Hoi An is an amazing UNESCO World Heritage site! This is a beautiful town that is like stepping back in time. Similar to Siem Reap, Cambodia (another of my favorite cities), you’ll want to just save some time to wander around.
What I ate
No 1 Nguyen Tat Thanh st., Hoi An city, Quang Nam - Vietnam
We really enjoyed our stay at the Bach Dang Hoi An Hotel and their breakfast was amazing! I think my favorite pho was the one they had we for breakfast. Plus…they were playing old school American rap and singing along to some pretty vulgar words that I have a feeling they didn’t understand (like…”we break up, we make up, we f*ck all day). Yes, really. After a 14-hour overnight train ride, and walking right into breakfast to hear that, it will probably stick with us as one of our most memorable moments on this trip!
17 Le Loi Street, Hoi An, Vietnam
Although on the night we were there we had some food mix-up, I would be remiss not to mention this great organization. This is yet another non-profit group that G Adventures helps support. Streets is an organization that helps train young adults that came from poverty, orphanages, situations where they were neglected or even involved in trafficking. They receive education and training in culinary and hospitality fields through an 18-month program. They also take daily English classes, and learn computer and life skills. They are offered housing, food, clothing, basic medical care and financial, community and social support as part of the program.
On the night we were there, my gluten free request was not handled well (I didn’t get sick, there was just a lot of back and forth confusion), and a few other people got their food mixed up. That being said, I know they are kids training and that the staff changes out frequently due to the training program (although the management stays to train). So regardless of my experience, I would still encourage you to check out this restaurant and great organization. From our G Adventures guide, it sounded like our poor experience was not a common one and the reviews on Trip Advisor are really quite fantastic!
Call or Email
Or as we came to lovingly call it, Oods of Noods. Oods of Noods is part of Streets International, and is an incredibly fun noodle making class! We did this through G Adventures, and I am not entirely sure if it is open to the public, but it would definitely be worth asking. We were able to learn about different types of noodles in Vietnam, and how noodle dishes are named based on the type of noodle, making it really nice for us celiacs! We looked at different types of noodles like cao lầu, bánh cuốn, phở, bún and mì quảng.
We made flat rice noodles by making the batter and then steaming them. We then made Banh Dap by putting the noodle we had just made on a rice cracker (a sun dried baked rice noodles we were given) folded the rice cracker in half and then SMASHED it! It's used to dip into different sauces, similar to the Indian papadum, but with a chewy noodle in the middle.
And then the most delicious part, getting to eat a delicious meal of mì quảng. There meal did have soy sauce in it and they were able to make me a special bowl leaving it out, and it was still fantastic.
49 Nguyễn Thái Học, Minh An, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
A restaurant that serves Vietnamese food with a special focus on local Hoi An cuisine. I tried the crispy spring rolls and sweet and sour chicken, both were fantastic. We all really enjoyed this meal and restaurant!
What We Did...
Through the group Phat Tire, we took the Marble Mountain Descent tour. This tour group was recommended to us by G Adventures. I was excited to see the caves and temples at Marble Mountain – however – I thought you could only see them by rappelling, which wasn’t the case. Although it was fun and adventurous, I might have opted to spend less time on the tour and more time hiking the area and looking at the actual temples, and taking in the amazing view from up top! That being said, while I don’t usually do “adventure” type tours, but the cave rappelling was pretty cool. The tour group was fantastic, we felt very taken care of and extremely safe.
The temples are pretty amazing! Be prepared to walk up a LOT of stairs to get to them (or take an elevator)!
There were a number of outdoor temples and cave temples and I wish I had been able to spend more time to explore them. I also wish I had remembered my tripod...sorry for the blurry cave temple pictures! The bottom two pictures are from one of the caves that was entirely dark. We needed flashlights to see, and there were kind of scary figures throughout. Was a bit surprised by that, but it was also a really different temple!
Spend Time Walking Around the City
Check out the central market, old town, the Japanese covered bridge. And make sure to wander around at night when the city and river are lit my beautiful lanterns - Hoi An is known as the City of Lanterns! You can take a lantern making class, buy lanterns or just wander around and see them. We could easily have spent more time in Hoi An seeing some of the other sites.
Have Custom Clothing Made For You!
Hoi An is known for their tailors! Everyone in our group had custom, tailored clothing made, turned around in just 24 hours! We were taken to two places our tour guide goes to every time he’s in town, Kimmy’s and Yaly’s. Our whole group decided to go to Yaly’s.
If you are going to opt to do this, I highly recommend knowing what you want ahead of time. They do have fashion magazines and mannequins with current fashions, but if you know what you want ahead of time you can really expedite the process. They are not there to design clothing for you really, but if you come with a drawing or image of what you want, they can replicate it. One of the women in our group is a lawyer and basically had an entire new wardrobe made, another on our trip had a few blazers made. My husband got a pair of dress pants with a shirt, vest and tie and I had a dressy skirt with two coordinating tops made. It was an incredibly fun experience and the prices were incredible (think fully tailored custom suit made of very high quality fabric for under $200)! You can even get custom shoes!
You might also be interested in my posts on Can Tho, Saigon, Nha Trang, Hue, Halong Bay and Hanoi! For specifics on each city, check out each post! Or find basic information and tips for traveling gluten free in Vietnam HERE.