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Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

  • December 7, 2017
  • By 50 Shades
  • 24 Comments
Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

Out of all of the South East Asian cities or towns that I have visited, there is nowhere prettier than Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach. Although the town and beach are a mere 6 kilometres away from each other, if you stay at one or the other you get the best of both worlds – a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach and a world heritage-listed ancient town that exudes charm and grace.

So this post is not about telling you about Hoi An’s geography or history, but about showing you some pretty pictures of this coastal town, located in Central Vietnam on the South China Sea.

Hoi An Old Town Streets

Strolling around Hoi An Old Town is an absolute delight. The streets are blocked off to cars and motorbikes, but you do need to watch out for cyclists and rickshaws. There are striking bougainvillea vines draped off historical buildings and ferny leafed trees that provide a little shade as you walk along the streets.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

The leafy streets of Hoi An Old Town

Once the sun sets the streets of Hoi An take on a whole different look. Paper lanterns light up the streets and reflect off the river transforming the town into a shimmering wonderland, like you’re in some sort of fairytale.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

Paper Lanterns light up the streets of Hoi An of an evening

There are many shops selling colourful paper lanterns.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

Pretty paper lanterns in a shop in Hoi An

The Thu Bon River is also ablaze with lights reflecting off the water and many long tail boats line the shores selling wares and offering boat rides.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

Views from the bridge over the Thu Bon River at night

Hoi An Old Town Historical Buildings

The town’s buildings reflect a fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures (principally Chinese and Japanese with later European influences). There are several ancient Chinese houses in the old town that charge a small admission price to enter.

Phung Hung House

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

Phung Hung House

Quan Thang House

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

Quan Thang House

Then there are some beautiful examples of French colonial architecture buildings.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

A French Colonial building in Hoi An Old Town

This Chinese building now houses the Hoi An Art Gallery

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

Hoi An Gallery

Most of the old wooden buildings now house shops selling everything from silk fabrics, brightly coloured paper lanterns, artworks to souvenirs.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

An old wooden building converted into a shop

Hoi An Bridges

Japanese Covered Bridge

One of the biggest tourist attractions is the Japanese Covered Bridge that crosses a canal off the Thu Bon River and connects the old town from one side to the other. There is an annexed pagoda on one side of the bridge’s interior, that requires a small admission fee to enter.

The bridge was constructed in the early 1600's by the Japanese community, roughly 40 years before they left the city to return to Japan under the strict policy of sakoku enforced by the Tokugawa Shogunate, and renovated in 1986. Today, it's the symbol of Hoi An.

Japanese Covered Bridge

The bridge was constructed in the early 1600’s by the Japanese community, and renovated in 1986. Today, it’s the symbol of Hoi An.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

Entrance to the Japanese Covered Bridge

The low-height main bridge across the Thu Bon River is a favourite spot for selfies and modelling photo shoots. If you’re lucky enough to find a space that is! It does get very congested, particularly of a night time.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

The bridge across the Thu Bon River by day

Hoi An Temples

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

Cantonese Assembly Hall

Quang Cong Temple

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

Quang Cong Temple

An Bang Beach

We found Hoi An Old Town to be extremely crowded and stinking hot, so it was a refreshing change to reach the stretch of white sandy beach at An Bang Beach. Surprisingly we found the beach to be relatively uninhabited and although you need to pay (or eat), to sit on a sunbed under a shady umbrella, it was a small price to pay to get out of the hot sun.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach

There are a number of casual bohemian beach joints serving up Western food or local seafood. They also offer showers, toilets and comfy spots to hang out – tables, huts, lounges, hammocks, sun beds – all available for the price of a meal.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach Resort

If you want to avoid the eateries and bars travel further north along the beach and purchase a sun lounge and umbrella to rent for a few hundred dong.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach sun lunges and umbrellas

There are a few places that hire out jet skis, paddle boards and even surf boards. Believe it or not, there has been known to be a wave on at An Bang Beach during the wet season from October to February.

Hoi An Old Town and An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach Jet Skis

Thu Bon River

If you want more, and yes there is more! The Thu Bon River that runs through Hoi An is also worthy of spending a few hours on a boat cruise or in a coconut boat.

Hoi An Old Town And An Bang Beach

Village and fishing boats on the shores of the river

Hoi An, pretty much wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the river, as it was an important trading port from the 16th to the 18th century. The Thu Bon River flows into the East China Sea and trade in the town via the river thrived with the Chinese.

Hoi An Old Town And An Bang Beach

Fishing boat on the river

We hired bikes from our resort and rode them out to the river mouth and then through some of the small fishing villages fringing the river. It was a special experience seeing how the locals live.

Hoi An Old Town And An Bang Beach

A rickety old jetty on the river

We decided upon a sunset cruise out onto the river, that included a commentary educating us about the history of the river, a stop at the fish markets, a ride in a coconut boat through the palm forests and dinner at the completion of the cruise. Unfortunately, although I had my camera at the ready, the sunset was a big disappointment. The sun disappeared behind clouds without ceremony with a touch of pale pink hue in the sky.

