Originally known as Faifo and more than 2000 years old, Hoi An is a beauty city just in from the coast about 17 miles south of Danang. The Old Town here is a perfectly preserved ancient town that has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Access is gained across the Japanese Bridge a unique 400 year old wooden structure. It was originally the deepest sea port in the country but as Danang increased in importance the port here silted up, leaving almost a ghost town. The dry sea air caused all the old buildings to remain ion near perfect conditions. For the holiday maker it makes a near perfect base. The town is picturesque and packed full of fascinating things to see and do. The restaurants here, particularly down by the riverside, serve some of the finest food in the country.
Known for the manufacture of paper lanterns, they are hung everywhere presenting a delightful light show in the warm evening air. It really is an exceptionally pretty place, There are many tailor shops in Hoi An and tourists flock here to have exquisite suits made in just 24 hours or a little longer if you have the time. The prices are almost beyond belief, cheap. It seems when walking round that every other shop is a tailor shop, occupied by two or three old ladies who take your measurements and give you tea and water whilst you browse through the endless samples of material. The beaches, just a few miles out of town are fantastic. Golden sand and clear blue waters. The addition of the Cham Islands just off the coast makes for a more interesting view than for most beaches. Local cafes and restaurants serve good food and cold drinks to sun seekers all day long.
How to Get There?
Flights arrive at Danang from most major towns in the country and international departures are being added all the time. As with most cities in Vietnam tours, Vietnam Airways and Vietjet take care of many of the internal flights. Taxi into Hoi An takes around 45 minutes, but prices are reasonable. Vietnam Airlines customer service: +84 (0) 20 3263 2062 Vietjet customer service: +84 (0) 1900 1886
There is no station in Hoi An. Danang is on the Reunification Line and as such receives trains from Hanoi and Saigon daily. The station at Danang can be found at: 202 Hai Phong. Phone: + 84 511 375-0666.
There are now two main bus stations in the city. The old one on Hung Vuong Street and the new one about a mile out of town to the west. Buses run from all major destinations. Hoi An is on the main route along the east coast of the country and all major tour and public buses travelling north to south or vice versa will take in Hoi An.[/tab]
Hiring a motor bike is great fun in Hoi An. The ropads are pretty quiet and this gives the traveller an incredible amount of freedom. Bike hire in Vietnam tours cheap and available throughout the town. Taxis are cheap and again readily available. Once in the Old Town, everything is within walking distance.
Things To Do & See
Update Your Wardrobe
Hoi An is known for having hundreds of excellent tailors who offer their skilled services at very affordable prices. It is possible to get a three piece suit custom tailored, with your choice of fabrics and design, at a fraction of the cost it would be for you back home. It’s not just suits that the tailors offer, you can essentially have any type of item custom made for you – including dresses, pants, shirts, wedding gowns and much more. You can even bring in a photo from a magazine and ask the tailor to recreate it – just make sure that you leave 2-3 days for measuring and multiple fitting sessions.
Walk Around at Night
Hoi An in the evening when the sun goes down is a magical place. The historic architecture is lit up with lanterns and there are many vendors and food stalls offering tasty treats. The evenings are when the temperature is cool enough to walk around comfortably, so this is when the majority of the activity happens in the old town. Take a stroll after dinner and soak up the atmosphere.
Take a Cooking Class
Vietnamese food is delicious, fresh and flavourful and if you want to learn how to make it for yourself you can take one of the many cooking classes offered by the restaurants in town. There are also several cooking schools with good reputations such as Red Bridge and Morning Glory offering classes. This way, you can learn to recreate those tasty flavours at home after your trip
What To Eat
Cao Lau or Pork with Noodles
This is exclusive to the city. The noodles are like japans udon style noodles being more chewy than pho or bun noodles. They are topped with sliced pork, herbs and crunchy fried noodles. This in turn is served in a hot broth with a chilli jam. Hoi An fried wanton are also one of the accompaniments. These are stiffed with either pork or shrimp.
White Rose or steamed shrimp dumplings
These delicate white steamed dumplings are exquisitely flavoured and come from a 12o year old family recipe that has been passed down and adopted throughout the city. They are still made by the same family and sold on. They are just about on every menu in the city. Not to be missed, they are a real treat.
Com Ga or Chicken with Rice
Originally a Chinese dish this has also become synonymous with Hoi An. Similar dishes are common throughout all of Southeast Asia. This differs from the Hainanese chicken available throughout Singapore and Malaysia in that it uses yellow rice. Also the chicken is shredded and served with fresh herbs, black pepper and chilli jam.
This is found from Hoi An to Danang and is a popular noodle dish made from wide yellow noodles,with chunks of pork shoulder. Sautéed prawns are added along with peanuts and fresh herbs. Then a rich tangy broth is added, but unlike Bun Bo Hué, only a little liquid is used. This dish is always served with crispy rice crackers.