The Most Charming City in SE Asia: Hoi An – 5 things you must do here!

Hoi An, Vietnam

(February 2018)

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At this point we have been all over Southeast Asia and have been to dozens of cities, towns and villages, and none are like Hoi An!  Hoi An is one of those places that you only plan on staying in for a few days but end up staying in for weeks.  I don’t know if it’s the delicious food on every street, the cozy coffee shops, or the glow of the lanterns strung between the beautiful French built buildings. But what I do know, is the combination of the beach to the whimsical city made us stay much longer than we intended, and we loved every minute of it!

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I think its important to note that we were here in February which is the beginning of the summer season, and that we stayed in a cute little beach town called “An Bang Beach”.  The weather was great while we were there so we rotated between having beach days and heading to the city.

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Our good friends Brian and Alina came and stayed here with us (@thiswandrfulife) and we made some awesome new friends here too, Daniel and Bre (@theloveandadventure).  Being with friends in a city like this made the experience even more unforgettable!

Now back to the city!  Like I said, it’s incredible! It’s our favorite in SE Asia so far and here are the things you MUST do when you come to visit (you will visit right!?)!

1) Just wander Old Town!

We did this countless times, we would walk the streets, explore the markets, buy cute things in the shops (at a steal!), plop down in a coffee shop, usually Coco-Box then get back out and do it again.  We did this for hours, and hours on end and it didn’t get annoying, in fact we loved it.  Don’t forget to take lots of pics everywhere. Visit the Central Market during the day, they have everything from fish to produce to clothes–we loved coming here during the day. And be sure to check out the Japanese Bridge!

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2) Visit Old Town at night!

Night time in Old Town Hoi An is a special treat.  The night market is running where you can feast on street food and buy little trinkets and souvenirs, but most importantly go and stand by the river and watch it come to life with thousands of river lanterns, that locals and tourists float for “good luck”… It is a beautiful sight!

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3) Go to An Bang Beach!

Whether it’s for the day or for a couple, this beach is beautiful!  We recommend heading over to the Salt Pub, having a burger, securing a beach chair and then a fruity drink to cap things off, as you watch the waves roll in on this beautiful beach!

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4) Eat at these 5 places! — we love food and eat often 😉

  1. Banh Mi Phuong – Best Banh Mi in Vietnam!!!  (Anthony Bourdain thinks so too)
  2. Pho Xua – try the wonderful Pho Bo, triangle spring rolls, wantons, bun cha..  order them all, and thank me later 😉
  3. Mix – Delicious Greek Food and incredible service by the owners and staff.  We got the “MIX MIX” . its worth it and feeds up to four people.
  4. Ganesh –  if you like Indian food or would like to try some of the best I’ve had anywhere in the world, eat here!  My mouth waters as I write about it!  It’s delicious!
  5. Mr. Sons– you have to try cau lau in Hoi An. It’s a staple in this area and Mr. Sons is famous for it.

5) Go muddling! – Hot Springs Park – Da Nang

Ever since Liana watched “Louis Litt” from Suits (the tv show) do it, its been on her bucketlist.  It was about a 1.5 hour scenic scooter ride, so leave in the morning.IMG_1688

Let me tell you, it’s pretty incredible!  The mud is mixed with some kind of oils and comes out warm.  It was quite the experience and we loved it!  We made a day of it and explored the rest of the water park including the natural hot spring pools and the slides…  (I will warn you in advance, don’t ride the dragon slide.. Seriously)

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 WHERE TO STAY IN HOI AN-

As always where you stay can make or break a trip.  These are the top 3 places we recommend you stay when you visit Hoi An.  All 3 are on An Bang Beach which is about a 12 min drive away.  We generally rented a scooter ($4.5/100 VDN per day) or you can uber ($3/66 VDN each way).

Beachside Boutique Resort

We loved this super cute beach themed, 18 room boutique resort!  The Australian owner (Travis) here did it right and put together a beautifully designed hotel along with a great pool and an incredible beach restaurant called The Salt Pub. They also have private beach chairs and beach side service. We spent 4 nights here and would have done more if they had the availability.  Click here to book3B559DEE-66A3-4783-8041-7EFD8470EF93

K. A. Villa

This is a nice boutique hotel right across the street from An Bang Beach.  They have a fun pool and private beach chairs for the guests.  They are also located across from Kahunas beach club which is a fun place to grab a burger and have some ribs.  The staff and ownership at this hotel is incredible and does everything to make sure you have a great stay!  Click here to book

Santa Villa Hoi An

Boasting large, ocean view rooms this hotel was a great place to stay.  They are also directly across from An Bang beach with private beach chairs.  The owner here was great and very welcoming.  We highly recommend that you get one of the Ocean View rooms with a balcony facing the ocean, go for the 3rd floor if its available! Click here to book

Get to Hoi An in the next year or two because we fear that serious changes are on the way!  There are massive hotels coming in and they will certainly change this cute little town, and unfortunately I don’t think it will be for the better.

WE LOVE THIS LITTLE TOWN AND WILL BE BACK TO VISIT NEXT YEAR WE HOPE!

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