Hoi An: Lanterns, Tailors and Scuba Dives

Happy Travel Tuesday! Be sure to link up at the bottom and check out the prompt for next week’s themed post!

Hoi An was another spot that we had little to no plans for. We had done our research and we knew it was known for its tailors and cooking classes. We knew it had quaint lantern-lined streets and nearby coral reefs to dive in. We figured we would just choose from those activities once we got there.


You can’t fly directly into Hoi An so we flew to Da Nang and then took a cab 45 minutes to our hotel in Hoi An. We stayed at Hoi An Riverside Resort which was really nice and quiet. It was in between the old town, where we spent most of our time and the beach. The hotel had a free shuttle so we went straight into town to find dinner and a diving company for Travis to sign up with.

We knew that Hoi An was more of a tourist hot spot but since it was the low season the streets were pretty quite. We wandered around some before eating at probably the worst, most tourist trap-y restaurant. My hanger results in that happening now and then while we travel- whoops! We did get excited to see all the pretty lanterns we had heard about.


The next morning we went straight to Ha Na Tailors which was recommended to me by Jack from Endeavor (you will hear more about him later) to get Travis some suits made. Once we were in there I decided I wanted to join in the fun and pulled up a couple of my favorite online shopping sites and picked out some dresses to have made for work and play.

We had a wonderful experience with Ha Na. They were so flexible with our tight timeline and we actually hugged them goodbye on our last day (that’s big because I am not a hugger). If you are heading to Hoi An and want to have clothes tailor made for a fraction of the cost- check them out!

Next we decided to look into taking a bike tour with Heaven and Earth Tours. I had heard wonderful things about their tours through local island villages and was hoping we would have to the time to experience them for ourselves. When we went by the office to see if we could join the afternoon group and if it was possible to get back an hour earlier than scheduled (for a tailor appointment), we were surprised to find out we were the only ones to sign up.

We absolutely loved our half day (private) tour with Hoa, our guide. You can read all about our day in this post.


That night we returned to the Old Town to eat dinner at Bahn Mi Phuong. This little hole in the wall Banh Mi joint was made famous when Anthony Bourdain declared it the best Bahn Mi in the world. Even with that notoriety the restaurant hasn’t lost its charm or low prices. We had 2 sandwiches, two beers and an entree for around $5.

It was indeed the best Bahn Mi we had eaten. We even returned our last day to pick up another pair for lunch, and we never do that.


The following day we were picked up bright and early to go out on a boat to Cham Island, where Travis did a couple dives and I did some snorkeling.

The water was beautiful and Travis saw a lot of impressive fish and coral. The snorkeling was less impressive, mostly because I was constantly getting stung by plankton that float by the surface this time of year. We stopped for a delicious lunch and lazy beach time on a gorgeous island before heading back into town.


The little boat the divers took to the sites. I loved the colorful, old fashioned style of the Vietnamese boats.


That night we caught the most beautiful sunset from the balcony of our hotel room.


Then we followed another one of Jack’s suggestions and ate one of Hoi An’s specialities, Com Ga (chicken rice) at an alley way spot by the same name. You know their chicken rice is good because that’s all they sell.


Our last day in Hoi An we wandered the streets and took in the quiet pace of the town, as we knew our next destination was going to be anything but. We fell in love with the friendly locals, the delicious food, the aged yellow buildings, the bike only streets, the bright, fresh flowers everywhere and of course, the lanterns. I only wish I could have squeezed in a cooking class while we were there, but there’s always next time…








Now it’s time for the Travel Tuesday Link Up with Bonnie from A Compass Rose!
Next week is a themed post. Since it was my week to choose, here is next week’s prompt…
“One of the best parts about traveling is finding somewhere new and unexpected. What’s a hidden gem that you have stumbled upon while exploring a new place?”
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36 thoughts on “Hoi An: Lanterns, Tailors and Scuba Dives

  1. Andrea On Vacation says:

    The bahn mi’s do indeed look amazing! Isn’t it the worst when you realize you are at the touristy dinner spot. I hate that but it happens to everyone.

    • Ugh I feel like it happens to me all the time. We realized in Asia not to go by our usual policy of if it’s crowded it must be good, it usually meant that it was cheap and the crowd was all backpackers just wanting to eat cheaply.

    • Good! I had one more formal dress made that I found online for a couple hundred dollars and I paid $40. Two of them I just had made for work weren’t the greatest quality fabric but still worth the price plus they fit perfectly.

  2. All of the colors are so beautiful in Hoi An, and it definitely looks like y’all were able to get a lot of fun activities in during your stay! That’s awesome that the restaurant Anthony Bourdain lives up to the hype! The sandwiches look amazing!

  3. I LOVE Hoi An! It’s such a sweet place — we liked everything about it! Friendly locals, a beautiful town, and amazing food. I’m sad you had a not so great meal, but I’m glad you had some good bahn mi and chicken rice to make up for it 🙂

  4. OK I’m really late to the game but I’m loving your new blog design! (I sometimes read blogs on my phone and then you can’t see the pretty design!)
    Also, I’m pinning this for future reference! I think I’m going to Vietnam in early 2016 and need to start planning!

  5. I love your pictures from Hoi An! I have to admit I’d never heard about it before reading your posts, so I’m really glad you shared. I really need to get my butt over to Asia soon. I can’t believe that even in a Bourdain recommended restaurant you got all that food for $5 … that’s my kind of place 😀

    • I had never heard of it until we started planning our trip. I know!! Especially since it is a more touristy town they could have easily gotten away with charging more. Also, my favorite thing was people left pictures and business cards under the glass at the tables. Like school pictures and passport pictures- who just has those on hand?!

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