Hoi An, once known as Faifo, with more than 2,000 years history, was the principal port of the Cham Kingdom, which controlled the strategic spice trade with Indonesia from the 7th to the 10th century and was a major international port in the 16th and 17th centuries - and the foreign influences are discernible to this day.
The culture & heritage is mostly from the Cham people whose kingdom originally stretched from Hue South to Phan Tiet (South of Nha Trang) - the Champa's most likely originally from Java. The original Cham political capital was Tra Kieu, the commercial capital was Hoi An and the spiritual capital was My Son (Hindu). The Cham people were Hindu, and by the 10th century the influence of Arab traders to Hoi An resulted in some converting to become Muslims.
The second major influence was from the Chinese, firstly from traders but especially the escaping Ming Dynasty armies who after settling in Hoi An for some years moved further south and created Saigon as a major trading port.
The third and last major influence of culture & heritage was from the Vietnamese and is fairly recent and only came after the Cham lost control of this area. For a tourist wanting Vietnamese culture & heritage, Hue is a much better destination than Hoi An (but the weather is much rougher too!).
While the serious shipping business has long since moved to Da Nang, 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 parlours.
The culture & heritage that UNESCO World Heritage Site status for Hoi An Ancient Town was trying to preserve has long since gone because these things happen. Since 1999, when UNESCO WHS status was awarded, there has been a massive increase in "mass" tourism - with the result that most houses have been sold by the community to speculators and shop owners to be used for commercial purposes. The community, and with it their culture and heritage, has gone and in their place are shops, restaurants, art galleries, etc. There are literally hundreds of tailor shops in Hoi An all selling similar low value products to ever reducing numbers of Western foreign tourists.
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status also applies for Hoi An Ancient Town, but in reality this status, like many other UNESCO statuses, is not being cherished by site management.
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.
A taxi from Danang airport to Hoi An costs about USD22 using a taxi with a meter. This is one occasion where haggling to set a fixed price is cheaper than going by the meter, but good luck with this - despite clear signs everywhere listing fixed price fares to destinations including Hoi An (should be 400,000 dong) most drivers seem unwilling to discuss a fixed price. Meters will typically run to around 450,000 dong. The Hoi An airport transfer is highly recommended, the cost is comparable with a taxi (about USD20) but a better car and professional service. Air-conditioned Minibus-Taxis cost USD5 per person (there are no minibuses in airport, you should go first to the city). The ride takes about 45min.
Go Travel Vietnam (GTV), 61 Phan Chau Trinh St (on the corner of Le Loi Street, English speaking consultant) ☎ +84 915 454 949, offers transfers from Hoi An to Danang Airport and Train Station at 5 set times per day for 95,000 dong. This was by far the cheapest way to get from Hoi An to Danang airport or train station in April 2014; you must go into GTV to pre book at least one day in advance. They can also organize private car transfers FROM your hotel or from the Airport or train station as well for 290,000 dong. They were also able to arrange motorbike transfer to the airport for 150,000 dong for a midnight flight.
There is no railway station in Hoi An. The nearest is in Da Nang, which receives several trains a day from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Nha Trang etc. Most travel agents and hotels can book a train ticket for you.
Da Nang Railway Station: 202 Hai Phong, Tan Chinh Ward, Thanh Khe District, TP Da Nang, Phone: + 84 511 375-0666.
If you travel with family or big group, you should arrange a private car.
There are two different bus stations in Hoi An now (older guide books just show the one on D Hung Vuong)and the public buses to Da Nang leave from the station about 2 km north west of the centre on Le Hong Phong.
A xe om from Hoi An bus station to the old town should be around 10-15,000 dong.
There is a public bus (#1) from Da Nang bus station to Hoi An bus station that costs 18,000 dong and takes c. 45 min. There seems to be no fare written on the side of the bus, but the Ohh La La Socola cafe (14 Thai Phien Da Nang) provides anti-scam maps dated 25 Feb 2013. On the bus they try to charge foreigners 50,000 dong, close to the price of private vans from a hotel in Hoi An to the airport in Da Nang, close to the cost of a bus from Da Nang to Nha Trang (3.5/4h versus a 45 min trip). Locals support the scam by pretending they are also paying 50.000 dong, insist on the fare and they will lower it to 30,000, insist and pay the official one. Expect no change if you have a 20,000 dong note. Beware of bus drivers putting your luggage at the front and sparing you the nicest front seat, likely they want you to pay 50,000 dong and threaten to kick you off. As soon as they see other foreigners to pick up they kick you off in their favour. Buses are frequent - every 20 or 30 min pick time, else every hour - so you can simply sit down, have a coffee, enjoy air-con while talking to nicer locals and then jump on the next bus. Same goes for Hoi An - Da Nang. The bus passes through downtown Da Nang and near the train station as well. If you come from Da Nang airport, the closest bus stop of the same route to Hoi An is at the roundabout where the streets Nguyễn Tri Phương and Điện Biên Phủ meet (a nice 10-15 min walk, since you can walk along the lake). This bus stop is clearly marked with a road sign. Google Maps also shows the locations of bus stops for this route in Da Nang.
There are no shortage of travel companies and private buses travelling to and from from Hoi An to destinations such as Hue, Hanoi, Saigon, Dalat and Nha Trang.
Open-tour buses like Sinh cafe, Hanh Cafe, An Phu run daily up and down the coast from Da Nang, Hue (3.5-4 hr, 60,000-100,000 dong as of Mar 2012) and Nha Trang (9-10 hours overnight, US$10-15 as of April 2013).
By motorbike or taxi
It is easy to take a motorbike or taxi to and from Da Nang via the Marble Mountains (see below), from where you can catch a train onwards.
This trip cost 460,000 dong from Da Nang bus station, by the meter.Da Nang Airport Transfer ,Mai ling taxi in Jan 2013.
Traditional ghe nang
Hoi An has a river system stretching hundreds of kilometres inland - this was the ancient transport network of the Cham Kingdom as they moved goods between the highlands and then via Hoi An and on to China. Speedboats or traditional ghe nang still sail on the river or sea.
Traffic in too-narrow spaces
The centre of Hoi An is very small and pedestrianised, so you will be walking around most of the time. Motorbikes are only banned from the centre of town during certain times of day, so keep an eye out for them; even in the most narrow alleys. Evenings are especially busy with motorbikes two, or even three abreast competing with pedestrians for even the smallest space on the street!
The city's government does not allow motorbikes to enter the Old Town on the 14th and 15th of each lunar month. On those evenings, a lot of activities, including traditional games such as bai choi, trong quan, and dap nieu are held in all over the town.
You can easily get around on a bicycle to most of Hoi An's attractions, go to the beach or reach some of the more remote hotels. It is easy and cheap to hire a bicycle (c. 20,000 dong per day in Jan 2013). For mountain bikes, head to Anh Cuoc shop, at 635 Hai Ba Trung.
Traffic in the area of Hoi An is minimal, so if you've been avoiding getting on a bike in the big cities, small towns and the surrounding countryside like Hoi An are ideal to get used to the road rules.
Taxis can be found in the middle of Le Loi St, over the river on An Hoi or called by phone. When busy, taxis may refuse your fare back to your hotel from town if it is too close, opting for larger fares. Arranging a shuttle from your hotel may be a better option although prices can be higher. A local 15 minute taxi fare is around 60,000 dong.
Motorbike taxis, of course, are always an option. Some shops have electrical bicycles (especially along Duong CuanDai, close to the centre -75.000 dong, Jan 2013). You can also charter boats for about US$1/hour.
Cost of motorbike rentals in Hoi An town as of Feb 2013: 80-100,000 dong A hotel may charge double. You get a step-thru with auto clutch. These can handle two full sized adults easily enough! There are any number of small shops renting them, you will be offered a helmet usually. Take it every time - there are plenty of roadside helmet checks. Failure to wear one results in the bike being confiscated and a US$75 fine. Worse, you probably haven't got a Vietnamese driving license and there are no papers to sign, no agreements made so you are on your own legally.
Ride to the outskirts of Danang to visit the stunning Marble Mountains. If you look left from An Ban beach, you can see the Marble Mountains ( 3 prominent lumpy hills) clearly - the high rises further on are Da Nang. Bear in mind the total lack of signposts, and just keep looking left at the flat terrain until it isn't flat any more! You are on a dual carriageway road all the way. It's standard practice for the bike to have only enough gas to make it a few metres to the next gas station.
In addition to gas stations, there are also little hand-operated roadside pumps everywhere; these can be convenient, but they're more expensive. The proprietor may show you a sign with a few calculations for non-Vietnamese speakers such as 3 litres is 90,000 dong. You actually see the gas draining through a calibrated sight glass. In a commercial gas station they can, and do bang in half a tank then shut the machine off to serve someone else. The amount in money has gone from the display, and he tells you a totally made up figure. All this makes the roadside hand pump with sight glass a lot more foreigner friendly. Gas costs around 25,000 dong/litre and one litre is enough for sightseeing to the beach and back and zipping around town. If you take a trip - lets say you ride to My Son 2-up - then you will use about 4 L. It's inevitable that you will get lost 5 times between Hoi An and and My Son! Luckily fuel is cheaper out in the countryside.
