An “Indo-Chinoise Venice”, that’s how I found Hoi-An. It has the canals; the ancient architecture, the wood-smelling buildings, the esplanades and the delicious food. The Italian was more vibrant. The Vietnamese, eventually more nostalgic. Both deserve a few-days visit.
I arrived to Hoi-An on a short motorcycle ride from Da-Nang (a good half-an-hour), on the middle of low season (January, 2016). It was cold, for Indonesian standards and there was literally no one at the beach, so I cannot imagine how would it be if full.
Still, Hoi-An had a considerable sum of tourists – enough to keep it lively and cheerful, but not too much to make it unpleasantly overcrowded.
Hoi-An, is most about the ancient city, among fabric shops, souvenir, temples and pagodas. Motorbike parking is allowed until a certain hour (4 or 5), if I’m not mistaken. After that, either you remove it yourself, or it will towed to a nearby park. I was unaware of this and took a while to find it. Ended paying a small fine and all was ok, but searching for it was a total nightmare. There are guarded (and payed) parks outside the ancient town. Also, there is a ticket for it (5 USD equiv.) you can buy on many stalls around the entrance city. It is valid for 24h, but often the date is not checked (or not checked at all), and includes detachable coupons which work as tickets for pagodas, museums and other shows.
After you had enough of sightseeing, you may head to the riverside, for a boat tour or a drink a few Bai hoi (fresh draught) beer in one of the esplanades.
Below, some views of Hoi-An ancient city:
The old city is surrounded by watercourses, which host many fishing boats, including the traditional basket ones. These ingenuous, funny looking, bamboo made boats were a way to avoid french taxation on regular boats on the colonial era. Lift nets are also widely used. Take some time to drive your motorcycle or pedal bike near the river and enjoy the views over the rice fields and vegetable gardens.
If you go South, you can either take the wooden ferry or the imposing Cầu Cửa Đại bridge, to Duy-Hai. There you’ll find an endless sand beach, and a non tourist local fishermen community. The bridge view, itself is fantastic.
Below, some views on Duy-Hai, and the surroundings of Hoi-An: