Hoi An

After seeing the French colonial architecture, ancient Buddhist temples and monumental merchant houses of Hoi An, escape to the seaside for a sneaky getaway.

Part of Hoi An’s charm is that it’s relatively undeveloped. You actually have to fly to Da Nang first, because there’s no airport here. Still, motor bikes and cyclos buzz around 24/7, just like in Vietnam’s big cities. The UNESCO-protected Ancient Town is like a beehive too. For some down time, escape to An Bang Beach or Cua Dai Beach. Not quiet enough? Snorkel around the Cham Islands and pitch your tent on the beach.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hoi An

What are the highlights of the area surrounding Hoi An?

Apart from the beautiful old town, Hoi An's most charming feature is its surrounding countryside. Hiring a bike is a great way to get a taste of rural life. With miles of flat pathways and roads, you'll have no trouble exploring its picture-perfect rice paddies and winding waterways. You can expect to see plenty of villagers tending their fields (as well as a few playful kids). The surrounding islands are another popular feature. Take the two-hour boat trip out to Cham Island and pull up a lounger by the beach, explore its inland forests or even head out camping for a few nights. Whether you stay for a day or a week, you're sure to come back to the mainland feeling revitalised and refreshed.

Where are the best beaches near Hoi An?

When staying in Hoi An, you don't have to go all the way out to the surrounding islands just to work on your tan. While Cua Dai Beach may have some serious erosion problems, the popular shoreline of An Bang Beach shows no sign of slowing down. A scenic bike ride or short taxi trip from central Hoi An, this beautiful beach is the perfect spot to unwind for a day. Less crowded than many of the big-name Vietnamese beaches, here you'll find plenty of inviting sun chairs perfect for lounging the day away. Many are placed outside of restaurants and bars, so for the price of a cool drink you'll be set up for the day!

How do I get to Hoi An's nearby islands?

The closest island getaway to Hoi An is Cham Island (or Cu Lao Cham), which is actually a cluster of eight islands. If you're planning to head over, you'll likely be making tracks to Hon Lao, the biggest and only populated island of the eight. Tourists generally only make the trip out during the dry season, as the sea can get incredibly rough during the monsoon. The dry season also means the best water visibility so this is the time to take advantage of the island's snorkelling and diving. From Cua Dai port there are two ways to reach Cham Island. A speedboat will get you there in around half an hour. Be warned though, the journey in these frequently overcrowded boats can be a nail-biting experience. The cheaper and slower option is to make the two-hour trip on the public boat. Departing daily from 8 a.m, you'll get the chance to mix with the locals - as well as a few chickens and cows! If you're planning to do some diving anyway, this is likely to be the easiest (and safest) option.

Is Hoi An a good place to get tailored clothing?

You certainly don't have to go far to find a tailor in Hoi An. But is it the best place to pick up your swanky new outfit? The answer is yes - if you know what you're doing and you stick to your guns. With a huge amount of competition, you'll have plenty of leverage when it comes to haggling. The main problem tourists run into is not getting quite what they had in mind, and then having to either start again from scratch or pay more for alterations. To try and avoid this, be as specific as you can and make sure you're being properly understood. If possible, organise to pay the majority of the costs on completion rather than up front. This might require some skilful haggling, but it's well worth it for the peace of mind.