How to Spend a Weekend in Hoi An, Vietnam

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A few months ago I went on a whirlwind tour of Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Without a doubt, the highlight of my trip came during the two days I spent in the coastal town of Hoi An. By the time I rolled into Hoi An, I was pretty wiped from traveling. I decided to take it easy and only hit up a few local attractions. My laid-back weekend turned out to be one incredible experience.

If you’re heading to Hoi An, whether it’s for a few days or longer, make sure these three destinations are on your itinerary.

Photo credit: Khanh Hmoong

The Original Taste of Hoi An Food Tour

If you do only one thing when visiting Hoi An, make sure you take part in The Original Taste of Hoi An Food Tour. A true cultural experience, it was, by far, the best thing I did while visiting Vietnam.

I advise taking the tour as soon as possible during your stay as Neville will make restaurant recommendations and you’ll want to take advantage of them!

Speaking of Neville, I’d just like to say that even if the food hadn’t been amazing –which it was –Neville would’ve made the tour 100% worthwhile. He was an absolute wealth of information, sharing stories of the history and culture of Vietnam along with a hearty dose of Australian humor. His way of speaking was so enthralling that the group was completely engaged throughout the entire tour. His passion and enthusiasm for Hoi An will blow you away.

Whatever you do, don’t eat breakfast before the tour. As you walk through the city you are introduced to over 40 different types of Vietnamese cuisine, much of it served from vendor stalls on the street. Though the tour takes place over a leisurely five hours, you’ll still leave feeling completely stuffed.

At the end of the tour Neville supplied us with a list of everything we tasted along the way and offered up a number of delicious goods for sale. The proceeds from the sales go to the Vietnam Association for the Victims of Agent Orange, so you know you’re helping a good cause as well as taking something awesome home with you.

Hoi An Ancient Town

Recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Hoi An Ancient Town is an extraordinarily well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port, and the only one of its kind in Vietnam.

This quaint and charming town features historic buildings lavishly decorated with multi-colored lanterns – which, when lit after dark, gives everything a slightly enchanted feel.

Strolling the ancient streets was delightful and so incredibly relaxing. It was only made better by the friendliness of the locals! Even though the shops tend to be fairly touristy, there was so much to see that I found I didn’t mind.

Be sure to enjoy a meal in one of the restaurants overlooking the river. It will be the highlight of your day!

Hoi An Silk Village

Make your way down the street from Hoi An’s town center to the Silk Village to learn about the entire production of silk from silkworm to clothing. You’ll even witness the life-cycle of silkworms in action!

When I arrived for the morning tour, I was welcomed with a refreshing drink made of mulberries and peach. My guide Hue then walked me through the different stages of the silkworm weaving process, as well as its history. I was given the chance to feed the silkworms – which I took –and ended the tour in the showroom where I was shown how to tell the difference between true and synthetic silk. They also offered a lunch that included generous portions of five local dishes, which were all incredibly delicious.

It’s amazing how sometimes it’s the days you don’t plan that turn out to be the best. When the time came to leave Hoi An, I was hesitant to go. It’s such a peaceful place and I can’t wait to return!

James Corporal is a writer/traveler/Indiana Jones wannabe who loves to share his passion for classic cars with anyone who will listen. When he’s not globe-trotting.

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