The Highlights of Hoi An
Easy-going Hoi An is a traveller's dream. Full of grace, this traditional port town in Vietnam will captivate all who hit her shores with a veritable blend of intriguing history and cosmopolitan charm. Here are our top things to do in Hoi An.
Explore Ancient Town
On the fringe of Ancient Town lies the Thu Bon River. Life centres around this mesmerising body of water where conical-hat clad women and men glide along on traditional boats and its shores are alive with street food vendors and market stall holders. Ancient Town has a true bohemian feel and you can easily spend days wandering or cycling through this warren of attractions, souvenir stalls and cafes.
Enjoy some beach time
If you're staying near Ancient Town, it's an easy four-kilometre bike ride to either stretch of sand. You won't be able to ride right to the shore, but you won't be short on secure places to park your bike. Keen entrepreneurs have set up bike parks where you can lock up your wheels for a small fee.
After all that peddling, you'll no doubt be in need of some liquid libations. Settle into a beach chair or a daybed beneath a gazebo at one of the many bars/cafes and while away the afternoon. If you like pina coladas (and getting caught in the rain), head straight to Soul Kitchen.
Visit Tra Que Vegetable Village
If you're a keen green thumb, why not book in for a 'day in the life' tour and try your hand at harvesting everything from mint and coriander to the incongruous fish mint – its name is an apt representation of its flavour. It's a taste you won't forget anytime soon!
Get something tailored
Three dishes encapsulate Hoi An's culinary heritage: cao lau, a unique noodle dish; white rose, a clear pork and prawn dumpling; and com ga, chicken rice made with turmeric and a fiery chilli jam. You can find these in most restaurants in Hoi An, but head to the jam-packed Central Market for the most authentic versions.
For something a little different, head to Bale Well, where, quite simply, you'll eat well. This unassuming restaurant is renowned for its spread of make your own rice paper rolls which includes spring rolls, crispy banh xeo (a savoury pancake) and grilled meats to wrap up with fresh herbs.
Fortunately, you don't have to spend big to eat well. Fine dining hasn't quite infiltrated this tourist town, so you can take your pick from a range of riverfront restaurants which serve up stellar cuisine without having to dip too far into your travel kitty.
Enrol in a cooking class
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