Getting To Hoi An From Ho Chi Minh City
Getting to Hoi An was super easy! We booked flights with Vietnam Airlines to Da Nang for about $60 round trip each. The flight included 1 free checked bag and 1 carry-on, which was awesome because originally we were going to fly with Jetstar and they charge additional for luggage. We were really happy with our flight and we would fly with them again for sure!
If you’re staying in the city, getting to the airport is a breeze and the check-in and bag check is quick. I would really recommend taking an Uber to the airport. We ended up taking a cab and the driver tried to get more money out of us by letting the meter run while he helped with our bags. It was such a small amount of money, but it was frustrating.
The flight was under 2 hours and we had a driver, arranged through our villa, bring us to our place for $17 USD. Typically, the cost by cab can cost between $15-20 USD. The drive to Hoi An was about 40 minutes and we were able to see the bright nights lights of Da Nang. Kind of wished we had time to go back and check out the ferris wheel and the dragon bridge. Next time!
Where To Stay
We wanted our place in Hoi An to be close to the old town, have wifi, and be reasonably clean. There are so many places listed on Airbnb that matched our basic requirements, but it was Banana Garden Villa that caught our eye. The Villa offers free bicycle rentals, a swimming pool, and free daily breakfast!
This villa exceeded my expectations. We arrived and were greeted right away and were offered lemon juice as the host went over a map of places to visit, tips for bargaining with merchants, and favorite restaurants. She then brought to our room to get settled and wow, the scent of lemongrass and the cool A/C upon entering the room was just amazing. It was a great first impression!
Banana Garden offers free breakfast every morning which you can enjoy next to the pool. The menu varies from more Western dishes to some of the local food.
They have various services, just like any hotel, but what I found the most useful were the free bicycles! It was a great way to get around quickly and see more things. If you’re feeling bold and daring, you can ask them to rent you a scooter! We were able to get one for about $7 USD/day and had a wonderful time driving through rice paddies to get to An Bang Beach.
What I loved about this place was that it felt like they were always being completely honest with us when recommending places to see or even where to get our clothing tailored! I definitely recommend staying here when you visit Hoi An.
Getting Tailored Clothing
The very first thing we did after putting away our bags was borrowing a bike and going to Bebe Tailor (Trip Advisor Reviews). One of the things we decided before coming to Vietnam was we would each get ourselves something nicely tailored. Danton wanted to get a suit made and I wanted a dress.
Our host had recommended that we go to Bebe Tailor because the quality was one of the best in Hoi An. It wasn’t very expensive, but that it wasn’t cheap either! We could have had way more things tailored somewhere else with our budget, but we were very happy with the results and I think it was worth it.
The process was quick and painless…
It was such a neat experience to go through the whole process of tailoring clothes. I showed them a dress I had seen on the Ted Baker website and a quick sketch was drawn on paper. I chose the fabric and lining then had my measurements taken. Not even 30 minutes went by and I was going to have a dress made for me that evening for a fitting at 2 pm the next day!
We arrived the next day to try on our garments and they tweaked a few things here and there until we were happy with the results. Every time an alteration was needed, the item was sent to the back room. In just 10-15 minutes it would be back for us to try on again. I wish I could have perfectly fitted clothing made for me back in Vancouver every few months… but I don’t think it would fit into my budget!
Hoi An, The Old Town
Hoi An is full of tourists, souvenir shops, and old buildings. It is a well preserved UNESCO heritage site and was once a small-scale trading port between the 15th and 19th century. You’ll notice Japanese and Chinese influence in structures as you wander around the town.
I enjoyed the town a lot. I loved the open market that the local people shop every morning, the small old buildings, the bicycles, and how peaceful everything felt even with many people walking about.
Just for a heads up, the Old Town is a walk and bicycle only area. The exception is the occasional local driving down the narrow streets on their motorcycle. Even though bicycles are allowed, I recommend locking up your bike somewhere so you can enjoy walking and taking in all the sights! With all the tourists walking around, it can be difficult and frustrating to ride through the crowd.
It is an awesome place, but…
My only qualm with Hoi An would be the constant pestering from vendors to buy knick knacks and cards. It’s not uncommon to be approached while eating at a restaurant by a person selling handmade cards. While the cards are beautiful paper crafts, it can become annoying to be approached for the umpteenth time with a bag full of cards with a special price “just for you”. On one occasion, our server at one restaurant set down a bag full of bookmarks and asked me to look through them. You can politely tell them, no, but they will insist. They might even chase you down…
The best day of the entire trip was on our last day in Hoi An! Makes me wonder why we didn’t rent a motorcycle sooner. The overwhelming excitement of everything else, I guess. The next time we’re in Vietnam, there will be more riding for sure!
Our flight wasn’t until later in the afternoon so we still had the whole morning and early afternoon to see a few more things. We rode on the narrow paths of the rice paddies with the destination being An Bang Beach. It doesn’t take very long to get the beach, but we took the scenic path through the rice fields and spotted some water buffalo close up. It was nostalgic for me because it reminded me of my time spent in Thailand as a young child. My late grandfather would put me on one of his water buffalo and we would walk to the fields to let them graze.
An Bang Beach
The beach can only be accessed by foot and motor vehicles are not permitted to pass a certain marker. That being said, you will need to pay for parking at one of the lots near the beach. The reason for the vehicle restriction is to preserve the beach and keep it clean. Danton was able to speak Vietnamese to the attendant so we were not charged much, but we overheard some tourists discussing amongst themselves that they paid different prices and were ripped off. I am not sure if price is negotiable but you have no choice but to park at one of the surrounding lots.
An Bang was not very busy when we were there in November, but it was also not a very spectacular beach. The waves are strong and constantly rolling to shore which makes it unsuitable for swimming. The sand was very soft, however, and the area is kept quite clean. If you eat at one of the surrounding restaurants, the staff will allow you to use their lounge chairs and parasols free of charge. I personally love swimming and exploring tidal pools so I didn’t really love my time at this beach.
With all the snow in Vancouver right now, I sure miss the sunshine in Hoi An and at the beach. Where would you go to escape the cold?
Live large. Live Jennormously!