Did you travel to Hoi An yet? How long did you spend in Hoi An? In my opinion, I spent only 3 days. Can it be true? Obviously, I’m a busy people but love traveling and exploring new lands, and I usually spend a few days for my vacation. This time, I went to Hoi An to discover the peaceful and ancient atmosphere here. So, do you want to know what I did in Hoi An only in 3 days? I’ll share my experiences for you, first-timer like me ^^.
First, we will talk about how to go to Hoi An and what you should note.
Hoi An is most beautiful in the period time from February to April, it’s not rainy season, the weather is pleasant. You should avoid arriving here in summer because of the high temperature, it’s very hot. You can visit Hoi An on the full moon monthly (15th) to join the night of the old town. Before you go, make sure your ID, passport and visa are prepared carefully, Vietnamese cash and ATM are important, too. And of course some personal belongings.
Day 1: Hire a bike and ride around Hoi An Old Town
On the first day in Hoi An, I spent all day to go around and visited Hoi An Old Town. I woke up early to enjoy the fresh air in the morning. Have a breakfast, I hired a bike to ride around the Hoi An Old Town. The first place I came is Cau Pagoda. Cau Pagoda is a famous pagoda in Hoi An. It’s a jewel of Hoi An. The bonze guided me to visit the pagoda. Its name is very enjoyable. Spanning Thu Bon River had a bridge, it was built in the 16th century and was called Japanese Bridge. The bridge had a quite nice cover with the textures, decorations showing the harmony between the architectural styles of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Western.
Hoi An had a lot of pagodas and temples. I walked into Hoi Quan Phuc Kien, you can understand it was a big temple, but the people called it “Hoi Quan”. According to the legend, the predecessor of Hoi Quan Phuc Kien is a small temple that worshiped Thien Hau Thanh Mau Statue people saved at the coast in Hoi An in 1967. After some restorations, with the main contribution of the Chinese people from Phuc Kien, “Hoi Quan” became more vibrant and spacious.
Hoi Quan Trieu Chau was built by Chinese people in Trieu Chau in 1845 to worship Phuc Ba Ma Vien General – a great god who tamed waves to help people trading at the sea. Hoi Quan had a special value on the architectural structure with carved wooden frames, motifs, wooden altars and 3D glazed works.
I stopped on the sidewalk, and this was a chance for me to try the street food culture in Hoi An. “What a food paradise!”. So many dishes were sold on the sidewalks. Quang Noodles, Vietnamese barbecue, Banh my, Tao pho, Cao lau, Banh beo… I chose a bowl of Quang Noodle and a Banh my for lunch.
In the afternoon, I continued my journey in Hoi An Old Town. Finish visiting pagodas and temples, I visited churches, old houses and amazing handicraft workshops. A pastor guided me to visit Toc Tran Church. It was built by a Tran mandarin in 1802, according to some Chinese and Vietnamese traditional principles.
All about Hoi An Old Town is the ancient and peaceful atmosphere, far away from the crowded cities. Come with me to see the Tan Ky Old Houses. Built nearly 200 years ago, Tan Ky had an architectural style of Hoi An Houses with the interior and was divided into apartments and each one has its own function. The front of the house was a place for trading and the back of the house was the river to import the goods. Tan Ky Old Houses were built from traditional materials by local carpenters and masons, it had a special beauty with many architectural styles from Asia.
In the evening, I rode the bike around the Hoi An Old Town to see the activities at night. I visited Hoi An Handcraft workshop. Ride the bike to No. 9 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, which is located the workshop. The workshop brought most of the traditional handcrafts of Hoi An and Quang Nam such as weaving, pottery, lacquer…I came into the workshop and felt a quiet peaceful framework of a Vietnamese village. I was witnessed skillful hands and great skills of the artists creating exquisite and unique handcrafts. Leave the workshop, I bought some pottery products as gifts for me and my relatives.
