Hoi An Ancient town – Hoi An Oldtown

Hoi An Ancient town – Hoi An Oldtown: Holidays in Vietnam

  • Hoi An Ancient town is truly the most charming place to stop in central Vietnam. The preservation of 18th century architecture & way of life in the old town continues to lure wide eyed visitors.
  • Once you arrive in Hoi An from the north or south, you’ll wish you had planned to stay longer. It’s a place that tugs on your sense of peace. It’s safe & easy to explore. There’s loads to do & see!
  • Hoi An Full Moon Festival: looking for some romance on your Vietnam holidays: 2013 Hoi An Full Moon Festival Dates Photography tours Etienne Bossot prend toi a Hoi An’s BEST locations at sunrise and sunset. Etienne habit en Hoi An With Spring around the corner, it’s time to check out the new fashions out of Hoi An.
  • Shopping in Hoi An Vietnam Vietnam Cooking Classes at least 1 day of your holidays in Vietnam. Travel Guide: Hoi An’s best cooking schools Randy’s Book Exchange in Hoi An has a serious collection of books. He can write too: The Headstone & the Wizard You may be surprised to find a holiday in Vietnam becoming a long term proposition! House rentals loi pinel real estate in Hoi An Vietnam.
Hoi An Ancient town - Hoi An Oldtown
Hoi An Ancient town – Hoi An Oldtown

Hoian Old Town

  • Originally called Faifu, Hoian was a busy port on the Silk Route. Japanese & French influences are evident. Protected by Unesco world heritage status, Hoian still retains her charm & character.
  • Most Vietnam vacations start in Saigon or Hanoi as there are few international flights to Danang. Safe & easy for families to explore, Hoian is a welcome break after the bustle of the cities.
  • The surrounding countryside is lush rice fields, islands & fishing nets mirrored in the Bonn River. Hoian Old Town has top quality restaurants & the western food is exceptional.

The Architecture of Hoi An

  • Hoi An is special because from the 16th century on, many flourishing commercial ports such as Malacca & Penang developed. Today, most of these either decayed totally or became a large modern port. In both cases the original townscape was lost through neglect or demolition. What’s amazing about Hoi An Ancient town is it’s still intact and was built mainly in wood and is known to flood every year.
  • Town lay out: The ancient town is situated on the north bank of the Thu Bon river and covers an area of 0.3km . There is a street running east-west along the river’s edge and three further streets parallel to the river. They are intersected at right-angles by streets and alleys. Within this area there are houses (often combined with shops), religious monuments such as pagodas, temples, communal houses, family cult houses, a ferry quay and an open market.
  • All of which is still operating today.
  • Architecture: The building style of Hoi An combines traditional Vietnamese designs & techniques with those from other Asian countries, whose citizens settled there to trade and built houses and community centres in their own designs. These influences came principally from China, but Japanese styles can also be seen in certain details.
  • Famous Japanese Bridge: There is an ornate wooden bridge, reminiscent of Japanese examples, with a pagoda on it. It has existed from at least the early 18th century. The Japanese bridge can be found in many local paintings.

A brief history of Hoi An & Vietnam

Hoi An ancient town has been known by many names: Faifoo, Faicfo & Hoai Pho. First founded by the Champas, Hoi An became an important trading port on the silk route.

2nd Century BC

  • Founded by the Champas who landed first on Cu Lao Cham & from there explored the mainland. Hoi An began as a trading centre with the local Sa Huynh people who lived on the Thu Bon river.
  • Trade carried on for 1,700 yrs. Hoi An became the most powerful port of the Champa Kingdom. In the 15th century the Champa kingdom fell to the Viet people retreating south from the Chinese.