Hoi An Old Town And An Bang Beach

A ride in a coconut boat through the palm forests

Hoi An is an absolute must see on your Vietnam itinerary. There is plenty here to see and do for at least a week’s holiday. As it was our second time here, I would not hesitate in returning for a third time!

Lyndall from Seize the Day Projectlovin-life-linky
Deb from DebbishDotCom
Min from Write of the Middle.
Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit
and of course me, Kathy from 50 Shades of Age


By 50 Shades, December 7, 2017 <p>Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.</p>
  • 24

50 Shades

<p>Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.</p>

24 Comments
  • Lydia C. Lee
    December 7, 2017

    Such a lovely part of the world!! Great photos!

    • Kathy
      December 7, 2017

      It’s a photographer’s dream! This is the main reason I love holidaying in Vietnam. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jo Tracey
    December 7, 2017

    This took me back 8 months to when we were there. It’s the prettiest town I’ve ever been to, I think…and the food…of, the food…

    • Kathy
      December 7, 2017

      Oh yes the food is pretty good too Jo. We had some delicious Vietnamese meals in Hoi An and I also did a cooking class which was fun. #TeamLovinLife

  • Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
    December 7, 2017

    What a charming place, Kathy and I just love all of the lanterns. I think I need to put this on our bucket list. Thanks!

    • Kathy
      December 7, 2017

      Hoi An is an absolute gem of a place. The coloured lanterns really turn the town into a magical wonderland of a night time. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jo
    December 7, 2017

    I so want to go to Hoi An – and I can quite see why you are so charmed by it and would want to return for a third time. I love the look of the old buildings, the old French colonial style and also the Chinese ones. The lanterns always look gorgeous in travel photos. Your photos are also lovely and create a wonderful story.

    • Kathy
      December 7, 2017

      Thanks Jo. We enjoyed our second visit to Hoi An immensely. It is a remarkable and very charming town. I would recommend it highly. #TeamLovinLife

  • Deborah
    December 7, 2017

    Oh Kathy, what beautiful photographs. I love the colour of Hoi An. And I’ve actually been there, but back in 1997 and very briefly – just a couple of days. I would have loved to stay longer but somehow got roped into staying at a backpackers with a guy I didn’t know. Nothing weird… we’d been on the same mini-bus heading north and had nothing booked. He couldn’t afford a place on his own so I agreed to share a room. Even though I was living in Cambodia as a volunteer I wasn’t a fan of backpacker hostels and preferred to stay at inexpensive hotels.

    The only regret I have of my time there is that I decided against getting anything made as I’d put on weight while living in Cambodia and not happy with how I looked.

    • Kathy
      December 7, 2017

      Your accommodation was a far cry from our 5 star luxury resort on the beach. However Hoi An is such an enchanting town that I don’t think it would matter where you stayed. I never got anything tailor made this time because I was disappointed with the experience and the result last time around. #TeamLovinLife

  • jodie filogomo
    December 7, 2017

    I know I’ve said it before, but let me say it again—your photos are just stunning!! I know my husband always says he has no interest in visiting this part of the world, but these photos may change his mind!!
    XOOX
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    • Kathy
      December 7, 2017

      It’s pretty easy to photograph Hoi An as it is a visually pleasing town with so much colour and vibrancy. This is one place in South East Asia that I could easily return to again and again. #TeamLovinLife

  • Denyse
    December 7, 2017

    I am so glad you post about your travels and use such brilliant photos as it is highly unlikely I will travel out of Australia now. Thank you for your words AND pics! Denyse x

    • Kathy
      December 7, 2017

      I’m glad that I’m able to bring new destinations to my readers through my photos. That is one of the wonderful things about being a travel blogger. #TeamLovinLife

  • Jan Wild
    December 7, 2017

    Great photos Kathy of one of my favourite spots in Asia. Hoi An has come a long way since we last visited, I think we might not recognise it except for some of the old town.

    • Kathy
      December 7, 2017

      It had changed a lot in the five years since we’d visited. It was incredibly crowded and overrun with tourists coming in on tour buses. Luckily we could retreat to our beach resort. #TeamLovinLife

  • Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies
    December 7, 2017

    That Japanese bridge is fantastic. Thank you for the tour – I get so much joy from seeing new and exciting destinations. I need to explore Asia more! x

    • Kathy
      December 7, 2017

      I think Asia is given a bad rap at times. It is a remarkable travel destination with something to offer everyone. The only problem is the hygiene and overcrowding in some of the places. But if you can look beyond this you will enjoy a holiday to Asia. #TeamLovinLife

  • Melissa @ All Around Oz
    December 8, 2017

    As you know I haven’t travelled overseas since I was 17 (a long, long time ago) but I have always been fascinated by Vietnam…maybe one day I’ll get there!Love all your pics. Such a beautiful looking country.

  • Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama
    December 8, 2017

    Okay you’ve convinced me – Vietnam is now definitely on my bucket list!

    • Kathy
      December 8, 2017

      Good!!It’s definitely right up there for affordable and fantastic holiday destinations. #TeamLovinLife

  • Carlita
    December 8, 2017

    Brings back such memories. Definitely my favourite city in Vietnam!

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