If there is a place in the world that i’ve been to that most resembles a story book town, Hoi An is it. Located on the central coast of Vietnam, Hoi An is an enchanting, colourful and lively town that’s a must-visit for anyone traveling to Vietnam.
It’s a picturesque puzzle of alleyways which used to be one of Vietnam’s main ports- and here you’ll find no shortage of tailors, spas, eateries and photo opportunities.
Unless you’re traveling through Vietnam by road, to get to Hoi An, fly into the closest airport- Da Nang. You’ll then need to take a taxi journey 30km down the coast to reach this enchanting town.
We stayed at the Anantara Hội An which is located almost in the centre of it all. it’s a relaxing sanctuary with colonial vibes, an amazing buffet breakfast and luxurious outdoor pool area for lazy afternoons.
The Anantara is within walking distance of shops, restaurants and tailors, and they provide you with many activities to keep your days busy- cooking classes, bikes to ride through the rice paddies and sunset riverboat trips.
Anantara Hội An
1 Pham Hong Thái, Son Phong, tp. Hoi An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
TO DO & SEE
GET SOMETHING TAILORED
Hội An is known for it’s abundance of tailors. You can get anything made here – from custom-made suits to silk gowns to leather shoes and bags. If you’re going to get something tailored, make sure to leave yourself at least a few days to do so. Make sure to be specific with your order, measurements & details- bring along a sample garment or detailed images to ensure you get a great fit- and don’t forget your bartering skills.
My biggest tip would be to hit the tailors on your first day so you’ve got enough time for fittings and any adjustments.
A leather tote bag will cost roughly $50NZD and simple cotton dresses about $20-$35 NZD.
These are the three places I went to in Hoi An and can vouch for. The three ladies at each of these tailors were kind, easy to work with and we loved chatting to them.
Leather wallets & shoes:
(These two are located right outside the Anantara Hotel)
BI 99- 12 PHAM HONG THAI ST, HOI AN
We had leather boots and bags made here which we love. Be really specific with all details of your boots.
DZUNG FREE SPIRIT- 1B PHAN BOI CHAU ST, HOI AN
We had some small leather purses made here (about $12NZD each) and leather sandals ($25NZD).
BINH THUY- 111 NGUYEN DUY HIEU ST, HOI AN
I had a cotton wrap dress (maxi) made here and it is the most perfect fitting dress in my wardrobe.
Tip- If you want to get a dress made in good quality silk- I suggest brining 2-3 metres of silk from home(139-150cm in width) to ensure you get 100% silk which is colourfast, good quality and authentic. I found that good quality silks here were hard to find unless you went to a fabric store and then took it separately to the tailor. We were also reassured multiple times that fabric swatches were *100% silk* but because I’ve worked in the fashion industry, I knew the difference. Some of the silks here also aren’t colour fast, which means that when you wash them, the colour will run like wild.
Before getting too excited and ordering 10 items, if you can spare the time, get one garment made (usually this takes 1-2 days) and make sure it fits, it’s good quality and you’re happy with it before ordering more garments.
You’ll always be required to leave a cash deposit (usually 30-40% of the total order) but make sure you keep your receipt so you don’t forget how much you gave and so you also remember which store to go back to!)
THE OLD TOWN
The old town architecture here in Hoi An is a mix of French Colonial, Japanese and Chinese and is so unique. Spend your days just wandering through the dreamy mustard coloured laneways and strolling down the canals. Make sure to stop at the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Chinese Assembly Halls for photo stops.
The city of Hoi An comes alive at night with colourful lanterns, street food stalls and lights. Sitting down by the river on a balmy evening with a drink in hand at theMango Rooms makes for a pretty magical setting.
Cycling the streets of Hoi An is the best way to get out and explore the rice paddies, vegetable farms and the nearby An Bang beach. Most hotels offer bikes free of charge or you can rent these around the town.
If you’re planning to visit, prepare yourself for a gastronomic affair to remember. If you feel like getting amongst it all, there’s plenty of cooking classes around the town so you can take some of the secrets home with you.
Don’t leave without trying Bahn Mi and the local dish of White Rose dumplings- a steamed rice flour dumping with a centre of ground shrimp mea serves with shallots and vinegar dressing.
Minh Hien Vegetarian & Cooking Classes (make sure to try the fried & fresh spring rolls, banana leaf salad and white rose dumplings) 50 Tran Cao Van | 30A Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoi An
Morning Glory 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc St, Hoi An
An Gia Cottage 93 Lac Long Quan, Hoi An, Vietnam
Miss Ly 22 Nguyen Hue Street, Hoi An
Mango Rooms 111 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hoi An
Special Thanks to Air Asia for getting me safely to Vietnam!