Where in the world can you feel like you’re in an old French colonial town, a Chinese community, and a Vietnamese village all at the same time?
Hoi An, Vietnam.
This magical, picturesque city in central Vietnam is a melting pot of various cultures, which makes it one of my favorite destinations here in Vietnam.
Canary yellow colonial style buildings give it that 18th-century European majesty. The thousands of red lanterns hanging from the sky provide you the impression of being in Chinatown during the New Year. You have the Japanese bridge, which was constructed in the late 16th century that connects the quaint ancient city over the riverbank. Then to top it off, Hoi An has a beautiful Vietnamese touch with a bustling market selling all sorts of souvenirs, fruits, and other treats.
Hoi An is famous for its delicious cuisine. There is a surplus of restaurants to choose from in the ancient city. Your options range from traditional Vietnamese, to American, to Mexican, to Chinese…the list can just keep going on. The pickiest eater would have a tough time complaining about the food options this city has to offer!
Ok, so I’ll have to admit after weeks of eating noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner I caved and had to get some Western food. A friend of mine recommended to try out Hola Taco for the tacos and guacamole, and holy mole was it tasty. It certainly fulfilled my cravings for Western food. For dinner, we went to a small banh mi shop down the block from Hola Taco. For those of you unfamiliar with banh mi, it’s a Vietnamese sandwich, which comes in a variety of options. It’s served on a small baguette, and you can choose from BBQ chicken, beef and egg, cheese and onion, like I said the list just keeps going on..
Variety is the spice of life, and Hoi An is hot with options for everyone.
I’d also recommend taking a break and sitting down for a cup of coffee in one of the plentiful coffee shops. Hipster cafes are all over the place, and each has its own unique ambiance making it a great place to sit back and unwind for a little. People watching was something I felt the need to do here. You can easily sit down at a wine bar along the river, and examine the flock of tourists going back and forth throughout the day.
Obviously, shopping is one of the main things to do here in Hoi An, but there are many more activities you can do. Eating is one of my favorite things to do on my travels, as is for most of you probably. Aside from the evident, you can grab a bicycle from your hotel and just ride around for miles exploring the outskirts of Hoi An. Just outside the main city you can find wide rice fields with locals getting up at the crack of dawn to tend to them. You’ll find large cliffs jutting out from the ground in places where they just look plain awkward.
I was on my last day here in this Vietnamese gem and decided to rent a motorbike to ride out to Da Nang for the day and explore a larger resort type city. Renting a motorbike to explore the outer parts of cities is a great way to see the less explored paths. It’s ideal if you’d like to get away from the tourists for some time. Many of these popular cities such as Hoi An are great & all, but getting away from the touristic areas is extremely rewarding every now & then. You feel more at peace & away from home when no one understands what you’re saying & vice versa. A short ride outside of the city can provide just this. And typically you never regret it, only appreciate the adventure.
Hoi An has surely been my favorite destination thus far in Vietnam. It’s a wonderful little city that has a unique charm of its own. There’s a reason why it’s a major tourist destination for foreigners and locals alike.
Stay beautiful Hoi An.
About the author:
Kevin Czopek is an adventure enthusiast who has managed to travel through 20+ countries as well as 20 states over the past two years, all while juggling part-time jobs & obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Sciences. The devout explorer uses his photography & writing to tell unique, passionate stories about his travels. When he’s not hiking up active volcanos in Indonesia or camel trekking through the Sahara Desert, he’s most likely editing his photography portfolio or typing up a new entry for his blog http://mytravelthoughts.com/ . To find more of Kevin’s photos you can visit https://kevinczopek.pixieset.com/