Southeast Asia Trip Report: Hoi An, Vietnam
We’ve been recapping our three-week Southeast Asia trip that happened in May 2017. So far, we’ve covered our time in Chiang Mai, the slowboat to Laos, Luang Prabang, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and today we’re talking about Hoi An, Vietnam. Keep reading as we wrap up our time in Southeast Asia with reviews of Hanoi and Halong Bay.
The reputation of Hoi An, Vietnam, both as a vibrant tourist destination and a laid-back beach town, preceded it.
We read about and talked to other travelers about their time here, and listened as they recounted the days slipping away in this friendly city. Some even talked about Hoi An as one of the cities in Southeast Asia they would move to someday.
Needless to say, we were excited when we stepped off our short flight from the busy Ho Chi Minh City into the much smaller, much calmer Hoi An.
Our days visiting Hoi An were spent walking and taking pictures, joining one half-day temple tour, and lounging on the beach. But mostly, we soaked in the essence of Hoi An and its people. We chatted with the amazing women who worked at the tailor shop where we ordered custom-made suits. (Those women always had bottles of cold water ready for us and weren’t afraid of telling us how sweaty we were!) We used our guesthouse’s free bikes to poke around the countryside, and we even stood among the ruins of an ancient mountain temple.
Hoi An certainly can be the laid-back destination that people say it is, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do. Read below for our details on how we spent our time and money visiting Hoi An.
How we got there:
We came to Vietnam from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, so we opted to take a 6.5-hour bus ride from Phnom Penh across the border into the booming Ho Chi Minh City. We arrived in the late morning, so we gave ourselves a few hours to see some of the city before catching a late-evening flight to Da Nang, where our guesthouse arranged a car pickup to bring us to our place in Hoi An.
Where we stayed:
We adored our AirBNB in Hoi An. It is located in a residential area a bit out of the Ancient City, but they offered the free use of bikes, so it was an easy 10-minute ride into the heart of Hoi An. A modern, comfortable room, free delicious breakfasts (omelettes, fresh fruit, croissants, and iced coffee), a very reasonable price ($22 per night after all fees) and arranged cheap airport pickup ($13 USD each way, which is about 45 minutes). We had zero negative things to say about this guesthouse after staying there for three nights.
What we did:
We took Hoi An a bit slower compared to our other destinations, because we had heard it’s a laid-back city that’s best seen by strolling the city streets. We did plenty of strolling along sites on the Ancient City walking tour (a UNESCO site). Don’t forget a camera, because we loved taking pictures of the beautiful architecture and lanterns. Because we had free access to bikes, we biked to An Bang beach one afternoon and joined what felt like thousands of other visitors. (It was a holiday week in Vietnam, so many families were on vacation). We also joined a half-day tour up to the My Son temple in the mountains. Finally, we had fun doing some research to find the best tailor in town (our research said Tony the Tailor, and we have to agree that it was a wonderful experience) to get Cole a couple of tailored suits and a pair of leather shoes.
What we spent:
$19/each for buses from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, $25/each for Vietnam eVisas, $49/each for flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang, $13/each way to the Da Nang airport, $22/night for three nights at our modern guesthouse, $0 for bike transportation around the city, $2-$5 for lunches and dinners, $5 for walking tour tickets, $18/each for half-day My Son tours, $250 for two custom-tailored suits and one tailored dress shirt. For three days of accommodations, food and drinks, activities, miscellaneous expenses, and rare-for-us shopping, we spent a total of $684.