Travel Jimmy Vietnam travel reviewsHoi An, Vietnam
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Hoi An

Hoi An was our favourite place in Vietnam in 2015, so we decided to return in 2018. There's no doubt it's very touristy but tourists flock there for a reason - it's a magical place, specially at night with all the colourful lanterns. The old town is great, but don't miss out on the countryside near the beach which is incredibly beautiful and peaceful with rice fields, rivers, palm trees, etc.
To be honest, we felt that the old town was struggling a bit to cope with the number of tourists on our second visit. There were quite a lot of tour groups during the day, and at night it was quite dirty with piles of rubbish on some of the streets in the old town. Having said that we would still recommend Hoi An as a place to visit in Vietnam. It has a lot going for it and we still loved cycling around the beautiful countryside.

Accommodation in Hoi An

Gem Riverside Hotel

Gem Riverside RoomIn 2018 we stayed at this fantastic new hotel for a week. It's in a good location, just 10 minutes walk from the old town and an easy walk over a bridge from Can Nam island. The rooms are very nice and modern, decorated in black and white with a large comfortable bed, fridge and TV. The spacious bathroom had a huge walk-in shower. Our room also had a balcony overlooking the river.

Bicycles were available free of charge and were good quality. There is a spa although we didn't use it, a nice large swimming pool and a small gym.

The staff were super-friendly and helpful. They were always asking what your plans were for the day to see if they could give you any advice, book tours, etc. We like to do our own thing, and plan our days on our own, but if you tend to look for assistance and recommendations on where to go, what to do, etc this would be perfect for you.

Goda Boutique Hotel

In 2015 we stayed at Goda Boutique Hotel - a fantastic hotel and amazing value for money. The owner Mrs Linh is a lovely lady who is doing everything right. The rooms are lovely and the service is out of this world.

We stayed here for 4 nights. We’d read lots of good reviews and worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype, but it totally exceeded our expectations. The location is ideal if you wish to sample the old town area and the beach by bicycle (provided free by the hotel). It’s about 20 minutes to cycle into the old town and about 40 minutes to walk, and even if you don’t want to spend time at the beach, the cycle trip in that direction is well worth it as it is very beautiful, past rice paddies, and with lots of great photo opportunities. Don’t be put off by the location if you don’t want to walk or cycle as taxis between the hotel and the old town are ridiculously cheap.

The hotel is very new and the rooms are beautiful and of a very high standard, with large walk-in shower, king size bed, fridge, etc. Our room had a garden view and was very quiet. Amazingly, on your first night they give you a free dinner which is of excellent quality. Breakfasts are a la carte with a good selection of western or Asian dishes (omelette, scrambled eggs, noodles, rice, fresh fruit, banana and pineapple pancakes, etc).

The staff were all incredibly friendly and helpful, but particular mention must go to Mrs Linh, the owner. We contacted her a couple of days before arriving at the hotel, because at our previous destination in Vietnam we had a minor medical issue which required a dressing to be cleaned and changed every day, and wanted a recommendation for a suitable hospital or clinic in Hoi An to get this done. Not only did Mrs Linh arrange for a nurse to come to our hotel room daily to do this, but she also accompanied her in order to translate, and helped to make the whole experience less stressful.

We did a cooking course with Mrs Linh (she kindly fitted us in at very short notice on a rainy morning!) and again this was very enjoyable and professionally done. The two of us got to choose one starter and a main course each. We chose chicken pho and vietnamese vegetable curry as our mains and for the starter we chose Green Mango Salad with beef. At the end of the course you get a printed copy of the recipes as well as a very handy julienne peeler/cutter which I use all the time back home.

We loved Hoi An and thought 4 days was about right to allow you to explore the old town and surrounding area, although we did not do any organised trips. On our first couple of days it was raining heavily, but this didn’t stop us using the bicycles (which are available free of charge to guests) and having a great time. We might have visited the Marble Mountains in Danang if the weather had been better.

If you stay in Hoi An we can certainly recommend Goda Boutique Hotel and we would have no hesitation in staying here again. Click here to visit Goda Boutique Hotel's website or click here to book a room, view lots of photos and read reviews from other travellers.



