An Bang Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam

An Bang Beach

After a week in Hoi An town we moved just 15 minutes away to An Bang beach for a two week stay.  An Bang is considered part of Hoi An and most people staying in Hoi An will take day trips here, but we wanted to spend time by the sea.  And while the beach was busy in the daytime, the evenings were much quieter than Hoi An town.  That being said, this is a popular beach area with many hotels, homestays, restaurants and bars.  Our first few days were spent lazily enjoying the beach and relaxing at our favorite beach bar before we did a little sightseeing.

Our favorite beach bar

My Son Sanctuary is just under an hour away from Hoi An so we arranged for a private driver, at a cost of 900,000 VND (USD $36.30).  Tickets to the Sanctuary cost 150,000 VND (USD $6) each and once we had our tickets it’s a short walk to the shuttle bus station.  We were the only ones on our shuttle for the 2km journey up the mountain to the ruins.  I had read somewhere that going in a clockwise direction was the preferred direction, opposite to the tour groups, and starting with the smaller temples.  I’m not sure I agree that was best, especially if you get there early as we did, because it meant that by the time we arrived at the largest temple complex it was busy.  I would recommend starting at the largest temple complex if you plan to arrive early.  When we were leaving there had to be 40 buses in the parking lot, and none when we arrived, confirming it was a good decision to get there early!

My Son Sanctuary is a cluster of partly ruined Shaiva Hindu temples, once the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom as well as the burial place of kings and religious leaders.  Constructed over 10 centuries from the 4th to 13th centuries by the My Son civilization, the temples differ in structural style reflecting the various eras of the Cham Kingdom.  Many of the towers have architectural designs symbolizing Mount Meru, the mythical sacred mountain home of Hindu gods at the center of the universe.  The towers are constructed in fired brick and decorated with sandstone bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.  My Son is perhaps the longest inhabited archaeological site in mainland SE Asia, but the majority of its architecture was destroyed by US bombing during the American/Vietnam war.  A few bomb craters are still visible around the complex and restoration work is ongoing.  It was a fascinating couple of hours and well worth a visit from Da Nang or Hoi An.


We signed up for a free evening street food tour in Hoi An and wow, what a tour.  The website said it was a 2-hour tour but ours turned into 3 hours!  Buying from street vendors and kitchens in decades old family houses we sampled a variety of food typical to Hoi An.  In Vietnam food culture is very important and buying fresh ingredients every day is the norm, as we have witnessed at the very busy morning markets.  Sometimes dishes are so specialized that only one family makes them, such as the black sesame soup we tried that has been made by one Hoi An family for generations.  We met the family matriarch who was 100 years old, her husband passed away last year, he was 108 years old.  There must be something special in that black sesame soup!!

Sampling black sesame soup

Other dishes we sampled during the food tour were pork skewers, banh mi sandwiches, sweetened dried coconut, white rose dumplings, cau lao noodles and a fruit shake.  The pork skewers were cooked on a sidewalk bbq grill and served with the ingredients to create our own rolls.

White rose dumplings (Banh Bao Vac) can only found in Hoi An and have been made in the same house by the same family for over 130 years.  The majority of the rose dumplings served in Hoi An restaurants are made by this family, but there a few places who make their own.

The family who makes all the rose dumplings.

Banh Mi is a baguette style sandwich introduced by the French during their colonization of Vietnam in the 19th century.  The Vietnamese have adapted the ingredients to locally available products resulting in an incredibly light, fluffy texture inside a deliciously thin crunchy crust.  I think this is the best bread I have ever tasted 😋 We enjoyed our Banh Mi at a small food stall in the market made famous by Anthony Bourdain.

Cau lau is another dish local to Hoi An, consisting of rice noodles, meat, greens, bean sprouts and herbs in broth.  What makes this dish unique to Hoi An is the water for the broth is taken from the Ba Le Well that is thought to have been built in the 10th century by the Chams.  Supposedly the water from the well has anti-aging properties if you want to splash some on your face!

Cau Lau (not my photo)

It was it a delicious way to spend an evening, plus we learned a lot about local food and Vietnamese culture from our lovely guide Anh.  We booked through freetour and while the tour is free, tips are how the guides get paid.  The website gives guidelines on suggested tips which we found helpful.  The cost for all the food during our tour came to 190,000 VND (USD $7.60) for both of us!!  Give this tour a try if you are in Hoi An, it was so worth it.

Our hotel in An Bang provided free bicycles which we took out early one morning for a ride through the nearby countryside.  Passing lush rice fields, roaming water buffalos and through the Tra Que Vegetable Village, a working vegetable farm.  Tra Que does not use chemicals or fertilizers, supplying fresher and cleaner produce to the local markets and restaurants.


Our sightseeing came to an abrupt halt after I developed a severe headache and fever and was unable to leave the hotel for 5 days, other than getting to a hospital.  The day my fever hit 39.2 C (102.5 F) we knew something had to be done.  I turned to our new friend Juanita who was a nurse in Canada, she recommended Dr Daniel at Family Hospital back in Da Nang.  We called the hospital and had an appointment an hour later, it was a rush to get there taking 50 minutes by Grab from our hotel in An Bang, but we made it just in time.  Blood tests, including a dengue fever test, a covid test and a chest x-ray were done and the results discussed with Dr Daniel, all within 2 hours.  The tests came back negative for dengue and covid but there is definitely an infection somewhere so I was prescribed antibiotics and told to come back next week for a follow up.  The entire hospital visit including antibiotics cost 1,531,000 VND (USD $62).  It took 3 days for me to start feeling better, just in time for our move back to Da Nang but putting an end to any further sightseeing in Hoi An.  Oh well, it was good to have time to recover and we saw most of what we wanted to see around Hoi An earlier.  So back to Da Nang we go, looking forward to 4 weeks of not doing very much as we enjoy a travel time out…..






The CHiEM Hotel in An Bang was only a few month old when we stayed there. It’s a lovely hotel but avoid the room on the first floor, above the kitchen.  The staff starts work at 5am and it can be quite noisy in the room.  We moved after just one night!




2 thoughts on “An Bang Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam

  • April 27, 2024 at 6:40 am

    Sounds like a great trip other than getting an infection. Glad that you got better and it wasn’t anything more sinister.

    The temples remind me of the ones in Angor Waht. People and food sound amazing. Nice relaxing place with sights, culture and food.

    • April 27, 2024 at 8:35 pm

      Thanks Bruce! My Son Sanctuary was really interesting, quite a bit older than Angkor Wat so it’s amazing that any of it has survived. An Bang is a fun beach area, we are glad we spent some time there by the sea.


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