Have you been to Hoi An? Here's all the reasons why we love it, and why we think it's the perfect destination for a family trip!
We’ll admit it – we’re in love with Vietnam. From the hustle and bustle of kid-friendly Ho Chi Minh City to making memories onboard a boat in Ha Long Bay, we love it all. So, if you’re looking to plan your next family holiday and are after something a bit different to your usual easy island getaway and want to experience some rich culture with the kids, too, we think Vietnam is just the place. And somewhere that has to be top of the list for trips is beautiful Hoi An. Not only is it a charming UNESCO World Heritage listed site location, but you can pair it with the perfect blend of beach vacay in the untouched Danang next door. Here’s how to make the most of a visit with kids…
What to do in Hoi An with kids
1. Explore the streets of Hoi An
There’s plenty to keep the kids occupied in ancient Hoi An town. Winding through the streets, observing the comings and goings of daily life in the bustling marketplace, and checking out the spectacular architecture will keep you occupied for hours. And, if you’re travelling with a baby, rest assured that the pavements aren’t too tricky to navigate with a pram. And bonus, Hoi An old town is a car-free zone!
2. Don’t miss the lanterns at night
At sunset, hop aboard a traditional wooden boat on Bach Dang Street near the An Hoi Bridge, and let a skilled uncle show you the sights of Thu Bon River. Once darkness descends, the kids can release bright paper lanterns on the banks of the river and watch as their tea lights faded into the distance. Magical.
3. Unique shopping opportunities: crafts, lanterns and more
Take your time exploring the unique shophouses for divine lacquered bowls, hand-crafted fabric wares like stuffed toys and retro MacBook covers, intricate hand-cut paper pop-up cards and trinkets of every description.
4. And tailoring perfection for all the fam
Stash your favourite fashion in your bag and have it copied by one of the many skilled tailors dotted about town. Being measured up and selecting from reams of gorgeous fabrics was a definite trip highlight. Prices and quality can really vary, so it’s worth shopping around. Our tip is to order on the first day of your trip to give time for alterations. Hoi An also has a well-deserved reputation for bespoke leather goods. Choose from hundreds of styles and colours (neon leopard print, anyone?), and the leather sandals of your dreams will miraculously appear in a day or two.
5. Beach days at An Bang Beach (and Da Nang!)
Pair a trip to Hoi An with Danang, and you’ve got the perfect combo of beach and culture combined. But, did you know – there’s also a lovely beach close to Hoi An too if you want to be based closer to the town. We fell head over heels with the DeckHouse Beach Club at An Bang Beach. From incredible food to a lovely little pool when you need a break from the beach, it’s the perfect, not-so-faraway respite from Hoi An town.
Where to eat in Hoi An with kids
Vietnamese food is fresh, fresh, fresh. There’s just something so moreish about cuisine that goes big on lime, chilli, basil and mango. With staples like beef pho, fresh spring rolls and seafood pomelo salad, there’s zero risk of anyone going hungry.
1. Morning Glory
Incredible for both quality and price, Morning Glory is not to be missed. Head there early to avoid a queue and grab a booth inside where all the action is (you’ll likely have backpackers on one side of you and golden oldies on the other, such is this little gem’s appeal). We adored the Hoi An speciality Banh Bao Banh Vac (white rose dumplings), the five-spice pork belly and the papaya salad with sesame beef. And it’s all prepped before your very eyes by the talented chefs in the steamy central kitchen. Delish.
2. Mango Rooms
We enjoyed the hospitality of the Mango Rooms – it’s child-friendly and not only serves mod Vietnamese fusion cuisine but also has dedicated kids’ menus with fail-safe offerings like fish and chips if your kids want some comfort food. We also love the eclectic interiors (think emerald green walls, mosaic tiled floors and glass-free windows).
3. Hoi An street food
The markets are bursting with ridiculously fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs, so it’s little surprise that the street food here is inspired. Lining the river, you’ll find rustic tables and chairs jam-packed with locals and tourists alike feasting on Vietnamese noodles, spicy soups and local desserts. Travelling with kids, the focus will most definitely be on exciting new sweet treats, and special mention must go to the local ice cream and the mango cake liberally dusted in icing sugar.
Where to stay in Hoi An and Da Nang with kids
The great thing about Hoi An is that you are so close to Da Nang, which offers heaps of fam-friendly accom options on the beach. There are also Hoi An options if you want to stay close to the cultural centre.
1. Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa
A fave of HoneyKids, Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa pips a top spot for good reason. This is full-service, luxury beach accommodation at its very finest. Think: immaculately appointed rooms, multiple pool-scape zones and world-renowned dining. And don’t forget Camp Hyatt kids’ club. Drop your excited kiddos there for a couple of hours a day, and the entire family will be blissing out.
2. Danang Marriott Resort & Spa
Looking for homely luxury with stunning views and direct access to a perfect stretch of Non Nuoc beach? Danang Marriott Resort & Spa (previously the Vinpearl Luxury Danang) ticks all the boxes. Only a thirty minute drive from Hoi An and directly opposite the majestic Marble Mountain, the Marriott is perfectly positioned for exploring and sightseeing. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, the furniture has a nostalgic old-wood vibe, and the infinity pool overlooking the beach is one of the best we’ve seen in Vietnam. Accommodation ranges from Garden and Beach View rooms to recently renovated private pool villas. With beautifully appointed Quan Spa offering a range of massages and facial treatments as well as a small kids club, this hotel can serve as a perfect spot for a solo retreat, a girls getaway, or a family vacay.
3. InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula
If money is no object, then splash out on the ultimate stay at InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula. With views to die for, this resort is an all-out luxury and one for the bucket list. The dedicated kids club means parents can really make the most of the resort while the kids (12 and under) enjoy endless activities, including craft making, art classes, beach fun, and scavenger hunts!
4. Anantara Hoi An Resort
A luxe offering right in the centre of town is Anantara Hoi An Resort. Less than a kilometre from the historic quarter of Hoi An, this is the perfect retreat away from the hustle and bustle with lush gardens fronting the Thu Bon River. Treat yourself to all the luxe extras, such as riverfront dining, blissful spa journeys, and sunset river cruises.
5. Mulberry Collection Silk Village
A short walk from the centre of town, you’ll find Mulberry Collection Silk Village. This is a good (and more reasonably priced) option for the family with interconnecting rooms, a fun kids’ room, a great pool, plus a little history lesson with the Silk Museum being on your doorstep. It’s also an easy taxi ride from the beach.
6. Plenty of Airbnb options
Have a wonderful trip!
Lead image: Hoi An Photographer via Unsplash