Hover over the thumbnails to change the large picture

Room B3, An African Villa

Hoi An at night
Hoi An at night
Hoi An at night
Hoi An at night
Hoi An at night
Hoi An at night
Lanterns in Hoi An
Hoi An Market
Fruit at market

Lanterns in Hoi An

Hoi An market
Fruit at market
Beautiful scene Hoi An
Beautiful scene Hoi An Hoi An Fishing boat
Beautiful scene
Beautiful scene
Fishing boat
Hoi An rice fields
Hoi An rice fields
Hoi An Street
Hoi An rice fields
Hoi An rice fields
Hoi An street
Rickshaws in Hoi An
Hoi An street
Japanese Bridge, Hoi An
Rickshaws in Hoi An
Hoi An street
Japanese Bridge



Places to eat and drink in Hoi An

Hoi An has a large selection of bars and restaurants and we had some nice meals here. Some of our favourites are:


San Siro Salad at Col'CaccioMorning Glory - We had two really delicious meals at this popular restaurant. In fact it's so popular that you can expect to have to queue to get a table if you haven't booked! The service was excellent, the staff very friendly, and they explain to you how to eat the dishes you order, which makes the meal experience more interesting. The food was possibly the very best we had in Vietnam, particularly the delicious duck breast and banana blossom salad (see left) which was served with crispy poppadom-like crackers. The Ban Xeo (crispy pancake) with pork, beansprouts and a satay peanut sauce was really nice too as were the crispy spring rolls.

On our second visit we couldn't resist having the duck salad again and it was as delicious as we'd remembered, but as our second dish we chose cinnamon beef stew which was served with rice and french bread. Very tasty with really nice flavours! The only disappointment was the flambeed bananas we shared for dessert, which were far too sweet for us.

Cao Lau at Streets Hoi An

Streets - This is a training restaurant where they train vulnerable, orphaned and other disadvantaged young people for careers in hospitality. There are several training restaurants throughout south-east Asia and they deserve to be supported because they are creating jobs and futures for many people who would otherwise struggle to make a living. We met an ex-trainee of Streets when we were in Phu Quoc, working in a restaurant there, and he was full of praise for the training and assistance he had received there. They deserve to be supported as all the restaurant revenue goes towards supporting the programme. The food is very nice and the service is excellent. First time we had very tasty Cao Lau Noodles (see right) which is a Hoi An speciality with pork, croutons, mint, herbs and noodles with a spicy chilli sauce, and Com Ga which was a chicken and lemon dish and also very nice. Second time we went for lunch and had a delicious chicken and mango salad with a passion fruit dressing (see left).

Stuffed Chicken Breast at Balducci's


Phuong Banh Mi - You can't go to Vietnam and not sample a Banh Mi sandwich. We had read about the incredible banh mis at this restaurant and decided to give it a try. We were not disappointed and, having tried it in 2015 we returned in 2018 and were just as impressed. This sandwich has an amazing amount of flavours! The bread is delicious and the fillings fresh and very tasty with egg and a delicious spicy sauce. They have quite a large menu, but we'd read in advance that Number 3 was the best and that was also our experience. At only 25,000 dong (around 75p) it must also be the best value sandwich on the planet! It's just a little cafe and doesn't look anything special from the outside, but it's well worth it.


Son Hoi An

At 232 Cua Dai in Cam Chau this is a lovely place to have lunch if you're out cycling or exploring the area just out of Hoi An town overlooking the river. The papaya salad (see left) is amazing and their fruit shakes are really tasty. Prices are incredibly reasonable too.


Baby Mustard

This restaurant is a good place to stop for lunch if you're cycling from Hoi An to the beach. They have a garden next to the restaurant where they grow all their own vegetables, herbs, etc. It's a nice setting, very peaceful, but to be honest we were a bit disappointed with the food. The papaya salad with chicken was nice, but not close to the best we've had, and the sweet and sour chicken with vegetables and rice was OK, but again we've had better, and the chicken was quite chewy. However, their 'secret' drink (see right) was wonderful - with passion fruit, lemon grass, lime juice, etc. Absolutely delicious!

Green Mango Bar

We had a drink in this stylish bar a couple of times toward the end of the evening. Vietnam is not a late night place and we were surprised to find that many places in Hoi An closed at around 10pm! We were the last people to leave this bar just after 10pm and it felt as if it was 3 in the morning!! Anyway, it's a nice place to have a drink and I can thoroughly recommend the Green Mango Mojito - delicious!

Click here to book hotels in Hoi An, read travellers reviews of those hotels and view lots of photos of the hotels


Some useful sites about Hoi An:

Trip Advisor - Reviews from other travellers and a useful forum
Travelfish Guide to Hoi An - Useful resource about Hoi An



*Note: Prices quoted above were accurate in 2015 and 2018