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3 Days in Hoi An, Vietnam

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Article author: michael
michael
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This is the 4th part in my Vietnam & Thailand 2019 series.

You can view my Vietnam overview page, as well as my Thailand overview page with links for all the cities I stopped at.


Day 14

We made a lazy day of Day 14. Mostly just to take it easy, but also as we hadn’t really booked anything specific to do in Hoi An, so there was no rush.

Drive to Hoi An from Da Nang

My girlfriend booked private car for us to get to Hoi An from Da Nang. The drive is about 45 minutes, so it’s not that long, and although I don’t recall the exact price she paid - ~200,000 VND (or ~$10 CAD), it wasn’t a huge amount.

Check-in to Hoi An Town Resort

We stayed at the Hoi An Town Resort as it’s a resort my girlfriend is familiar with, and one she had a few free nights stay at, so it made sense to use them up!

Hoi An Town Resort

Hoi An Town Resort

The resort is a little out of the way, but it’s not too far to walk to the Old Town, and they have free bikes you can borrow to cycle around the town if you want.

The resort was much nicer than I expected, and really nice and clean. The rooms are spread across 3-floor bungalows/units, and the walk to the units is through a nice garden area.

Hoi An Town Resort

Hoi An Town Resort

Hoi An Town Resort

The bathroom was also really nice and spacious, with a pretty big shower!

Hoi An Town Resort

Hoi An Town Resort

I didn’t really take any great shots of the exterior, but you can kind of get a sense from the pic below, which shows one of the exterior paths leading to the bungalows, with the bungalows on the left and the restaurant and dining area on the right.

Hoi An Town Resort

Breakfast was included, and they also have a pool, although oddly it’s in a separate area that they drive you to via golf buggy.

Walk around Hoi An Old Town

After checking in, we grabbed a double-seater bike and cycled into the Old Town. It’s not far, and it’s a nice easy cycle.

When we arrived in the old town, we left the bike at one of the many places you can park motorcycles and bikes, and then walked around the old town. There’s a small fee to do so (20,000 VND), but it’s not much.

As I noted above, we didn’t have any specific agenda in Hoi An. I did actually want to have a suit made, so we walked around some of the streets while also looking for Yaly, which was the tailor I had been recommended by a friend.

Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old Town

Banh My Phuong

Before heading to Tan Ky house, we stopped for lunch at Banh My Phuong. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it’s a pretty famous Banh My place in Hoi An, and my girlfriend had been before and wanted me to try it. I’m not quite sure which banh my she ordered, but it was damn good! I know there was some pâté, and some grilled pork, as well as some other meat I believe. It’s of course also filled with the typical banh my fillings of cucumber, carrot, and coriander.

Banh My Phuong

Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Hoi An!

Tan Ky Old House

One of the things I had earmarked to do in Hoi An was to visit the Tan Ky Old House, which is one of the oldest houses in Hoi An, having been built in 1741. The front of the house is on Nguyen Thai Hoc street, and the back is on Bach Dang street, which faces Hoai river. So when you enter from the front, you can exit out the street at the back facing the river.

Hoi An Old Town

To enter Tan Ky house though, you need a ticket. I forget the exact location of the ticket booth we bought the tickets at, but you basically need to purchase a ticket “pack”, that gives access to 5 sites/venues, and I think also gave access to a show we wanted to see but unfortunately ended up not having time to go.

Ticket Pack price: 110,000 VND

I didn’t take any photos inside the house, nor did we have a guided tour. But, well, there really wasn’t much to see. You can’t go upstairs, and it takes all of 5 minutes max to walk through the house. I suppose if you’re a real history buff, you might find it interesting, but I didn’t really, and frankly found it a waste of time and money.

My advice: skip it.

After that, as we exited in front of the river, we walked along it for a bit to see what else there was.

The river in the old town is quite nice, but even nicer by night when it’s lit up. We planned to come back at night the following day, so we didn’t spend too much time here at this point.

Hoi An Old Town

After that, we grabbed our bike and cycled back to the hotel to make our plans for dinner and the next day.


Day 15

Day Market

We started the day with a nice breakfast at the hotel, and then headed back in to the old town to visit the day market.

The day market is packed with stalls selling fresh fruits and veg, meat, fish, and other food items. It’s a great place to visit if you want to see the local produce, and also to buy some fresh food. You’ve also got vendors selling other items, such as clothes, shoes, and other souvenirs.

Day Market

Day Market

We picked up a few things for lunch and dinner, and then headed back to the hotel to drop them off, before returning to explore the Old Town some more.

