Hoi An - Things to do
There are a great many things to do in Hoi An that suit all interests. From simply relaxing by the beach, taking the boat out to a tropical island to driving one of the most beautiful costal paths in the world, no day is the same. This is why Hoi An was recently voted the best city in the world by the Travel+ leisure awards.
The ancient UNESCO heritage site of Hoi An in the province of Quang Nam was once one of the most important trading ports in Asia, dating back to the 15th century and renowned for its central location. Originally called Faifoo by English speakers but now known by its Vietnamese name, Hoi An means the peaceful meeting place.
In the 16th century traders from Portugal, Japan and China all settled in the small town and the famous Japanese bridge is a remnant from that time – a bridge into the Japanese settlement.
By night locals light up the yellow buildings of the town with famous lanterns. The famous Thu Bon River on which the town sits is also lit up. Haggle with a local and let them take you on a journey down the river on a tiny wooden boat, dropping your candle lit lantern into the water as you go.
Where to relax by the Sun in Hoi An
As well as relaxing by Watermark’s very own pool there are plenty of places to discover in An Bang. Deck House is a favourite of many visitors to Hoi An for its excellent customer service and superb views of the beach. Slightly further afield is Sound of Silence where you can treat yourself to a perfect mid morning coconut coffee, also overlooking the beach.
Local restaurants within a 1 minute walk of The Watermark such as An Bang Village Restaurant, Phuong’s Beach and Mom’s Kitchen will all serve you a local meal to your sun lounger.
Where to Go Out in Hoi An
If you want to sample some laid back live music in An Bang be sure to head to Soul Kitchen and Soul Beach whilst if you’re looking for a livelier night then Kukun with its live DJ might be an option.
The White Marble Wine Bar and the Mango Rooms are also options for drinking out in Hoi An’s old town.
Just a short boat trip from Hoi An and visible on the horizon from An Bang Beach lies Cham Island, a tranquil slice of paradise right on your doorstep.
Rich in history, you can learn about the ancient Cham people and their local traditions. Or you can take to the seas as Cham Island is the perfect venue for diving or snorkelling and enjoying some of the beautiful marine life that lurks just beneath the surface of the waves.
Hai Van Pass
Feeling adventurous? Then you might want to consider renting a motorbike to scoot along one of the most spectacular routes in the whole world, featured on the BBC’s Top Gear. Feel the wind in your hair as you wind your way along the cost north of Da Nang looking out across the city as you go.
If driving a motorbike is not your idea of fun then be sure to contact our concierge who will be able to arrange either a car with a driver for you to see the path in comfort or a guided motorbike tour with an experienced driver to take you on the back.
Further afield but just a short drive down the coast is the city of Da Nang. Spend an afternoon soaking up the sun or an evening hanging out at Blush Beach resort, or go for a chilled evening at Vinpearl’s Writer’s Room. Inspired by the great reading rooms of Europe, a professional pianist will set the tone for the night as you mingle with fellow guests over a glass of wine.
And at the end of the night, you can leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and make your way back to the peace and tranquility of your boutique hotel by the beach in An Bang.
Street food is abundant in Hoi An. Go on an adventure and seek out your own favourites in alleyways and street corners or check out the early evening food market in the ancient town. Here are some local dishes to look out for:
Mi Quang Noodles
Quang refers to Quang Nam province that Hoi An is a part of and Mi means noodles in Vietnamese. It is a special dish served during Tet (Vietnamese new year) and at funerals, consisting of rice noodles, rice cake, peanuts, local vegetables and herbs and a serving of different meats and fish. You can find it at local street food stalls, the early evening market and at local restaurants.
The white rose dumplings are so called because they look like a rose when they are presented on a plate. They highlight the Chinese influence on central Vietnamese food. They contain shrimp and garlic and are often accompanied by a sweet dipping sauce.
Vietnam’s signature dish can be found both at street food vendors and at restaurants such as Pho Thu in both Da Nang and Hoi An. Good pho consists of a tasty meat broth, long white noodles and a meat: chicken (ga), beef (bo) or pork (heo) as well as the obligatory herbs.
Hoi An Chicken Rice is a staple dish that you will see served at many restaurants. It is shredded chicken and rice, served with an abundance of herbs and vegetables and often coated in a sauce consisting of left over gruel and intestine.
This is truly a noodle dish you will only find in Hoi An because legend dictates that the only water suitable for cooking the noodles is that of the Bá Lễ well in the ancient town, allegedly built by the Cham people in the 10th century. The dish consists of rice noodles, a meat (usually pork or shrimp), herbs, bean sprouts and lots of vegetables.