16th – 19th Centuries

  • Vietnam absorbed the Champa Kingdom & Hoi An flourished as major trading port on the silk route. 
  • Hoi An attracted ships and traders from allover Asia & Europe. Christianity in Vietnam first appeared in Hoi An in the 17th century.
  • The king of the Nguyen dynasty imposed a closed trade policy in the 19th century & Hoi An stagnated economically. Later the policy was lifted, but, bigger modern ships required the deeper port at Da Nang

Hoi An today

  • Oozing charm, history & culture, Hoi An is a bustling tourist town. In the past 20 yrs Hoi An has gained a reputation for good quality, tailored clothes. There are now over 400 tailors shops in Hoi An. 
  • Hoi An offers tasty local dishes such as Quang My, Cau Lau & White rose. The new beach road to Danang is now complete, opening the way for development of the coastline.

Things to do near Hoi An in Vietnam

Diving on Cham Island. Pick up from Hoi An Vietnam

  • Travel guides say it’s similar to Thailand 20 years ago. Tourist info & Cu Lao Cham This might be the Vietnam holidays package you’ve been looking for: Dive & Camp Cham beach party: full moon dates, beach party dates & travel bookings

Hangin’ with Hoa at Marble Mountain near Da Nang

  • You’ll never forget Hoa. 25km from Hoi An. Stop for lunch or overnight? China Beach 1/2 day adventure next to China Beach near Da Nang Vietnam History & culture Philippe Lesprit’s pro photo inside the big cave at Marble Mountain.

Shop til you drop in Hoi An Ancient Town!

  • Hoian is known for it’s many shops all in walking distance. Here’s what not to miss Tips for making tailored clothes on holiday in vietnam. Travel guide: Hoi An Tailors Mannys, peddys, new dos & massages, from $$$ to very affordable

La Plage Beach Bar is now open on An Bang

  • La Plage is 5km from Hoi An & has a refreshing approach to business. They have wheel chair access & are child-friendly, free wi-fi, yoga at sunrise & movie nights for locals and visitors alike. Definitely a great spot to spend the day. An Bahn is where Vietnamese go at sunrise to do morning exercise.

Vietnam holidays & adventure travel in Vietnam

  • We will soon be launching a new page on this site focusing entirely on travel, vietnam holidays & adventure travel in Vietnam. If you manage a Vietnam tour, hotel, backpacker, resort or homestay; contact us so we can list your products on the new Backpack Vietnam travel page.

Vietnam beaches: Hoi An’s best beaches

  • Vietnam has some big beaches. The beach near Hoi An is 45km long & sretches from the Bonn Estuary south of Hoi An to Monkey Mountain north of Da Nang. The Hai Van Pass at the top leads to Hue. It’s a nice tour if you’re up for a full-day adventure on a Minsk. Hoi An Motorbike Adventures
  • Cua Dai Beach, the main tourist beach for Hoi An has a good selection of beach resorts, river resorts, boutique hotels & local amenities: internet, laundry, swimwear shops, seafood restaurants & an ATM. Sunrise over Cham is spectacular after a beach party at Hoi An Beach Club located on Cua Dai Beach.
  • Arriving at Cua Dai Beach from Hoi An on Cua Dai Rd, turn left to Da Nang or right onto the sand bar which leads to the mouth of the Estuary of the River Bonn & the public ferry to Cham Islands.
  • An Bang Beach is an easy 2km bike ride north from Cua Dai Beach. A sleepy fishing village: a handful of bars & seafood restaurants. Hoi An Yoga do sunrise yoga classes at La Plage Beach Bar on An Bahn. Popular with Hoi An locals & expats alike, An Bahn Beach is more chilled out compared to Cua Dai.
  • 15 km north on the coast road to Da Nang, is, Ha My Beach & the super 5 star Nam Hai Beach Resort. After another 10km at the foot of Marble Mountains is Non Nouc Beach or China Beach Vietnam. Dispositif Pinel to reach your destination.
  • Hoian Beach, featured in Apocalypse Now is one of the more famous beaches in Vietnam: helicopters, surfing, napalm in the morning. Hoa’s Place is a cool backpacker hangout & the heart & soul of China Beach Vietnam. The best surfing spots near Hoi An are Hoian Beach or Cua Dai beach/estuary.

