Hoi An, Vietnam: 6 days 5 nights

After around a year of working without taking much leave for vacation, I wanted to go travel. I mean like flights and passport stamping kind of vacation. I wanted some place in South East Asia as i believe as an asian i should start my traveling journey here. I wanted some place small, some place less known, some place with a history, some place relaxing. After weeks of travel blogs reading, i found Hoi An.

Located on South Central Coast Region of Vietnam, Hoi An is a rather less noteworthy small town, famous for its tailors and silk lanterns, offers daily night markets and locates just near enough to beaches. It's just everything i wanted for this getaway. 

Our budget for this trip was RM1500 per person including flights, hotels and all kind of expenses. But we made it with RM1300 per personWe haven't been counting our pennies throughout the trip! 
Golden Sunset

I only started searching for flights one month before. After some careful arrangement and planning, i've got our return flights tickets at around RM350 per person including tax. 

Its nearest airport locates at Da Nang, roughly 45 minutes (or 
RM63/363000VND) away from Hoi An.

As for hotels, our budget was RM100 per night, for 5 nights it was RM500, divided by 2 persons, it's RM250 per person. It wasn't hard to get cheap hotels from Agoda or Expedia. I prefer using Booking.com as they have comparison of price from all websites. Then Tripadvisor to check the quality of the hotel. So far the reviews have been quite accurate!

(trace turquoise line for our movement)
For 5 days we stayed in 3 different hotels to diversify our risk of getting a shitty hotel.

1. First 2 nights was in the city of Hoi An - Phuoc An Hotel:
I am so glad that it was our first hotel as it left us a good impression on Vietnamese. Admittedly it's a bit far from all the happenings at the riverside and the room needs some maintenance but the staffs made it up with their helpfulness and friendliness. So we happily stayed there with weak electricity and low water pressure. 

2. Then another 2 nights at the riverside on the island of An Hoi - An Hoi Hotel:
Though strategically located around night market happenings, our stay here was not pleasant at all. Room condition was better than Phuoc An but the staffs were so rude. The front desk girl got angry at us for not understanding "pa po" which apparent meant "passport" and they were being oblivious to our air conditional problem until we made multiple calls to the front desk. 

 3. Final night at beachside of Cua Dai before heading back to Da Nang Airport - Ki No Homestay:
The best hotel throughout the trip! The room was newly renovated and cozy, the owner family was so friendly and there's a breakfast menu you can order anything for free! Too bad we only get to stay here for one night. Initially we booked for 2 nights but we were forced to fly back home one day earlier so we tried to cancel via booking.com but failed. Seeing us paying for 2 nights but only get to stay one night, the owner gave us free taxi ride to Da Nang. They really didn't need to do that because the policies in booking.com clearly states that no refund is available after certain date. 

When i told my friends that we were going to a small town in Vietnam for 6 days, the most often replies i got was "Har? So long ah? What are you gonna do there?"

Honestly i didn't know. Though i have listed down some attractions around Hoi An but i didn't plan our itinerary. I didn't want to get tied down by our own schedule so we agreed we will just go with the flow, do whatever that feels right at that time. 

And we know our travel pace. We like to slack and get to know a place slowly. Not just hopping from one tourist hotspot to another just to mark our dots on map.
Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 3.38.24 PM
Oops, we really didn't do much! And we loved it.


After checking in at Phuoc An Hotel, the friendly staff told us to come down after we freshen up. He then introduced us to all the one-day trips around Hoi An. If we are interested he will sign us up with the tour guide.

The first thing that caught the bf's eyes was My Son.

My Son, pronounced as Mi San which means beautiful mountains, came as a pleasant surprise. The bf is interested in anything historical so we quickly signed up for the sunrise session. They have 2 sessions; one at 4.30am, another at 8.30am. It costs us roughly 
RM60 per person with the option of traveling back with boat. It gave us an extra stop at the Kim Bong, the carpentry village. There isn't much thing but a souvenir shop selling everything wooden. We bought a RM8 coconut bowl. It's gonna be my ice cream bowl. 

