Nestled modestly by the Thu Bon River, Hoi An is known to the world as an ancient city of Vietnam and was the main trading center of the central region from the late 16th to 18th centuries. This Hoi An Travel Guide from Say Hello Vietnam will be very helpful for your upcoming trip.
1. Overview – Hoi An Travel Guide
When traveling to Hoi An, you will see old houses with were built hundreds of years ago, beautiful and blue beaches at Cua Dai and Cu Lao Cham. Come and immerse yourself in the comfortable, peaceful life of the locals here. On the full moon day which is in the middle of the lunar calendar, you will have a chance to drop the lanterns into the river then the breeze pushes the lanterns down to the river, carries your wishes that you wish to come true. In Hoi An, you can also have chances to participate in some folk games such as Bai Choi Singing, some other old folk games that are the traditions of Hoi An.
Traveling to Hoi An, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the traditional cultural space with ancient craft villages such as Kim Bong Carpentry village, Thanh Ha Pottery village, Phuoc Kieu Copper Casting village… There are also the relics with traditional architectural styles such as the Assembly Hall of Fujian, Cau Pagoda, Quan Cong Temple, Ong Pagoda, Tran ethnic church… that attract hundreds of visitors every year.
If you have the plan to visit Vietnam, do not hesitate to put Hoi An as a destination in the journey. Rest assure that Hoi An will captivate any visitor here. Hoi An still holds the hearts of those who want to find about the values of ancient Vietnamese culture.
In Hoi An, the weather is divided into two seasons: rainy season and dry season. The dry season starts from January to July, the rainy season starts from August to December. For us, traveling to Hoi An in any season has its own interesting things. However, the ideal time to go to Hoi An is:
February to April: cool, pleasant weather and no rain.
May to July: Ideal weather for going to Cua Dai Beach, Cu Lao Cham Island, and beaches in Danang
October – December: this time in Hoi An is the rainy season and it will make your trip interrupted, but this is also the time when the water of the Thu Bon River rises that makes the old town flooded and people have to move by boat. This is also a very interesting experience in Hoi An.
Note: You should travel to Hoi An on the 14th of the lunar month. On this day, the ancient town of Hoi An will turn off the electric light from about 7-9 pm, there will have light from lanterns instead, such activities like dropping the lanterns into the river, folk songs … are extremely interesting.
3. How to go to Hoi An – Hoi An Travel Guide
Hoi An is located in Quang Nam but the nearest airport is in Danang (Hoi An is 30km from Danang). Currently, airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar, Vietjetair all operate routes from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Da Nang. If you want to buy cheap tickets, you should book about 3 to 6 months in advance.
Other means: Cars, trains
There have train routes from Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh city to Da Nang (North-South route), fares range from VND 400,000 to VND 1,200,000 depending on the train type and seat type. It takes 14 to 20 hours to travel from these two cities to Danang by train.
Coach: cost about 400,000 – 500,000 VND. Supplied by Hoang Long, Mai Linh and Thuan Thao. It takes from 18 to 20 hours from Hanoi / Ho Chi Minh city to Da Nang.
Because the transit point to Hoi An is mainly Da Nang so from there you can take a bus/taxi to Hoi An very conveniently.
Vehicles in Hoi An
• Hoi An has a full range of transportation services such as bus, taxi, motorbike taxi, cyclo
• Motorbike rental from 120,000 to 150,000 VND / day.
• But the most interesting thing when visiting Hoi An is walking or bicycling around the old quarter. The price of renting a bicycle is VND 30,000 / day.
4. Where to stay in Hoi An – Hoi An Travel Guide
Hoi An does not lack comfortable hotels, right in the city center, the price is quite high, but it is difficult to have a vacant room. Tourists traveling to Hoi An should book at least 2 months in advance to get a good price.
5. What to eat in Hoi An
Phuong Bread – the best sandwich in the world
In Hoi An, there is a type of sandwich which is honored by the BBC’s “best bread in the world – Banh My Phuong”. Or the delicious Madame Khanh’s bread is called the “Queen of bread” on the famous travel review site Tripadvisor.com.
Cao Lau (a dish only available in Hoi An)
Cao Lau (literally means eating on a high floor) – the name comes from the way of eating this dish. In the past, the people of Hoi An ate these noodles on a high floor (to conveniently looking after the goods that laid down on the road), so from there the grainy noodles, mixed with meat, sauces and fresh vegetables… called Cao Lau. A bowl of Cao Lau on pavement in Hoi An costs from 20-25,000 VND.
This is the popular country dish in Hoian and Quang Nam. The noodle is yellow or white in color and made from rice flour. It is mixed with shrimp, pork, and vegetables, and topped with grilled rice paper and spices. Similar to rice noodle and chicken or pork soup (Hu tieu), My Quang is a variety of Pho (rice noodle soup), because the noodles are made from rice and covered with soup as serving.
The mystery of the Quang noodle is in that pot above. This is ‘nuoc sot mi quang’ or Quang noodle sauce. This makes the stock slightly sweet and a smidgen spicy. This dish’s ingredients include rice, vegetables, and meat. After being soaked in water, the rice is ground to a fine powder and made into attractive smooth white noodles. Accompanying vegetables are water morning-glory, cress, young banana flowers, and herbs. Place in the famous Tra Que savory of Quang Nam Province to give the dish more flavor. You can use pork, chicken, fish, crab or shrimp to make the broth. If chicken is chosen, the meat is separated, seasoned and stir-fried while the bones are stewed. Finish the stock by adding cooked chicken meat. The noodles are yellow, somewhat distinct from Pho. However, the main reason for having this color is to be in harmony with the colors of shrimps and crabs. There are also noodles for vegetarians.
Quang soft noodle soup tastes best when being served with a variety of herbs, such as mint leaves, houttunya, cabbage, onion, coriander and so on. What makes Quang noodle soups unique is the richness of the broth, the lack of it and the crushed peanut toppings on the noodles.
A traditional version says: “I make for you, darling, green tea and Quang noodles to express my feelings”. Thus, you can visit a Quang noodle kiosk in Hoi An Town to enjoy the typical flavor of the soups.