Hoi An - The Charming Town
Hoi An, once known as Faifo, was a major international port in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the foreign influences are discernible to this day. While the serious shipping business has long since moved to Danang, the heart of the city is still the Old Town, full of winding lanes and Chinese-styled shophouses, which is particularly atmospheric in the evening as the sun goes down.
While almost all shops now cater to the tourist trade, the area has been largely preserved as is, which is unusual in Vietnam, and renovation has proceeded slowly and carefully - it's mercifully absent of towering concrete blocks and karaoke parlors. The main thoroughfare in the Old Town is Tran Phu. Just south of the Old Town, across the Thu Bon River, are the islands of An Hoi to the west, reachable via Hai Ba Trung, and Cam Nam to the east, reachable via Hoang Dieu.
Old Merchant House Hoi An
Things you should do
• Walk around the Old Town, visiting temples, merchandise houses
• Have clothes made at one of the tailor shops
When to go
Hoian is located in the zone of typical tropical monsoon, temperate and equable climate. The city's weather bears the combination of the north and the south climate characters with the inclination to the former. There are two seasons: the wet from August to December and the dry season from January to July, cold waves are occasional but they are of average and short lasting. Average humidity is 83.4%. Average temperature is about 26ºC, the highest is 28-30ºC in June, July, August, the lowest is 18-23ºC in December, January, February. In Ba Na Mountain, the temperature is 20ºC. Average rainfall is 2,505mm per year that concentrates during October and November
Getting there & away
+ Flight: Daily flights from Saigon, Hanoi to Danang, then drive to Hoian.
- 30 km away from Danang
- 130 km away from Hue
- Train: Daily express train services are available from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Danang
Where to stay
The Nam Hai Resort, out of rank, from USD 800: Belong to GHM Hotels, look at the rate, needless to say, it is the best of the best. The harmony between architecture and nature is evident at The Nam Hai. Set amid lush landscaping and unobstructed ocean views, all accommodation occupies its own section of landscaped gardens, and boasts views of the South China Sea and nearby Cham Islands. www.ghmhotels.com
Hoian Victoria Resort & Spa, 4 stars, from USD 150: situated 5 km from the little town of Hoian, along a stretch of white sand beach, one side of the resort facing the river delta and the other side, the sea. Referring to Hoian history and mix of cultures, Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort is built like a small fisherman's village, with small streets and water ponds, small houses with clay-tiled roofs and round Chinese cloth lanterns. A special care of the individual senses and feelings has been taken to provide to each guest a warm and restful environment. www.victoriahotels-asia.com
Golden Sand Resort, 5 stars, from USD 100: located in Cam An beach, just 5 km from the little town of Hoi An. The private beach of the resort last up to 400m, and the width of the shore up to 100m, make the resort is very large in size of up to 4 ha. Relax on this fantastic beach resort and you will enjoy the choice of the spacious white sandy beach relaxing under a Beach Umbrella or choose to lie beside the 150-meter swimming pool that boasts two pool bars. www.swiss-belhotel.com
Palm Garden Resort, 4 stars, from USD 100: The name “Palm Garden Resort” was derived from its location, which ideally situates on 5-hectare of unspoiled tropical garden, features more than 400 palm trees. The resort is landscaped with several unique species of palm and coconut trees, as well as furnished it with selective Vietnamese products of silk, wood, and natural ceramics. www.palmgardenresort-hoian.com
Vinh Hung Riverside Resort, 4 stars, from USD 60: located just a few minutes walk (400 meters) from Hoi An ancient town and set in a superb location of great natural charm with a magnificent view on the sleepy and romantic Thu Bon River. Here guests enjoy the resort’s splendid blend of fine old Vietnamese traditions with superb modern equipped rooms and excellent services. www.vinhhunghotels.com.vn
What to see & do
Walking tour to visit Hoian Town: Let Vantours escort you through the narrow lanes and streets of the old town, lined with centuries old shophouses combining the influences of the many trading communities who visited Hoi An: French, Japanese, Chinese. See the Japanese Covered Bridge, the gaudy interior of the Guangdong or Fukien Chinese Assembly Halls; take tea in an 18th Century home; jostle for space with the fish mongers in the lively riverside seafood market. these are all part of the unique Hoi An experience.
Cooking Class: If you like to cook, and if you want to do some cooking, Hoian is the place for you. There are many cooking classes. Join Vantours, we will take you to an unique cooking class of Vietnam Food in Hoian.
My Son Holly Land: My Son Valley was the spiritual centre of the ancient Cham civilisation, in the same way as Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Borobudur in Indonesia and Pagan in Myanmar. A religious sanctuary since the 4th century, its history is reflected in the temples and towers that remain. It is also the home of the Museum of Cham Sculpture, which records the development of the culture and history of the Cham people through their elaborate sculptures and carvings. My Son Valley is 45 km away from Hoian.
Tailor Made: The best place to have clothes made in Vietnam or even in Asia is Hoian, Usually the tailors are able to have your order ready in 24 hours. Of course, the quality of the workmanship will be compromised, somehow. It will be better if you are able to give yourself and tailors more than one day to finish the order. Don't forget to try on them before you make the full payment. Alteration should be made without extra charge. And It can take more than three hours for alteration to be done satisfactorily.
What to eat
Food in Hoi An is, even by high Vietnamese standards, cheap and tasty. In addition to the usual suspects, there are three dishes that Hoi An is particularly famous for:
Cao Lau: a kind of rice noodle which is original from Hoian. The secret is the soup which is cooked from the water which is from Ba Le Well, the oldest well of Hoian.
Cha Ram: rolls of shrimps and noodles
How to design your tours:
Two nights in this town are enough, you can stay in a beach resort which is 5 km away from Town or in town resorts or hotels by the river./.