Hoi An Guide

Hoi An Guide: how many times have you been to a country and wished you had this bit of information or that bit of information or any real information at all?

Welcome to Hoi An Guide. We live here, we know this town. We know the deals, the scams, the inside information. We know that, in the event of an emergency, calling an ambulance is verging on the ridiculous. You call a cab. It will turn up far more quickly. It’s these types of things that tourists need to know and for that reason we’ve compiled this very comprehensive Guide.

While you’re here, we also have a Hoi An Now brochure floating around town. Grab one. It’s the only brochure in town that has easy to follow maps of all areas of Hoi An – and hey, if you need our help or advice on anything send an email to nowhoian@gmail.com or message us on Facebook.

We are your Aussie Insiders who live in Hoi An.

Hoi An 360 Photo Tours and Workshops. Hoi An 360

So on to the Hoi An Guide.  There are six sections: Hoi An Guide (GUIDE)Tips & Essentials, About Hoi An, Transport, Medical, and Safety and Scams. Each section has valuable, up-to-date information on everything you need to know.  You’ll also find helpful videos.

What's not in the Hoi An Guide?

‘I expected information on restaurants and spas to be in Hoi An Guide’. Hoi An Guide is the essential stuff you need to know to help you navigate a foreign country. Information on shopping, things to do, restaurants, hotels, bars or spas and the like, is elsewhere on the website.

There are some areas, however, that are worth special mention. These are Top Ten, Live, our What’s On Calendar and Special Events.  Also worth a special mention are the Quick Guides.  You’ll find these in their relevant section, for example, in Rejuvenate there’s a Quick Guide to Spas, in Eat you’ll find Quick Guides to International Food , Vegetarian Food and more.  These Guides are an amazing resource for a quick overview of all Hoi An has to offer.

Top Ten

Not sure what tour to choose, sight to see, best places to eat and shop?  This section points you in all the right directions.


As already mentioned, Hoi An’s foreign community is growing. Many people nowadays are choosing to live overseas. If you are one of them check out our ‘Live’ section. You’ll find all your need to know information from cost of living, pets, vets, renting, schools, jobs to social events and more.

Special Events/ What’s On Calendar

To find out everything that’s going on in Hoi An go to our What’s On Calendar and Special Events Calendar.  There isn’t a more comprehensive listing anywhere else in Hoi An.

HOI AN GUIDE - Tips and Essentials

When you’re new to a country it’s easy to feel disorientated and suspicious of everything. Are you being ripped off? Is it safe to travel in taxis at night? Did you pay too much for that T shirt, is the ice safe? See Tips.  You’ll find answers to all your confusions, fears, curiosities and more.

Tips such as being extra aware of your 500,000vnd note and a 20,000vnd could save you quite a bit of money.   These notes look mightily similar but the monetary difference is big.  Don’t mistake them in a hurried transaction.

For more inside information and insight, see all our Hoi An Guide tips to be fully armoured and aware during your holiday in this wonderful town.

So what’s in the Essentials?

Here you’ll find information on prices you should pay for common goods.  You’ll also find out what to pay for street food or fruit at the markets through our videos – and as bartering is an essential part of the culture in Vietnam, be sure to read, ‘Learn How to Barter’.

One of the most frequently asked questions for anyone coming to Vietnam is ‘How do I get a visa?’.  See our comprehensive section on Visas for all the answers.

Now I’m here I’ve realised I didn’t bring any sunscreen and OMG, I’m desperate for some Balsamic Vinegar Chips …

While you will find many convenience stores in Hoi An, they all pretty much stock the same basic goods. But there are a handful that stock more.  See convenience stores.  And if you’re travelling with a baby then there’s one particular convenience store you will be glad you found.

Need a bank?  Have to send a parcel?  All is answered in Post Office and banking.  Next up in Tips & Essentials is our Basic Vietnamese section. Here you’ll find simple phrases in Vietnamese and videos on pronunciation. Have a go.  Even if you get it wrong, the Vietnamese will love you for trying.

Have we covered it all in this section of the Hoi An Guide?  Well maybe, maybe not. Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions and let us know if we’ve missed something out!

You’re welcome.