Day 2: Go to beaches and watch the sunset on Thu Bon River
The second day, it was beach time! I spent my morning to go to beaches. An Bang Beach is from Hoi An about 3 kilometers. An Bang Beach is used to taking wedding photo shoots cause the landscape is so beautiful and romantic. I went to An Bang beach at the early morning to see the glow of dawn, watch the pristine beauty of the sea at the dawn.
Leave An Bang Beach with the beautiful sunrise, I kept going to Cua Dai Beach. Cua Dai was a beautiful beach with white sand beaches, clear blue water and small waves. It was also available fresh seafood shops cheaply. I planned to spend my afternoon and evening for Thu Bon River. I visited some craft villages across Thu Bon River. From the wharf, you can come to Kim Bong Carpentry Village where is located in Cam Kim. It took me only 10 minutes to arrive by boat. I was guided by an artist in the village. He said Kim Bong Carpentry Village’s artists were proud of their ancestors built a lot of constructions like palaces and mausoleums.
Kim Bong Carpenter Village made me so excited with craft villages in Hoi An. I went to Thanh Ha Pottery Village, which was further than Kim Bong Village and it took 30 minutes from the wharf if you go by boat. Thanh Ha Village was famous for ceramic items, terracottas were exchanged, traded throughout provinces in Viet Nam. The abundant of ceramic products were mesmerized me and I couldn’t stop to buy some to bring them home.
I said goodbye to the people in the village and came back to Hoi An Old Town. Sitting on the boat on Thu Bon River, I had a chance to see the sunset. The beauty of Thu Bon at that time was so charming, the two sides of the river with beautiful sand dunes and picturesque mountains.
Coming back to Hoi An, I enjoyed Ba Buoi Chicken Rice, one of the famous dishes in Hoi An. The chicken rice was enough to make a stamp in me with all the meticulous in the recipe.
I came back to homestay at night and went to sleep to prepare for my next day trip. I went to Cu Lao Cham.
Day 3: Visit Cu Lao Cham and stay a night here
Cu Lao Cham is located in Tan Hiep, Hoi An, from Cua Dai Beach about 18 kilometers to the East. It took me about 30 minutes by speedboat from Cua Dai Port or 2 hours by wooden boat from Bach Dang Wharf. I was guided by a local people in Cu Lao Cham. Cu Lao Cham consists of 7 small islands: Hon Lao, Hon Kho Me, Hon Kho Con, Hon Tai, Hon Dai, Hon Mo, Hon La, Hon Ong. He rowed a boat to take me to some islands in here and we went to dive into the sea to watch corals under the sea. I had to be equipped dedicated instruments, clothes diving, scuba, other instruments… Under the sea was an amazing scene with colorful coral reefs, so beautiful and wonderful, I couldn’t express by words !
Cu Lao Cham have a rich forest ecosystem. The most interesting when riding a motorbike was the way to enjoy the white sandy beaches. I even climbed on the Cu Lao Cham Mountain to see the panoramic view of the island from above. Feeling free !
In the evening, I decided to camp and stay a night at Cu Lao Cham because of its beauty. I camped on Bai Bim then had a dinner with “mot nang” cuttles, crabs and abalones. Such a perfect seafood meal. I was full and I lied on the beach to watch the sky full of stars. Nights in Cu Lao Cham was extremely quiet, not too many electric lights as in the city, just the soft sand, slapping waves and starry sky. Everything was so peaceful. This would be the most memorable experience throughout my whole journey.
I came back to Hoi An in the next morning and prepared to fly to Hanoi to continue my work. Finished 3-day vacation, I discovered a new land, which I was sure I would visit at least one more time. Hoi An Old Town was ancient with unique street food culture, beaches like paradises and especially Cu Lao Cham, I would never forget that a wonderful island. Coming back with so many gifts, my family and my friends must be very happy and interested. Can’t wait to see them!
That’s how I spent my time in Hoi An. And you? Can you answer? How long to spend in Hoi An?