Do you want to be in a well-preserved ancient town in Vietnam with lantern-lit streets and rivers? Do you want to visit another UNESCO World Heritage town? Do you want a high-quality clothes tailored to your own liking? Do you fancy biking to the beach? Hoi An is the place!
Hoi An is a 15-hour train ride and 1-hour bus ride away from Hanoi. When I was planning our trip, we decided to make a one day stop-over at Hoi An before going south from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh. Even though our stay in this little gem of a tourist spot was very short, it left us a sort of magical memory, with its enchantingly lantern-lit streets and artsy vibe (reminded us of our trip to Penang, Malaysia).
How to get to Hoi An
There are lots of ways to go to Hoi An, mostly via Danang since Hoi An is pretty small with no airports and train stations. From Hanoi, we took a 15-hour train ride to Danang. From the Danang train station entrance, we walked straight following the road then took a left at Pizza Hut. We looked for the nearest bus stop and boarded a yellow bus to Hoi An.
Normally, the bus fair is 20,000 VND per person but since they knew we were tourists (maybe because of our bags and our lack of Vietnamese words), they asked us for 40,000 VND each. We didn’t mind though, since it was still cheaper than taking a taxi to Hoi An at approximately 400,000 VND.
When the bus finally stopped at the deserted bus terminal at Hoi An, we immediately hailed a taxi going to our hotel, Hoian Salute Hotel and Villa.
Kimmy Custom Tailor
We wanted to try having customised clothes so we sought for a good yet cheap tailor shop. Since it was the day before the tet holiday or the Chinese New Year, many of the shops were closed.
We decided to have ours made at Kimmy’s because apart from the flock of costumers going in and out of their shop, they had a really impressive lobby and services. And well, they were the only shop who could cater our request of having our clothes done before we leave. Address is 70 Tran Hung Dao.
I had two long sleeves made for work while Niks had a black trouser and a dark blue shorts (he finds it difficult to buy trousers at the malls with his preferred fit). They gave us iPads to look for design ideas and color. They were very accommodating and promised us to finish ours by 9PM (4 hours!). Since it was tet holidays and there was still high demand, the prices were a bit higher. All in all, we paid $91 for everything, which is still cheaper than having it custom-made back home at the same quality and service. When we came back by 9PM, minor alterations and finishing touches still had to be made. By 10PM, we walked out of Kimmy’s with satisfied smiles and custom-tailored clothes on our hands.
Ancient Town by Night
Definitely visit the Ancient Town at night with lantern-lit streets, houses, and restaurants. It was so magical. The night was made livelier with the flock of tourists, side-street vendors, and floating lanterns on the river.
We had dinner at Quang Thang, one of the restaurants along the river of the ancient town. It would have been nice to take a table outside to see the river but since it was very very very cold, we chose a table inside. We stayed there for a couple of beers then decided to go drinking at the other side of the river.
Hoi An Nightlife
There are a lot of bar choices, especially at Ancient Town, along the river. Most of the beers were a bit pricier than Hanoi beers though. The bars we tried were: Backpacker’s Bar and Restaurant All For you, which served relatively cheaper beers and buy-one-take-one cocktails! With the lights and the unique Hoi An vibe, we had a really good time that night.
Biking to Cua Dai Beach
After having breakfast at the hotel after a long and restful sleep, we packed our bags and checked-out from the hotel. We left our bags at the lobby and arranged for a taxi that will take us to Danang by 4PM. We decided to leave Hoi An early even though our train ride was still at 1:40AM because it was New Year’s Eve and we weren’t sure if there will still be taxis at night to Danang. After securing a taxi from the hotel, we rented bikes at $2 each. We also asked for a map that would guide us to Cua Dai beach, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To be honest, Cua Dai beach wasn’t really much compared to the beaches we have in the Philippines. The wind and the waves were too strong nobody dared swim. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our ride on the way, as we were able to see countryside of Hoi An.
We stayed there for about 30-minutes before biking our way back to the hotel. We had a yummy lunch at Café My Hier along Cua Dai road although they took quite a long time to serve our food. We then biked to ancient town to have one last quick look of the place at broad daylight.
Ancient Town by Day
By 4PM, we were picked up by the taxi we arranged earlier to take us to Danang. We were so regretful we weren’t able to spend a longer time at Hoi An since we had to catch the train to Ho Chi Minh later that night. Definitely, 24 hours at Hoi An isn’t enough to experience that magic of this small town! A must-visit when visiting Vietnam!
Below is a summary of our Hoi An tour itinerary plus actual expenses in VND, USD and PhP (for two people).
- Be sure to check the weather. It was very cold when we visited Hoi An (9 deress Celcius!), so better be prepared.
- Definitely visit all the available tailor shops before settling into one.
For any questions, leave a comment or send me an email!
Check out our other adventure here:
- 1 Day in Hanoi
- 2D/1N Cruising at Halong Bay
- Traveling in Vietnam via Saigon Express
- 2 Days in Ho Chi Minh
- Crossing the Vietnam-Cambodia boarder by Bus
- 11 Days Vietnam-Cambodia Itinerary and Summary