Asia,  Destinations,  Travel Diary,  Vietnam

Exploring Hoi An

At this point, a few weeks into my Vietnam travels, I didn’t want to do more day tours. I might’ve been too enthusiastic about booking them– they’re a good way to see a bunch of stuff in a short time, and to meet other travelers, but they’re SO over-the-top tourist-y that eventually I just get tired of them. So for my stay in Hoi An, I just wandered around looking at stuff.

Journal date: November 18-20, 2023

Hoi An Ancient Town is actually an UNESCO World Heritage Site, an “exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century.” Wandering around the main part of town is very easily done on foot, though you can also grab a green shuttle bus if wanted.

I was still sick, so honestly I didn’t do as much as I might’ve done otherwise. I literally just went for walks near my hostel and into the Ancient Town. However, I can see why people want to stay for a month or more in Hoi An– it’s a very charming place, and well established for English-speaking tourists in particular.

The markets here are one of the reasons people stop in Hoi An, though honestly most things you can find in other markets in other towns. I stopped by the Central Market, and the one striking thing I saw was a bunch of paper lanterns.

However, if you’re never haggled for prices before…I don’t recommend starting here in Vietnam! At least, not without a local to help, haha! The stall owners are hardcore about bargaining and if you aren’t hardcore back yourself, you’ll end up paying more than expected.

I wanted to get some postcards, and my haggling skills weren’t up to snuff. I paid $1.25 USD equivalent for just okay postcards that elsewhere would’ve been $0.50 USD– and that’s after talking the stall owner down from $3 USD/postcard. Haggling in Vietnam is not for the faint of heart!

And, to be honest, the Central Market is a big tourist spot so the prices are probably higher than normal anyway.

Besides the market, there’s lots of fun classes you can do, including paper lantern-making classes! Hoi An is also famous for its tailor shops, and you can order custom-made clothing here for a good price. The Old Town full of cute cafes and restaurants in fascinating French colonial buildings, and the food is very good, if a bit higher-priced than what you can get outside the center of town.


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Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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