Drinking Spots in Hoi An, Vietnam

Zero Sea Mile Club – Cui Dai Beach

Right on the beach, boasting a lovely terrace, swimming pool, billiards table, full service restaurant & rock n’ roll! Owner Tuan knows how to run a bar. He’s already proved himself with Before & Now in the old town. Competing directly with the likes of the Sailing Club in Nha Trang. He’s looking for a western manager to get the place rolling. Interested?

Hoi An Salsa Club – Across from Japanese Bridge

This modern Saigon-style but colonial bar/restaurant has Salsa lessons & dancing every night. Hoi An finally has a place to go for fun dancing & nice cocktails! Dancing upstairs, lounging & food served downstairs. Lovely view of the Hoi An river front. Really friendly staff & mad owner Mr Linh never ceases to surprise!

The Sleepy Gecko Chill Out Lounge – Cam Nam Islet

A popular spot for Hoi An Expats & visitors who aren’t afraid to stray from the beaten track. Enjoy ice cold beer, internet access, Ipod updates & downloading your digital pics onto CDs. Great bar snacks, games and breath taking views of the sunset from the second level overlooking the river to the old town water front.

King Kong Bar – Cam Nam Island (Across bridge from Old Town)

King Kong bar is a funky little hole-in-the-wall where things start up at midnight and continue until 7AM. It tends to do well on nights when Zero Sea Mile isn’t the main attraction. When the town is full, the place is packed and absolute madness may ensue. King Kong is walking distance from the Heritage Town. Moto-taxi drivers wait outside King Kong when it’s hopping until the place closes, trolling for fares, so no problem getting back.

Tam Tam – 110 Nguyen Thai Hoc St

Bar/Restaurant in an old 1920’s style building. The funky atmosphere & music lures tourists & ex-pats upstairs. Tam Tam is ‘the place to be seen’ in Hoi An, perfect for meeting people. Larue Export & Fosters on tap. (Pool, Darts, Games, Loud Music)

Treats – 158 Tran Phu & Tran Hung Dao Streets

Treats has two locations in Hoi An. They both have pool tables & play decent music. Treats is ONLY frequented by the tourists, no ex-pats. Service & food is so-so. The open street seating area attracts more street vendors than most places. They close at 11pm. Treats on Tran Hung Dao is in the hotel district.

Western Restaurants in Hoi An, Vietnam

The Cargo Club Restaurant & Patisserie 107-109 Tran Phu Street.

  • Restaurant, bakery & patisserie in the heart of the old town. Seating out front, inside or on the roof terrace overlooking the river. The $5 pork mignon with mash potato & berry gravy is the best meal in Hoi An! All the food is good: $3 green mango salad, $3 cheese burger, and $2-3 sandwiches. Excellent $2 Cau Lau & by far the best deserts in town. Owner Ms Vy runs the best cooking class in town.

Mango Rooms  111 Nguyen Thi Hoc St, Hoi An.

  • Owner & chef, Duc, has been around the world, he has his own style! Mango Rooms cuisine is an eclectic mix of influences: Japanese technique, Latin American sauces & European herbs. He serves: tasty, well presented food in a funky atmosphere. $8 Seared Tuna, $8 Grilled Tiger Prawns & $8 Shrimps in Rum and Garlic Butter. With a tidy washroom, this is our favorite restaurant in Hoi an!

Hoi An Hai San Cafe  64 Phan Boi Chau St, Hoi An.

  • Under a brown tarpaulin facing the river is the second best seafood restaurants. Hard to find, but worth it, Swede Carl serves: Viet seafood with a twist & great $4 salads. Hai San has a cozy romantic atmosphere. The specialties are: $8 garlic tiger prawns, $6 shish kebab, $4 Swedish meatballs with mashed potato & gravy. The food is very tasty & well presented.

Shree Ganesh Indian Restaurant  24 Tran Hung Dao St, Hoi An.

  • The chef from New Delhi cooks authentic N. Indian tandori style curry, using fresh herbs and spices. $3 Garlic chicken kebabs, $4 murg badami kashiri, and $4 lamb biriyani & $4 chicken tikka massala. $1 Kashmiri naan and 50c rice and roti. Beer & cocktails are cheap. Curry fanatics will it, Omar’s is always busy with tourists & expats.

