Our adventures in Hoi An were very different than I had anticipated. We had heard this beautiful city was an excellent place to explore and had some of the country’s best food to offer. It was recommended time and time again from other adventurers who had been to the great land known as Vietnam.
Getting to Hoi An from Ho Chi Minh: We took a flight from Ho Chi Minh to Da Nang. Da Nang is a beachfront city in Vietnam and seemed to have a lot of resorts to stay in. In regards to Hoi An, it's about a forty-five-minute drive from the airport of De Nang.
In Hoi An: We stayed at a family-owned hotel right outside the city and had bikes provided for us to get to town. We biked into town and were surprised to have bike parking available for just a few dollars for the day.
Hoi An is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is a well preserved small-scale trading port from the 15th to 19th century. It traded with countries in south-east Asia and the rest of the world. The town has a hybridisation of different cultures that are portrayed in the cities architecture. There is a mix of Chinese, Japanese and European influence throughout the charming town of Hoi An.
Something unexpected in Hoi An is the amount of colourful buildings and lanterns that line the city square. There were tons of beautiful bougainvillaeas and hanging greenery throughout the streets. We went in July, and it was extremely hot. In the town, there seemed to be a good amount of shade to take cover from the heat, and some restaurants that had air conditioning.
Hoi An has incredible suit tailor shops for both men and women. I get excited about this because it can be quite challenging to get a nice suit, especially one that's tailor-made as a woman. Ryan and I both got beautifully textured navy fabric suits for about 100 USD. We went to a store names XUAN. Just a heads up - buying suits can be pretty overwhelming since a lot of the locals are salespeople and tailors as a profession. Take your time looking for the best store that you feel comfortable working with. Suits take a couple of days to make.
Hoi An also has some of the countries tastiest food! Some of my favourite things to get with every meal were: fresh juice shakes, fresh morning glory with sautéed garlic (water spinach that you eat the shoots and leaves), and fried shrimp and vegetable spring rolls (they have fresh spring rolls too). I also become a full Pho believer in Vietnam. They do serve vegetable Pho which is excellent if you're a vegetarian.
The city of Hoi An lights up as soon as the sun starts to set over the mountains in the distance. All the lanterns that you see during the day put on a colourful spectacle in the evening. During this time, you can go for a boat ride and place candle-lit lanterns into the local canal (probably not the best for the environment, but it's definitely a site to see). Many street food markets also pop up when the city cools down. It's an excellent time to explore the charming town of Hoi An and have some divine cuisine.