Trip: November 2017
Below is our Top 5 Things To Do in Hoi An, Vietnam part of the Just Carrying On – Top 5 Things To Do series. These lists are favorite activities, eats, and drinks from our travels around the world—in no particular order.
We visited the ever charming city of Hoi An a day after the typhoon ended during our three week visit to Vietnam.
1. Banh Mi
We had so many delicious banh mi experiences in Vietnam but the two most delicious banh mi(s) hailed from Hoi An. So the tie goes to Banh Mi Phuong and Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen. Banh Mi Phuong is famous for being visited by Anthony Bourdain on his show ‘No Reservations’. We were wary that maybe it was overrated but we are here to tell you that no, it was not. After many experiences trying to order vegetarian sandwiches and being delivered some kind of pate, we were so happy to enjoy a well-textured flavorful tofu banh mi, served inside perfectly crispy baguette with soft white bread on the inside. Yum. Madam Khanh had an equally delicious sandwich of an egg variety. Our traveling companion endorsed the meat options at both places as well.
2. Mr. Xe Tailoring
Olivia spent months anticipating the new wardrobe that could be created in Hoi An, especially since Jason’s brother Jon was traveling with us and agreed to carry some things home for us. We did some shopping around town for awhile, popping into three or four different stores to compare prices and feel. We read this great review of Mr. Xe on a travel blog we like and decided to visit. Our visit seamlessly transitioned into our being measured and ordering clothes; we didn’t even talk about it as a group because it felt so right to all of us (and the prices were right too). Over the course of 3 days we had such a fun time working with the quirky Mr. Xe and the lovely women who work in his shop, as we returned multiple times, ordered more clothes and walked away with new suits (the gentleman) and some new work clothes (for Olivia). We loved the experience and the clothes worked out well for the most part—though we haven’t put them to the test much (yet).
3. An Bang Beach
We debated if our trip north from HCMC should include a stop at the popular beachtown of Nha Trang. In the end we decided not to, both to save time and because the reviews sounded like it was maybe a little too touristy meets party-central for us. As we laid down on the white sandy beaches of An Bang under the hot sun we all felt affirmed in our decision. An Bang felt like a fabulous two-for-one deal (with our stay in Hoi An being the other part of the bargain), as it was an easy bike ride along a fairly busy road to arrive at the relaxed beach area. We chose some of the many loungers on offer, had lunch, did some boogey boarding, and soaked up another gorgeous day in Vietnam.
4. Bike around town
We really enjoyed our stay at the Hoi An Sincerity Hotel and Spa and one of the reasons was the free bike rental included. We used the bikes regularly—to get into downtown Hoi An, to ride to the beach, and to go outside of town and tour the outskirts of the city (rough Google map pins of our route are below). The countryside of Vietnam is gorgeous, with expansive stretches of rice fields and villages intermixed with the city life. Biking also allows for a cool breeze to counterbalance the thick humidity.
5. Pho Xua
We loved this place because we stumbled upon it hungry and left with full bellies full of delicious vegetarian fare. They had a really delicious vegetarian pho that was truly meat-free, which isn’t often the case. The space was cozy, the staff was attentive, and we loved everything we ordered. The place filled up as we dined, mostly with Vietnamese young adults. By the time we left, there was a decent line building up on the sidewalk.
We sampled a few of the coffee shops in Hoi An and we loved Phin. The coffee was delicious, the space was small and charming, and the baristas were friendly and personal. They make delicious traditional Vietnamese coffee as well as more hipster fare, with multiple brewing methods. Mrs. Vy’s market was an awesome Vietnamese style food court, where you sit at picnic tables in the middle and then order from the huge menu of whichever vendor is selling the food you are interested in. The space was charming and the food was affordable, although didn’t rival banh mi prices (but what does?).
Top 5 Things To Do in Hoi An, Vietnam is part of Just Carrying On – Top 5 Things To Do series, which offers our best travel recommendations from around the world.