Important: foreign International Driving Licences are NOT valid in Vietnam and in case of accident, a foreigner driving a motorcycle without a valid licence is at fault and will pay! Also personal insurance may not be valid for someone riding on a motorcycle with a driver who does not have a valid license.
The old Champa way was to travel by the river system. The rivers of Hoi An cover hundreds of km and offer an interesting & adventurous alternative to travelling by road. Get on a boat and you'll begin to see a whole lot more of Hoi An and the Delta.
Sunset cruise in Hoi An
Chinese shophouses and Communist propaganda
Entry to all historical sites in Hoi An is via a coupon system, where 120,000 dong (US$6) (November 2013) gets you a ticket that can be used to enter five attractions: one museum, one old house, one assembly hall, the handicraft workshop (and traditional music show) or the traditional theater, and either the Japanese Covered Bridge or the Quan Cong Temple. Tickets are sold at various entry points into the Old Town, including Hai Ba Trung Street, and also at some of the attractions, including the Cantonese Assembly Hall. The city requests that visitors dress "decently" while visiting sites in the Old Town, as in men wear a shirt and women don't wear a bikini top, sleeveless blouse or skirt above the knees. Respect the local culture and remember that you are not on the beach.
First, you may choose one of the two landmarks of Hoi An:
Japanese Covered Bridge (Chua Cau or Lai Vien Kieu), on the west end of Tran Phu Street. The bridge was constructed in the early 1600's by the Japanese community, roughly 40 years before they left the city to return to Japan under the strict policy of sakoku enforced by the Tokugawa Shogunate, and renovated in 1986. Today, it's the symbol of Hoi An. Entry is one coupon, but it's possible to cross back and forth several times without meeting a ticket-checker. If your scruples are bothering you, feel free to leave tribute for the pig statue or the dog statue who stand guard at opposite ends of the bridge.
Quan Cong Temple, 24 Tran Phu Street.
The ticket allows admission to one of the four museums in the Old Town:
Museum of Folk Culture, 33 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. Some may be put off by the bizarre-looking plaster sculptures of Vietnamese peasants, but this museum documents the dress and culture of rural Vietnam.
Museum of Trade Ceramics, 80 Tran Phu Street. The dusty, unlabeled displays of broken pottery are eminently forgettable, but the house itself is nice enough, and it provides a better opportunity to explore the shape and layout of an old Hoi An home than you'll find at any of the Old Houses (below).
Hoi An Museum of History and Culture, 7 Nguyen Hue Street. The museum contains some old black and white photos of Hoi An taken in the early 20th century. It also houses an old canon, some two-thousand year old pots from the Sa Huynh period, and a case full of 9th century bricks and tiles from the Champa period.
Museum of Sa Huynh Culture, 149 Bach Dang Street. The museum's main collection consists of pottery and urns from the 1st and 2nd centuries. Upstairs, there used to be another museum, the Museum of the Revolution. Its main collection consists of pictures from war heroes and a collection of weapons such as grenade launchers, machine guns and AK 47s. However, this collection has now been relocated to the new museum building at the top of Le Loi Street, and is not currently open to the public.
There are three old houses that exist in an awkward halfway state between museum show-piece and somewhat shabby residence for the family that lives there. Your ticket allows admission to one.
Phung Hung House, 4 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, just west of the Japanese Bridge. Traditional two-story wooden house, inhabited over 100 years by eight generations; and the current one attempts to guide you around in hope of a tip.
Quan Thang House, 77 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.
Tan Ky House, 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. As above, a younger member of the family will provide a cup of tea and a "tour" that doesn't stray from the front room of the house, as you'd need to step over sleeping members of the older generation to go anywhere else. The design of the house shows how local architecture incorporated Japanese and Chinese influences. Japanese elements include the crab shell-shaped ceiling supported by three beams in the living room. Chinese poems written in mother-of-pearl are hanging from a number of the columns that hold up the roof.
Numerous congregation halls, where Chinese expatriate residents socialized and held meetings, are dotted about the town. They are typically named after the home region of their members, such as Fujian and Canton. Your ticket allows admission to one. Some do not have ticket-takers, so it's up to your conscience if you want to try wandering into a second.
Cantonese Assembly Hall (Quang Dong), 176 Tran Phu Street. Built in 1885, it has a calm courtyard with ornate statuary. Take a peek at the half-hidden back yard and its kitschy pastel dragon statues.
Hokien (Fujian) Meeting Hall (Phuc Kien), 46 Tran Phu Street. Built in 1757.
Chinese All-Community Meeting Hall (Trieu Chau), 157 Nguyen Duy Hieu. Built in 1887. It's near the Fujian hall, also spanning the block.
Finally, you can choose one of the following to get some "Intangible Culture":
Hoi An Handicraft Workshop, 9 Bach Dang Street. Folk music performances are offered at 10:15 and 15:15 every day except Monday.
Traditional Theatre, 75 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.
Swan Boats, On the river (Head for the main river area near the footbridge). Make sure you check out the swan boats on the river. These are literally passenger boats shaped like giant swans whose eyes light up at night and which play 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' at double speed.
B&K Bao Khanh Tailor - 101 Tran Hung Dao / 115 Phan Chau Trinh - Bao Khanh Silk is an obscure shop, as although it is located on the main street of Hoi An, is outside the core of the city where all the tailors focus. Bao Khanh Silk has an impressive collection of dresses for women, reserved for special occasions than designs that may have wool. The price is similar to its competitors.
Dalat Angels, ☎ +84 937 171 399, email@example.com. If you come to Vietnam and expect to do something special with a lifetime memory for your trip, a good way is on a motorcycle to discover and understand more about the culture, tradition and history of Vietnam.
Tra Que Village, (around 2km from Hoi An centre). A little green village to discover the rural life in Hoian with cycling, cooking class, preparing soil, planting and watering vegetables, etc. Have fun being a Vietnamese farmer and take some nice photos. A great way to learn about local life.
You could also Rent a motorbike. If the traffic scared you in Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi, here is the place to learn. Note: foreign International Driving Licences are NOT valid in Vietnam and in case of accident etc. a foreigner driving a motorcycle without a valid licence is at fault and financially will pay ! Also personal insurance may not be valid for someone riding on a motorcycle with a driver who does not have a valid license.
Cham Island Diving has been operating from Hoi An since 2002. The Dive Tenter and international team offer daily boat and speedboat tours to Cham Island for scuba diving and snorkelling activities. Boat tours can be booked at our Dive Bar and restaurant in Hoi An old City where our diving and snorkelling team will be happy to help you, regardless of your ability or experience.
The Kianh Foundation, 61 Phan Chau Trinh Street, on the corner of Le Loi Street ((inside Go Travel Vietnam)), . A UK charity that has worked in Hoi An since 2001, providing health and education services to disabled children. Kianh delivers its specialist services from its purpose-designed Day Centre in Dien Ban district, 10 minutes outside Hoi An. Dien Ban was heavily bombed during the war with America and has over 1,000 children with disability who do not have access to essential services. Visit their Hoi An office to find out more about their work and how you can help to make a difference.
Len Silk, 74 Tran Phu St, (firstname.lastname@example.org). The owner is the 6th generation in the family. Her grandma who was the 3rd generation, made silk with the traditional technique since she was a girl until she was 50th. At the time when hand produced silk in the region was old-fashioned since people have multiple choices for different kinds of fabric imported, she as well as many women in the village had to stop their routine work in producing silk.
Hoi An Silk Village, 28 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, ☎ +84 5103 921144, . Daily 09:00-21:00. Revived 300 year-old Champa silk traditions - half day tours encompassing the entire silk process, from silkworm to dress making. Converted an ancient Quang Nam style house into a showroom of 100 different ao dai, representing all 54 different minority groups in Vietnam. Also a spacious colonial-style restaurant serving local menu items and a silk showroom where professional tailors custom design and make garments for visitors. * Cham islands are 15km from Cua Dai. There are seven islands altogether named according to their shape or characteristics. Good for diving, snorkeling, and sightseeing.$19.
My Son Sanctuary (My-Son-Sanctuary), My Son. 5. Learn about the rise and fall of the once formidable Champa Kingdom See eight century’s worth of sculptural masterworks Watch sunrise Avoid the crowds and traffic15. (,50 km)
Watch sunset on Thu Bon River A cruise down the Thu Bon river is one of the best ways to idle away an hour or two when in Hoi An. As for the best times to cruise: romantics and photographers should hit the Bach Dang docks for sunset, you should start your trip at 16:45. Price is USD5- 7/h.
