6 Amazing Things You Can Do in Hoi An
If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it.
Vietnam is one of my favorite countries to visit. Its history is fascinating, the landscapes are stunning, the cities are vibrant and beautiful and the food … oh my the food is just the best! One of my favorite places to visit in Vietnam is the historic town of Hoi An.
Once a major port, the beautiful town captured me with its 21st century scooter traffic, bustling night market, and grand architecture around the riverside. This year more than ever I miss hunting for the best Bahn Mi in the town and seeing friendly faces of the people who welcomed us in their restaurants and cafes in the old town.
Once 2020 is over and we successfully fought the pandemic, you should definitely plan a trip to Vietnam and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed! Here are our top 6 things that you should do while visiting Hoi An.
Go on a No Destination Bike Tour
One of the best ways to explore Hoi An is on a Bike. Most hotels and AirBnBs offer bikes for rent for their guests. Pack light – you will only need a few things such as your sunglasses, some money, a (reusable) bottle of water and your camera of course.
We really enjoyed our bike tour. Most of the time we simply cruised through the city without any particular destination. You don’t need one. The whole old town is gorgeous. We tried to see as much as we can.
If you have time, I would recommend you to also drive out the city to visit the rice fields and little villages. If you do that, bring some mosquito spray along.
All You Can Eat Food Tour
What better things to do than pulling up a a plastic stool and enjoying a cheap bowl of Phở or a biting into a crispy fried spring roll? If you are a foodie like me, consider going on a food tour through Hoi An. There is countless of good restaurants, food markets and street stalls with delicious food.
You can either join one of the many friendly locals who will be happy to show you their favourite places to eat or do DYI it. We dit that it and ended up eating way too much.
Here are some of our favourite spots that we discovered while hunting for good food in Hoi An:
Here at White Rose Restaurant, you will get really tasty dumplings which are a local specialty. Try their handmade little bites made of a spoonful of shrimp or meat paste topped with crispy shallot and carefully folded into rice papers. The dipping sauce is usually made of shrimp broth, hot chilies, lemon and sugar.
Before leaving, have a look at the back of the restaurant. You will have the opportunity to look the ladies over the shoulder who are making these dumplings.
Hunt for the best Bahn Mi.
“A symphony in a Sandwich.” (Antony Bourdain) I totally agree.
One of my favorite Vietnamese dishes is Banh Mi. While in Hoi An, we made it our mission to find out where we can find the best one in town. After intensive field research over the course of 5 days, we settled for Bánh Mì Phượng. This is the restaurant which became famous after Antony Bourdain visited it while shooting one of the episodes of his show “No Reservations”.
A perfect blend of French tradition and modern Vietnamese culture, Banh Mi is a sandwich that is made with a French baguette, pate, meats, fresh herbs and a delicious sauce.
I like people-watching? Do you like people-watching? I definitely do. Hoi An’s old town is just perfect for that. There are so many people from so many different countries visiting. During the day the streets around the river can get really busy.
When that happens, I sometimes like to slow down, go to a nice café, enjoy a nice drink and just observe.
Two of my favourite spots to do that are ...
Hoian Organic Chocolate
Located not far from the Japanese Bridge, the café offers delicious artisanal drinks, snacks and chocolates as well as a great view across a busy street where tourists get on and off their bike taxis.
The restaurant has several floors and a roof top, which – of course – is the most popular spot. Try to get a seat on the terrace to enjoy the sun setting over Hoi An while the streets fill up with tourists heading towards the bustling night market.
Enjoy One of Hoi An’s Amazing Shows
Hoi An may be a small town, but it has a lot to offer. Aside from a bustling night market where you will surely find a thing or two or three to take home and sample some street food, some nice bars, consider reserving one night to see a show.
We watched the Hoi An Memories Show. The show is about the long and rich history of the town. It feels a bit like the opening show of the Olympics. I have never seen so many actors being involved in a single show. About 500 actors and dancers are involved.
Visit An Art Gallery
Hoi An is home to numerous art galleries and we took the time to visit a few. The one we would like to highlight here is Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum. The French travel photographer Rehan did an amazing job collecting and showcasing the culture and traditional clothes of the various ethnic groups that live in Vietnam.
Hit the Night Market
We really enjoy going to the night markets in Southeast Asia. The one in Hoi An is great too. Take your time and look at the handmade products that the vendors offer and sample some amazing street food.
Relax at the Beach
After a few days of business in the old town of Hoi An we decided to relax at the beach for one day. Just relax, read a good book, sip a cocktail or two and listen to the incoming waves. What else do you need?