It took us 2 hours drive to reach My Son. So by the time we reached, sunrise time was already long gone. I didn't get to take sunrise pictures as i planned to but we were so glad we took the earlier session as it was still very cooling in the early morning so we really enjoyed all the sightseeingsIMG_0022

The fun was mostly owed to our tour guide. Without his lively illustration and story telling skills, My Son would just be a bunch of old bricks to us. He also kept us connected by asking us questions when the same element reappeared to ensure we understand. Until today the words "linga", "yuri" are still fresh in my head. It was really fun. So make sure you go with a tour guide. 

Towards the end at around 12pm, the sun got a lot hotter we were so glad it's time for us to go back. I instantly felt so smart for choosing the sunrise session over the morning session. 

If your hotel does not provide such service: You can always sign up at any travel agency in the night market. They will ask for your hotel location and upfront payment is required. At first we were a bit skeptical of the upfront payment but the tour guide (another one day tour) did show up at our hotel and no extra payment was required. Plus you can always keep the receipt for future reference.


One of my favourite thing in the world is night market! I think a night market reflects so much on a place. You get to see their native products, traditional snacks, handcrafts and so on.

There's an endless possibility of what you can find in a foreign night market, very often at a cheaper price too! Everyday after dinner we spend our whole night at An Hoi Night Market, just scrolling around checking things out. Continuous for 4 nights until we have learnt every corner and every nook of it. 

The night market is the most happening place in Hoi An. Well before dinner time, you can see people start swarming into it. Most of the best restaurants located here too. If you want to secure a seat without queuing, i suggest you go at around 6.00pm. 

There's also a historical Japanese Covered Bridge you can find at the west side of Hoi An. It's easy to find especially when it's shown distinguishably on every map of Hoi An. You can buy the entrance ticket at the nearby stall which costs around 
RM23 per person. At the end of the bridge, it's another less crowded part of night market. It's quite boring so we only went there once. The ticket was a total waste of money.
This picture is probably the best thing that came out of the the paid ticket. 



One of the thing that makes Hoi An perfect is its location near An Bang beach which is listed as one of the Asia's Overlooked Destination. Its neighbour, Cua Dai Beach is exactly the commercialised beach we hated. We got tired at waving at the aunties, telling them "no no we don't want a seat".

But the quiet spot is not easy to locate. Saying "An Bang beach" to your cab driver is not the magic word. It will only bring you to the main spot of An Bang which is just as commercialised as Cua Dai. We were charged RM14 for 2 beach couches, surrounded by noisy crowd and horrible background music from the restaurant for hours before we finally gave up. 

From Cua Dai to An Bang is a long stretch of beach. The trick lies in searching the quiet spot BETWEEN them. Skip the main roads and taxi. Take a walk from An Bang beach towards Cua Dai, you'll pass by some residential area, stop when you see a stretch of restaurants. Behind the restaurants is exactly the overlooked part An Bang beach. It's the most serene beach i've ever been to. The restaurants can have tables set up for you to have your meals on the beach too. I still can get over how calm and relaxing it was sigh.

I will definitely go back one day and spend my whole weekend there. And i wish the beach will remain as serene when i can finally make it there again. 

Deep Blue Sea

1. Tra Que Village: It was said that you can experience the farming life of Vietnamese here. You can watch the gardeners' everyday lives and even join them too! There's a restaurant there which uses the freshest crops produced by the local farmers. Many bloggers claimed it's the best restaurant in Hoi An. Argh how can i missed that!!

2. Friendly Leather Bags: Hoi An is famous for their handcrafts - silk and leather goods. It was said that you can browse the bag design you want on a computer, the shop will customise it with your desire size and tiny changes. They even offer to send the finished products to your hotel so you don't have to make a second trip there again. But i only read about it on our last day in Cua Dai Beach so i decided not to make a trip back to the town again. 

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