Hoi An Blind Massage, 290 Cuai Dai (on the road to the beach, a yellow building to the left). 8am to 10pm. Professional and clean place, you can get a full body massage for U$5.00. This is the best deal in Hoi An. The staff can understand if you want softer or harder, and they will ask you if it is ok during the massage. They have real massage beds and they put clean blankets on them in front of you. USD5. (1h,)
hoiandailytour, 77 Ba Trieu, ☎ 0914064446 (email@example.com). 4. Price: 525,000 VND Battle Game is a leisure activity which combines paintball with scenarios imitated real historical contents. Safe, easy to play, extremely attractive and evoking memories of history are factors that will really attract anybody regardless of age or gender$25.
Ginger Spa, 115 Cua Dai (near Fullmoon restaurant), ☎ 05106524579, . 0800-2100. combines ancient Vietnamese herbal treatments and steam baths with traditional massages to pamper and revive the weary tourist. This is an all natural traditional spa in a rural setting close to the centre of Hoi An.USD10-30. (15.891421,108.359721)
Na Spa (Hoi An - Na Spa), 463 Cua Dai Street (on the way to the beach to your right), ☎ 84 510 3914 199, . Na Spa is one of the premier spas in Hoi An. You'll find many pop up spas around town but Na Spa is one of the first spa chains that became successful quickly for their cleanliness and quality of work. They've recently built a Spa Villa that's worth checking out for the view.
Cooking lessons are offered at several restaurants around town. If you enjoyed your meal there, it can't hurt to inquire. There are also several established cooking schools with good reputations including "Morning Glory" and "Red Bridge" who offer a variety of courses ranging in price US$16-55. In any of these "good reputation" schools, as a hands on experience, you can only learn as far as how to chop the vegetables and roll the spring roll. The rest is done secretly, the making of the sauce, the techniques of frying the spring roll, or the grilling the beef. What's so inadequate about these schools is that the instructors are locals who are not really used to English pronunciations and they speak very fast, and you would have to fill in the blanks and do more word solving puzzles. At the end, you will have to complete a survey; since 100% of the students are westerners there is agreement about the hygiene problem (an average of below 5 out of 10). Straightforward is learning to cook at the "Green Moss" restaurant: just walk in around midday or in the evening, choose 2 dishes, and you can watch them prepare it while you take notes on how to do it. The cook's explanations are good, and it's quite an efficient way for only USD2 (in addition to the cost of the dishes). The kitchen looks chaotic, but the food is really good.
Lifestart Foundation Painting and Lantern Making Classes, 77 Phan Chu Trinh, ☎ +84 167 355 9447, . Lifestart Foundation offers a unique, half day (morning or afternoon) tour including a traditional painting class with a local artist, Hoi An lantern making class, boat ride on the Thu Bon river and the chance to talk one-on-one with community artisans from disadvantaged backgrounds. Lifestart Foundation is a registered, grass-roots charity that helps disadvantaged Vietnamese people and their families become self-sufficient. All tour proceeds are used to support Lifestart Foundation’s philanthropic projects in Vietnam.
One tourist trap all shoppers in Hoi An must know is that almost everybody earns commission from referring buying customers to shoes and tailor shops. This includes almost every receptionist, door boy, taxi drivers, hotel bus drivers and even staff of 5 star resorts. There might also be some random friendly stranger who approaches you to his 'family' shop which offers the 'best' value. The next moment you know it, you might be paying an inflated price and 30-50% of what you bought go into the pockets of the friendly local or receptionist you've just met. Beware also of Tour Guides who brings you to retail shops that are not screened by their companies.
Almost every building in the downtown area of Hoi An that isn't a restaurant is a shop selling one of the following: clothes, shoes, souvenirs, bags, or jewellery. These places are pretty much entirely geared to sell to tourists, not Vietnamese. Prices are often inflated compared to the rest of Vietnam because of this, and are quoted in dollars (usually a bad sign), so haggling is advisable. Even so, the sheer range of available styles and the ability to get any clothes custom made for you can make it worthwhile.
Most ATMs in Hoi An have a withdrawal limit of only 2m dong (≈$94). Withdrawing higher amounts will require multiple withdrawals and may incur expensive banking fees from domestic banks. An ATM which allow for withdrawals of 5m dong with no fee is located at the northern most junction of Hai Bà Trưng and Bà Triệu (lat. long. 15.883119, 108.325015). The ATM is Military Bank - MB.
Custom made Suits
Can be made by any shop which displays suits at the front and has large bolts of cloth on shelves on the wall. You can choose the colour and type for every material used, and can dictate every part of the style. Measurements are taken and the specifications are either sent out for fabrication at a factory or workshop outside the city or, more rarely, made in-house. The suit is usually complete by the next day, though for best results there is then a second (or even third) fitting, when they adjust the suit to more accurately suit your body and tastes. Most shops will keep tailoring it until you are satisfied.
It should be noted, however, that the quality of tailoring and materials, especially for business suits, is NOT comparable to what one can expect from a bespoke tailor in Savile Row, or even the better tailors in Singapore or Hong Kong.
If you are looking for a more run-of-the mill or casual going-out suit Hoi An tailors will be more than adequate (and better than off-the rack, obviously), but especially if you work in finance or senior management this is not the place to go to for high-end work clothes.
Why? Hoi An tailors simply do not have the right clientèle (think backpackers and budget tourists, not business executives) and therefore are not trained to the same high standards. They also tend not to have repeat clients and are often more interested to get you to pay and out of their shops as quickly as possible after they have delivered a wearable, but not exactly customized and properly fitted product.
There is typically no elaborate, multiple fitting and re-fitting process with the tailor. If not specifically requested, you will most likely only ever deal with shop owners who outsource the actual tailoring work to sweat shops in the outskirts of town, and who may not even know how to or care about translating your fitting requests to the actual people doing the work. Outsourcing tailoring work also means that shop owners have a strong incentive to minimize additional fittings and rework as it will cut into their profit margins.
Caveat emptor - and remember where you are: there is no trade association, Office of Fair Trading or similar to complain to if you are not happy.
If you do insist on getting something done, below are a couple of hopefully helpful tips how to approach the situation. Getting tailored clothes done in Hoi An can be a fun and budget-friendly experience, just be sure to know what to expect and how to minimize the risk of being taken advantage of. Come prepared with a healthy dose of scepticism when listening to the sales pitch and make sure that the shop's interests are aligned with yours. Make sure that you have leverage to get refitting work done until you are happy (see below). Do not just rely on sweetly smiling shop assistants and their promises - there is usually a clear inverse relationship between the friendliness of their tone and how much money you have already parted with:
-Pre-pay as little as possible: Paying a significant deposit takes away the only leverage you have with shop owners to facilitate multiple 'real' fittings with tailors present. Shop owners will ask for significant or even full pre-payment to 'cover upfront costs', 'buy cloth', 'pay staff', 'cover urgent hospital bills for the ill grandmother', etc. Customers should resist this as much as possible. While it may not be easy to get the prepayment down to zero (not impossible, though), never pay more than ~25%. If the shop refuses, simply walk out and find a more reasonable one. Paying more will greatly reduce the shop's incentive to deliver a product which you are truly happy with: Deposits are never returned if the customer is not happy with the product. If you decide not to buy a substandard piece but have already paid most of the price, the shop will simply sell your clothes to the next customer, after some alterations, and keep your money - effectively selling the clothes twice.
-Stand your ground and ask for rework if you are not fully satisfied. Politely, but clearly and repeatedly state that you will not pay for the piece if rework is not done to your satisfaction (note, however, that this will only work if you have not already paid a significant deposit - see above). Don't hesitate to deliver this message in a confident voice, especially if other potential customers are within earshot. Also, insist on having the tailor doing the actual work present at all fittings. Make this clear on your first visit. If unhappy with the results of fittings, insist on going to the tailor's workshop for final alterations until you are happy. This may be resisted as workshops are typically squalid affairs which shop owners don't want their usually Western clients to see (Yes, your tailored clothes are really only that cheap because you are taking advantage of extremely low wages in Vietnam.).
-Know what you want, bring samples of what you like and check every piece thoroughly: It is always a good idea to know in advance which 'specs' you want for your custom clothes (collar shape, cuff type, monograms, etc for shirts, for example). Bring a list if necessary. If you have something more unusual done and order multiple pieces, have them do one piece first and check that you like what you see. It helps a lot to bring a piece of your clothing where you like the cut or which has some obscure detail you would like replicated. Do not assume that local tailors are familiar with the intricacies of bespoke tailoring and the myriad of options and customization available which a more traditional tailor is familiar with and can advise you on. It is also a good idea to have the shop confirm to you in writing what you have ordered, including all the specs and prices you have agreed upon. Finally, when you receive the product make sure to check that all the details have been done as agreed - on every piece.
-Quality has its price, including in Hoi An: If you go for the cheapest shop or cloth on offer you will be disappointed. This does not mean, however, that you should not negotiate. It's part of the experience.
-Bring enough time and don't go for the 24h-suit (unless you want to look like a clown): You will need at least a few days for proper fittings. Let the shop owner know that you have enough time to come in multiple times. A negotiating tactic may involve being vague on your departure date - once more unscrupulous shop owners know when you need to leave they might string you along and not invest their time and money for proper fittings.
-Obviously, shop around, do some on-line research or get personal recommendations before making a financial commitment.
