Hoi An
Viet Nam

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Step back in time when you visit this ancient center of trade on the central Vietnamese coast. Unlike its sister cities, Hanoi to the north and Ho Chi Minh City to the south, Hoi An is a village best seen on foot. Its quiet streets and quaint shops are the perfect places to lose yourself in a traditionally Vietnamese setting. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a work in progress though, so bring your walking shoes and be prepared to trek it through a less polished environment. The adventurous backpacker and the luxury traveler alike find Hoi An’s charm irresistible.

Activities Dining Shopping Resources Nightlife User Reviews  

Sakura Cooking class
119-121 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Tel. +84.510.910.369
www.hoian-sakura.com/
Cook with the chefs of Sakura and create your own specialized set menu chock full of Vietnamese delicacies. Book in advance.

Lodovico’s Cham Island Diving Center
98 Bach Dang Street
Tel. +84.510.910.782
www.chamislanddiving.com/home.html
Explore the beauty of Cham Island with an all-day excursion off the coast of Cua Dai. Mr. Lodovico is a knowledgeable English-speaking guide, as he leads you through the underwater wonders of Vietnam. Dive courses, open dives, and snorkeling offered along with an opportunity to spend two days exploring on the island.

Mango Rooms
111 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Tel. +84.510.910.839

Head Chef Tran Thanh Duc runs the show at the hippest restaurant in Hoi An, adeptly moving between the show-kitchen and the dining room with his expected flair. His international experiences are reflected in his cuisine: the spices of his home-country, Vietnam, blend with the flavors of Brazil, Texas, and Japan, just a few of the countries that he has adopted.

Good Morning Viet Nam
34 Le Loi
Tel. +84.510.910.227
www.goodmorningviet.com/hoian.htm
The always busy Good Morning Viet Nam offers diners an authentic Italian experience. Owned and operated by Italian expats, the cuisine won’t disappoint with its wide selections of homemade fresh pastas and pizzas. Find a slice of “home” in the dining room’s warm and welcoming interior.

Café des Amis
52 Bach Dang
Tel. +84.510.861.616

Picky eaters need not apply at this Hoi An institution. The restaurant has no menu: you have a choice of meat, fish, or vegetarian five-course meal. And don’t come back expecting a repeat, as Chef Kim serves up a different set of dishes each day. That being said, the selections never fail to disappoint and diners always leave satisfied.

Tam Tam Café
110 Nguyen Thai Hoc
+84.510.862.212
www.tamtam-cafe.com
Whether you are looking for a hearty meal, a rum-infused cocktail, or a relaxing cup of coffee, Tam Tam is the place to be. Run by French expats, this comfortable café is decorated in the local Vietnamese style and serves generous portions of French and Italian food. Come also for the creative cocktail menu, where the local rum is the standout and can be enjoyed on the perfect-for-people-watching balcony.

Sakura
119-121 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Tel. +84.510.910.369
www.hoian-sakura.com/
Overlooking the idyllic Hoai River, Sakura is a Japanese-fusion gem where seafood is the star. The elegant Japanese décor complements the simple flavors of the food, where traditional Japanese grill meets the customary Vietnamese dishes of cau lao and pho. You can also enjoy a drink on the balcony for stunning views of the river and Old Hoi An.

Xua & Nay
51 Le Loi
Tel. +84.510.910.599

Xua & Nay (Before and After in English) is in the center of Old Hoi An, just a short walk from most major hotels and hotspots. Enjoy authentic Italian or regional Vietnamese cuisine inspired by the finds at local produce markets. Be sure to head upstairs to the balcony and bar, where you can sip on cocktails.

Brother’s Café
27-29 Phan Boi Chau
Tel. +84.510.914.150
www.brothercafehoian.com.vn
Set in a stunning French colonial villa, and surrounded by its beautiful gardens, Brother’s Café offers an array of Vietnamese treats on both an a la carte menu and a number of set menus.  Local favorites are highlighted in this upscale restaurant with a welcoming staff.

Fullmoon Town
101 Cua Dai
Tel. +84.510.923.922
www.hoianfullmoontowns.com
Enjoy traditional Vietnamese cuisine in a tranquil garden and riverfront setting. Set in a Japanese Pagoda, Fullmoon Town is a perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon, reveling in the view and relishing the delicious local flavors.

Hai’s Scout Café
98 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Tel. +84.510.863.210
Offering classic Western café fare (think sandwiches, muffins, and pastries), along with Vietnamese favorites, Hai’s Scout is set in a traditional shop front with a beautiful garden out back. Come for a drink at night, to be enjoyed in the spacious outside bar area, or spend the day learning Chef Hai’s secrets in his cooking classes offered to the public.

Yaly Couture
47 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Tel. +84. 510.910.474

For a city known for its excellent tailoring, Yaly Couture is the best of the best. Providing impeccable stitch-work and a perfect fit, Yaly will get the job done in half the time. Bring your own best dress or tuxedo (or even a picture) and Yaly’s tailors will replicate the garment before you can say “Haute Couture.”

Thang Loi Shop
92 Phan Chau Trinh
Tel. +84.510.864.610

Specializing in hand-embroidered wares (anything from table cloths to wall-hangings), this local Hoi An shop is also a refuge for poor and disadvantaged Vietnamese children. Owner Thang Loi teaches embroidery classes to youth, enabling many to find fruitful careers in the handicraft.

A Dong Silk
62 Tran Hung Dao
Tel. +84.510.910.579
www.adongsilk.com
A noble alternative to Yaly’s, A Dong Silk provides excellent, efficient, tailoring for the visitor on the go. It is on the main drag in Ancient Town, and it has been a family business for over fifty years.

