Hoi An, Vietnam heritage city

By Fanny — Posted in Depaysemoi on

Depaysemoi Vietnam Tips Travel Guide

Unesco World Heritage Site, Hoi An, the city of lanterns, is one of the must-see when visiting Vietnam, if only to discover the splendor of the old town and its wooden architecture.

Very well preserved, the city was once an influential seaport ideally placed for the silk trade between the 15th and 19th century.
Despite the decline of the port, Hoi An has remained an important place for its traditional fabrics. After the long waves of invasion against it, many foreigners like Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese resided there. Now the city has become one of the most touristic places in the country.

For us, this city was a breath of fresh air. Not only did we have a great sunshine all along, but in addition, that's where we had to meet Valerie, the mother of my bestfriend. She was here for her work at France Vélo a travel agency that creates and organizes tours in France or abroad, All with the strength of your calves ! Here is the website for more details.
At Christmas, she offered us a night in a hotel in the city of our choice, so we chose to meet her here, to enjoy her day off together ! :D

Hoi An - Vietnam

What to see and what to do in Hoi An? The inescapable :

The old city

Visiting the old city of Hoi An is like traveling in time. In addition to its architecture, there are several monuments and museums to visit. Although we believe that walking around freely is the best way to discover the old city. In addition, motorized vehicles are not allowed, this makes the walk even more enjoyable.

How much does it cost ?

You have to pay to enter the old city is , If you follow the main road, you will arrive at a ticket office where you will be asked 120 000 VND, that is 5 € per person, which will give you a pass to visit in addition 5 monuments of the choice among a dozen proposed.
Astuce : On our side, we dodged this, if you take a small parallel street just before you arrive directly in the old town for free. After of course, you have to dodge the other wickets and you will not be able to do all the temples and museums.

Hoi An - Vietnam

Japanese bridge :

A remnant of the Japanese presence in the city, this 18th century bridge was built by the Japanese to connect the Chinese quarter. According to legend, the bridge represents the body of Cu, a monster whose other parts have been scattered to keep the spirit of the dragon : the head is in India, the tail in Japan.
At the ends are 2 statues representing a monkey, symbolizing the year of the beginning of the construction, and a dog for the end. In the middle of the bridge is a small inner pagoda.
You can admire it from an outside point of view near the river, but also cross it.

How much does it cost ?

The crossing is paying.. We don't have a clear idea of the price, but apparently this does not fit into the price of the ticket ... We found it a bit abused. But no worries, they only charge in a sense (yes, it makes sense...), so, you just have to go around and cross the other side and the trick is played !

Hoi An - Vietnam

The market :

It starts around 6h-6h30, and if you want to buy fish, it's time! Afterwards it will not be very fresh. If you are not an early riser, or trendy fish, the market offers other products like vegetables, fruits, spices, but also clothes, etc.

Hoi An - Vietnam

Tailor-made clothing in Hoi An :

Hoi An is the perfect place to make a tailor-made clothe. The city enjoys an excellent reputation, and completely justified !
The city has nearly 400 tailor shops, so you will have wide choice ! Costume, dresses, shoes ... No limit, if not the price you are willing to put. If you are just in time, some will go so far as to propose you to make a garment in 24h ... Work doesn't really frighten them in this country.
This is more expensive than in the usual shops, but it's still very affordable especially when compared to the tailor-made of our countries.

Tips :

  • Take the time to choose the shop, there are many, but not all have the same commitment to the customer.
  • If possible, avoid paying all at once, some will see no reason to put all their efforts into it.

Try the culinary specialties of the city :

Visiting Hoi An is an opportunity to taste the culinary specialties of the city including Cau Lau which is only sold here. This is a noodle soup with pork and spices.
You will also be able to test the famous Banh Bao Vac, the ravioli in the form of pink which we have already spoken inWhat to eat in Vietanam ?

How much does it cost ?

Cau Lau : 0,80€ (20 000 VND).
Banh Bao Vac : 1,5€ (40 000).

Visiting the city at night :

We don't call Hoi An the city of lanterns for nothing, as soon as night falls, the city lights up with the gentle colored lights of the many lanterns scattered everywhere. The city becomes almost fairy, it's just beautiful!
It's also the occasion to put a lantern on the river to see it light up in its turn. You can easily buy paper lanterns in shops, or small vendors located near the river. (The price is about 0,40€ - 210 000VND for a lantern).

To know :

The lanterns turn offat 10pm. Try to enjoy it before !

Hoi An - Vietnam

How long to stay in Hoi An ? :

At least 24h. The ideal is to sleep on site to fully enjoy the city itself. And then the city deserves at least this time !
Afterwards, if you want to explore it more deeply and in particular the surroundings which are full of places to visit, it will take 2 to 3 days. We stayed only 24hrs, but would not have said no to stay a bit longer !

Where to stay in Hoi An ? :

As said before, it was Valerie who offered us a hotel night (Thanks again :D). We didn't have to worry about accomodation, just to arrive safely ! We stayed at the Vinh Hung 2 Hotel which in addition to being 500 meters from the old city, offers nice rooms, and especially a swimming pool (which we took advantage of) !

Vinh Hung 2 Hotel :

Website : www.vinhhungcityhotel.com ?
Price : 30€ (795 000 VND) for a standard double room with breakfast included.
Activities : Wifi, swimming pool, restaurant, bar.

Hoi An - Vietnam

How to get to Hoi An ? :

If you come from Da Nang as was our case, you have to take a bus that lasts about 40 minutes.
Be aware that there isno train station in Hoi An, the bus is the best way to get there ... And leave !

How much does it cost ?

Bus prices Da Nang - Hoi An :About 2€ (52 000VND) per person.

How to get from Hoi An ? :

As said right above, there is no train station. As we were going to Hue just afterwards, we had to take a bus back to Da Nang, and then take a train to Hue. In addition to the 40 minutes of bus, it takes 3 hours of train to reach Hue.
It's also possible to make the bus journey directly from Hoi An with a journey of 5h maximum.

How much does it cost ?

Bus prices Hoi An - Da Nang : About 2€ (52 000VND) per person.
Bus prices Da Nang - Hue : 4€ (103 000 VND) per person (the price varies depending on the type of train and seat you book, and also ... the customer's head).
Bus prices Hoi An - Hue : 8€ (200 000VND) per person.

We hope that Hoi An has charmed you as much as we, and that made you want to go (or go back!).
We had a little crush for this historic place, we just regret that it's so touristy, this is reflected in the fact that everything is paying, even if it's cheap in our own currency, it's mainly the way of doing that disturbs.
Afterwards, it's the case of many beautiful places, so we can't really complain about it ! This is the eternal dilemma haha.

So, want to be "dépayser" in Hoi An ?

The prices shown are the ones we had, you may encounter a difference (good or bad!) but at least it gives you an idea.

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