-Get a receipt and keep it: This can be helpful if some eager customs inspector at your home airport decides to query you about how much your custom made clothing has cost as he may suspect that you are above the duty-free limit.
Hoi An has a long tradition of copying and then rapidly making up new garments for travellers.
You can bring in clothes (or even a picture of clothes) that you want copied to any tailor shop and they will try to imitate it. You can often choose the type of fabric and the colour for the copy. You can bargain for a better price, especially if you are getting multiple copies.
Bargaining when having custom clothes made: Custom clothes will cost more than ready-made in Vietnam, but should not cost anywhere near as much as in North America/Europe/Australia. You should aim for a fair price, with which both you and the shop owner are happy. If you are not happy with the price, you can go to one of the multitude of other stores in the city; if they are not happy, or feel you are being unfair in your negotiations, there is a chance they will not try as hard to make sure you are satisfied with the result.
When you first see the exterior of the Hoi An Cloth Market, a squat building that has seen better times, your first inclination will be to make like Usain Bolt and, well, bolt. Especially when you spy the mouldy green interior walls. But resist that impulse and bravely make your way through this warren of small stalls, of which number 20 is near the northeast corner of the building, and situated near stall number 90 (sequential numbering would be too simple, wouldn’t it?). On one side of stall 20 is a sign that reads “Cloth Market Ngoc Hien No. 20” and on the opposite side of the 150 square foot stall is a cute hand-made sign reading in red ink
Try to find a small lady, about 36, named Hoa Thi Huynh, the industrious and honest proprietor, or perhaps one of her two sisters who may be on duty at that moment (and who look nothing alike). Hoa is a whirling dervish of activity, communicating by phone with her off-the-premises seamstresses while locating bolts of fabric and taking measurements of, or fitting, her customers. Hoa is now a bit of an internet celebrity, having been featured in an article. Hoa's strengths are ladies dresses and blouses, and men's shirts. As noted above by another contributor, it is best to bring her an exact sample. A customer bringing his or her own fabric can get shirts made for as little as $5, while dresses go for $15 to $60 depending on the complexity involved. In many cases, an item can be turned around in one day, but you would be better served providing her with more time to make adjustments. She can also do more detailed assignments (three men's shirts with handkerchief linen from Europe and patterned after a Guayaberas Finas Cab linen guayabera from Veracruz and Merida came out splendidly).
Custom made shoes
All the shoe shops in Hoi An will make custom shoes for you. The greatest concentration of shoe stores is along Hoang Dieu street, where there are at least eight (small) stores in a row. You can ask them to make you a style that you see there, or one in a catalogue or picture. You can choose the material, colour and type of base. While some shops may work from conventional sizing, most will simply trace an outline of your foot and take some measurements. As with the custom clothes, the fabrication is usually done a little outside of town, or at least in an area with lower rent costs.
- SHOES WARNING -
Not all the shops are reliable and none is willing to refund your deposit if you are not satisfied with their work. Agree on a small deposit, if they are confident on their skills they will agree too. Asking if they will be able to make the shoes as required is not enough, because consistently with the local mindset about not losing face, they will never say "no, we don't have the know-how to make your shoes this or that way". So be extremely specific, don't forget to mention the colour of the stitchings (unless you like the stitching with a different colour from the leather). Ask them about the base, or you'll get a leather shoe with a plastic base cloned from some brand, and even if they trace the outline of your foot, you may find a different sized base, because they don't actually make the base custom sized. If you are not satisfied and want your deposit refunded, the shop attendants may start being aggressive and verbally abusing. The police are not going to enforce your customer's right (naively assuming you have any, as a foreigner customer).
This warning is based on a negative experience at Lộc Phước, 45 Trần Phú Street, Hoi An.
Regarding business cards: Many shops in Hoi An rely on getting an edge above their competition by satisfied customers recommending their store to others. Most stores in Hoi An have business cards, and will be happy to give you one, so you will come back when you next want something, or so you will pass it on to someone else. If you got a good price and/or had a good experience, ask for a business card. If you see something you like, but are not sure about it, ask for a business card (if you come back still looking unsure, maybe the price will go down!). If you are getting a suit made and want to make sure you can find the shop again, ask for a business card - many have a small map of Hoi An printed on the back. If by chance they do not have a business card, you can take a picture of the sign above the store with a digital camera/camera phone.
Find shoe shops where is written: No like = no pay.
Quality: Quickly made clothing will often not have double stitching, and thus will be less resilient. This is important in clothes that see a lot of stress, like casual pants and activewear. You can show the shopkeepers double stitching and ask for them to do the same.
Wall Street Tailors, 667 Hai Ba Trung St, . Tripadvisor certificate of excellence winner (2012 & 2013)
Yaly Couture, 358 Nguyen Duy Hieu St.
A Dong Silk, 62 Tran Hung Dao St.
Gỏi cuốn fresh spring rolls and cao lầu noodles
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 lầu, a dish of rice noodles which are not quite as slippery as pho and a bit closer in texture to pasta. The secret is the water used to make it, and authentic cao lau uses only water from a special well in the city. The noodles are topped with slices of roast pork, dough fritters, and this being Vietnam, lots of fresh herbs and veggies.
White rose (banh bao vac), a type of shrimp dumpling made from translucent white dough bunched up to look like a rose.
Do not eat White Rose at 533 Hai Ba Trang, they will charge you ripoff (2x) prices.
Wonton dumplings ("Hoanh Thanh"), essentially the same as the Chinese kind, served up in soup or deep-fried.
[Madam Phuong bread] (banh my phuong), possibly the best banh mi you will ever have in Vietnam. Price 1 usd. Open 6:30 AM and close 10:00 PM
If you are really very adventurous, you can walk to the Central Market, and have a local breakfast. Seating on stools, eating a bowl of Cao Lau with wooden chopsticks, and sipping the ice cold "White Coffee with vinamilk" is an adventure. Beware though, prices will vary atrociously, as shopkeepers swarm over you to sell you things, or even shove plates of food before you. Just keep declining politely and return the food if you don't fancy it. Keep small denominations of dong with you, as you probably won't get change if you give them US$. Also, confirm the prices before you partake of the food. Prices range from about 7000-10000 dong for a bowl of noodles, and 5000-7000 dong for a coffee. The baguette is a nice snack, and should not cost more than 10000 dong. You can point and say yes or no to the vegetables and chilli that they will add. A recommended way to order is to just say "Everything" and say "yes" to the chilli. Mineral water is around 10000 dong for a big 1.5L bottle.
Walking along the river at night, you will find a lot of pubs. Beer is around 30000 dong. Cocktails are around 20000-50000 dong. There are some bar foods available, such as fried prawn crackers for around 15000 dong a plate. Just walk into any pub and have a seat. Feb 2013- look out for "fresh beer" signs in some bars and restaurants. These sell very chilled glasses - probably half pint - beers at a ridiculous 4to 5000 VND. Yes, you read it right. Produced by Viet A Breweries and really not bad at all. Keep a look out for "Happy Hour" boards too. There can be crazy offers.
Bamboo Buddha restaurant and lounge, On Nguyen Hoang St, An Hoi islet, ☎ 510 392 5000, . 14-23. A nice colonial building housing a French/international restaurant. Specialties include roasted chicken, australian steaks, foie gras, duck magret and more.Sangria, cocktails and an eclectic wine list compliment this trendy venue.5-25$.
Quan Nho, 195 Pham Ngu Lao (A side street off Cua Dai). Down an alley off Cua Dai, there's some cheap, delicious rice at Quan Nho. Approx $2 for 2 people.
Cafe 99 (Close to Watering Hole Bar), 99 Tran Cao Van Street. Small eclectic cafe run by an extremely friendly owner named Long. Good coffee and atmosphere, awesome ca phe sua da (vietnamese iced coffee) $1, amazing staff.
Hong An, 343 Cua Dai (On Cua Dai, 15 minutes walk from the centre), ☎ 01225992823. Good vegan Vietnamese food. Small menu, but includes local specialities.Very cheap, $1 for a bowl of noodles.
Karma Waters, 213 Nguyen Duy Hieu (Centre of Hoi An, opposite An Phu hotel), ☎ 510 3927632, . 10.00-21:00. vegan (100% vegetarian) Vietnamese, International & Indian food. Juices & smoothies. Cooking classes & tours. This place is on the expensive side. $2.5 for a bowl of noodles soup with vegetables. $1.5 for orange juice. However, the food is good and the staff nicemid range.
Hoi An riverside, seen from Cam Nam
Prices in the very centre of Hoi An are generally a little inflated by the tourist trade - An Hoi island is no longer the bastion of cheap street stalls that it once was; or if it ever was. The tourist trade has really hurt the prices of all areas of town. Don't pay more than 10,000 dong for a baguette; 10,000 dong for a beer (most places want 10-15,000 dong); and 20,000 dong for a bowl of noodles. Look for the signs "FRESH BEER" -it's a glass (300mL) for 4,000 dong up. Great value. Bike towards An Bang beach and check out some of the street side restaurants for some cheaper eats.
