Escape to: Hoi An, Vietnam

Nestled in the central coast of Vietnam lies the 15th century port town and World Heritage Site of Hoi An.

by SHFamily | Fri, September 30, 2016

Travel junkie Lisa M. Mulvey takes us straight to the the heart of the action with her best picks.



If you’re looking for some R&R, head straight to the Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel & Spa. Located steps away from the Old Town, this haven is ideally situated along the waterfront. Expect impeccable service and a genuinely warm staff. Kids are welcomed and embraced by the doting staff, who also provide babysitting services. Rooms are well-appointed, beautifully decorated with a heritage-influenced theme and have luxurious details such as five-star beds and rain showers. Other facilities include a year-round swimming pool, free WiFi throughout, small gym, Vietnamese restaurant, hair salon and relaxing spa. The concierge is well connected locally and knows all of the tour operators by first name – check with them for recommendations.



Adjacent to the Old Town is a strip of local cafés, restaurants and bars mostly serving standard Vietnamese fare. Tucked into a side street and not to be missed is Vy’s Market Restaurant & Cooking School. Ms Vy, a legend in her hometown of Hoi An, became the first chef to provide cooking classes that cater to foreigners with an interactive experience combining cooking with local culture. Visitors can enjoy meals selected from an extensive iPad menu, book a cooking class or stroll around the dining area to witness how each meal is prepared at dedicated cooking stations that encircle the dining area. It’s a fully immersive experience  great for any age, and the White Rose dumplings are divine!




Endless hours can be spent strolling though the lanes of the Old Town – shopping, sipping Vietnamese coffee, visiting temples and tasting local cuisine. However, Hoi An has more to offer than just this area. Book a tour with Jack Tran’s EcoTours for a truly hands-on experience of local culture. The family-run tours provide opportunities for travelers to gain an authentic sense of the daily life of local fishing and farming communities. Be a wet rice farmer for the day, learn traditional fishing techniques, ride a water buffalo or learn to paddle a Vietnamese bamboo basket boat. Tours are definitely kid-friendly and can accommodate most special requests or needs.



At night, Hoi An comes alive with a bustling night market located perpendicular to the riverfront. Local handicrafts such as paper lanterns, lacquered goods, straw hats, spices and dried fruits fill the vendor carts. Along the river, tourists can light floating prayer candles or enjoy a paddleboat ride under the starry sky. Make sure to cross the bridge into the Old Town a few times, as the vendors will lower prices each time they see you cross. Bars offer competing drink specials, and many local spots offer karaoke or live music. Late-night snacking is also a must. Look for the grilled corn or sweet potato green bean cakes roasted on street corners for a memorable bite.



On a clear day, perch upon the roof deck at Faifo Coffee, Old Town, with a cup of Vietnamese in-house roasted beans. Stunning views and pure coffee (no additives) draw coffee connoisseurs, photographers and artists alike to this local gem. Be sure to head over in the early afternoon so you can sit, sip and take in the unforgettable aroma of roasting coffee beans.



If cocktails are more your thing, check out famed chef Duc Tran’s MangoRooms Restaurant & Café. This breezy location along the riverfront may not have the same view as the coffee shop rooftop but instead boasts some of the most unique and refreshing flavor combinations in Hoi An. Try the Mango Fandango with a passion fruit twist.