Centred around a well-preserved Old Town, the countryside town of Hoi An is one of the best alternative weekend getaway projects in Vietnam. Different from most big cities of the region - both in their construction and overall vibe - this small town is where you'll find the best of the country's lush outdoors.
In short, between the walking tours of the historic quarters (that offer an eclectic mix of Chinese, Japanese and French styles of architecture) and bike and boat rides of the paddy fields and canals, you will want to stay put for long!
Hoi An also offers a few beachside neighborhoods that have a few resort/hotel options to choose from. And while all the neighborhoods are fairly close to each, all of them have their own unique vibe.
It is then that choosing the right place for yourself becomes a significant choice. And that's why we have come up with a comprehensive guide to get you a headstart. Here, we have listed some of the best neighborhoods of Hoi An and what they might have in store for you traveller!
The top choice for many first-time travellers, Old Town is the true beating heart of Hoi An. The well-preserved streets of this historic neighborhood have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage and offer a one of a kind experience.
Sans vehicular traffic and commotion that has become to be attached to other Vietnamese metropolitan, this is where you can experience the region's culture at its most intimate.
The cityscape here is characterized by a mix of century-old housing and temples built in styles that borrow heavily from the Chinese and Japanese schools of architecture as well as European designs that came in with the colonial era.
Running out of these old-world buildings are mordane businesses including cafes and restaurants, souvenir shops, merchandise stores and much more!
The beauty of Old Town lies in the serenity of its streets. You can walk down just about any neighborhood lane and be surprised by just how much character they possess. After sundown, these riverside is lit up with the warm lighting of the street lanterns and there's hardly any other place that you'd want to be at the time!
Old Town is best experienced on foot; some of the must-visit stops include the Old House of Tan Ky, Tran Family Chapel, the Quan Thang Ancient House and the Duc An House. Hotels and homestays are in plenty and among some of the finest that the city has to offer.
Lying right across a small river inlet from Old Town is the neighborhood of Cam Pho. It is home to one of the city's most iconic landmarks - the 1719-built covered Japanese bridge. The ornate wooden structure stands atop the rivulet and is a sight to behold, especially under the evening lights.
On either side of the bridge you'll find a Taoist temple and a few other historic buildings including Cantonese Assembly Hall and The Old House of Phung Hung.
Cam Pho borrows from its neighbor some of the old-world charm, but remains one of the more urban settings within Hoi An. So, if you're looking for varied cuisines (Chinese, Vietnamese, with a select few Indian, French and European meals) and a few great nightlife options in close proximity to the Old Town, this is definitely the place for you. The Song Hoai Square, in particular, has several modern entertainment options.
Cam Pho lies adjacent to Old Town and is fairly easy to access, with major thoroughfares Phan Chu Trinh and Tran Hung Dao leading straight into the neighborhood. You should also not have any troubles finding a decent hotel in all budget ranges.
Onto Hoi An's idyllic countryside then! Lying a little northeast of Old Town is the neighborhood of Cam Chau, known for its vast open fields and quaint riverfront.
The scenery here is minimalist, one that will remind of simpler times and that's precisely what makes Cam Chau the perfect escape from the bustling city life.
Get a rental bike and head for morning bicycle rides around the paddy fields to experience the neighborhood at its most intimate. Better so, hire a boat or kayak tours that will take you on a tour of the water bodies surrounding the neighborhood!
The village itself offers a slew of opportunities of its own. Neighborhood streets are laden with obscure-looking eateries that serve some of the best local delicacies; roam about and explore your options before grabbing your spot at one of these establishments.
Nearby, the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum houses stunning crafts, clothing and photographs celebrating the region's tribal heritage.
Cam Chau is the perfect locale for travellers looking for a quiet getaway vacation. While in the neighborhood, you might want to opt for a low-key hotel or a cozy homestay.
The other outdoorsy neighborhood on the list, Cam Thanh is popular for having combined the homely setting with a burgeoning gastronomy and upscale accommodation options. Cafes and restaurants dot the riverfront and organise their own culinary classes and tours to local markets, where you'll get a chance to acquaint yourself with the intricacies of Vietnamese cuisine.
Also crowding the riverside are local service providers that carry out river tours in the traditional thuyen thung, basket-shaped boats, which are said to have been designed locally to evade the taxes levied on other boats during the colonial period.
Today, the boats have become synonymous with the Vietnamese countryside and a trip down the river in the thuyen thung is something that you might regret missing out on!
Cam Thanh is an expansive neighborhood, but it's still fairly close to the central districts so access remains rather straightforward. It would be a good idea to get a rental bike for commuting within the neighborhood.
As mentioned before, Cam Thanh has a few great boutique hotels and upscale accommodation options to choose from. Many of these accommodations run out of erstwhile French colonial housing, but are also likely to come across a few rustic-looking wooden lodges.
The far east neighborhood of Cua Dai is all things beaches! It is centred around the namesake beach, a three mile long palm tree-laden strip of white sand.
You can choose to spend your entire day around the beach sunbathing, playing a game of volleyball, trying out the seafood delicacies at the local vendors or simply relaxing at one of the many spas and wellness retreats that dot the beachfront.
Cua Dai is also the neighborhood where you'll find most of the city's hip eateries and nightlife options. The major thoroughfare of Au Co runs through most of the neighborhood and is one of the liveliest parts of the town. Most eateries and bars in the vicinity stay open till late in the night, making it the go-to choice for night owls.
Cua Dai also has a small pier of its own, from where you can hail a ferry to nearby islands. The trip to the snorkeling destination of Cham Islands (also home to some stunning regional history museums) is one of the things that should definitely be high on the to-do lists.
In short, the beachside neighborhood is always bustling with activity and you'll never run out of things to do.
Cua Dai is connected to Old Town by road. It only takes about a 15 minute taxi ride on the eponymously named Cua Dai road to reach the central beach, the locale with the highest number of hotel and resort options. Cua Dai is also home to a couple of small harbours (Ben tau Cua Dai being the biggest), from where you can hail ferries and boats to the nearby islands.
Lying adjacent to Cua Dai is Hoi An's other beachside neighborhood, Cam An. Smaller, but equally stunning beaches are the main draw here; among the most popular spots are the Hidden Beach and the Ha My beach, both of which are picturesque white sandy strips with sunbeds and umbrellas as well as the An Bang beach, a palapa-lined beach known for its cafes and bars that double up as venues for live music during evenings.
All of the aforementioned beaches draw relatively smaller crowds and offer great alternatives to the busy Cua Dia. Cross the Cau An Bang bridge over to the nearby island in Cam Ha for outdoor herb gardens and lush farm fields.
In the vicinity of these outdoor venues are several small restaurants, serving mostly Vietnamese delicacies. So, if you want to spend a quiet afternoon trying out the local version of the pho soup, you're unlikely to find a better spot.
End your long days with quick stopovers at the Cua An Bang bridge, which offers the opportunity of catching a stunning sunset with panoramic views of the Vietnamese countryside in backdrop.
Au Co connects the neighborhood to the Cua Dai; it also has direct access to some of the central neighborhoods through Vo Chi Cong road.
You will find some of the most laid-back accomodation options surrounding the An Bang beach, alongside a few great hostel options. Additionally, you won't have to sweat too much for a nice homestay or bed and breakfast for longer stays either.
That's our complete list of neighbourhoods from Hoi An traveller. Take your pick and get packing for your next vacation; a dream Vietnamese getaway awaits!