There are many options for good food in Hoi An, but at White Lotus you can enjoy your meal even more knowing your money is going to a good cause.
Since Australian Geoff Shaw set up Project Indochina eight years ago, this NGO has provided homes and medicines for the poor and installed waste and water treatment plants in schools and hospitals throughout Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
All proceeds from White Lotus go to the charity. The restaurant is also doing its bit to help break Vietnam’s poverty chain by employing and training local staff from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The restaurant is extremely clean and stylish and the food of a very high standard. Hoi An spring rolls will set you back 45,000 dong (£1.40), veggie mains 40,000 dong (£1.20) speciality mains 100,000 (£3) and pizzas 70,000 (£2.10).
Cookery courses with the head chef can also be arranged, which involve going to the local market to buy fresh produce, then returning to the restaurant by boat to prepare the food.
Visit Hoi An Old Quarter and you will be transported to ancient times. You will be overwhelmed by the number of delightful shops, offering everything that Vietnam is famous for. Lacquerware, ceramics and shoes are exquisitely made, but it is the tailors that hold the real star buy. Go into your chosen shop, view the many fabrics or choose from many catalogues for a tailored dress or suit. If you are not happy with an Italian style or general fitting, they will be very happy to make alterations. Just remember that bargaining is about building a rapport with the seller, be pleasant and patient. A thoroughly enjoyable cultural holiday by the beach.
One last hint: pack as little as possible!
We walked pass the Moon one night and were lured by the Vietnamese deco and antique look of the restaurant. We were then welcomed by friendly staff who kindly went through the menu. We decided to go for the set menu one.
The food is brilliant and served in reasonable portion. We thoroughly enjoyed the spring roll and tuna coated in tamarind sauce. All for $7.5 per person! For drink we went for tropical storm and i must say it's amazing.
The ancient city of Hoi An in Vietnam is a terrific place to while away a few days. Have a suit made, enjoy some local food and relax with a cold cheap beer watching the world go by at a relaxing pace.
Exploring the old city is fun and rewarding, restored buildings galore and a sense of timelessness prevails.
If you fancy the beach to escape the sun it's only a few minutes away.
I also recommend the Dai Long hotel for a well priced budget place to stay that is clean and well managed.
Hand made jewellery. Silver, jade, freshwater pearls and gemstones. You can also design a piece of jewellery and they will make it for you. Definitely worth a look.
82 Tran Phu St
Halfway between the market and the historic Japanese bridge
A good quality locally owned hotel, about 10 mins walk from the centre of Hoi An. Good clean pool is a bonus and the staff are very helpful. Great value.
Although this hotel does not fall fully into the 'budget' criteria, nonetheless, it is an absolute steal. Located a short walk from the Old Town (ensuring that you don't get chewed up with the chaos and clamour of the rows of tailor shops and tourists), the hotel is a little haven for one to relax in. Complete with swimming pool, free wifi / internet access, splendid breakfast and airy rooms, I thoroughly recommend a visit. The staff are wonderful and genuine, and ensure that your stay is comfortable and that you have a thorough understanding of the town before you head out. Also, as a backpacker myself, I was amazed at the room, as my bed was even scattered with rose petals. Enjoy
Hoi An is surely the tailoring capital of the world with about 300 little shops crammed into its narrow streets - all selling more or less the same designs made from the same material.
It’s very easy to get completely carried away with the idea of getting an entire wardrobe tailormade. I came back with a bagful of stuff - most of which went straight to the charity shop.
It’s best to know exactly what you want - take pictures from magazine or, better still, a favourite from your wardrobe for them to copy.
Getting shoes tailormade is even more exciting but equally risky - the materials are poor and the craftmanship not great. I spent hours in various shops and had a great time but picking and choosing the cloth/style was definitely the highlight - the final results a bit of a let down.
Fabulous atmospheric ruins of an ancient city where Hinduism meets Brahamism meets Buddism. Slightly off the beaten track so not many tourists - take the bus from Hoi An.
Crumbling intricately carved temples and columns being swallowed up by the jungle. Well worth a visit.
I didn’t want to like this cafe - done up by an ex-pat and catering very much to western tastes and pockets but the food was so good we went back for more.