The Sleepy Gecko Chill Out Lounge – Cam Nam Islet

  • A popular spot for Hoi An Expats & visitors who aren’t afraid to stray from the beaten track. Enjoy ice cold beer, internet access, Ipod updates & downloading your digital pics onto CDs. Great bar snacks, games and breath taking views of the sunset from the second level overlooking the river to the old town water front. They also do Bike Tours! 

Hoi An Victoria Beach Resort on Cua Dai Beach.

  • Accessible by river and road this international resort has a quality western chef: Gustaf. Clearly a red meat lover, his rack of New Zealand lamb $20 and Aussie steak $20 are the best in Hoi An. His pizza $7 is also the best to be found. The drinks are expensive, $4 a pint of Larou Export. The beachside pool is worth a visit, they throw in giant ice cubes, to keep the water at 28°c.

Jenny’s Bamboo 71 Tran Hung Dao St, Hoi An.

  • Jenny ran a B&B in Australia for years. She certainly knows what westerners like in the morning! $3 Bacon, sausages, eggs, mashed potato and toast. She also rustles up: $2 toasted sandwiches, $2 Beans on toast, $2 muesli, $2 baked potato, $3 cheese burger and a $2 omelet. She might even let you make your own $3 Bloody Mary. In our opinion this is the best English breakfast in town.

Redbridge accessible by riverboat.

  • Remote riverside restaurant close to Hoi An, most easily found by water taxi, Redbridge cooking school & restaurant is in a stunning setting. Redbridge Nick offers modern Vietnamese food & an Aussie BBQ. The $5 main courses are best enjoyed tapas style. Relax as the river goes by as quality, price & service come together. This is a great venue for tour groups. The trip up the river is most interesting.

Before & Now on Le Loi Street, Hoi An.

  • One of the top night spots in the old town. The manager: “Gung” has an eye for what the foreigners like. He plays chilled out music by day, rock, hip hop & funk by night. The menu covers mostly Italian food.  $4 Pizzas & pasta dishes. You can escape the crowds at the tables upstairs. They also offer good local food: $1 Cau Lau, $1.20 Won Ton Soup, $2 Green Mango Salad. Spotless washrooms.

Good Morning Vietnam 34 Le Loi St, Hoi An.

  • This Italian-Vietnamese chain restaurant has a good location & cooks a mean pizza. Their pasta is voted by Italian ex-pats as the best choice in town. We especially like the pumpkin panzarotti & the large Pazza thin crust pizza with mushrooms, onion & fresh chillies for $7US. The manager Massimo is always entertaining. They serve a yummy white doughy bread with oil & balsamic vinegar as soon as you are seated. 

Vietnamese Cooking Classes in Hoi An, Vietnam

  • A very popular activity during a tour of Vietnam is a cooking class. Vietnamese cuisine is globally known for its varied flavours, presentation and freshness. Classes usually take a half a day and there are several to choose from in Hoi An. The more developed classes involve a trip to the nearby market to buy the traditional Vietnamese ingredients. We’ve recently reviewed the classes ourselves, click below to find out what we cooked!

Morning Glory Street Food Restaurant and Cooking School

  • Ms Vy’s class is full of interesting facts about Vietnamese food & culture. Our class took place at Cargo Club and included a tour of the market. Ms. Vy’s School of cooking is so popular, it’s tough to get booked into one. Due to 11 years of teaching success, she’s moving the cooking school to a larger premises across the street.

Redbridge Cooking School & Restaurant

  • Redbridge provides an exclusive experience, the classes are more intimate. The day begins with shopping for ingredients in the market, followed by a scenic ride up the river by boat to the cooking school for the class and a tasty meal at the end. The cost is $15 US per person. They run a regular, dependable schedule.

Tailor Shops – Hoi An, Vietnam

  • The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Hoi An is the multitude of tailor shops. It’s a bit out of control as most of the shops are not trained tailors.
  • The list below helps you choose out of ten shops that have positive reviews on the web already & often get recommended by word of mouth locally. We suggest you try two different shops & mind our advice.

