The nearest airport to Hoi An is Da Nang, serving both domestic short hops within Vietnam and also some International flights, majority of which stop via an Asian hub such as Seoul or Bangkok. If you fly to Da Nang try to schedule a flight which lands in the morning so you can visit Marble Mountain en route to Hoi An. I spent a day travelling along the coastal road from Hue taking in incredible sites along the way including the infamous Hai Van pass (as seen on Top Gear), two lovely beaches and the afore mentioned Marble Mountain – if you want to explore Vietnam properly this is the only way to do it!
It is difficult to decide which area of Hoi An to stay in, there are nice boutique hotels nestled within the picturesque old town and more luxurious resorts out towards the paddy fields and coastline. Being indecisive I couldn’t choose so instead opted for Golden Bell Homestay located between the two. They offer free bicycle hire which is the best way to discover the surrounding area, although if you fancy walking the old town is a mere 15 minute walk.
Within the old town you will find various street vendors offering delicious Vietnamese snacks all very delicious to try. To create your own delicious lunch and learn Vietnamese cooking skills to show off when you get back home and create your own delicious lunch I suggest visiting Red Bridge cooking school. The experience includes a visit to the local market where you will learn about the ingredients, a cooking class where you will be shown several dishes and of course your (hopefully) yummy food to eat for lunch.
Not famed for its nightlife Hoi An offers a much more low key vibe to enjoy a cold beer or cocktail whilst watching the world go by. To avoid the sky high prices cross over the Thu Bon river so you are facing the Japanese bridge (the views are better this side too!)
There’s so much to do in Hoi An! You can spend time exploring the old town, getting custom made clothes and wandering around the lanterns lit up at night. You can make a fool of yourself like I did whilst attempting to steer a basket boat and you can learn new culinary skills at a cooking school. For more of a chilled afternoon you can go on a bicycle ride to nearby islands or relax at the beach (warning: the water is cold!).
Whilst in Hoi An I spent half a day experiencing local fishing and farming customs with Jack Tran Tours. My basket boat skills weren’t quite up to scratch!
Vietnam is a great place to open up your tastebuds to Asian cuisine. Snails and Pho are just some of the delicious types of Vietnamese food you should try.