Haven't been to Vietnam yet. But have been really meaning to. Thanks to Laura it will be sooner than anticipated.
Planning a family vacation? Think a little outside the normal Key West beach-ball box and look into a trip to Vietnam, which is quickly working out to be the new vacation hotspot in Asia for adventurous Westerners! Vietnam, in particular, offers surprisingly affordable luxury accommodation, accessible healthcare, and plenty of fabulous dining options in all of the major cities along its spectacular coastline.
While Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the main cultural cornerstones of the country, there are also a few smaller cities scattered along the coast that boast equally incredible history, architecture, and culture. Hoi An, a city on the central coast of Vietnam, is one of those beautiful cities.
Hoi An’s Old Town, which was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999, is famous for it’s beautifully preserved historic architecture and picturesque canals. The famous Japanese Covered Bridge as well as adorably quaint French colonial architecture characterize the old part of town, which is also where you can also find the central market, a vibrant and dynamic bazaar that is filled to bursting with tailors, shoemakers, and leather-workers.
Motorcycling In And Around Hoi An
Like much of the rest of Vietnam, Hoi An is a “two-wheeler city”. That means that most folks get around by motorbike or bicycle. Rent a manual motorbike or an automatic scooter (both will run you just a few dollars a day) and cruise your way around town!
About an hour and a half drive north from Hoi An is one of the world’s most famous mountain passes, the Hải Vân Pass. While it is only about 20 kilometers long, the pass’s hairpin turns and steep inclines on well-paved roads make for both exciting driving and sightseeing. The pass borders some of the most beautiful scenery along Vietnam’s coastline – just make sure you are paying as much attention to the road as you are to the sweeping and panoramic views!
While a regular trip from Hoi An on a motorbike won’t necessitate much more than some padding and a helmet, those of you who want to get a bit more adventurous can easily rent higher quality and power bikes to take on a longer day trip past the Hải Vân Pass and into the Back Ma National Park for some off-roading.
If you do so, make sure to kit out with some proper gear, including motorcycle boots and a padded jacket, as the terrain gets pretty dicey the further off-road you go.
Food & Entertainment
Hoi An is a hub for expat Americans, Brits, and Aussies, who have realized that you can live like royalty on a shoe-string budget in this coastal city. That means you can stroll down the street and get a lovely bowl of piping hot Phở bò (Beef noodle soup) for 22.000 VND, as well as a delicious Full English Breakfast at The Kebab House (which is considerably more expensive).
There are a number of amazing hotels and restaurants (and bars for the adults who are lucky enough to travel with a nanny or babysitter). And for those who are traveling with finicky eaters, you will be happy to know there are several amazing establishments with absolutely scrumptious food to please all palates.
Of special note are Jim’s Snackbar, which boasts some amazing burgers and Hola Taco, which has some of the best Mexican food on this side of the world. If you want to try some authentic Italian food, head over to Good Morning Vietnam, which is smack in the middle of the old quarter – it’s pricey but if you’re ready to splurge then you are in for a treat as this Italian-run joint turns out dish after dish of delicious grub.
On the roads parallel to the beautiful waterfront you can find open-air bars and restaurants, which fill up with tourists as well as locals each night and are illuminated by beautiful floating lanterns after dark. Belleville Restaurant, owned by a French expat, is one of those charming open-air bars that frequently hosts talented local artists for a family-friendly night out!
There is something to please all tastes and budgets in Hoi An, from cute boutique villas where the front-desk staff greets you by name when you return (check out the Golden Bell Boutique Villa) to loud and raucous backpacker hostels where you’ll find dorm rooms packed will millennials on holiday. While the hostels may be more affordable, a peaceful and quiet place to return to after a day in busy and bustling Hoi An may be more appropriate for a family trip!
Over the past 10 years, Laura Knight has been a motorcycle rider. She has built up an incredible passion for travelling by motorbike and always wishes to contribute to motorcyclist and traveler community. This is the reason why she created MotorManner.com where her passion is turned into useful and interesting information to the motorcyclists and travel lovers.