Hoi An, Vietnam

Early morning when just the locals are out

Hoi An ancient town, located on the banks of the Thu Bon River, dates from the 15th to the 19th centuries.  The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is recognized as a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port along the Silk Route.  When merchants from China, Japan and later Europe settled in Hoi An during that time, they created a unique architectural fusion which remains today.  Prominent in the city’s old town is the covered Japanese Bridge dating to the 16th-17th century.  Sadly during our visit the entire structure was enclosed and under restoration but I did find a nice photo on the internet.

Japanese Bridge in Hoi An (not my photo)

In addition to its unique architecture the city offers distinctive regional cuisine blending centuries of cultural influences from east and southeast Asia.  One particular dish that can only be found in Hoi An is White Rose Dumplings.  Translucent white rice dough is filled with shrimp paste then shaped like a rose.  The dumplings originated from a family of Chinese origin who settled in Hoi An 130 years ago, and have been made by this one family, in the same house, for generations.  The dumplings are steamed, served with crispy fried shallots on top and a sweetened fish sauce, we had them a few times during our stay in Hoi An and we think they are a must try dish if you are here.

Rose Dumplings (not my photo)

To get from Da Nang to Hoi An we hired a driver for the 40-minute drive at a cost of VND 250,000 (USD $10).  Our hotel was located at the edge of town bordering the rice fields, it was a quiet place to relax away from the bustling heart of old town.  In fact, our hotel was so luxurious we spent quite a bit of time swimming in the pools, enjoying foot massages and riding the free bicycles around the countryside.

The day we arrived, our hotel had a free silk lantern making class so I jumped in and tried my hand at lantern making.  I think it turned out pretty good and I could have bought the lantern for VND 50,000 (USD $2) but as you can see from the photos below, there is just no way to carry this around Asia for the next four months.  A downside of nomad life….no souvenirs!

We took the hotel bicycles out early a couple of mornings, once heading away from town along the river to a nearby pottery village and another morning into ancient town to see the local food market and ride around before the tourists arrived.

  • Store in the pottery village


The Hoi An Lune Center is the first and only bamboo theater in Vietnam.  It was built for local art performances and is home to the renowned Vietnamese Bamboo Circus where stories drawn from daily life in Vietnam are told.  Using the art of storytelling together with bamboo props and music a unique show is created.  The performers are skilled acrobats and had us on the edge of our seats during some daring acrobatic scenes.  Photographs are forbidden during the performance but after the show the actors are outside and available to take photographs with them.  I am not sure we would have found out about this show had it not been for new friends Tracey & James inviting us to join them.  We recommend this show for anyone visiting Hoi An.  Tickets cost 1,150,000 VND (USD $46.94) each and can be bought online here.

Hoi An is famous for beautiful lanterns and every evening when it gets dark the silk lanterns lining the streets are lit up turning the town into a magical place.  The river is busy with tourist boats and floating lotus flower lanterns adding to the charm of this place.  The crowds can be overwhelming and I think Hoi An is suffering from over tourism, but it was enjoyable and very pretty to see all the lanterns lit up.

  • Getting ready for the evening rides


My favorite time of day in Hoi An was definitely early morning when the streets were quiet and the yellow hued buildings glowed in the sunlight.


Restaurants in Hoi An are abundant and we had no lack of choices for local and western food.  My tummy was not very happy while we were in Hoi An so we leaned towards mild western food during the week.  Our favorites places were:

  • The 1990’s Hoi An Restaurant – Vietnamese food, on the river outside of town
  • Cabanon – French restaurant on the river at the edge of town

After an enjoyable week in Hoi An it was time to move 15 minutes away to An Bang beach…..



2 thoughts on “Hoi An, Vietnam

  • April 22, 2024 at 4:38 pm

    Great review and recommendations! Thanks!

    • April 23, 2024 at 3:54 am

      Thanks! I hope you guys enjoy your time here as well, more info to come on the next blog post 😊


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