I love it when you turn up in a place that you know very little about and are pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s one of the most beautiful places you’ve ever been. Hoi An was one of these happy discoveries for me. I arrived here after an overnight train journey from Nha Trang and instantly fell in love.
Hoi An is a small city, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it feels more like a quaint, small town. There is very little traffic, which makes is pretty unique compared to other cities in Vietnam. It is a quiet and peaceful place to explore with lots of pretty streets full of shops and cafes. It’s a great place to rent a bike and cycle along the river or around the wider countryside.
Then there are the lanterns. Hoi An is known for being decorated with endless paper lanterns. It is quite spectacular to walk around at night with hundreds of brightly coloured lanterns lighting your way. I was travelling with only a backpack so I was limited in how much I could buy, but if I ever go back I will stock up on as many pretty lanterns as I can!
Hoi An was one of my favourite places in Vietnam, and possibly in all of South-East Asia, and it’s high on my list of places I’m desperate to return to for a second visit. While I love the big, buzzing cities of Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, it’s nice to balance them with somewhere calm and tranquil like Hoi An.