Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Hoi An — The Prettiest Town in Vietnam


After four months on the road, I’ve learned which kinds of destinations I like the most: gritty cities, hippie beaches, small towns that have yet to be discovered by the masses.

I’ve also learned what I don’t like: any place that caters to wealthy, upmarket tourists.  By the time the upmarket tourists arrive, a place has usually been toured to death by everyone else.

Hoi An, an adorable little town in central Vietnam, is like one of the towns that I would be inclined to hate.  But against all odds, I loved Hoi An anyway.

Look at how pretty it is!

Hoi An is most famous for its custom clothing shops.  You can have formal wear, casual wear, traditional Vietnamese clothing or even shoes designed for you and priced far cheaper than you would pay at home.

Hoi An is also the best place in Vietnam for buying quality souvenirs, from artwork, furniture and antiques to cloth products and jewelry.

There’s a beautiful riverfront, and there’s no better way to explore it than to take a boat ride!

But I think that I like Hoi An because, unlike Luang Prabang or Siem Reap, it has a genuinely local feeling to it.  Hoi An is a destination for the Vietnamese as well as international tourists.  It helped that we stayed several blocks north of the main touristy area, where we met more locals.

Hoi An also has lots of delicious culinary specialties unique to the city.  My favorite dish?  Cau Lau Heo, wheat noodles in broth with slices of pork!

And it’s hard to find a town more photogenic than Hoi An.  There was a beautiful moment around every corner.

Go to Hoi An and enjoy it.  You might stay longer than you think.


28 Responses to “Hoi An — The Prettiest Town in Vietnam”
  1. Monica says:

    It does look gorgeous. I was there about a year ago but didn’t really get the chance to enjoy the place. Unfortunately, a typhoon hit while I was there and we were trapped in our hotel for 4 days while the floor water rose about 5m high!

    I’d definitely like to go back when it isn’t raining and when I don’t need a boat to travel through the streets!

  2. Very nice and simple write, I like how you presented Hoi An.

    I like small towns, less crowds and generally seem to have more to offer (or lack of if you will)).

    I have never been to Asia so I have no idea what its like, I hope to one day and seeing this would just make me remember to stop by :).

    I like all sorts of cities, though you are right I could only imagine going where the masses haven’t been yet because I haven’t done that myself.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Sars says:

    Joe likes Hoi An.

    Joe who?

    Joe Mama!

    This comment brought to you by Sophia Petrillo.

  4. Amanda says:

    I’ve heard good things about Hoi An — including the awesome custom shopping you can do! Did you get anything cool made while you were there? Or are you just sticking to those hippie pants of yours?

    It does definitely look like a very colorful and photogenic sort of place. Glad to hear you liked it!

  5. Mango Sarah says:

    Pictures are beautiful! I’m really hungry now…

    I love when you can get a taste for the local life and get away from the tourist strip. I agree with you that you tend to learn more about the culture and place. I like to ask where the locals like to eat (although it can be hard to get a truthful answer since many times they get kickbacks for suggesting places).

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Kirsty says:

    we loved hoi an when we were there – i think we ended up staying 7 days in the end! We really liked their cao lau speciality and one tiny restaurant did the nicest garlic mushrooms on toast ever! 🙂

  7. Connie says:

    Matt and I ended up staying Hoi An for almost two weeks because we absolutely fell in love with that place! The food, the people, the scenery, the shopping… We still talk about going back to Vietnam and Hoi An just to eat the cau lau and com ga!

  8. Sarah Von says:

    I loved Hoi An! But I loved the apple green Marilyn Monroe dress I had made there even more. <3

  9. Elise says:

    Vietnam has been my most favourite place that we have travelled to yet……and Hoi An..ah…Hoi An! I was like you as well, thinking i wouldn’t enjoy it, but it really is such a lovely town and sooooo photogenic! we took so many photos while we were there! I didn’t buy ONE thing while we were there (how good am I!?!?) But we plan to head back through there on our way back to Aus and Ant might get his suit made for our wedding there too!
    Glad you liked Hoi An just as much as I did!

  10. Bob Harvey says:

    The town looks like it’s celebrating something. Very cool.

  11. Reggie says:

    Vietnam is very beautiful! MY FAVORITE PART OF VIETNAM? THE FOOD!!!. That dish looks delicious!

  12. Jenny says:

    What a wonderful place to visit in Vietnam! I might visit this town when I go there this coming summer!

  13. Tammy Winand says:

    Looks great! Vietnam is definitely on my list of “someday”!
    Thanks for sharing your journeys.

  14. Hoi An was amazing!

    So nearly had a suit made. Got put off because I found several copy-cat shops of the place I was researching online!
    A freind of ours went CRAZY buying cloths. 2 proper suits, shirts, trousers – everything!

    Maybe get something designed when I go back again…
    Did you see the candles being floated down the river?!


  15. I got back from Vietnam last month having visted Hoi an for the 3rd time in four years. I just love it there.
    I’ve had a couple of things made and been pleased with them but it is pot-luck – so many tailors.
    Just released a new post today on Hoi An would love you to drop
    by and let me know what you think. 🙂

  16. Mark says:

    I stumbled upon Hoi An a few month’s ago whilst visiting beautiful Vietnam – a real highlight Food is superb and on the whole the clothes were great. Go visit this place.

  17. Alexa says:

    Please tell me you ate at Cafe 43. Super inexpensive and so incredibly delicious. One of the best places I ate at in Vietnam.

  18. Naadiya Farkas says:

    I am bookmarking this….as I visit Vietnam occasionally on business trip!

  19. Liz says:

    I loved Hoi An. It was so beautiful and felt more like a large village. Everyone I met was very nice and it was a lot safer than Saigon. I would recommend anyone going to Vietnam to spend a few days here. Also, the best beach is the small beach to the north (up the hill). It is smaller but a lot less crowded and if you get their by bicycle you will get some great photos of the paddy fields and water buffalo.

  20. Jaya Manning says:

    Hi Adventurous Kate…
    I realise it has been some time since your last post about Hoi An, however, I am heading to Vietnam (from Australia) for my 30th with my 8 yr old son, and plan it spend my actual birthday in Hoi An..
    Can you please tell me where you stayed or where you recommend? I am overloaded with reviews and can’t commit to anything yet.. I to like the hippy beaches, gritty cities and small towns… However want to find a real gem for my bday.. Price isn’t really an issue. We are making out way down from Hanoi to HCMC so plan to be in Hanoi for 2 or 3 nights.
    Thanks 🙂


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