Cafe 43, 43 Tran Cao Van. This place has the usual traveler fare with Biere Lerue for 10k and bia hoi (pronounced doy in the South) fresh beer for 3000. The food is general traveler fare but tasty. Try the Cao Lao noodles which is the local speciality; the portion size is good. The "fresh spring rolls" (steamed) are around 40k but are huge. This place is becoming more and more popular, in which case Cafe 41 next door may provide an appropriate alternative.
Lantern Town Restaurant, 49 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hoi An, Vietnam, ☎ + 84 1239912212. Hoian is the home of lanterns and Lantern Town restaurant housed in an ancient house combines French colonial architectural influences with traditional Vietnamese style.80-300 000 dong.
31 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street. Here you can find many small stands which serve good and cheap food quickly.The pick of these is Hi Restaurant, half way down the street. Consistently excellent food at very good prices. The bill is always totalled and detailed correctly too- several local eateries make deliberate errors!!VND25/30,000 upwards.
Bale Well restaurant, 45-51 D Tran Cao Van. Busy in the evenings, less so at lunchtime. Set menu: Bánh Xèo, pork savoury pancakes - Barbecued Satay pork loin, wrap in a lettuce leaf, with side salad veggies. Enjoy with a local beer. Located off the road, up a side alley, beware of the restaurant with similar name facing the street. (January 2014) 90,000 - 110,000 dong.
Blue Dragon. A restaurant by the waterfront with cheap, but good food. Choose from a wide variety of local dishes, or set menus, including meat, vegetarian or seafood choices. A portion of the proceeds goes to help the Blue Dragon Children's Foundation.40000 dong.
Cafe Bobo, 18 Le Loi. Popular and reasonably-priced. The frappucino-style mocha shakes are great.
Huu Nghi, 56 Bach Dang, ☎ 05103910118. Very good food at reasonable prices, with a view of the river and the market. Set meals with 3 or 4 kinds of local specialities for 40.000/70.000 Dong respectively. Fresh beer (Bia Hoi) for 5000 Dong. They also provide a free tiny cup of caramel/vanilla yogurt for dessert.
Laugh Cafe, 126 Tran Cao Van St., Hoi An. Laugh Cafe is a low key Cafe with great, cheap traditional food. It provides vocational training for young people in the provinces surrounding Hoi An, to help give them future opportunities in hospitality. The manager Peter is a laugh (no pun intended) and is happy to have a chat with you about anything you want.
Streets, 17 Le Loi, ☎ : +84 (0) 510 3911 948, . till late evening. Well managed social profit café-restaurant offering training and jobs to former street kids. Good food!150.000.
Pho Ha Noi, 448 Cua Dai Road, ☎ 0907269123. Early/Breakfast. The real deal. Pho and bun. Popular with locals. Try out your Vietnamese - limited English understood here.20000 dong.
Pho Xua, 35 Phan Chau Trinh, Hoi An, Vietnam, ☎ 0903112237. Off the main tourist strip, this quiet restaurant offers a very high quality and delicious traditional Vietnamese noodle menu at far lower prices than most other restaurants in the town. The staff are professional, very friendly. The Pho is served with sliced green papaya and kalamansi in addition to the regular side additions and a house potato-chili sauce, making it one of the most unique pho experiences in Hoi An.30-35k.
Restaurant 96. One of the numerous restaurants by the river banks, this restaurant is packed every night of the week. Many of the guests are returning customers, so the food must be good. There are plenty of vegetarian options and excellent spring rolls. The wait for food tends to be longer than normal, but it's worth it. However the surliness of the owner does affect the general dining experience. 20000 dong.
Thanh Phuong, 56 Cong Dong (An Hoi island, just across bridge and to the left). Standard local fare. A steaming seafood hotpot for two and a large beer will set you back US$9. (As on 18.01.2013 the seafood hotpot is 300.000 Dong. Codfish hotpot 200.000 Dong)
Trung Bac, 87 Tran Phu. 100 years of cao lau and still going strong. A bowl of chewy noodles and lots of veggies will set you back all of 25000 dong. Jan 2014 - it's now 50000 dong and the serving size is terrible. Shop is really taking advantage of its history and compensating on food quality. Doesn't deserve to be listed here too.
Sun Shine, 46 Tran Cao Van Street (Diagonally opposite Phuoc An Hotel), ☎ 0510 3916902. 7AM - 11PM. A homey and cheap restaurant run by a very accommodating and friendly Vietnamese family. Serves fresh and home-cooked Vietnamese and Western food. Food is so-and-so, but okay for the price. Prices start at 25000 dong for a delicious bowl of Cau Lau, and a plate of 6 spring rolls will only set you back 30000 dong. 3000 dong for fresh beer and Vietnamese ice tea is free of charge. As of September 2011, proprietor Hoi is offering cooking lessons for 120,000 dong per person, plus the actual cost of the menu items you wish to prepare (items not on the menu also can be taught). Lessons are fun and instructive; also, the lesson takes place in the house kitchen behind the restaurant, giving you an insight into Vietnamese town life with Hoi and family.
White Lotus, 11 Phan Boi Chau, Hoi An, Vietnam (walk along the river from Old Town, through the central market, and straight on for about 50m, after passing Brother's Cafe), ☎ 0510 3501009. New restaurant with Australian owner opposite Ha An hotel. Serves good Asian and Western dishes, staff very helpful and obliging to any request. 80000-100000 dong.
White Rose, 533 Hai Ba Trung. The shop that actually makes most of the "white rose" dumplings served all around town and if you ask nicely they'll let you try to make them yourself. Open from 07:00 until they run out, usually in the afternoon. (Update 5 Nov 2012, they now charge 70,000 for White Rose and 100,000 for Wonton. Not cheap)
Mister T's, 639 Hai Ba Trung. If you're looking for a late night snack, this is a great place to go. Most shops/banh mi carts, etc close by 11p/12a and food is hard to find after that. Mister T's is a 24-hour convenient store and fast food kitchen. The guys there will make you a made-to-order toasted ham and cheese sandwich for 45,000dong. Also on the menu: hamburger/chicken burger/veggie burger, hot dog, pizza. Those prices went up to about 60,000dong.
Mango Rooms, 111 Nguyen Thai Hoc, ☎ : +84 (0) 510 3910 839, . Mango Rooms offers Asian fusion food with innovative flavors made of fresh local products. As an example try the Duck breast marinated in five spices served with bitter-chocolate passion fruit spicy garlic butter sauce. There are also really delicious cocktails made with fresh fruit juices. The atmosphere is very relaxed with a modern, colorful interior design. The owner and chef, Duc Tran, also opened a second restaurant in Hoi An "Mangomango". Prices are rather upscale (maincourses 350.000-550.000), but definitely worth it!350k-550k.
Jaspas Beach Club - international dishes in a beachfront environment. The last Saturday of every month they have a fund raiser to help with the establishment of the An Bang surf lifesaving club. Also monthly parties and happy hours.
Alfrescos 83 tran Hung Dao st. ph.0510 3929 707. Offers comfort food: Aussie steaks, pasta, pizza, Mexican, and ribs. Also home/hotel deliver and do a Tuesday, Friday special deal of two for one pizza for delivery.. Shows rugby and Aussie rules football.
Dingo Deli, ☎ 0906 552 824. 7.30AM - 7.30PM. This delicatessen offers an extensive selection of gourmet foods through the restaurant and European grocery store. The ambiance, and aroma of brewed coffee is the attraction for travellers ready to find some favourite tastes from home. A wooden constructed adventure play ground is open for children to play on and over looks views of paddocks, buffalo and the Thu Bon river.
Vinh Hung 1 Restaurant, 147B Tran Phu Str (Located opposite the Cantonese Assembly Hall, near the Japanese Bridge), . Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Vinh Hung Restauant was one of the first restaurants in Hoi An to open it's doors to Western travelers. A restaurant offering dishes using the freshest ingredients, bought market fresh everyday. Located by the beautiful Japanese Bridge in the centre of Hoi An Old Town, it's a fabulous place to relax over a drink and watch the hustle and bustle of life pass by. *Update Jan 2014 The Pho Bo is 70,000 and comes with little meat or flavor. This has become a tourist trap.
Baby Mustard, Đường Biển, Điện Dương, Tra Que (Located off the main road in Tra Que, look for the sign), ☎ 093 572 57 40. Open daily for lunch and dinner, also hosts daily cooking classes. About 5 km away from Hoi An proper, Baby Mustard takes the concept of "garden-to-table" to a whole other level. They grow their own herbs and vegetables in the back of the restaurant and everything is amazingly fresh and delicious. The rice comes from across the street and even the pepper is made there. Mains are from about 60k-100k and worth every dong. They offer daily cooking classes and you can even ask for a tour of the garden to taste and smell everything you just ate. Cannot recommend highly enough - GO!
