We took a private van tour from Hue to Hoi An, stopping along the way at Elephant Springs. Here you can pay to lounge along the rocky grottos and take in the man made Elephant rock, which was kind of funny and lame at the same time. Once we discovered that it cost money for us to stay, we decided to leave. There is a nice lake along the coast which is good for some pictures as well as a viewpoint cresting the mountain pass coming into Da Nang. While not too spectacular, it was a nice way to break up the drive and more enjoyable than our overnight train ride to Hue. Hoi An does not have an airport, so if you choose to fly you will need to fly in to Da Nang and take 30 minutes taxi to Hoi An.
The Old Town
Hoi An was a cute town with a vibrant shopping district where many in our group decided to get custom clothing made - a specialty of the region. You can get a custom suit or dress made in just days! To learn more about getting a custom outfit, read this blog. The old town of Hoi An has many restaurants, shops, spas, lanterns and charm. It is also known for several food specialties: rose dumplings, morning glory and wonton dishes.
An Bang Beach
There are two primary areas where people stay, in the old quarter or along the beach. We stayed in a quaint Airbnb just outside of town, very near An Bang Beach. There were plenty of small restaurants and cheap massage places to help you relax when not near the water. Fisherman boats, called coracles, go out from the beach early every morning. Upon their return, it's very popular for the locals to play volleyball and exercise along the beach. The downside of staying near the beach was that you have to pay for a taxi to get to town.
We found all of Hoi An to be especially welcoming and probably our favorite stop inland. You will fall in love with this adorable town, the people, and the quaint shops. An Bang was the perfect place for us to relax after several action packed days with nothing to do but get massages and hang by the water. Make this place a priority during your time in Vietnam!