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“Hoi An - The Jewel of Vietnam” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hoi An

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Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
142 reviews
57 helpful votes
“Hoi An - The Jewel of Vietnam”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2009

Located in central Vietnam, Hoi An is a town that takes you back in time to when it was a busy port full of traders from around the world. Today you can see this in the mix of Chinese, French, Spanish and German architecture. Even the Japanese presence is evident in the famous bridge. Be prepared to haggle with the shop keepers, enjoy the fabulous food and the hospitality of the locals. I spoke with a man selling all manner of bags from the shop/house where his family had lived for over 120 years! The ambience is preserved by closing the old town off to all motorised transport (mostly motor bikes) enabling you to stroll the streets and take in the atmosphere of Hoi An! Don't miss the best of Vietnam!

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UK
1 review
2 helpful votes
“Hoi An flooded!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2009

A charming and lovely town with many attractions for tourists as well as retaining native charm and innocence. People very helpful and friendly, lovely bridge with eating places overlooking the river. The usual manic market with a profusion of unusual sights. Excellent shop for clothes and craved wooden ships of all sizes and types.
I was there as part of a Vietnam tour with Gecko (All Points East). A great tour but a company with an extremely poor attitude to indiviual customers. I would never travel with them again after the offhand treatment I have had from them since returning.
The general quality of the food chosen/provided by them was dreadful and has given me an inaccurate impression of Vietnamese food, which I understand can be very good. I saw little of this. It has taken me 8 months to extract a refund from Thai airlines via them and I have had almost no contact from them other than messages I iniatiated. Really poor customer services.
Vietnam is a wonderful and interesting country. The people are very open and friendly, and as yet, unspoilt by mass-tourism. I suspect attitudes and costs will be different in maybe 10 years time. I would recommend going there, but NOT with All Points East.

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queensland
Level Contributor
109 reviews
77 helpful votes
“Hoi An, best place in Vietnam”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2009

Spent two nights recently in Hoi An, one of the best places in Vietnam! Go to the old city area, catch a great meal at the Morning Glory (cheap and great food), restaurant while you wait for your tailor to make your clothes. Lots of character, good shops for made on the spot clothes and shoes, as well as lots of your typical original fake shops for the big brands. We stayed at the Hoi An Beach Resort, a 4 star resort on the beach, which was well positioned, and ran a shuttle bus into the old town area every hour or so. We will be back, a must for any visit to Vietnam.

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Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 helpful votes
“Hoi An Vietnam Fun & Relaxing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2009

We have been to Hoi An 3 times in as many years, staying at The Nam Hai Resort which is absolutely out of this world. The people are so accommodating and friendly and you want for absolutely nothing. This is a 6 star holiday resort which exceeds even the highest expectations. A Dong Silk Hoi An are the BEST taylors in the world. Their girls really are efficient and accurately knock up full suits overnight for amazingly cheap prices. The markets are wonderful and the food in Hoi An exceptional, try Mango Club and Miss V's - both fantastic. We are a family of 5 with 3 teenage kids who just want to keep going back there again and again. Infact going again in June 09 !!!

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MK
Level Contributor
167 reviews
96 helpful votes
“World heritage site in Vietnam - a living museum of history and charm”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2009

Hoi An is an amazing place - it is situated in Central Vietnam and is as yet unspoilt by too many tourists visiting. The town itself is like a living museum with people in ancient buildings still living there and opening them up as attractions to visitors as well as shops, restaurants and bars.

The choice of places to eat in Hoi An is endless but at present the food is very much Vietnamese. If you are even slightly fussy with food and toilet standards it can be challenging. I am quite picky and struggled with the mind-boggling amount of fish and seafood on most of the menus, as well as pork. I only eat chicken and found that this wasn't very good quality so ended up having noodles and vegetables - a lot! It is a seafood lovers dream though! Menus are limited and the same food is served everywhere but is amazingly cheap - most meals were around £2-3 including fish or seafood, rice and beer! A stark contrast to our hotel which was 10x the price!

We also saw the lantern festival which was great but this did feel a bit more touristy than we imagined with kids selling you a lantern then fishing it out of the river and selling it again! You have got to admire their inginuity I guess?!

Hygiene standards are not great with toilets being quite unclean unless you sought out some of the more expensive hotels and restaurants.

The people are wonderful and keen to welcome you. They are keen to show you around their shops which are very quaint. They like a good haggle and most places take dollars but the dong is preferred if you want the best discount - this applies everywhere including taxis in Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh - we ended going with US dollars and getting them changed to dong as it was easier.

The temples and museums are well worth a visit but it was really hot when we visited, so go early in the day.

One point is that Hoi An closes early - shops are open to 9 /10pm at a push and the town is dead after 11pm and taxis back to hotels are a little scarce. We got caught out one night where we had eaten very late and struggled to get a taxi back to our hotel. Use the green metered taxis to avoid higher prices.

A 'must do' is getting a suit made. We had several dresses and suits made to measure from Lana's in Le Loi street. The bigger stores charge a lot more for the same material and quality - so shop around. Lana's was excellent value and the suits and dresses were made quickly and to a high standard. Haggle with the owner for a discount though especially if you buy a few items!
They can also arrange for items to be shipped for you if you are low on luggage allowance - we just carried ours through as hand luggage!

Try also eating in the large open kitchen areas where several locals have stands - we had lunch there a few times and Mr Son at the bottom of Le Loi near the river was reasonable and the food was really good.

Dress code was casual with crops and flips flops being the norm in the evening. Linen trousers were perfect but nowhere is that smart to need it - we prefer to dress up a bit for dinner but simple linen trousers and linen shirts were perfect for the heat and style of most places. It is not even worth taking high heels as the streets are quite uneven so flip flops are perfect!

There is a very distinct pecking order when walking around Hoi An and tourist pedestrians are at the bottom! There are motorbikes and cyclists on the streets and on some of the larger roads cars and buses so take care when walking. We found the best approach was to walk confidently and in a straight line at a steady pace - the bikes just go around you and you are far less likely to get knocked over this way!

Things to buy - I got some photos of Hoi An and we also purchased a lantern and some of the silk - ties are also very cheap and widely available - they cost more from the nicer looking boutiques but are the same quality from the smaller shops.

The surrounding beach is lovely. There are a few stalls near the road by the beach but you can walk for miles and not get hassled by anyone trying to sell you anything - which is quite a change!

We really liked Hoi An and felt very safe and at home there - we just hope it doesn't become too touristy and tacky and retains its quiet charm.

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