Bazar Cafe & Restaurant, 36 Tran Phu, next to the town market, ☎ 0510.3911229, . 8.00AM - 12PM. New in the town, serves the best Vietnamese and Mediterranean Barbeque in the Garden. Comfortable Lounge, Cocktails and Shisha inside the Wooden Traditional House.
Thanh restaurant, 76 Bach Dang (City centre, riverside), ☎ 0510.3861366. Great Vietnamese and Western food. Excellent grilled fished in banana leaf and nice river view. A lot of photos of Hoi An to see
River Lounge, 35 Nguyen Phuc Chu, across the bridge on Hoi An Island, it's the first double-storey building on the immediate left., ☎ 0510.3911700, . 8.30AM - 12PM. This new and exciting addition to the restaurants of Hoi An, is run by two entrepeneurial Austrian brothers who are bringing excellent tastes and tunes to this historical town. Western/vietnamese fusion food. Set menu for 120,000, 3 course meal....
Hoi An Cruise Restaurant (Romantic Sunset dinner, relaxing dinner cruise and cooking cruise), 124 Tran Phu street (Reservation office at the city centre), ☎ 0510.3623777, . Cruise restaurant with a sunset dinner cruise and cooking class.
Casa Verde, 504 Cua Dai street, ☎ 0510 3911594, . This invigorating German owned restaurant serves the best pizzas in Hoi An, his expertise comes from years of experience, as head chef of the Victoria Hotel. Much of the homemade ice cream in Hoi An comes from his kitchen. Fantastic salads. Note: 99 Bach Dang street was his old location years ago and is now Nhà Y Casa Italia, whose pizzas are $2 cheaper. 130k. .
Morning Glory, 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc, ☎ +84 510 224 1555, . Choose from a variety of local dishes, and be sure to experiment, because everything is truly excellent. The staff speak good English, the place is beautifully decorated, and the food will have you coming back for more. (And if you really enjoy the food, ask about their cooking classes.) While there are cheaper places to eat in Hoi An, this one is by no means expensive, especially considering how good the food is. Most main courses are between 40,000 and 70,000 dong.Dinner and a drink cost about 80,000 dong per person.
Mermaid, Just opposite the Cloth Market, . Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mermaid serves some of the best food in Vietnam, and is among the best expensive restaurants. Do not miss the grilled mackerel in banana leaf, the minced pork with eggplant and the sweet and sour Black King Fish hotpot. The owner came from generations of cooks and in fact was featured in New York Times for her restaurant's good food. 2 dishes and rice cost between 70,000 to 100,000 dong.
Moon restaurant & lounge, 321 Nguyen Diuy Hieu (East of the market), ☎ (+84 510) 2241 396, . 7AM - 10PM. Beautiful old house, laid-back atmosphere and superb Vietnamese food. You can trust the cocktails since it's made of genuine brand spirits, in many other places the hangover can be terrible. main courses 50,000-80,000 drinks 20,000-50,000
Red Bridge Restaurant & Cooking School, Thon 4, Cam Thanh, Hoi An (Catch a meter Taxi, about 3km out of town, cost VND32,000), ☎ 0510 933 222, . 10AM - 9PM. Located on the Thu Bon River, The Red Bridge Restaurant and Cooking School offer a wide range of Modern Vietnamese Food, in an open air restaurant. It is set in 2 acres of tropical gardens, and offers a range of tours and clases. Catch a taxi there, or if you have a motorbike or bike just ride, its about 3km. Red Bridge Cooking Classes begin around 8AM at the Hai Scout Cafe for a coffee (Italian Style) then a tour of the market to shop for fruit & veg. a visit to the Organic Herb Farm and a trip up the river in their little red boat to the school. It's funny & fun, eat what you made plus more & relax by the pool with beer & wine. Red Bridge is run by experts- it's a must in Hoian. Booking for dinner are essential, due to the location, they sometimes close early if there are no customers. The food is well priced, and very good value, with large portions, and very good produce. They offer a selection of cocktails as well as the usual beers and an extensive wine list. This is an excellent establishment for an evening meal, especially during sunset.
Son Hoi An, 177 Cua Dai (Riverside on the Cua Dai beach road). Very popular stopping point for those cycling back from the beach. Well reviewed. http://www.sonhoian.com/Our-Menu.html.
27 - 29 - 31 Phan Boi Chau street, Hoi An ancient town, ☎ 84 510 3914150 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 84 510 3923012). Brother's might be stretching the "mid-range" category. The tranquil French colonial riverside setting is the precursor to a lengthy menu beginning with appetizers of Hoi An special yellow noodle with pork charsjiu & fresh vegetables, Quang Nam white noodle soup with charsjiu pork meat & shrimps, Hoi An "white roses" dumplings, fresh spring rolls, prawns on toast, Hoi An deep -fried special spring rolls, deep-fried wonton, crispy prawn, and crispy calamari. There are five different soups, four salads, five different pork, chicken and beef dishes each (including a grilled pork chop in five flavors sauce), and several sea food entrees. Service is top notch, and the waitresses are invariably cute and demure, yet quite able to explain the different options.
Hoi An New Town
The atmosphere of the Old Town hasn't been preserved by accident: strict bylaws prohibit new construction within its narrow lanes. As a result, there's a building boom just outside the borders of the Old Town, most noticeably as you head north of Le Hong Phong. Walk a few blocks from that old world ambiance, and suddenly you're in a construction zone. Several hotels have sprung up in this area, which is completely lacking in the charm that brings visitors to Hoi An. Not surprisingly, those are the hotels (Phuong Nam Hotel is among the worst offenders) that are most likely to pay commissions to open-tour bus companies and use Internet sites to describe the dusty construction zone as a "peaceful area". They're also cheaper and easier to bargain with, but the reason they're so cheap is that they're missing the whole point of a visit to Hoi An. There are plenty of options closer to the centre of town. Once you've taken a night-time stroll through the Old Town, you won't mind if you had to fork over an extra dollar or two for a better location.
Hotels in Hoi An are fiercely competitive, which means plenty of choice and generally high standards. Budget options are slightly pricier than many other parts of Vietnam, with $6 being about the cheapest. Around the centre, 300,000 VND is usually the lowest asking price (March 2013). Heading further out of town, more typical prices can be found. Many hotels are clustered around Hai Ba Trung St (formerly Nhi Trung Street), just north of the Old Town and within easy walking distance, and also along Cua Dai Street, off to the east and a bit of a hike away.
Most of Hoi An's high-end hotels are located along the unbroken beach stretching from Danang to Hoi An. Closest is Cua Dai Beach 5 km away.
It is more likely to find a good bargain in the evening, when budget hotels try to fill their rooms for the night.
Riverside Garden Home, 04 village, Thanh Tay Block, Cam Chau District (On the alley next to 171 Cua Dai street - along the river bank), ☎ +84 936202033 (email@example.com), . Nestled in a quiet village with idyllic view to the fields and a small river in the countryside of Hoian, you will need about only 10 minutes’ riding to either the ancient streets or Cua Dai beach. All three nicely decorated rooms have basic facilities including private bathroom, air-con, hot/cold shower, free Wi-fi internet, a sharing kitchen and reading room.10-15$, including breakfast.
An Hoi Hotel, 69 Nguyen Phuc Chu, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Nice and quiet, very near old town (opposite riverbank). Nicely decorated wide rooms. Free internet and Wi-Fi. Ask for rooms on the second or third floor as rooms on the first one are really dark.25-35$ (July 2013), including breakfast.
An Phu, 30 Nguyen Duy Hieu Street, ☎ +84 510-914345, . One of the biggest budget hotel operations in Hoi An. South of the centre, about a 5-10 minute walk away. Nice rooms and a relaxing pool in the middle. Be careful of the recommended hotel doctor in case of an emergency as they have been known to provide out of date drugs and/or sub-standard versions which have been known to cause some very dangerous reactions.US$20-40.
Hoi an life Homestay, 53 Pham Van Dong. checkin: 14; checkout: 12. Hoi An Life Homestay is located in Hoi An just 700 metres from Hoai River and 3.3 km from Cua Dai Beach. The homestay provides elegant accommodation equipped with hot shower facilities, free breakfast and free bicycle rental services. Free Wi-Fi access is available in this homestay. The accommodation will provide you with a cable TV, air conditioning and a minibar. Featuring a shower, the private bathrooms also come with free toiletries and towels. Some rooms have a private balcony and a bathtub. email@example.com$15.
Dai Long. A 7 minute walk from the heart of the old town. Extremely clean, spacious rooms. Beds come complete with a mosquito net. The staff are incredibly helpful and speak excellent English. Free internet and Wi-Fi. (update) Offseason April '12, rooms go for 12-14USD.doubles ~US$20.
Cam Chau Mulberry homestay, 116 - 157 Tran Nhan Tong, Hoi An city (Southeast of Hoi An city), ☎ 051 3623777, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Cam Chau Mulberry homestay is located in a small village near the city centre of Hoi An. It has 8 rooms in 8 different houses nearby each other owned by 8 local families. This is a great place to stay in Hoi An on your holidays and experience the real Vietnamese culture, food and daily life... It is just 5 minutes by bike to the city centre, bicycles are free of charge and Wifi is working very well.US$ 15 - 22.