And Hoi An Guide continues with…

HOI AN GUIDE - About Hoi An

Renowned for its romantic scenery, friendly people, and vast cultural and historical offerings, it’s easy to see why Hoi An has become a haven for expats and jet-setters from different corners of the globe.

Hoi An Old Town

Over 3 million tourists flock to Hoi An’s Ancient Town each year to see the yellowed buildings, the energetic banks of the Thu Bon River and its shimmering waters adorned with boats and colourful candles, quirky street performers and brilliantly-lit lanterns decorating trees, baskets of fruit balanced on Vietnamese ladies’ shoulders, and authentic market stalls packed with local specialities and souvenirs … you’ll find magic everywhere you look.

While heritage-listed Hoi An Old Town is one magical place and a magnet for people around the world, there are other parts of Hoi An that are just as alluring.

You can separate these parts into three: Hoi An Old Town, the beaches and the rice fields.


The beaches are exceptional. You’ll find beautiful stretches of golden sand reaching all along the coast to Da Nang. On the more popular beaches like An Bang you’ll find fabulous restaurants overlooking the beach as well as venues like Soul Kitchen that host top quality live music most evenings of the week. A faded jewel in the beach kingdom however, is Cua Dai Beach.  While once it reigned supreme erosion has taken it’s toll and much of the beach has now disappeared.  You can still find parts of the beach in tact especially around the resort areas and with restoration measures in place there is hope that we will see Cua Dai’s sandy beaches once again.

Rice Fields

Really, do not leave Hoi An without jumping on a bicycle and heading into the rice paddies.  Cycle 7 minutes out of Hoi An Old Town and you will find yourself in a verdant wonderland of greenery. A wonderland of brilliant green paddies where farmers in traditional Non (conical hats) fell rice with scythes and prepare the soil with buffalo-drawn ploughs, in much the same way they did a hundred and more years ago.

And then places by the river where you can sit and watch the sun set into myriad brilliant hues as butterflies flit overhead and ducks paddle upstream to roost. Some streets give way to herds of cows and rafts of ducks heading home; ‘Shy’ plants immediately become bashful and shrivel when you touch them and …  Om madi padme hum, om madi padme hum!  Yes, Hoi An’s countryside does the soul good and if you want more of that, go to Rejuvenate in the main menu or try one of the many   Buddhist monasteries that abound in Hoi An – just walk in and be part of it.

Overview of Hoi An over, back to the nit and grit of About Hoi An in the Hoi An Guide!

HOI AN GUIDE - About Hoi An

Read the History of Hoi An, what it’s like today, about its restaurants, shops, hotels, bars and spas.  It’s brief but informative.

About Hoi An - Weather

Hoi An Weather: ‘What’s the best time to come to Hoi An?’ (Can’t tell you how many times we’ve answered that one).  It matters. Hoi An has a rainy season. It can flood to the point you have to jump in a boat to get around. And it can get cold. So, check out our section on Hoi An weather to find the best time for you. (Psst: the floods can be fun!)

Floods in Hoi An: 2016. Cargo

About Hoi An - Culture

In the culture part of About Hoi An we ambitiously aim to give you a quick dip into understanding the Vietnamese mind. It’s not an easy thing to do. In fact, it sometimes feels like the longer we live here the less we understand. But there are some things that slap you in the face with familiarity. Superstition. If you’re of Irish decent you are going to empathize wholeheartedly with Vietnamese ingrained superstition – of everything. As it is in Irish culture, everything from stepping out the house can be met with an omen of good luck or bad luck. In Vietnam, for instance, if you get a haircut before an exam it will cause you to forget everything you’ve learned. If you see a young baby never call it pretty because the devils may hear you and steal it away. If you’re going somewhere on business, avoid seeing a woman first. If you do see a woman first as you go out the door or on your way, postpone the trip. And the list goes on and on – all the way to Ireland and no doubt many other countries as well.

Hoi An Impression Park. Hoi An Memories Show

About Hoi An - Hoi An Old Town

The jewel in Hoi An’s crown is Hoi An Old Town (known also as Hoi An Ancient Town) and there is much to see and experience within its walls.  If you’re lucky enough to be here in the middle of the lunar month you’ll get to experience Hoi An’s Full Moon Festival (also known as the Lantern Festival). Falling every month on the 14th day of the Lunar Calendar it’s a time when Hoi An Old town turns off its lanterns and lights and shimmering candlelight takes over.

