Hoi An, the place they call the ‘Venice’ of Vietnam. It’s nicely located and definitely a pretty city. It’s surrounded by many islands and you have a beach close by.
I would say, Hoi An is the perfect place to crash for a while if you want to save some money, get focused (there isn’t so much going on if you stay here long-term), eat some good French food (bread, cheese wine for almost nothing) and take time to relax!
This will be a big blog post full of my best tips and tricks about living and working as a digital nomad in Hoi An, Vietnam
Vietnam is a big country that most people travel by train, aeroplane or bus. It’s divided in the north (Hanoi and area), The middle (Hoi An/Danang) and the south (Ho Chi Minh). Vietnam is most popular by backpackers, but also really nice for digital nomads.
Hoi An is a really nice city in Vietnam, there is an ancient town, a beach and lovely cafes. There is every month at full moon a lantern festival and during February it’s really big, called TET festival. (I would actually recommend to skip Tet festival and join the other festivals during. During Tet most restaurants are closed and it’s more touristy than ever. If you go to the other full moon festivals, you will see exactly the same, only less crowded as Tet. Also, the restaurants are all open.)
The rain season in Vietnam is different everywhere. But, where most countries have a rain season with just a little bit of rain on a day, Vietnam is different. It can rain here for days and weeks in a row! Grey, rainy days, without a little bit of sun.
So, what’s the best time to visit Hoi An?
The best months: February / March / April / May / June / July / August / September / October
Worse months: November / December / January
Why you should check out Hoi An
- A cosy city with lanterns everywhere
- Many street markets
- Foodwise, the best french bread, coffee places and food restaurants
- A lot of nature, rice fields
- Different Islands to visit around Hoi An
- The city is close to the beach
- Clothing Taylor made everywhere (if you into that 🙂 )
- The cost of living is cheap, almost the cheapest what I’ve seen in Asia so far
Because this review is honest, I also will give some reasons why Hoi An is maybe not the place to go. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Hoi An, but there are some things that I didn’t like that much.
Why you shouldn’t check out Hoi An
- The city is most of the time crowded, for good photographs I had to be there before 7 am in the morning.
- It’s, in my opinion, it can be a bit boring, not much is happening in compare to other places.
- The digital nomad scene isn’t that much, Hoi An is mostly backpack focused.
- The markets are insanely busy and the smell is awful (fishy)
- The beaches are not really good for surfing and some of them more resort focused then lay back.
So, now we had the negative sides, let’s go to all my tips about this awesome place! And create your own opinion about Hoi An.
Info about Hoi An:
First of all, you need a valid passport and a tourist visa for a visit to visit Vietnam. You need an approval letter and a visa. You have different options a 1-month or 3 months stay visa.
How to get your visa?
Online: You need a letter of approval before your flight.
With the letter of approval, you will get your visa on arrival at the airports (Da Nang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City)
What are the costs?
The letter: 17 $
The visa: Single: 1 month (17 $), 3 months (25 $) / Multiple : 1 month(20$), 3 months (65 $)
There are a lot of places you can stay, guesthouses, hostel, hotels or Airbnb. It totally depends on the kind of budget you have and how you would like to travel.
I stayed the first weeks in the Hoi An Golden Rice Villa. A lovely place with breakfast and a bike included. The only thing that isn’t great is, in my opinion, is the location, it’s a bit far from Hoi An City, but the beach is only 10 minutes by bike!
It’s a bit more expensive than other places, but the rooms are clean, there is a swimming pool and the place is nicely located a bit outside the centre and closer to the beach.
Price for a month: 15 million dongs, including a good breakfast.
After this place, I stayed in the Strawberry guesthouse, not my best idea so far, a lot of mouldy things, not clean at all and well, not that great. So I moved after 3 days to another place, the Lucky Leaf. That was a really nice place, well-located place with a room and a balcony. I paid around 15 euros a night.
Price for a month: 13 million dongs, including breakfast.
Other nice places to sleep:
Budget: Green Garden homestay, Green grass homestay & Lucky Leaf Villa.
Luxury: Victoria Hotel Hoi An & Golden Sand resort
There are different kinds of ATMS in Hoi An. I collected the best ones to get money.
Best rates: Military bank (recommended!), ANZ Bank, Agribank.
Most expensive rates: Vietbank, SeABank.
The best place to get a sim card with 4 g internet is the Viettel shop. It costs around 6 euros for one month. You will find the shop here: 524 Cua Dai Street, close by Eden Hotel.
Centre Hoi An: The roads are pretty good, only the centre is scooter free. People only go by bike or foot.
Beach road: There are tiny roads between the rice fields from Hoi An to the beach. Don’t use them a lot in the dark because of the water buffalos, they can block the road.
Renting a scooter:
Renting a scooter in Vietnam isn’t that cheap as other places in Asia. Also, the quality of scooter is a bit lower. the main reason is, is that Vietnam isn’t that much a scooter country as other places. You will see a lot of people using the bike, especially in Hoi An.
If you’re staying long-term, with long-term I mean longer then 2/3 months, it can pay off to buy your own scooter and sell it when you leave. You can buy a scooter from 4 million. Make sure you get the blue card when you buy the scooter, that proves that you’re the owner and makes it easier to sell it afterwards.
My go-to Scooter rental in Hoi An is: Tay Do Tailors at 95 Hung Vuong (Tel: 0982 692 552)
The price 1 million for 1 month, what is the cheapest that I found in Hoi An. Most places will ask for 2 million/3 million a month.
There is one side note: the scooter I had stopped working for 2 times in a row. They came both times, gave me another scooter and fixed it. Perhaps this can happen everywhere, but it wasn’t a great experience.