Green Field Hotel, 423 Cua Dai St, ☎ +84 510-863484 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +84-510-863136), . Good value hotel with some English-speaking staff and a location that is not particularly central. Satellite TV and decent air conditioning in some rooms. Other rooms have no A/C. Many rooms smell moldy, so have a look before you check in. Free computers with Internet in the lobby, free Wi-Fi (patchy in rooms), swimming pool and free cocktails for one hour in the evenings. They may or may not also have dorms available (three single beds in a room) for $6 per night.Singles from US$15.
Ha My TT Hotel, Thon 1 - Dien Duong - Dien Ban - Quang Nam, ☎ +84-90 822 0747 (French), +84 90 811 2825 (English and Japanese). This ancient French style beach resort about 6 km from Hoi An centre is recently been renovated. It has a special atmosphere and its friendly owner, Mr. Nguyen Van Hien, will do everything to make you feel comfortable. Don't be rejected by its unpainted facade, as the rooms are nice, and the beach is great! 20-30$US per night.
Hoa My, 201 Ly Thuong Kiet Street (Cnr Hai Ba Trung), ☎ +84-510-916582. Cheap, modern, very clean, but of course a bit outside the old town. There are two more similar hotels next to it. They sell bus tickets at approx. double the real price.from US$12.
Hoang Trinh Hotel, 45 Le Quy Don Street (Cnr Tran Hung Dao St and opposite Confucius Temple), ☎ +84 510 391-6579 (email@example.com), . Great hotel in good location and scenic setting. Well furnished en-suite rooms with cable TV with excellent reception, air-con, ceiling fan, fridge, Wi-Fi and balcony restaurant with an impressive view. Has bicycles for hire for 15,000 dong and motorbikes also. The staff are friendly, and they continuously offer small snacks for free.US$14-25.
Hop Yen, 103 Ba Trieu & 694 Hai Ba Tru'ng St, ☎ +84 510 386=3153. checkout: 11AM. In the "backpacker town" area, 7 minutes from Old Town. Clean rooms, spacious, staff moody (very friendly when you inquire after rooms but it doesn't last!) with moderate to good English, and tour advice. The open bus tickets they sell are not however with the companies they say they are, an inferior company, book elsewhere. Free internet and Wi-Fi before 21:00. Update as of april 2013: the staff magically transformed into human beings which are good to you if you are good to them and might become unfriendly when you treat them bad.Single $8, doubles US$12 no AC, +$2 with AC, dorms $5.
Jolie Homeystay, 14 Luu Trong Lu street (The no-named street near Che Lan Vien st)), ☎ +84-934-847788 (JolieHomeyStay@gmail.com, . Clean and affordable accommodation run by a friendly and helpful local family. Jolie Phong, who runs the premise, speaks good english. Non pushy service environment. Situated 1km sharp from the town centre, near the local bus station Hoi An <->Danang. Local breakfast included. Wifi.US$10- US$20.
Locphat-Hoi An Homestay, Group 6, Son Pho Block, Cam Chau Ward, ☎ +84 93 512 0820) (LOCPHATHOMESTAY@gmail.com), . Nice and quiet, very close to old town . Nicely decorated wide rooms. Free internet and wifi$10-16, excluding breakfast.
Mrs. Flower's Homestay, 39 Thai Phien St., ☎ +84 98 315 0329 (firstname.lastname@example.org). (Near Sinh Tourist Open Bus office, about 1 minute walk.) A newly opened homestay with very clean, spacious and comfortable three rooms (some with balconies) very close to the Old Town. The owners are a lovely couple who make you feel part of their family (Mrs. Flower speaks good English). Free use of internet and Wi-Fi. Free use of laundry machine (January 2013), TV and fridge in the shared area, bicycle and motorbike rental. Mrs Flowers will also help if you wish to have any tailored clothes made, taking you to the market and helping you to pick out the best materials. She will measure you herself and send it off to a good quality tailor for a cheaper price than offered by the high street tailors (for example a cashmere/silk suit the high street tailors quoted as $150, Mrs Flowers instead had made for $80 without loss of quality). Makes for a much more personal experience than staying in a hotel. Also available for long-term stay US$200/month (from 1 month to 1 year). US$8-12.
Nhi Nhi Hotel, 60 Hung Vuong Street, ☎ +84 510 3 916718, . Nhi Nhi Hotel in Hoi An offers rooms equipped with air-conditioning, cable TV, safe and internet connection. Some of its facilities and services are restaurant, swimming pool, high-speed internet access, 24-hour room service and airport transfer.Rates start at 35.00 USD.
Phuoc An Hotel, 31/1 Tran Cao Van St, . checkout: 12:00. A clean, friendly and modern atmosphere make the Phuoc An hotel one of Hoi An's more notable. An indoors restaurant on the first floor overlooks the hotel pool. The hotel is a stones throw from the markets, tailors and old quarter. Bicycles are offered to patrons free, however motorbikes can be rented at a cost of US$4 per day from across the road. Good service and complementary all you can eat breakfast each day before 11. (Hotel not connected with the Phuoc An River Hotel on Cua Dai road.)18-30$US per night.
Sunflower Hotel, 397 Cua Dai St., ☎ +84 510 393-9838. checkout: 12:00. Located on Cua Dai Street, which leads directly to the beach (about 2.5km away). 4km to An Bang beach (turn left out of hotel, turn right on Hai Ba Trung St., go straight.) Motorbike rental places both sides of the hotel (80,000 dong if renting for a few days, 100,000 for one day). Bicycles 20,000 dong per day. Rooms are spacious with large beds, air-con, fridge, cable tv, fast Wi-Fi. Some rooms have balconies. Dorm rooms are clean but very bare/spartan. Hotel has a clean, medium sized pool. Rooms are currently having new bathrooms installed. There is a little noise in the morning from a nearby temple sometimes, and obviously from the renovations. Room rate includes decent buffet breakfast (egg station makes good omelettes/pancakes). Free shuttle bus to town (it's only a 15 minute walk anyway). Dorm rooms available at $9 per night (Jan 25, 2013) (6 people in on room, pretty clean, A/C, nice bathroom, buffet breakfast included).doubles ~€12/$20.
Tan Phuong, 209 Ly Thuong Kiet, ☎ +84-510 386-2531 (email@example.com). Only a few blocks away from the river. Staff are helpful, rooms are spacious and clean. Food available. This is one of the stops of open buses. Also rent bikes/motorbikes.US$10-20.
Thanh Binh 3, Ba Trieu Street (off Hai Ba Trung Street), ☎ +84-510-916777. Popular budget hotel done up like a Chinese temple, with a pool and pleasant rooms, all air-con equipped. The mattresses are on the hard side though and the breakfast isn't much to write about. Free Internet at the lobby.US$15-30.
Friendly guesthouse, To 1, Tra Que village, ☎ +84935211382 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . In the charming village of Tra Que, 1km to An Bang Beach, 10 min to the Ancient Town, Friendly guesthouse, is a hidden gem. 5 rooms, from 45$ to 65$, with amazing view on the river. French owners living with Vietnamese family. Clean, modern, quiet. Home made jam, french pastries. Price includes breakfast and bicycle.
Betel Garden Homestay, 161 Tran Nhan Tong st. (City nearby), ☎ 0510.3924165 (email@example.com), . checkin: 06:00; checkout: 12:00. The Vuon Trau Family Resort is a bit out of the centre of town and a beautifully landscaped garden with several unique species of areca and betel trees, complete with an array of songbirds and fishes in small ponds. Staff is incredibly friendly and tries a lot to make you feel at home, including complementary fruits laid in your room each day it is made and the obligatory free bicycles. Their areal also offers a nicely laid out secluded pool area, as well as two covered dining areas for the about 20 guests. As of July 2012 the Vuon Trau Family organizes a complimentary dinner together with their guests twice a week, offering free beverages (and beer) next to excellent food. Be sure to try their AMAZING banana flower salad. Staying here, you will be cared for as one of our family and you will have the opportunity to learn about Vietnamese culture, cuisines and many other things unique to this part of the world.
An Huy Hotel, 30 Phan Boi Chau Street, ☎ +84 (510) 862116 / 914627 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Fourteen rooms conveniently located near the river and Central Market, away from the din of most streets in the heart of Hoi An. The hotel was converted from a traditional Hoi An shophouse — not as squeaky clean as a newly-built hotel but nice, with plenty of historic charm. Good breakfast, such as pancakes with banana fillings. There are 2 computers set up in the lobby to provide Internet access.US$28 for a double room.
Ha An Hotel, 6 Phan Boi Chau Road, ☎ +84 510 863126, . Located in a quiet area beyond the main markets, this hotel consists of a few buildings built in a semi-French colonial style around a central courtyard. The rooms are airy, light and pleasant with air-conditioning, bathrooms and TV. A basket of fresh fruit is usually provided in the room. There's a collection of books in the reception area that can be borrowed by guests. The price includes an excellent breakfast and free use of bicycles.US$55-104.