A DONG SILK – 40 Le Loi, Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Customer Quote: My daughter & I have just come back from our second holiday in Hoi An. Both times we had clothes made at A Dong Silk & were extremely pleased with both the quality & the service. Garments are fully lined and finished off in a professional way. This time I had a few friends tried them & they were all very impressed.”

BAO KHANH SILK – 101 Tran Hung Dao, Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Description: Popular tailors specialising in made-to-measure fashion, formal wear & casual clothing. Well patronised & has a good reputation. Ask for Mr Binh.

BIBI SILK – 13 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Customer Quote: We found our tailor from “Rough Guide” & we were very happy about it. It might be one of those “cheaper places”, but very professional and service minded. It ‘s run by an expat/Vietnamese couple. We spent almost 400$ & we don’t regret it.”

MY MY – 164 Tran Phu, Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Customer Quote: “A little shop by the Japanese covered bridge, so I went there and started explaining the various items that I wanted made. My My takes Mastercard and even though the items were only $7-$15 each, it didn’t take me long to spend $205.”

PHUOC AN CLOTH SHOP – 6 Le Loi, Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Customer Quote: “They whipped up a suit for my girlfriend in 3 hours, which fitted perfectly for $48. I bought two perfect suits for $ 110. Check if the company double stitches and what kind of fabrics they offer. You can go a lot cheaper but this was western quality.”

TAN TOAN TAILORS – 18A Hai Ba Trung, Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Customer Quote: “The staff is very friendly & professional, they have good taste and their advice in colour, style and cut was very competent. We found the tailor shops where nobody tries to drag you in are the ones who provide quality service.”

THUONG GIA – 41 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Description: Foreign-managed tailor shop housed in a converted ancient shophouse which was used as a set during the filming of The Quiet American. Known for having international standards in making stylish bespoke clothing.

THU THUY – 60 Le Loi, Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Description: Madame Thuy claims to be the first tailor shop to open in Hoi An. Her shop has a wide range of silks compared to other shops in town. The Queen of Spain ordered clothes in Thu Thuy on her trip to Hoi An.

TONY the TAILOR – 294 Nguyen Duy Hieu, Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Description: Tony and his family opened their tailor shop in 1996. They have a great reputation for warm & friendly service and VERY reasonable prices. Men’s suits are especially well done here. They also dedicate 10% of their revenues to the Kianh Foundation – supporting the local orphanage for disadvantaged kids.

YALY COUTURE – 47 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hoi An, Vietnam

  • Description: Classy bespoke tailors catering to women & men. Suits, shirts, dresses and more in traditional or modern styles. Known for detailed bead work & embroidery. Most expensive in town but can be worth it.

Where to get a Massage in Hoi An

Massages are the perfect way to really unwind, especially if you’ve come from HCMC/Saigon or Hanoi, you’ll want to de-stress! Hoi An has many choices of types of massage and price range. Hoi An also has a unique rule that women can only massage women & men can only massage men.

Tamarind Spa – Victoria Resort – Cua Dai Beach

  • Open Daily: 9am to 9pm | Prices: $20 – $190
  • The Tamarind Spa is rated highly in Hoi An. They offer all sorts of massages: aromatherapy, Thai, Swedish, Hot Stone, Indian, traditional (plus more treatments). They also offer body wraps & scrubs, facials, pedicures, manicures & haircuts. Honeymooners might want to try the ‘Couples Delight’ package which lasts 4 1/2 hours & costs $190 per couple.

L’Occitane en Provence Spa – 61a Phan Chau Trinh Street

  • Open Daily: 9am to 9pm | Prices: $13-$40
  • Using the signature scented L’Occitane product range, you can get a few different massages in this place. For a full body massage you can expect to pay $25US. I’ve tried this place a few times. The nice hot shower before & after the massage, body scrub or facial is well worth paying a bit more. The staff are professionally trained beauty therapists & masseurs. You walk out feeling clean.

PHUOC LOC THO – Will come to you!

