Summed up:

Historic Hoi An is a colourful, characterful and atmospheric town on the South Central coast of Vietnam.

A UNESCO world heritage site it's name translates as "peaceful meeting place" and it's just that and much more. Jam packed with old world charm and historic touches it's a stunning mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and old colonial European styles.

A culinary haven with some of the best shopping in Vietnam, just a few minutes from town you'll also find long stretches of sandy beach.

Hoi An has utterly charmed us and is the perfect spot for a family-friendly cultural relaxing getaway.

Why we chose Hoi An:

We were after a family friendly destination to settle down in for a few weeks. Hoi An appealed to us as it's easy on the wallet with plenty of child-friendly activities, delicious cuisine and beautiful beaches nearby.
 

 

The weather was:

A bit topsy turvy. We visited in February when the weather is still on the cooler side. We enjoyed mostly sunny days with a handful of overcast and rainy mornings. Even the days which started gloomy usually cleared by lunchtime. Mornings and nights were chilly and we were glad of our warmer clothes.

Vietnam has a complicated weather system, but the best time to visit the central coast is February to May when it's at it's driest and sunniest. From then it gets hotter and wetter until the rainy season in September. December to February is dry but cool.

Where we stayed:

In Hoi An you can choose to stay close to town or close to the beach. Or you can do as we did and stay slap bang in between the two.

We spent 3 weeks at the wonderful Palm View Villas. Our spacious apartment is one of four in a graceful colonial-style house in the peaceful village of Cam Thanh. Located on the banks of the Thu Bon River we’re just a hop-skip into the historic, atmospheric old-town with the long sandy stretches of An Bang beach only a short bike ride away.

Palm View Villas has been a wonderful "home from home" for us. The hospitality and service are absolutely first rate and we have been made to feel so welcome and comfortable. The girls have loved splashing about poolside whilst we've enjoyed the tranquility and incredibly long, leisurely breakfasts - the perfect start to every day!

 

 

What do we do all day:

Lazy mornings lingering over the breakfast buffet whilst the girls run around in the gardens are followed by active afternoons. We cycle everywhere and luckily for a novice like me you can access the historic town and beautiful beaches within a flat, easy ride.

We've found plenty of family-friendly things to keep us busy - bucket and spade days at the beach, meandering the cobbled streets of the old town, playgrounds, poking about in the colourful markets and of course it's hard to leave Hoi An without getting something tailor made! Check out our post on our top ten things to do with the little ones in tow.

Eating and Drinking:

Hoi An is an absolute foodie mecca and affordable, delicious options are plentiful. It's a great place to have an adventure feasting on the street food - often better and always cheaper than the restaurants!

Around sunset you'll find small wooden stools and tables clustering around the waterfront either side of the canal leading to the Japanese bridge. A perfect spot to sample a variety of simple, fresh Hoi An favourites from the street vendors.

If you're after something slightly more "polished" a few of our favourite finds are Mermaid, Morning Glory, CocoBox and Miss Ly's. Karma Waters serves up delicious vegan treats and Cargo Club is a great spot for an ice cream on the rooftop terrace overlooking the river. Bale Well is something of a Hoi An institution - this tiny open-air restaurant is hidden in back alley. There is only one dish on the menu - a buffet of BBQ pork, rice paper wrappers, rice pancakes and a basket of fresh herbs. Pop them all in together for the most delicious DIY rice paper rolls!

Craving western favourites then head for Dingo Deli for tasty, big portions and an adventure playground out the back. Finally, don't miss the Reaching Out Tea House. Entering here is like entering a different world - the staff are all hearing impaired or deaf so you communicate via little wooden blocks, gestures and smiles. Serving up traditional and locally made tea, coffee and biscuits in all is quiet other than the tinkling of cups and saucers. It's a beautiful oasis of calm in the bustling centre of Hoi An.

 

 

Daily budget:

The best bit about Hoi An is it's easy on the wallet. Our accommodation is incredibly high quality and super affordable. Cycling everywhere equals zero transport costs and there are cheap delicious eats galore. We have a kitchenette in our apartment but it's actually more cost-effective (and convenient) to eat out than cook at home.

Our total daily budget for all our activities, transport, food and drink works out at roughly 55GBP making Hoi An one of the cheapest spots on our trip so far.

Top Tips:

There are plenty of side day trips you can make from Hoi An - My Son and Marble Mountains are worth exploring. Don't miss a sampan ride at sunset down the Thu Bon River for a taste of life on the water and wonderful riverside views.

Getting there/away:

With regular direct flights to Da Nang airport Hoi An is only a 40 minute drive away making it super easy to travel to for families.

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