Squid in lemongrass and chilli was tender and tasty and the Vietnamese spring rolls were gorgeous.
On the main street, Hoi An
Whilst Hoi An felt a bit like a Disneyfied version of Vietnam to us, there is a restaurant on the waterfront which did the best vegetarian food we ate in the whole of VN.
Cafe des Amis serves a set meal each evening (I forget how many courses). The only choice is seafood or veggie and it is utterly delicious food. If you are veggie, you'll be sick of spring rolls and stir-fried greens by the time you get to Hoi An, and Cafe des Amis will provide some very welcome and tasty variety.
Doesn't look like much from the outside but step inside and enjoy one of the very reasonable set four-course meals and relax in the shabby chic ambiance of the 96.
The best Cao Lau (noodle dish with crispy won tons) and white rose (steamed rice paper wrapped shrimp) made to the owner Bup's mother's secret recipe.
Bup also runs reasonably priced cooking classes during opening hours, so even if you don't join in you can watch at a safe distance from your table.
No. 96 Bach dang by the river.
Simple restaurant with excellent food, friendly service and very reasonable prices.
The BoBo Cafes found in other Vietnamese cities have nothing to do with the orignal in Hoi An - they are owned and run by different people who have 'borrowed' (SE Asian-style) the name!
Also, for a decent and inexpensive Hoi An tailor's shop try 'Mr Xe' at the bottom of the same road.
Bo Bo Cafe: 18 Le Loi Street, Hoi An
Mr Xe: 71 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An
If you get an organised tour of My Son from Hoi An check whether the entrance fee is included in the price.
Sounds obvious but we just assumed it was. They made a great song and dance of the fact that breakfast was included and, when we were eating said breakfast a few km from My Son, our guide announced that we had to pay up for the entrance fee.
No turning back at that point!
A lovely hotel with super-friendly, English-speaking staff and a great design. Staff will pick you up from the bus and help you arrange tours and cooking courses.
Free wifi, and a beautiful, chilled-out garden, too. Easily the best hotel in our three weeks of travelling around Vietnam.
We met two Australian teachers who were extremely unhappy with the service they received from one of the tailors in Hoi An. Sadly I can't give the name, but the women had been required to change in front of men, and the clothes didn't fit and were not what they had requested.
This is the kind of hotel that backpackers stumble upon in their dreams and I myself discovered almost entirely by accident.
For a very affordable price, you get the kind of accommodation many hardened Asia travellers have almost forgotten existed.
The all-but brand-new rooms are beautifully set out with carved ebony furniture and the bathroom alone is worth the charge.
That’s before you taste the food. Hoi An is not only Vietnam’s best-preserved old town but one of its culinary capitals too.
If you tire of the hotel restaurant, check out Tien’s just across the road for an even better choice of cheap but sumptuous Vietnamese fare.
144 Cua Dai
Tel: +66 3 836 4700
Fax: +66 383 64 802
Huge white-sand, palm-fringed beach that stretches for 30km, and can be almost empty on weekdays.
There are deckchairs to rent and kiosks selling fresh seafood and drinks, as well as a few restaurants and top-end hotels.
Located about 4km from Hoi An. Easily reached by bike from Hoi An or taxis cost approx US$3.
Bar/restaurant in a lovely converted 1920's French colonial house, with a balcony overlooking the street where you can watch the world go by.
Serves European dishes and a selection of cocktails as well as local beer.
One of the few late-night bars in Hoi An, with good music and pool table, darts, board games and book exchange.
110 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An
Tel: (0510) 862212
Hoi An is a great place to get clothes made to measure. Choose something from the local designs on display, take along something you'd like copied or a photograph (shops usually keep a selection of Next catalogues and fashion magazines for inspiration!) and choose your fabric.
By the next day and for a few US dollars (I had a silk dress made for $12 and a suit for $20) you can get a whole new wardrobe made to measure, including shoes.
And if you overdo the shopping and run out of space in your bags, the local post office are experts in shipping parcels home.
There are over 100 tailors shops all around town - hotels and guesthouses can usually give recommendations.
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