking hats, and oriental fans. At the night market you can find the shops that sell the handmade lanterns that Hoi An is renown for. Even if you don’t buy one, they make for an amazing picture, just be sure to take it while the merchant is making a sale otherwise they might get annoyed. The night market also has a bunch of food carts so you can fill your appetite while you shop till you drop.

A little rain can’t shut down this market.

Watch the Lanterns in the River

One of the most dazzling sights to see in Hoi An are the lanterns floating down the Thu Bon River. For a small fee, you can purchase a floating lantern from the dozens of merchants near the boats by the river. I enjoyed watching the lanterns from the bridges that stretched across the river. There’s something very mystical about watching them float on by past the sampans to their destination unknown.

Lights in the river at night.

Take a Cooking Class

Want to learn a new recipe to impress your friends back home? Try taking a cooking class at one of the restaurants in Hoi An. Learn how to make Cau Lau, a traditional noodle dish that is local to Hoi An and is a dish you can’t skip out on. Made with pork, noodles, and vegetables that traditionally can only be found in Hoi An.

Get Leather Made

For every tailor in Hoi An there’s a leather shop to match it. Leather is everywhere in Hoi An! You can get anything from wallets, purses, satchels to jackets, shoes, and even backpacks! Just make sure the shop you’re buying from is selling you “true” leather. Some shops sell a product si-mi-li which they try and pass as leather, but its not. The price for the leather goods is incredibly cheap for what they are. I almost bought myself a pair of custom oxfords for 1,300,000d (that’s $57.82 USD!) just because of the price! The turnaround time is unreal as well with most things taking only a few hours to a day to make.

 

Strawberry Garden Homestay

Lisa and I planned to stay in Hoi An for a total of four days and three nights, enough time to relax and enjoy everything the beach city has to offer. What made our stay in Hoi An beyond spectacular was the wonderful Strawberry Garden Homestay and the loving family who took care of us.

Lovely wooden table outside the homestay.

Upon arriving at the Strawberry Garden Homestay, which is located just one kilometer outside of Old Town, we were greeted by our host Ruby. Ruby welcomed us into the homestay, offering us home made tea and delectable local rice snacks. While we sat down and enjoyed the lovely treats in front of us, Ruby told us of all the and tours that her homestay offers as well as what is located nearby. The Strawberry Garden Homestay offers bikes for guests to take to explore the city free of charge. There is also an option for renting a motorbike for 140,000 Dong a day. Free breakfast every morning of your stay which includes a meal plus a drink. All homemade of course. If need be, they offer a laundry service for a nominal fee per kilo.

This dog was so awesome!

One of our biggest joys was playing with their incredibly friendly dog, who was always excited to see us every time we returned to the homestay. The way he crosses his paws when he lays down was almost to cute too handle. Everyday, Ruby would ask us how we were doing and if there was anything she could do to help make our stay better. Ruby made the Strawberry Garden Homestay feel like home for both my wife and I. We even debated staying another few nights due to how wonderful our stay there was! If you ever find yourself in Hoi An, do yourself a favor and spend your stay at the Strawberry Garden Homestay.