  • Available Daily: 9:30am to 7pm | Prices: $5-$10USD
  • Call Phuoc on 0905226246 (She speaks English)
  • Phuoc’s specialty is a holistic & healing pressure points massage, practiced in her family for three generations. Ex-pats and locals go to Phuoc to cure their aches & pains. Highly Recommended!

Hoi An Hotel Spa – Hoi An Hotel, 10 Tran Hung Dao Street

  • Open Daily: 10am to 8pm | Prices: $6-$10USD |
  • Local ex-pats confirm that Hoi An Hotel spa is a good place to get a full body massage, foot massage, body scrub & a soak. It’s clean, reasonably priced & professional.

Nina – 79 Ba Trieu Street

  • Open Daily: 9:30am to 9pm | Prices: $10-15USD
  • This place looks like a nail shop from the outside but they actually provide really nice full body massages in a cool dark room in the back. I’ve spoken to a few tourists who fell asleep during their full body massages, which to me means it was a good one.

Beauty treatments in Hoi An

Hoi An has a lot of beauty ‘therapy’ services on hand. It’s normal to be offered a leg ‘waxing’ (they use string – not wax) manicures, pedicures & massage anywhere from the beach to the market.

The luxurious “$pas” are found in a handful of resorts. They are open to guests & daily visitors. We’ve listed a wide range of options in experience and price to help you make your choice.

Tamarind Spa – Victoria Resort – Cua Dai Beach

  • Open Daily: 9am to 9pm | Prices: $20 – $190
  • The Tamarind Spa is rated highly in Hoi An. They offer all sorts of massages: aromatherapy, Thai, Swedish, Hot Stone, Indian, traditional (plus more treatments). They also offer body wraps & scrubs, facials, pedicures, manicures & haircuts. Honeymooners might want to try the ‘Couples Delight’ package which lasts 4 1/2 hours & costs $190 per couple.

Dermalogica Spa – The Life Resort – 1 Pham Hong Thai Street

  • Open Daily: 9am to 9pm | Prices: $25-$100
  • The Life Spa has a tranquil setting near the river near a endless pool. They offer reflexology, massage, body treatments, facials, pedicures, manicures and a special treatment for couples. Dermalogica products are always a safe choice for treatments.

Qi Shiseido Spa – Palm Garden Resort – Tan My Block, Cua Dai Beach

  • Open Daily: 9:30am to 9pm | Prices: $50-$160USD
  • If you are a Shiseido fan this is for you. Not a bargain though.

Beauty Salon PHUOC No.3 – 3rd Stall on the right in the clothing market

  • Open Daily: 9:30am to 7pm | Prices: $2-$4USD
  • Email: thienlongnu@yahoo.com | Mobile: 0905226246
  • Phuoc has two daughters (Nga & Thien) who help to run the operation. They do an excellent threading job leaving your legs, armpits, eyebrows & upper lip totally hairless! They also do facials, manicures, & pedicures. Phuoc is the expert masseur. Great local experience with the gals in the market.

Tuan Boy Hair Salon – 66 Hung Vuong Street

  • Open Daily: 9:30am to 9pm | Prices: $2-$4USD
  • Tuan has cut hair all over Asia & won awards for expert hair colouring. Framed certificates from Tony & Guy decorate the walls. In addition to professional hair colouring & cutting they offer massage & manicures. The salon has A/C so it’s a nice escape from the heat & full of local characters coming in & out.

Nina Nails – 79 Ba Trieu Street

  • Open Daily: 9:30am to 9pm | Prices: $2-3USD
  • Hands down the best nail shop in Hoi An. They offer professional full set acrylics & refills. Hand painted designs from a wide selection of styles. High end manicures & pedicures, as well as facials and body & foot massage.

“Welcome to Hoi An Ancient town – Hoi An Oldtown – 6 Travel

This topic was developed by an English Canadian partnership. 6 Travel – We aim to bring you: original, useful, content from Hoi An and the surrounding area. We gather our own information and photos. We talk to the local people to help you get the best from a trip to Central Vietnam. Hoi An is a great place to spend your holiday. We intend to stay.

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