Thu Thuy Silk
60 Le Loi
Tel. +84.510.863.170
www.thuthuysilk.com/homepage.htm
Staffed by more than 200 tailors and 50 salespeople speaking a variety of languages (English, Chinese, French, to name a few), Thu Thuy produces dresses, suits, neckties, and bags for even the most discerning customer.

Kim Bong Carpentry
106-108 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Tel. +84.510. 862.279

You’ll take a step back time when you visit the Kim Bong Carpentry shop and watch the artisans use 15th century techniques to create craft items. You can find hand-crafted furniture, sculptures, and an array of souvenirs to take back to your friends and family.

Que Noi Gallery
83 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Tel. +84.510.863.184
www.buicongkhanh.com/index.htm
(artist’s website)
The gallery specializes in artwork from the artist Bui Cong Kanh, a contemporary Vietnamese artist who works in paint and video media.

Ngoc Thu Lanterns
109 Tran Phu
Tel. +84.510.861.964

This family-run business makes traditional, colorful,  metal-framed lanterns for both indoor and outdoor decoration.

Hoang Trong Thien
48 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Tel. +84.510.862.98

Stop by the private gallery of artist Hoang Trong Thien to pick up beautiful contemporary oil paintings to provide a lasting view of your time in Vietnam.

Vietnam Travel Tips

Although we’ve listed a ton of great boutiques, don’t miss the gift stores in luxury hotels—they typically carry higher quality merchandise. Expect to pay a little bit more, but the five-star hotels will generally carry unique pieces, and sometimes they’ll stock high end designers. But keep in mind while you shop, that anything bought must be lugged around for the rest of the trip; try to buy stock items (things you can get all over Vietnam) at your last destination. It’s also a good idea to think ahead and pack an extra bag to carry home all your goodies—you’re going to need it! 

Vietnam, though known for its stunning laquerware and captivating black and white photography, is also a great place to get beautiful hand-made clothing. Be sure to bring your favorite item to give the tailor some idea of what you’re looking for to ensure a perfect fit.  

It is an extremely smart idea to keep the address and number of your hotel with you at all times; there might be a language barrier and a written confirmation of where you need to go can often bridge the gap.

Visa and Travel Documents
Citizens of some Asian countries are exempt from visas for short-term stays.  Japanese citizens may stay for 15 days without a visa, while Singaporeans, Thai and Malaysians are granted 30-day visa waivers.  Filipinos may stay 21 days without a visa.

You are able to receive your visa on arrival at HCMC (Saigon), Danang and Hanoi airports if you have your Visa Authorization Letter.  Make sure you also have US dollars for the visa fee, passport sized photo and your passport. We’d even recommend stashing the exact change, your passport sized photo, and the letter into an envelope to make everything move a bit faster.

If you do not arrive by air to those specific cities, you must obtain a visa prior to arrival in Vietnam.

Upon entering Vietnam you will be presented with a yellow form that covers customs and immigration.  Don’t lose it—you’ll need it to leave the country.


Immunization
Immunizations are recommended, but consult your physician or healthcare provider:
Diptheria and tetanus
Hepatitis A
Typhoid
Meningococcal Meningitis
Rabies
Japanese B Encephalitis


Also, although malaria is still rare, dengue fever is on the increase and commonly contracted by travelers.  Make sure to sleep beneath a mosquito net in open-style rooms and always apply repellent.  Bring all prescription medication.


At the Airport
Luggage allowances vary airline to airline.  Visit the sites below.
Bangkok Airways
Vietnam Airlines
Thai Airlines
Singapore Airlines
 
Money Matters
Vietnam’s currency, the Vietnam Dong (VND), exchanges at a rate of about 16,500 to the US Dollar. 

As the dollar is still valuable in Cambodia (!) we advise bringing a good number of singles ($200) to use as tips.  Higher-end restaurants often include service charges in the bill, and although tips are not expected in more casual restaurants and bars, they are appreciated.

Shops are not responsible for damages incurred during shipping, so we recommend purchasing shipping insurance if you chose to ship items home.


General
Vietnam’s country is +84, and operates on Greenwich meantime +7 hours. (When it’s noon in Vietnam, it’s midnight in New York.)

Hai’s Scout Café
98 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Tel. +84.510.863.210

Offering classic Western café fare (think sandwiches, muffins, and pastries), along with Vietnamese favorites, Hai’s Scout is set in a traditional shop front with a beautiful garden out back. Come for a drink at night, to be enjoyed in the spacious outside bar area, or spend the day learning Chef Hai’s secrets in his cooking classes offered to the public.

Xua & Nay
51 Le Loi
Tel. +84.510.910.599

Xua & Nay (Before and After in English) is in the center of Old Hoi An, just a short walk from most major hotels and hotspots. Enjoy authentic Italian or regional Vietnamese cuisine inspired by the finds at local produce markets. Be sure to head upstairs to the balcony and bar, where you can sip on cocktails.

Tam Tam Café
110 Nguyen Thai Hoc
+84.510.862.212
www.tamtam-cafe.com
Whether you are looking for a hearty meal, a rum-infused cocktail, or a relaxing cup of coffee, Tam Tam is the place to be. Run by French expats, this comfortable café is decorated in the local Vietnamese style and serves generous portions of French and Italian food. Come also for the creative cocktail menu, where the local rum is the standout and can be enjoyed on the perfect-for-people-watching balcony.

Mango Rooms
111 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Tel. +84.510.910.839

Head Chef Tran Thanh Duc runs the show at the hippest restaurant in Hoi An, adeptly moving between the show-kitchen and the dining room with his expected flair. His international experiences are reflected in his cuisine: the spices of his home-country, Vietnam, blend with the flavors of Brazil, Texas, and Japan, just a few of the countries that he has adopted.