Some things to do in Hoi An, innit:
Get a bespoke suit made
Or shirts, or a dress, or pretty much anything else you can think of. Hoi An is chock full of tailors, some are better than others, and some are straight up terrible, so do your research, speak to a few tailors, and make sure you pick somewhere where you feel confident they can get the job done. I can personally recommend Lana for getting a suit made – I did go back seven times for alterations, but it wasn’t because they were bad, it’s because I’m incredibly fussy.
When you a venture into a tailor’s shop in Hoi An, make sure that you already have a clear idea of what you want – that way both you and the tailor will know what you are working towards and you’ll be much happier with the result. I’ve never had a suit made before (in fact, I’ve never even worn a suit before) but I’ve had lots of clothes altered because I’m so slim and nothing sold in shops fits me, so I was able to speak confidently about what I wanted and expected from a suit. And the result was bloody marvellous. I paid $150 for a beautiful suit with a silk lining – but with cheap fabrics and a different lining, you can get a suit for $100.
Top up your tan on An Bang beach
My beach of choice in Hoi An is about 3km away from the main beach, Cua Dai. Both are very lovely, but you’ll experience less touts and hassle on An Bang beach.
Drink plenty of mega-cheap fresh beer
One of my favourite things about Vietnam is the incredibly cheap beer – what a surprise. But when I say incredibly cheap, I really mean it. It’s cheaper than water and by a long stretch. The cheapest deal that I managed to find out was at a lovely little restaurant that was selling fresh beer by the glass for 3000 dong. That beer was also on a 3 for 2 offer, which I fully took advantage of, so in fact the price was 2000 dong for a glass. Let’s put this in perspective – 2000 dong is £0.06 or $0.10. Outstanding. While you are glugging down copious amounts of fresh beer you should also enure that you don’t become entirely legless by indulging in lots of delicious Vietnamese food at the same time – delicious Vietnamese vegetarian food in my case.
Eat 45 different flavours of ice cream
Hoi An is a real haven for people with a sweet tooth. Thanks to the French influence of the town, you can find delicious cakes and pastries on every street corner, but my favourite place to eat dessert in Hoi An is a brand new ice cream parlour called Enjoy. They have at least 45 different flavours of ice cream, sorbets, and frozen yoghurt, and tonnes of toppings as well. It’s not cheap at around 30,000 dong a scoop, but so bloody good.
Have a silent tea at Reaching Out
Tea is serious business in Vietnam and much of Asia. It’s not just a drink, but comes with a whole ceremony and practice. In this social enterprise that hires speech and hearing impaired staff, you won’t hear a word uttered, as in this tea house everyone enjoys a traditional silent tea ceremony. The teas are of course delicious, but they also have coffees, soft drinks and snacks. A very cute place.
Cycle to Thanh Ha pottery village
Just a few kilometres outside of Hoi An is a pottery village where you can observe local people making all kinds of pottery work, from cups and saucers through to much grander sculpture work. You can even have a go on the potter’s wheel yourself.
Relax with a $5 massage
There are a tonne of massage places in Hoi An, but with so many offering ‘extras’ it’s hard to know where to go without ending up in an erm… uncomfortable (or perhaps too comfortable) situation. I had a personal recommendation to go to a blind massage place on Cua Dai road, where not only were the massages great but they only cost $5. Bargain.
Drink Vietnamese coffee on the riverside
I am a tea drinker through and through, but Vietnamese coffee is ridico tasty. I don’t know anything about coffee but to me, Vietnamese coffee doesn’t even taste like coffee. It tastes like warmed up nutella in a glass. My favourite place to relax with a coffee in Hoi An was Son Caphe – a café on Cua Dai Road that overlooks the Song Do river.