WHERE TO STAY IN HOI AN?
As Hoi An is now among the most sought after destinations in the country, the question of where to stay is not only about the hotel itself, but more about the areas. In this article, we will discuss all the “pros” and “cons” of each area to help you answer the question of whether we should stay at the beach, at the countryside, or in the Old Town? Before we begin, it's worth saying that in a perfect world and with an unlimited amount of time, it would be good to split a stay in Hoi An among the beach, the countryside and old town for the best of each. However, knowing very well that most visitors spend 2-4 days in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, the decision of which hotel you choose is indeed an important one. Time seems to get lost in Hoi An - making this a key factor in making your hotel decision
THE OLD TOWN
Best for: Being close to the action
The town of Hoi An is pedestrian-friendly, unlike most of the places you’ll likely be visiting in Vietnam, making it an interesting place to stroll about, stop for a snack, sit and have a beverage by the river, shop, get some clothes tailored, wander the riverside market, or just to find some great photo opportunities. By staying in town, you have this all at your fingertips, with the ease of getting back to the hotel on foot and at your leisure.
Staying in town benefits you, particularly at night, as ultimately it’s just easier than taking a taxi, moto-taxi, or shuttle from the beach resorts. When staying in town, an outing is just more convenient, whether it be day or not.
What is less good:
First to mention is the crowd! The amount of tourists here can be overwhelming. There are so many tourists around that it is hard to take a picture without someone walking in the shot.
During the typhoon season (Oct/Nov), although somewhat rare in Hoi An, the town itself can be flooded. Floods in Hoi An are infrequent, but the weather is the weather, so it is a consideration. Another thing of note is that the old town, while not a party town by any stretch of the imagination, does create noise and if your hotel is in the heart of it (and let’s say not at all soundproof), you may find some hotels to have some residual noise; so for people who are looking for peace and serenity, staying in the old town wouldn’t be a good choice.
Hotels in the old town:
Hotels tend to be smaller and cheaper here and most definitely you will just find typical Vietnamese boutique hotels, hostels, guesthouses or villas. If lucky enough, you may find an Airbnb place with traditional setting right in the center of the town, however, that is rare. Bear in mind that most of the accommodation entitled with “Villa” in the old town are not the real villa of Western standards and many of them might neither have a kitchen nor a garden.
Best for: A quiet retreat
Hoi An’s countryside is beautiful. It is favored by many visitors not only for its relaxing nature but that feeling of being more with the locals. Of course, it’s also much more quiet and less touristic than the rest of the bustle of Hoi An.
For people looking for peace, particularly those who just had some time in busy Saigon or Hanoi and coming to Hoi An for a break from city life; here you could get the full benefit of the closeness to the peaceful surroundings and escape to a quieter, slower pace of life.
Besides, the palm tree lined countryside is an ideal area for cycling where you can get a breath of fresh country air while paddling through the rice paddies. Not to mention here you could take the basket boat cruise down the majestic Thu Bon River which is one of the best things to do when in Hoi An.
While enjoy the feelings of the real Vietnam, real Hoi An, the area is not so far from all the action. You can easily bike to either the town or the beach. On the way, you could always see local life, stop for a sugar cane juice, or cold beer and enjoy your laid-back adventure.
Last but not least, most of the accommodations in the countryside are bigger, with more facilities, often with large pools, large gardens and cater more to family fun than the town hotels do.
What's less good:
It’s not a walking distance to the old town while the roads to the villages are not quite lid at night.
Furthermore, travelers should be aware of mosquitoes and bugs as the natural surrounding and local farming are their birthplace. During the typhoon season (Oct/Nov), most of the countryside here is prone to floods as they are all set in a lower land than the rest of Hoi An, however that might turn into a good experience for those looking for real local actions.
Hotels in the countryside:
It’s mostly homestays and some fancy villas - resorts in the countryside. If you travel with a budget, there are many good homestays here where you could enjoy the gorgeous view over the rice paddies while living with the local families. Some of the homestays in the area are even big enough to have a swimming pool.
Fancy Villas and Resorts in this area are at a higher price but it’s really worth the value. These usually offer 1-, 2-, 3-, 4- and even 5-bedroom villas, making life easy for family vacations in Hoi An. Moreover, these villas and resorts are often equipped with child-friendly facilities or playgrounds which is a big plus compared to the small villas or homestays.
Best for: Beaches!
This beach area is an intriguing change from the hectic town center. Plenty of sunshine chairs for hire as well as sun shade also accessible. Great mix of public there at waters advantage
The main beach is called Cua Dai and is where the majority of Hoi An’s beach resorts reside. An Bang Beach is nearby, with a couple resorts, but expect this to change soon as this becomes more and more a major part of Hoi An’s tourist area.
Both of these beaches are great, the views of the Cham Islands off in the distance add some color to the expansive horizon and the beachfront restaurants and bars are popular with locals, expats and tourists alike. A place that is beautiful, very well delivered and with very nice service and food.
What is less good:
The beach is close to town, but not particularly walking distance, making this among the only real negatives. Resorts know this and offer free shuttle service, or bicycle rental for guests, so getting to/from the town is easy enough but certainly not as convenient as just staying in town. The Cua Dai beach area closer to Hoi An is still a popular location for Hoi An beach resorts, but the beach here has suffered significant coastal erosion in recent years, meaning the beach is unfortunately not what it once was.
Another consideration, is that there are limited restaurant options by beach resorts (although some have great on-site restaurants), but the town itself is filled with inexpensive dining. February to July are the best times for the beach, outside of this, the beach here might be cold and a bit rough.
Hotels in the beach:
Fancy homestays, beach houses and resorts are the main types of accommodation you will find here. If you’re traveling with family and kids, beach resorts may be best.
As a matter of fact, many accommodations could be found around the Old Town area or within walking distance. Other hotels, villas, resorts and homestays will be in the “mini suburbs” out by the rice paddies of the countryside or the beach – these are definitely more peaceful and it only takes a 10-minute bike ride to get to the town. Staying closer to Old Town is recommended if you have only one day to stay. However, just outside of this touristy area there are so many choices of decent places for your vacation that is worth a consideration.