Hoi An and My Son temples
Hội An is a small ancient town in central Vietnam, noted since 1999 as UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is often quoted as people’s favourite place to visit in Vietnam. It´s unique with it´s mustard yellow well-preserved houses and Japanese influence.
How to get there
Going on from our first stop in Southern Vietnam, we took an internal flight with Vietnam Airlines from HCMC to Da Nang, about a 1h flight and cost us just under £18 per person, with checked-in baggage included.
There is the option to get a 16-19h train, but as we had little time and wanted to see as much as possible, taking internal flights was the best option. Vietnam airlines is the more reliable airlines out of the ones available, so book in advance and get great deals.
We had organised a transfer with our hotel to pick us up and drive to Hội An (aprox 30/40mins).
Where to stay
There are lots of small hotels in Hoi An, and some bigger resorts a bit further out, as the beaches are located 3km from town, but I prefered to stay in the town centre.
Hoi An Odyssey Hotel was an idyllic option. Located a short walk over the river from the town, this smaller boutique hotel was just perfect and at just under £40 a night with breakfast included, our own balcony, the value was incredible. The hotel was down a small road, making it a very private experience with access to gorgeous hotel pool, much needed on those hot May days. I spent my birthday at the Odyssey hotel, and the staff couldn´t have been nicer, they had prepared a cake for me with my name at breakfast and were really helpful and friendly. They also provide free bike hire and a free shuttle to the local beach. Sadly we didn’t have time for this.
Where to eat/drink
Hoi An has it´s own culinary specialities, you possibly won´t find them anywhere else in Vietnam. You need to make sure you sample Cao Lau, a light noodle dish with pork and greens, the White Rose dumplings, known locally as Banh Bao Vac, made with shrimps, and the Hoi An Wonton. We had some of the best and cheapest food here in Vietnam so don´t miss out!
Mot – Located on the main street that runs through the town, we still dream about the noodles and Banh Mi we ate at this small cafe. Very inexpensive, quirky cafe, with limited but delicious menu. Very well-known for its hibiscus ice-tea they serve at the door.
Reaching Out Cafe – Spend your time here appreciating silence, good tea and Vietnamese biscuits! This is a different experience, a silent cafe, everything you order will be done via the small “word-cubes” located on your table. Run by ladies with hearing impairments, it´s a “whisper only” cafe, surrounded by sounds of fountains and pouring tea. One not to miss! Sorry photos a little dark, not the best place to get up and take photos, it was all about unwinding!
Coco Box Cafe – Great smoothies, coffees, light snacks. We only found this cafe as we had to shelter from the afternoon sun and have a cool drink, but really was a great spot.
Morning Glory Restaurant – Vietnamese Cuisine located in beautiful old building. Here we sampled the White Rose Dumplings and Hoi An Wontons.
Visit My Son Temples
This is an experience within itself, and all for the wrong reasons. Not the temples fault but our tour itself. Our hotel offered a “Sunrise My Son Temple Tour” the price was very cheap and this should have set off alarm bells but we decided to go with it as it sounded quirky. I remember the cost being around $12pp. We were meant to be picked up at our hotel at around 3/4am, madness I know, and we waited for our tour bus to arrive. About 30/40 minutes after pick up time our driver showed up and we proceeded to pick up other people on the tour. We then got taken at the office of the tour agency for “breakfast” everyone was so tired and just wanted to get on their way to see the sunrise over the temples. Breakfast break took so long that by the time we were on our way we missed the sunrise and saw it from the bus!! It was such a shambles that we thought it was hilarious!!!
The trip to the temples was around 1h on the bus, and the guide really wasn’t clued up about the temples, but he did have the funniest manner and jokes. His commentary was so bad that I spent most the morning trying not to laugh!
The only positive about this tour is that it was so hot that it was a good idea getting up early to avoid the heat and also we got back early enough for second breakfast at our hotel!! Also we DID have a laugh…!
All in all I’ve got to say Hoi An was definetly one of the highlights of visiting Vietnam, it really is worth a visit and a beautiful place to spend a few days, and personally would go back there tomorrow!! 🙂