It is also an event that causes constant confusion.  You see, the 14th day of the Lunar Calendar is not always precisely the full moon, but it’s always close! See Hoi An Guide’s Lunar Calendar for exact dates of when it falls on our Western calendar and while you’re in this section, check out our comprehensive guide to the heritage sites of Hoi An Old Town.

So what else can be found in About Hoi An? To avoid waffling you all into La La Land, see the menu to find comprehensive information on Hoi An’s markets, beaches and street food and more.

Hoi An old Town, Hoi An Ancient Town, Hoi An, lanterns hoi an, heritage buildings

HOI AN GUIDE - Transport

Don’t know about you but whenever we go to a new country we are always on red alert about being ripped off.  ‘Is that really the fare to the beach?’; ‘Does it cost that much to hire a bike?’  It’s a holiday spoiler to be in a continual state of suspicion and unease. So, check out all the information in our Hoi An Guide transport section. You’ll find the cost of taxis to and from the beach, what to pay if you hire a boat, a cyclo, a motorbike, private driver and so on.

We also provide lots of insider information. For instance, the best way to get to Da Nang or to visit sights (if you don’t want to do a tour) is to hire a private car/driver. Sure, you can get one through your hotel but why pay so much more when you can do it yourself?  See our list of honest and reliable Private Car Hire operators. You’ll find prices and more.

If you plan to ride a motorbike in Hoi An or Vietnam, it is essential that you read our insurance section. The laws in Vietnam have made it very difficult for tourists to legally drive a motorbike or car. Sure, you can hire a bike anywhere and no one will ask for a license but if you have an accident, well we hope your bank balance is healthy because that’s when your trouble can begin. Few tourists know about these rather absurd restrictions; not even insurance companies are aware in many cases. But we know. Take a risk, for sure, but know that’s you are doing it.

There are many ways to get around Hoi An. Taxis are cheap, xe oms (taxi motorbikes) are even cheaper and then there’s the fun ones like motorised buggies, cyclos and boat rides up the Thu Bon River. You’ll find them all in this section of Hoi An Guide.

About Hoi An, Hoi An Old Town, Cyclo, Hoi An, Vietnam, Hoi An cyclo, transport

HOI AN GUIDE - Medical

‘What if I get sick in Vietnam?’ All your questions will be answered in Medical.  (And psst… you’ll be okay!)

We list the best hospitals to go to and a brief outline of why they are good and what you can expect.  You will find contact details of other types of doctors too such as physiotherapists, acupuncturists, herbal practitioners and more.

But the rising stars in our Hoi An Guide medical section are dentists. Medical tourism has been around for some time and has now hit Vietnam big time. Unlike countries like Thailand where prices have risen steeply, Vietnam’s prices are still ridiculously low. We cannot tell you how many tourists leave Vietnam flashing a dazzling set of brilliant movie star white ‘nashers’.  When the cost of whitening is so low or a full set of brilliant white veneers will hardly dent your pocket (compared to the gaping void it creates back home), it’s no wonder so many take up the opportunity, is it?

So if you’re looking for some new teeth, some glasses or to freshen up your look. Hello, it’s – yep, all here.

There’s also comprehensive information on vaccinations and hazards to look out for such as Dengue Fever.  You need to read about this.

vaccinations Vietnam, dengue fever vietnam, dengue fever hoi an, malaria prevention, dengue fever prevention hoi an, dengue fever treatment

HOI AN GUIDE - Safety and Scams

Hoi An is safe. But you need to take the normal measures of common sense like not flashing your expensive jewels around or walking through rice paddies alone late at night. Nothing is likely to happen even if you do …  but there have been cases.

Scams are nowhere near as bad as in the bigger cities but we list those you should be aware of in this section. One of them is the infamous petrol station on Hai Ba Trung. These guys take the word ‘overcharging’ to new heights. Avoid using them! To say they ‘charge like raging bulls’ is an understatement. And they are not pleasant when you take umbrage with them.

Read all and be equipped!

And that’s the Hoi An Guide folks – for everything else you’ll find it elsewhere on the website general and – remember if you have a question, need some help or have some feedback – be sure to let us know.