So I made it to the halfway point, Hoi An, Vietnam! It’s a charming town with a lot of it’s cultural and historical features in tact. And here are just of a few of the many things I did during my visit…
– Explore the Old Quarter
Charming, old world buildings, tailor shops, and vibrant colored lanterns line the streets of the Old Quarter. Take an afternoon to stroll down the many beautiful roads, without having to worry about cars or motorbikes; The Old Quarter is a walking and cycling area only.
An Bang beach is the place to be. It’s just 4 km from town, and offers views of Da Nang to the north and the Cham Islands to the east. There are tons of lounge chairs that are free with any purchase from the local restaurants. Act as if you’re not going to order a passionfruit mojito, I dare you.
– Get a Suit
I don’t care if you don’t want one, don’t need one, or “can’t afford one.” From the minute you walk into one of the hundreds of tailor shops, you’re in for an incredible experience. I chose Kimmy’s Custom Tailoring. Doug and Kim, the managers, oversaw everything from selecting colors, fabrics, and alterations. They provided complimentary water, beer, and even a free tie. For a custom-made, custom-tailored suit, I paid $160. You can’t get a good suit off the rack for under $200 back in the States, so this was a no-brainer. And you’re also paying for a few days of royalty, as Kimmy and her team take such great care of her customers. Go to Hoi An, and buy a suit. Or four.
– My Son
Maybe 50 km outside of Hoi An is My Son, ruins of Hindu temple dating back to the 4th Century AD. Like many other towns and sites in Vietnam, it was destroyed from heavy US bombing in the Vietnam War. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the overgrown ruins in the jungle have survived for so many years. It’s 150,000 Dong, but worth it if you’re into Vietnamese history.
Where to Stay
Sunflower – Many backpackers stay at the Sunflower Hotel, costing $8/night for a dorm. It has a pool, a restaurant/bar area, and a free shuttle to the Old Quarter, as it’s a 20 minute walk from town. And it has an amazing buffet breakfast included: think fresh pancakes, omelets, fruit, cereal, rice, vegetables, noodles, coffee, and peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter. Apparently, it’s an American thing, but I’ve missed peanut butter so much. I filled an entire coffee mug with peanut butter.
Hoa Binh – This hostel is about the same as the Sunflower, running $7/night for a dorm with the very same incredible buffet breakfast. It isn’t as social as Sunflower, but is much closer to the Old Quarter, about 5 minutes walking.
DK’s House – Okay, so this hostel is owned by the amazing Vietnam Backpacker’s Hostel group. However, a dorm costs $11/night, which I found a bit ridiculous, especially since the included breakfast isn’t nearly as amazing as it’s competitors. They do offer great tours of the city and surrounding area, some also on the pricier side, but it’s always full and promises a good time. Friends and I stayed at Sunflower, but walked 5 minutes to DK’s to enjoy the party scene and nightly pub crawls.