There are more scooter rental places, but as I mentioned, it’s more expensive.
Grab taxi app:
If can’t drive or don’t like to drive by yourself there are also other options.
Renting a bike:
Most guesthouses have a bike included. But you can rent it almost everywhere in the city.
Laundry places are all over Hoi An, all with different prices. Your hostel or guesthouse probably has also the services, but it’s always a bit more expensive. That why I use ‘Hoi An Laundry’, it’s a really good service!
- They offer laundry pick up and drop off
- They have a cheap price 25.000 for 1kg (1 euro for a kilo)
- Your laundry is ready within a day.
I really hope you don’t need this information, but there are a couple good places:
The best is in Danang: Family Hospital Da Nang.
Another option in Hoi An: Pacific Hospital Hoi An.
Not recommendable, but in case you need fast help it’s in the centre of Hoi An: HOSPITAL HOI AN.
This one I tested in person, I had a salmonella food poisoning for already 2 weeks so wanted to see if they could help me. Overall I had an okay experience, but I am not coming back for sure. Why? This place is pricey, the people can’t speak English then well, they didn’t make me feel comfortable, because there were a lot of different people all the time helping or taking my blood without communication…
There are a lot of ‘minimarkets’ on the road. Also in the centre, you will find every morning big day markets. Most of them have the basics, but if you’re searching for a bigger shop with more options you can check out: Tiger Market.
An Bang beach: quiet, relaxed and with a couple of nice cafes close by. Sometimes you can surf here, depending on the swell.
Cua Dai Beach: a nice beach, but busier with a lot of palm trees everywhere.
Most cafes and accommodations have wifi. However, the wifi is probably not that good as you’re used to. Most co-working spaces are offering 4g wifi, but the average wifi in Bali isn’t that good and also a bit unreliable. So, if you need good wifi, it can pay off to check some co-working spaces for a day pass, week pass or month pass.
Hub Hoi An
This co-working space is one of the popular ones in Hoi An. It has different rooms, with airconditioning, without airconditioning and meeting rooms. There are also different options to work inside and outside. The wifi is 60 MPs and really reliable. This place isn’t really big, it has space for around 25 people, but the community is really strong. I felt immediately welcome when I arrived.
Also, the lunches are awesome, you should give it a try!
My favourite work cafes:
For my favourite work cafes, check out my post about the best work cafes in Hoi An, VietnamBest co-working cafes Hoi An
Best places for good coffee:
This place is centrally located and really cosy! They offer a breakfast, lunch menu and different kind of pastries. It’s a more expensive than local places. But, if you’re looking for the best soy cappucino in Hoi An? This is the place to be.
This place has really good coffees, a garden terras and different kind of breakfast options.
Best food places
Rosies cafe ($)
This cafe is one of my favourites to grab some breakfast. They have smoothie bowls, french toast, avocado and egg toast, an English breakfast, so many options! it’s a bit more expensive than a local breakfast, but most dishes are still not more than 4 euros. A funny thing, there is also a shop in Rosies cafe where you can buy some souvenirs, like soaps and jams!
If you like a proper English breakfast, healthy bread options with avocado, hummus or different kind of yoghurts, pastries or croissants, this is the place to be. It’s cheap, big portions, the service is fast and the food tastes good.
Other nice breakfast places:
Dingo Deli ($$)(western food options and great scones), Avos & Mango ($$) (really great smoothie bowls), Six on Six cafe ($$)(easy going cafe with nice food), Nomad cafe($) (vegan breakfast place), Phi Banh Mi ($) (cheap bread sandwiches), Morning glory ($$) (easygoing place in the centre), Cargo Club, $$ (fancy tasty western food)
Vegan Vietnamese food cafe. A bit out of the centre, but really tasty. Everything is around 2/4 euro.
It’s a Vietnamese vegan food restaurant, located a bit outside the centre. They offer different kinds of food, Vietnamese focused and are open every day.
Ganesh ($$) : Really good Indian food.
Chiang Mai :Tasty Thai food.
Hoshigami Sushi Japanese Restaurant Hoi An ($$): The best sushi in Hoi An.
Mix ($$) :Greek food, with also tasty hummus, big portions and the best red wine in town.
Nightlife & beach bar
$: Soul Beach: beach bar, drinks and music. 3 Dragon Sports Bar: Every Wednesday there is a pub quiz), Kukun: Chill beach bar, Dive Bar: pool table and parties, Corner Corner: party vibes and open till late.
$$: Opio Hoi An (beach bar, party and drinks with DJ’s from everywhere over the world)
Best massage places:
($): MA SPA
($$): Hoi An Garden Palace & Spa, Pandanus Spa Hoi An
Best things to do during your day offs:
- Wander around Hoi An’s Ancient Town
- Visit the local market in the centre of Hoi An.
- Take some time to relax on the beaches
- Experience the Full Moon Festival – It’s crowded but really beautiful. There are a lot of candle lits that are floating in the river.
- Visit the islands around Hoi An and do some snorkelling.
- Take a cooking class.
- Cycle in the rice fields and on the islands close to Hoi An.
- Take your photography to the next level with a course from ‘360 Nomad‘.
- Visit the Marble mountain only 45 minutes by scooter from Hoi An.
- Get clothes tailor-made
Hoi An, Vietnam as a digital nomad place: 7/10
+ Nomad environment is nice but really small, good food places to eat, you can live really cheap and there are different kind of activities
– More backpacking then nomad focused, the nightlife isn’t alive in the offseason, the working places aren’t that modern/ comfortable as in most other places in Asia.