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Where should I stay in Hoi An, at the beach or in town?
2017-02-28 11:07:30

A common question we get around here - where should I stay in Hoi An?

I will try and make this a short and easy answer, with a bit of elaboration.

To start, Hoi An is in Central Vietnam, and is now among the most sought after destinations in the country. The old town, although very much a tourist spot, is certainly worth your time. In fact, for many, Hoi An is among the most memorable towns in all of Vietnam.

The beach is outside of town, but nearby, and offers a very different experience than staying in the town itself.

As Hoi An is a staple on the Vietnam circuit, the question of where to stay is not only about the hotel itself, but rather do I stay at the beach or in the old town?

Before I 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 between the beach and town for the best of both worlds. 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.

If the beach is your reason for visiting, the answer is easy, but if not, let us give guide you in making a decision that best aligns with your expectations for your stay in Hoi An. 

In Town

My personal preference, for what it's worth, remains to be a stay in town. Now, I qualify this with the fact that the beach in Hoi An is decent at best. If the beaches looked liked Krabi in Thailand or had the powdery sand of Boracay in the Philippines, my preference could be easily swayed. The town of Hoi An is pedestrian-friendly, unlike most of the places you’ll likely be visiting in Vietnam, making it an interesting (see safer) 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 (everywhere). 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. The night in Hoi An is a great time to walk the old town as lanterns subtly illuminate the ancient streets, wishes take the form of candles as they float along the river, and the many restaurants, bars, pubs and patios give time for either relaxing contemplation or lively social gathering. If looking for nightlife, Hoi An isn’t the place, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do, it’s just ultimately on a much more relaxed level. When staying in town, an outing is just more convenient, whether it be day or not. Everything from restaurants to shops to bars to a baguette are within short walking distance. This is undoubtedly a big plus. Hotels in town also tend to be smaller and cheaper than those at the beach.

During the typhoon season (Oct/Nov), although somewhat rare in Hoi An, the town itself can flood, so a beach stay may be best (however note that the beach isn’t very nice at this time of year). 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.

At the Beach

The beach in Hoi An is okay. We can’t oversell the beach here as it’s all relative to expectations and past ‘beach’ experiences. If you’ve been to Bali, Bora Bora, Thailand, the Philippines, or even the Caribbean, for example, it’s unlikely that the beach in Hoi An will impress you all that much, but if its just the atmosphere, sound, and feel of beachside play, Hoi An fits the bill. February to July are the best times for the beach, outside of this, you may be best advised to choose the town. 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 Nam Hai.

Hoi An is such an attractive town that very few visitors (for good reason) just sit at the beach, so the town really is the main attraction. 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. If you’re traveling with family and kids, this may be the one exception where beach resorts may be best. They are bigger, have more facilities, often with large pools, and cater more to family fun than the town hotels do.

Our favourite hotel in Hoi An?

The Anantara Resort. A colonial charm fitting for such a town, the Anantara is river side and a stone’s throw from the market. She’s a 4-star standard, but the location makes this a preferred choice. There are a smattering of other good 4-star hotels in town, and a slew of everything from guesthouses to 3-star properties all over including  on the outskirts along the river. No true 5-star hotels are located in town.

The Anantara Resort

For beach resorts, there is no hotel that can compare to the Nam Hai, so if looking for the best of Hoi An, the Nam Hai is it – note that it is indeed priced accordingly. Other notable beach resorts include the Sunrise Resort, Boutique Resort, and the Palm Garden Resort, amongst others. The Victoria Resort is nice, but the beach isn’t great as a part of Cua Dai Beach was washed away in 2014. Climate change, river management and an onslaught of coastal expansion all play a part. There are a number of other hotels and resorts catering to varied budgets and interests.

Contact us should you have any questions or need assistance in your travel plans.

The main beach is called Cua Dai and is where the majority of Hoi An’s beach resorts reside. An Bang Beach is nearby, but remains relatively undeveloped. An Bang beach is 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. An Bang has a couple resorts, but expect this to change soon as this becomes more and more a major part of Hoi An’s tourist area.

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