Fujian Assembly Hall

Fujian Assembly hall, or Phước Kiến Hội Quán, is a temple in Hoi An, originally built in 1697 as a traditional assembly hall by Chinese merchants from Fujian province in China. It’s now a beautiful temple, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fujian Assembly Hall

Fujian Assembly Hall

Tracing Chinese history back to 1649, the Qing dynasty won a pivotal war against the Ming government. After the Ming Dynasty collapsed, many Fujian families migrated to Southeast Asia, including Vietnam. Lord Nguyen, the ruler of Inner Realm (Central and Southern Vietnam), allowed them to settle in Hoi An and erect Minh Huong Village. There, they established the Fujian Assembly Hall to serve the fellow community – the largest concentration of Chinese was in Hoi An at the time.
vinpearl.com

There’s quite a lot of greenery in the complex - shrubs and trees, so it’s very pleasant inside.

Fujian Assembly Hall

Fujian Assembly Hall

The temple has been restored several times over the years, and so I’m not sure how much, if any, of the original structures are left.

Fujian Assembly Hall

I always love the sculptures and statues in these temples. They’re so intricate and detailed, and almost always done in really beautiful colours.

Fujian Assembly Hall

Japanese Covered Bridge

After the temple, we headed over to the Japanese covered bridge. The Japanese Covered Bridge, or Chùa Cầu, is a beautiful bridge in the old town, built in the 1590s by the Japanese community in Hoi An. It’s a very popular tourist attraction, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Chùa Cầu is a footbridge with a temple atop, located in Hoi An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. It is also referred to as “Cầu Nhật Bản” (Japanese Bridge), “Japanese Covered Bridge”, or “Lai Viễn Kiều”.
[…]
The footbridge is 18 meters long and 3 meters wide. A small temple sits on the north end of the bridge, with the entrance in middle of the bridge overlooking the water.
[…]
In 1653, Japanese residents built a temple atop the bridge as a way to, according to legend, placate the earthquake-inducing monster Namazu.
Wikipedia

Japanese Covered Bridge

You’ll need a ticket to cross the bridge if you want to cross it, however if you just want to take pics on the bridge, you can likely get away with not having to use-up a ticket.

Japanese Covered Bridge

That said, it’s only a single ticket to cross, and if, like me, you purchased the pack of 5, might as well use them somewhere!

Japanese Covered Bridge

Once you cross the bridge, there’s not a heck of a lot to see. There are more street vendors and shops, but I don’t think you’re really missing much if you don’t go across.

Old Town at Night

Later that evening, we headed back to the old town. Night time is when Hoi An Old Town really comes alive. The streets are lit up with lanterns hanging between the buildings, the river is lit up with floating lanterns, it’s packed with people, and there are sometimes free shows going on outside put on by street performers. It’s a really beautiful sight, and a lot of fun.

Old Town at Night

Old Town at Night

After being hounded by some locals to go for a boat ride, we decided to go for it. I forget the exact cost, as my girlfriend did the negotiating in Vietnamese, but it wasn’t horrible.

It’s a pretty relaxing ride, as the boats are rowed by hand, and the river is pretty calm. We lit a few lanterns while out on the water, and set them into the water to float away.

Old Town at Night

After the boat ride, we walked around on the opposite side of the river, where you’ll find some more night markets and lots of people selling the pastel-coloured lanterns (the kind you hang, not the floating ones).

We spent some time just relaxing, people watching, and enjoying the beautiful glow of the lanterns hanging everywhere.

Old Town at Night

Old Town at Night

After that, we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.


Day 16

I was originally supposed to be heading to Da Lat later in the day on day 16, but the previous day (day 15), I realized a huge issue with my plane ticket heading to Da Lat that I had previously missed/overlooked.

While my original booking was fine, an email had come in while I was still in Montreal, advising of a flight reschedule. I had overlooked it as I thought the flight times were the same, but the new flight was leaving 12 hours earlier (same exact hour, just AM instead of PM)! As I was waiting on a suit being made for me, I wouldn’t be able to make the rescheduled flight.

I scrambled on the afternoon of November 21st to figure out what to do, but with no viable flights, I decided to just cancel my 2 days in Da Lat, and book a new flight back to Hanoi with my girlfriend on the evening of November 22nd.

Breakfast at the Resort

We sat down for our last breakfast at the resort, and I was feeling a little down that our time was up in Hoi An. There’s not really a whole lot to do in Hoi An, but it’s such a beautiful place, and I really enjoyed the time we spent there.

Breakfast at the Resort

I hope we can go back to Hoi An and this resort at some point in the future, as it was a really relaxing place to stay.

After breakfast, I had to make several trips back and forth to the Old Town, as I had a suit to pick-up from Yaly, and so we spent most of the day getting the final adjustments made before we had to head to the airport in Da Nang.

Swimming at the Resort Pool

We did manage to get some time in at the pool, which was nice. The pool wasn’t right at the resort, but was just a quick walk away. The hotel insisted they drive us with the golf buggy though!

I swam for a bit while my girlfriend relaxed on the lounge chairs for a while, before we headed back to the hotel to pack up our things and head to the airport.

Shuttle to Da Nang airport: 200,000 VND


Well, that was it for our quick stay in Hoi An. Join me in the next post when we head back to Hanoi to see some of the things I missed on my previous visit!

Until next time,
michael 😀

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