In the Travel Diary on my Vietnam adventure I’ve already been telling you how beautiful Hoi An is. Now I want to get back to that and tell you a bit more about this ancient city, which is also called Venice of Asia.
The nickname might be a bit confusing, because Hoi An isn’t like Venice at all, beside its long tradition and history. Old but small buildings, a lovely small harbor with a view century old boats still working, cyclists and tailors are the signature of the ancient city and set Hoi An apart from ever other vietnamese city.
First things first, Hoi An might be a vietnamese city, but after traveling the whole country, I know that even though their culture and history is enough to label this city as authentic Hoi An isn’t like other cities at all. The center isn’t crowded and motor bikes are banned from the old town, which means one is actually able to walk on the side walks or on the streets without being run over every few second. The ancient city doesn’t have chain stores, malls or fast food places, which indicate that the western world hasn’t taken over the county for good – thank god! No, Hoi An is different – as Vietnams one true food capital, as the only cyclist-friendly town in the country and as the only place were people understand what “preserve” really means and that an UNESCO World Heritage isn’t supposed to be used as a dumping ground, like many Vietnamese do at Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay … sadly.
After we arrived at 6am in the morning on our sleeper bus which we took from Nha Trang, we checked into our hotel: The Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel, which was amazing. We booked it via the internet only 2 days in advance and landed a great deal. It’s situated close to the city center (btw. there are no hotels in the old town). After getting settled in and a little fresh up we went off to discover the city which directly brought us to a tailor. Because: if a man finds himself in Hoi An once in his life he simply has to get a tailor-made suit. So I followed Christoph to the recommended tailor on
trip advisor called “Tony the tailor” and straight went to suits heaven and back. The shop itself isn’t much to see but the people definitely are. Advised by an elderly lady and her nieces Christoph had his tailor-made 007-alike suit the next day – perfectly fitted after only one (!) fitting! Deeply impressed by their excellent work we both can highly recommend the team of Tony the tailor for anyone who happens to be in Hoi An and in need of a suits, dress or whatever else – they can do it!
After being tired of walking we decided to rent a bike, which was definitely one of the best ideas ever. Because as I said above, Hoi An is a cycling friendly city and it is great fun exploring the old town on a bike. You just stop wherever you want – e.g. a pagoda or for a coffee and then cycle on.
Regarding food Hoi An is the Mekka for Asian Haute Cuisine – there are tons of really nice and well-known restaurant like for example Morning Glory and even coffee shops take the amazing vietnamese coffee culture to the next level. So if you are lustig for a kick-ass and super delicious vietnamese coffee pop by the Cocobox Coffee Shop – also for small gifts, nicely packaged Robusta Coffee, traditional coffee filter set and much more.
Sightseeing is quite easy in Hoi An, and if you just stroll around old town you gonna see them all. There are many small museums and pagodas to visit – some are free entry for others you need a ticket. So we bought tickets for all of old towns sights for about 5€ for 2 persons, even though we only went to one museum and mostly visited temple that free entry. But we thought this is how the people of Hoi An are able to preserve their city, because after traveling the whole country we weren’t sure if the government really cares much for the beauty of Vietnam and finances restoration. Anyway, my favorite sight was the Japanese Bridge, which is the dusty rosé building in the first and the fifth picture. As Hoi An has been a center of trade hundreds of years ago there can be found influence in the architecture from every Asian culture as well as from French. The same is true to the Japanese Bridge, which isn’t only a beautiful decorated bridge but also a small temple, built by merchants from Japan.
The one last beautiful thing about this magical ancient city is what Hoi An becomes in the evening. The second the sun sends its last warm sunbeams over the city the tourists and as well as locals come out on the streets – as you know Asians are afraid of the sun – and the whole city turns into a beautiful, colorful festival with fairy lights floating in the river, people sitting outside having a great time and celebrating the beauty of the moment. It has been pure magic wandering the city at night enjoying a very unique vietnamese experience.
So after reading this you might understand why Hoi An has to be on every to-do-list for a Vietnam trip!
I really hope you enjoy this post and pop by any time soon for more Vietnam posts 🙂