1. Take a cooking course
Hoi An is famous for its impressive dishes various in taste absorbing from many cultures. Thanks to flows of foreigners came and go for trading in the past, Hoi An cuisine is influenced by the taste of Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish. Imagine how great it is that you can not only taste those amazing food but also to learn about and try to make them by yourself. Lucky enough, many restaurants here offer cooking classes to diners to prepare their own dishes. After discovering a local market, you will get to an eco-tourism site on a boat to take the cooking class. Usually, the dishes you learn to make won’t be too complicated, such as Pho, Banh Xeo, spring rolls and so on.
2. Take a bike tour
Since cars and motorbikes are prohibited in the Old Quarters and nearby villages, bicycles are the only transportation of choice. However, it turns out to be great as they are very suitable for small alleys and narrow dike roads of this heritage town, as well as keeping the town calm and peaceful. Almost all homestays here have bikes for tourists to go explore the area for themselves. But you can also ask for a designed tour. There are 2 common itineraries for you. The 9km journey will lead you through the quiet roads with many countryside and city views of Hoi An. The longer one is about 5km long with an extra of handicraft villages, green fields, and local old wooden bridges.
3. Enjoy the crystal blue sea
Near Hoi An Beach is Cua Dai, although once landslide, this beach has gradually recovered. The An Bang beach is a little bit further away but is now more attractive by the smooth white sand and quiet. An ideal place to get away from the mass tourism services. Spend your time here to swim, sunbathe, have a lunch or take a walk on the quiet and pleasant sand coast.
4. Visit Tra Que Vegetable Village
Dishes in Hoi An, just like other areas in Vietnam, are usually served with many kinds of fresh vegetables and herbs. Vegetables here are mainly from Tra Que village which locates in the middle of Hoi An ancient town and An Bang sea. This village grows vegetables on fertile land along the De Vong River. Tourists can visit the old village to learn about different kinds of vegetables, chat with the friendly locals and enjoy the dishes are processed on the spot. And if your feet don’t mind getting muddy, you can join in some lessons in traditional planting and watering.
5. Try Bia Hoi by Thu Bon river
Drinking beer after visiting an afternoon walking tour in the Old Quarter is rather a great idea. Tourist can come to the river and choose one of the pavement stalls that have plastic tableware and call a glass of beer. Like many places in Hanoi and Saigon, the beer here is Bia Hoi (or draught beer). Enjoy every sip of the freshly roasted aromatic bia hoi while watching wooden boats and flower lanterns glittering on the Hoai River. Such a romantic scene for beer drinking.
6. Try authentic Cao Lau
Cao Lau is the feature dish of Hoi An since the 17th century. Dark noodle strings made from rice soaked in ash water taken on Cham island 12km away from the sea. This is the secret to make the special of Hoi An Cao Lau. Cao Lau comprises of the special Cao Lau noodles, thin slices of barbecue pork, pork crackling, bean sprouts, lettuce and herbs with a spoon of broth. To eat truly authentic Cao Lau, you might want to seek out the only Cao Lau vendor on Nguyen Hue street, an old woman who’s been selling the dish on this street for more than 20 years.
7. Try one of Vietnam most exotic food – Bun Dau Mam Tom
Located at Phan Chau Trinh Street, Dau Bac restaurant serves Bun Dau Mam Tom, a type of noodles with shrimp-paste – one of the smelliest things in south-east Asia. The food is usually served on a bamboo tray with banana leaves with different side dishes. The most common side dishes are roasted and/or boiled pork, fried tofu, herbs and cha com (learn more here). When you eat, take a small cube of Bun – the vermicelli with one slice of a side dish then dip in the paste. The smell of the shrimp paste is quite intense to somebody. But when you get through it, especially with the harmonize combination of other ingredients, the taste turns out to be great. Give it a try, you may find yourself unable to stop taking another bite. Or if the paste is too much for you, you can order the normal fish sauce to enjoy the plate.
8. Sit for some side-walk barbeque
For really cheap dinner deal, you can go to the barbecue stalls located along the Hoai River. Most popular here are roasted skewers, pork, chicken, grilled shrimp on the charcoal fire. As usual, it will be served with some herbs and greens, sometimes few rice paper wrappers to roll it up. The whole thing is then dipped in a spicy peanut tomato sauce, with a few toasted sesame seeds.
9. Book a homestay
Homestay in Hoi An are not really homes but small, informal hotels built on the site of a family house. Find a place in the Old Quarter, from which you can easily take a bike tour (bikes can be borrowed for free) to nearby villages or An Bang beach. These homestays usually serve homemade breakfast like fruit, eggs and pancake.
10. Book a resort with front pool
For those who prefer a more relaxing resort, you might want to book a small resort with a swimming pool. Located in the heart of the old town, you can find some places with its own lush tropical garden and private dining room. In addition, the resort can also provide free bicycles, a bar and a spa for guests to relax.