Hoi An is a must if you travel to Vietnam. There are so many great things about it. It has a nice beach, a quaint downtown scene which locals call the “old town” and lots of delicious, cheap, street food. Most of the accommodations in Hoi An are “homestays.” We decided to stay at Thanh Laun homestay located between the old town and the beach. The homestay came with free bikes which came in handy for getting around. The hostess of the homestay, Trinh, was very welcoming and made delicious coffee and breakfast every morning. Thanh Luan is located right off the main road, Hai Ba Trung. If you go north it will take you to An Bang beach. If you go south you will hit the old town. Since we stayed in the middle it only took us 10 minutes by bike to get to either. And the food, ohhhh myyyy GAWWWWDDDDD! Commence food pics….
The bike ride to the beach is very beautiful, especially at sunset. In fact, we think Hoi An has the best sunset we have seen so far in Vietnam. There can be quite a bit of traffic on the road but it didn’t have much of an impact on the beauty of our surroundings. There are rice farmers throwing seeds in the paddy fields and grazing water buffalo. There is an intersection before you get to the beach, turn left and take the next right and venture down one of the alleys for a less crowded area of the beach. You can park your bikes for free and the chair rentals are only 20,000 VMD ($1). Don’t follow Hai Ba Trung all the way to the beach or you will have to pay to park your bike and like $70,000 VMD for a beach chair. Also it is VERY crowded at this section of the beach. The locals start to crowd the beach daily around 5 pm.
You do not have to pay to go into the Old Town. There are some historic buildings that you must have a ticket to go into but it doesn’t cost anything to walk around. Wandering around the old town at night is a must. Motorbikes are not allowed and the old town is lit up by colorful lanterns. It creates a romantic ambiance. There are ladies that strongly encourage you to purchase their “wish” candles you can float down the river. I couldn’t resist. We noticed a huge difference in the amount of people on the weekend verses weekday so if possible try to avoid visiting on the weekend.
Another thing you must do is have some clothes tailor-made. Having wide hips and long legs, it has always been a struggle in my life to find a great pair of jeans. A petite Vietnamese lady took my measurements and in less than 24 hours I had a $40 pair of jeans that never fit me so good. For $70, Tim had a purple sports coat made. He was due for a new one. If you know Tim, you know how much he loves his purple sport’s coat he got from a Goodwill like 10 years ago. The ladies nailed our clothes since neither one of us needed adjustments. You can literally have anything you want made in 24 hours. If you have a picture of what you want, the tailors can copy it for you. It is simply amazing.
We spent five very enjoyable nights in Hoi An and could have stayed longer. Tim and I have been hearing a lot about this very popular ride from Hoi An to Hue via motorbike….Stay tuned. 🙂