US-born traveler and and former National Geographic videographer Liz Hayes lived in Hoi An for almost three months, where she produced a series of videos for us at Hoi An Now – from profiling live music venues to tourist guides to lanterns to Vietnamese language tips. You can find Liz’s videos on our YouTube channel. When she wasn’t shooting and editing, Liz indulged in veggie dishes, strong coffee and got to know the locals.
Liz is back on the move: “Hoi An! I’ll miss your vegan meats and your elderly folks in full pajama streetwear and your alleyways full of drying noodles and nighttime shrines. I’ll miss the town where I conquered a motorbike and I’ll even miss the men and babies that pee in the streets all the time (one of the many unanswered questions as I leave…) I’ll mostly miss the wonderful people (and animals) I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with. It’s not goodbye, but hẹn gặp lại.” ️
What are the five best things to do
with a visiting friend?
Eat local vegan food at Quan Chay Co Dam or Quan Chay Tam Quang Minh
Let’s marvel at the vegan meats together. Plus this will give a great contrast and show how much you can save on food (before we go to every super fancy place in Hoi An).
Live the Beach Life
Spend a day luxuriating at one of my favourite chilling spots on the beach. Pick your mood: vegan meal at the Fisherman? Lounging at La Plage? Party and Pool at Kahuna’s? Away from tourists altogether?
Find a Good Party
My favourite part of Hoi An’s nightlife is the events. There’s a big entrepreneurial spirit here and a lot of comers and goers, so there’s always some restaurant opening or celebration or goodbye party to attend.
Hang Out on the Piti Hostel Rooftop Bar
A really great crew of regulars hangs here and it’s a very chilled out spot to have a drink. Same goes with K’noy on Cẩm Nam. Finding little gems like these really help you start to form a community of solid people.
Tell them to call me after they’ve explored Old Town
Honestly for me, this was probably researching and discovering new restaurants. There are so many amazing places to eat in town, and as a traveling vegetarian, this is highly unusual. Go find all the amazing stuffed tofu and fried noodles and eggplant hot pots and mushrooms and morning glory and baos…
And here are my top five favorites around town!
Best Coffee: Espresso Station
The best Western coffee in town with so many creative options to choose from. It’s tucked away in an alley near some busy streets, so it feels like a secret treasure when you arrive. The staff are so sweet and the coffee so good.
Best Gym: Superfit
Not only is Superfit a fully equipped gym with everything one needs to werk it out, but it’s also always delightfully entertaining and feels like your own special community. Zumba there is stupid fun. I’ve even seen some ladies hanging from the pull-up bars punching each other in the stomach.
Best clothing shop: Bloom (Trần Cao Vân)
If you’re not into the tailoring game and find it a bit stressful (as I do) – Bloom is a great option. They make beautiful linen dresses, trousers and shirts. They also have cute little things to buy including bamboo straws if you want to help save the turtles.
Best high-end veggie restaurant: The Fisherman
They’ve done an amazing job with this vegan restaurant. The food is the cleanest veg food I’ve found in town, and you can eat it sitting on hot pink beanbags whilst staring at the ocean.
Best place to be one with Nature: An Bang Beach
I found it oddly soothing to eat noodles with veggies on the beach at one of the many beach restaurants. Or sometimes you can sneakily park your bike on a sidewalk and scoot your way to an open section of the beach. Soak in that sun for FREE!
Finish this sentence:
You know you’ve been living in Vietnam a long time when…?