Hoai Thanh Hotel, 187 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, ☎ +84 510 861171 (email@example.com, fax: +84 510 861135), . About 200 meters from the centre of town.US$24-75.
Hoi An Indochine Hotel, Cua Dai Road, ☎ +84 510 923608 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +84 510 923578), . Only 5 minutes walk from the beach, by the calm and romantic river and garden. French style architecture with 61 river view rooms.US$65/night (10 superior rooms), US$75/night (45 deluxe rooms), US$105 (6 suites).
Hoian Vinh Hung 3 Hotel, 96 Ba Trieu Str, . checkin: 13.00.; checkout: 12.00 noon. A beautiful small hotel, 5 minutes' walk from the old town, with modern marble bathrooms and the added bonus of in room wifi; the deluxe rooms even have computers. The room service menu is packed full of local delicacies and the hotel features the only roof top swimming pool in Hoi An. Breakfast is included in the price. What really makes this hotel though are the staff, welcoming, helpful and professional, with excellent English.US$30-48.
Bai Huong Homestay, Cham Islands, 213 Nguyen Duy Hieu (opposite Anh Phu hotel), ☎ +84-510-3927632, . The homestay on Cham Islands, 10 miles offshore from Hoi An. Stay inside the houses in a fishing village on an island in Vietnam.US$120/each shared room all included.
Lotus Hotel, 330 Cua Dai Road, ☎ +84 (510) 3923 357 (email@example.com), . Beautifully designed resort-hotel draws from a range of styles & influences resulting in a perfect blend of Eastern culture & French architecture, immaculately furnished and equipped rooms in a relaxing combination of Vietnamese, Japanese and French styles. Free ADSL / Wi-Fi available throughout the building.US$36-55.
Long Life Hotel, 30 Ba Trieu Street, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Comfortable hotel with a nice pool and excellent breakfast. Wi-Fi and computers are available. Friendly staff. Wide range of room prices with the internal rooms having tiny windows the cheapest and the upper floor rooms with a balcony being the most expensive. The attached bathrooms for all the rooms are about the same and include a nice whirlpool tub.US$17-35.
Orchid Garden Homestay, 382 cua dai str, ☎ +845103863720, . checkin: 2pm; checkout: 12pm. The name 'Orchid Garden' originates from the owner's long held passion for orchids, with more than 30 varieties of orchid in the garden. The homestay has four secluded bungalows built in traditional Vietnamese architecture, surrounded by a variety of tropical trees, and equipped with modern convenient facilities. Each bungalow is named after a kind of orchid that you can find around the garden. Orchid Garden also has a traditional sanctuary for worshiping ancestors and for the family activities.
Phuoc An River Hotel, 242 Cua Dai road, . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 11:00. Roof garden restaurant on the sixth floor provides the best views in Hoi An. Clean rooms, good food, friendly staff, and beach road riverside location make the Phuoc An River Hotel unique in Hoi An. Spa, Gym, Pool, Poolside Bar, Coffee Garden. The hotel is quietly located 15-20 minutes stroll to/from the beach, and within easy walking distance of the ancient town. Bicycles are free for guests. Good service. Great breakfast - own kitchen garden and free ranging hens, mean fresh veggies and eggs daily! (NB. This hotel is not connected with the Phuoc An Hotel on Tran Cao Van, or Phuoc An clothes shop, which are owned independently.) 30/60$US per night - Rooms/Suites.
Kiman Hoi An Hotel, 461-463 Hai Ba Trung, Hoi An City, . An up coming hotel not far from the river. Run by the friendly and helpful local family that manages Jolie Homestay. Guests can expect the best services. Hotel features a restaurant, bar, swimming pool and spa. Tour services are provided as well. 10 to 68 USD per night - Dorm to Large family rooms.
La Maison Cabane, ☎ +84 128 75 15 401 (email@example.com), . House seaside for rent 3 days minimum for 4/6 persons in An Bang Beach, and 5min to the old town by motorbike.
Dong An Beach Hotel, ☎ +84 510 927888 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Overlooking the Thu Bon River, and < 5min walk to the Cua Dai beach. Some 5 km away from town.US$79-195.
Furama Beach Resort, . Brand new luxury resort on fabled China Beach. About 20 minutes to Hoi An by taxi (5 minutes to Da Nang)Internet rates starting at US$150, walk-up rates from US$200.
Le Belhamy Hoi An Resort and Spa, Hamlet 1 - Dien Duong Village Dien Ban District (It is just 10 minutes from Hoi An Ancient Town and 30 minutes from Danang International Airport.), ☎ +84 510 3941 888, . All rooms are equipped with Private pool, balcony, garden, living area, refrigerator, mini-bar, Wi-Fi Internet access and TV with satellite/cable. Some of its facilities and services are Restaurant, room service, concierge, swimming pool, pool bar, spa, fitness room/gym and Wi-Fi Internet access in public areas.Rates Start at 101.00 USD.
Hoi An Glory Hotel & Spa, 358 Cua Dai Street, ☎ +84 510 3914444 (email@example.com), . Opened in spring 2004, with 1 restaurants and 2 bars, Glory Hotel on the area of 3,500 sqm, has 94 rooms built in 4 area with garden, swimming pool and Green field views.US$63-93.
Hoi An Pacific Hotel & Spa, 321 Cua Dai Street (halfway between beach and town), ☎ +84 510 923 777 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Opened in spring 2004, with 1 restaurants and 2 bars, including the "Sky Bar", located on the 6th floor of the hotel with terrace view of all the whole area. renamed from Hoi An Pacific Hotel. google shows this hotel at No. 167 as well?US$70-120.
Vinh Hung 1 Hotel, 143 Tran Phu Street, Hoi An, Vietnam, ☎ (84-510) 3861 621, . With arguably the best location in Hoi An this small historic hotel has the charm and beauty that many of Hoi an's larger hotels lack.US$60-100.
Life Heritage Resort Hoi An, 1 Pham Hong Thai Street (East end of street fronting the river), ☎ +84 (0) 510.914555 (email@example.com), . Lovely French colonial style architecture with rooms overlooking the Thu Bon River at the east end of Hoi An town, a short walk from the ancient town but just far enough away that a quiet night's sleep is practically assured. Rooms are spacious (many are bi-level with a sitting area) and have good a/c but restaurant and bar are open to the breezes. Two-day package (off-season) was US$250 incl 2 x breakfast for two, 1 x dinner for two, and 20% discount to a comprehensive spa. The included breakfast is a buffet, making it easy to dart in and eat before or after a morning excursion. US$98-268.
River-Beach Resort, 05 Cua Dai Street, Tel:(84.510) 3927 888, , 2-minute walk from the beach, a four-star resort that offers stunning views of surrounding paddy fields, river and sea. 120 rooms, ranging from deluxe, superb deluxe rooms to executive, family and presidential suites. All - fully equipped with modern facilities and comforts. Each room has a private balcony or terrace and offers views of the river, pool, garden or countryside. Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout the hotel. There is also a fitness centre, beauty salon and spa, bar, baby sitting services and gift shop. US$60 for deluxe room - US$165 for a presidential suite.
Swiss-Belhotel Golden Sand Resort & Spa, Thanh Nien Road - Cua Dai Beach, ☎ +84 510 927 550, . This beautiful hotel with a gigantic swimming pool is located by the river a short stroll from the market. Evening musical entertainment in the lobby makes it all the more delightful.Internet rates from US$105, beach-front suites US$285.
Victoria Hoi An, Cua Dai Beach, ☎ +84 510 927 040, . Internet rates from US$125, walk-up rates from US$165, honeymoon suites US$210-300.
My Son - UNESCO World Heritage Site, ruins of the ancient Cham empire, in the jungle at the start of the Central Highlands a little over an hour from Hoi An
Đồng Dương - Ruined Cham tower, the sole major remnant of a large Buddhist Cham period (9th century, 875-915 under Indravarman II) temple-complex that was originally 155 m x 32 6m. Other minor remnants are also visible.
My Khanh - Rare seaside ruin of a Cham tower dating from the 8th century.
Cham Islands - UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Cu Lao Cham - Hoi An 9 nautical miles offshore.
Ba Na Hills - Located in the Truong Son mountain range 25 km to the SW of Da Nang at an altitude of 1,487 m.
The Marble Mountains, 9 km short of Da Nang, are well worth a morning or afternoon trip from Hoi An.
Lang Co - fishing village that includes mountains, a river, a lagoon, an island and a 32 km beach located between Da Nang and Hue.
Hue - the former imperial capital, a few hours away by car or train. Bus leaves twice a day and costs about $6.
Da Lat - originally the playground of the French, who built villas in the clear mountain air to escape the heat and humidity of the coast.
Nha Trang - Sleeper buses with hotel pickup depart 6:00pm, costing 250,000 dong ($12).
Kon Tum - There are no buses from Hoi An. You must take a bus to Da Nang where the buses to Kon Tum depart from. Apparently the buses depart Da Nang at 6am. Tourist bus price $20.
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