Hoi An is one of those places I could visit again and again and it would never lose its magic. Known for its ancient town, canals and architecture, its a town where “That’s so pretty” can be heard in an array of languages. I feel very lucky to have been able to visit 3 times so far and will be embarking on my 4th time in May when my friends Felix and Shiv visit.
I love revisiting places and seeking out the hidden spots I missed before, and believe me, there’s always hidden gems to be found in Vietnam. The landscape of cafe’s and restaurants change constantly, it’s hard to keep up with.
Continuing my series of bullet stop itineraries for the traveller or holiday makers looking to get the most out of their trip to Vietnam on a tight schedule. Here is the 48 hour Hoi An guide!
9.00 am – Arrive at your accommodation. Hoi An has many homestay’s, villas, mansions and hostels to suit any budget. All you have to do is scour Booking.com and you’ll come across an abundance of inexpensive places to lay your beach hat for the weekend. In the past I’ve stayed at Louis Villa Hoi An, situated in between the town and beach.
11.00 am – Once your settled into your abode, head into town for an early lunch. Most accommodations will offer free bicycles or you can rent motorbikes. I recommend The Red Snapper for lunch which can be found along the riverside, although you will not go a miss for amazing places to eat in the town. After this, spend the afternoon meandering around the town, checking out the iconic Japanese bridge, tailor shops and stocking up on presents for people back home (or yourself).
Hoi An is quite infamous for its silks, the trick I’ve found to haggling in Vietnam is to try to learn some Vietnamese. The traders appreciate it and often you’ll get a lower price and not be taken for a naive tourist. Start by learning ‘how much?’ ‘bao nhiêu?’, and numbers. The currency in Vietnam is extremely inflated so Vietnamese people often just use the basic 100, 200 etc system to describe 100,000 vnd when exchanging money. If you can decipher your “một trăm” (100) from your “hai trăm năm mươi” (250) you’re already on a winning streak in the haggling world.
If you’re looking for a little quiet amongst the bustling walking streets then head over to Phin Coffee. Hidden at the end of a winding alley way, it’s the perfect place to feel secluded and enjoy some afternoon coffee. As one of the biggest exporters in coffee, it’s something Vietnam prides itself on, to visit and not try one of their speciality coconut coffees “cà phê dừa” would be a sin. They also have the cutest pup to fawn over.
6.00pm – Grab early dinner at Nosta Life, another gem tucked behind the waterfront restaurants. Quirky wall art, fairy lights and the most delicious Vietnamese and fusion food for a reasonable price.
After dinner proceed to explore the vibrant night markets, serving yummy Vietnamese banana pancakes, rolled ice-cream and the acquired taste of BBQ frog amongst other street food novelties.
Spend the rest of the evening dancing the night away on the waterfront where ‘happy hour’ is every hour, or wind the night down with a night-cap at one of the many bars. The Shamrock Irish pub just up from Nosta life is a great in between, lots of seating and live music.
11.00 am – Rise and shine for your second day in Hoi An, it’s beach day! Enjoy a lazy lie in, hopefully getting the most out of your free homestay breakfast and swimming pool.
Leave the motorbike behind today and opt for the free bicycle depending on your proximity to the beach. Cycle to Co Co restaurant (177 Cửa Đại, Cẩm Sơn, Hội An) on the river for a tranquil setting and easy lunch.
2.00pm – Make your way to An Bang beach to top up on my two favourite things, vitamin D and Vitamin Sea. Don’t forget to bring sun cream! An Bang offers everything you need to enjoy a true beach day, white sand, palm trees, cocktails served to you on the beach and a shallow sea bed that goes on and on. It can get busy but nowhere near as busy as some European beaches in my experience. I’m not a fan of packed beaches either, but I’ve never felt uncomfortable on An Bang.
There are also plenty of water sports activities to indulge in if you’re feeling adventurous, I recommend Paragliding for less than $15.
7.00pm – No need to head back into the town for dinner, one of the best restaurants I’ve been to happens to be right on the beach. ‘Soul kitchen’ boasts excellent food, live music and beach front views. Finish the evening with drinks here to reflect on your time in Hoi An and prepare for your next adventure.
As with any destination Hoi An has so much to offer and if you have any spare time, it’s worth exploring the country side scenery by bicycle. You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned any temples and this is simply because If you’re travelling Vietnam you’ll see much grander temples I’m sure, but if you do fancy a temple then Quan Cong Temple is in the Ancient town. This temple pays tribute to General Quan Cong – who is revered to as being courageous and loyal. All the places I have mentioned accept credit cards, accept for the street vendors of course.
This brings me to the end of my 2 day itinerary, if you have any other suggestions please comment below because I’d love to hear more about new places for my next trip. Thank you for reading!