Image and clothes: aVana Hoi An
A Weekend In Hoi An: Girls’ Getaway
Shopping, spa visits and simply delicious food
One of the perks of Hoi An is the accessibility to some S.E Asia’s most exciting cities. Less than a two-hour flight away from Bangkok, KL, Singapore and Hong Kong. Hoi An offers cultural sights a plenty, mouthwatering food and unbeatable shop-portunities. Making it the ideal destination for a girls weekend-getaway!
Where To Stay
There’s a vast array of high-end hotels, hostels and everything in between in Hoi An, suitable for any budget. However, a hotel with a pool should definitely be a priority even with the beach within easy reach (who doesn’t want to spend some time sipping a coconut by the pool).
Located a short walk from the old town, Almanity Hoi An offers a sleek, sophisticated environment and a sense of calm amidst the chaos of the city. Although slightly pricier, the spacious pool, complimentary spa treatments, delicious breakfast and comfortable rooms made this perfect spot for a short stay. The service is impeccable and the staff are all incredibly friendly and helpful. We recommend a My Spirit Deluxe twin, a stylish loft room with a spacious downstairs living room.
TIP: Spoil yourself silly with a glass of Champagne (or three)! In addition to classic breakfast fare, each month the Almanity host a quirky brunch with bottomless bubbles, music and an ever changing international menu. You'll find large buffets and impressive live cooking stations with themes like Cham Island seafood, international roast, Italian, Thai and more. The choices here can inundate the indecisive, so create a strategy for sampling as much as possible while avoiding crowded areas, and make the most of the complimentary spa sides - there's often a nail station for in between courses.
Image: Almanity Hoi An
For really special occasions or if you’re planning a trip with a big group of girlfriends and want to splash out, We’d recommend the enormous Grand Villa at the Sunrise Resort; this luxurious private pool villa with views stretching out over the ocean is the perfect party pad!
Image: Sunrise Hoi An, Grand Villa
Sights & Spa
You won’t run out of things to discover down the endless winding streets of charming Hoi An. Every street corner will fascinate all the senses, and there are some stunning sights to see if you’ve never visited the city before: Tan Ky House (go early!), The Japanese Bridge, Quan Cong Temple,the Museum of Folk Culture… the list of beautiful temples and pagodas goes on. If you need some help picking out the best Hoi An sites - we've got them here!
With the inclusive spa services and relaxing facilities at the Almanity, it’s unlikely you’ll be left wanting more. Still, for those looking to take advantage of the deliciously cheap massages that can be found on almost every street - we recommend Palmarosa Spa’s Deep Relaxation package which includes the most blissful Indian head massage and full-body massage managed perfectly by expert therapists (their anti-aging facial is unbeatable). For something more upscale, the Anantara serve up the most delicious four-hand massage, or for the more sociable - they’ll set you and your friends up in a riverside cabana for mani and pedis - you can also order a sundowner from their extensive menu.
Tribal bags, braided sandals, souvenirs inspired by mythical beasts and off the peg designer gear – It's no secret the colonial-era streets of Hoi An are a shoppers paradise. Representing the fine border between art and fashion are Chula, aVana (this is our favourite off-the-peg designer boutique), Metiseko, O-Thala and Hot Chili Fashion; for drool worthy jewellery and can't-leave-behind souvenirs - try Lotus, GAM and Reaching Out.
For those wishing to take a stylish reminder of their travels, lifestyle shop Sunday in Hoi An is bursting at the seams with gorgeous home wear
For the finer details - here a shopping guide we made earlier
Though Hoi An likes to call itself the tailoring capital of Asia, the trade was a copy-cat introduced back in early 2000 on the back of suggestions bought to the table from the town's first visitors - intrepid travellers who had touched down in Hong Kong or Bangkok. For the most part we veer away from the scene, the good made in Hoi An silks are mainly export only and tailors, self taught. However, in recent years a few have upped their game:- Yaly (and their sassy sister, Oche Boutique), Be Be and Lana are all importing their fabrics and training their staff to incredibly high standards; some even exhibiting their collections on catwalks internationally.
TIP: To allow enough time, you'll need to make this your first stop.
Image:Metiseko Hoi An
For spices, ceramics, kitchenware and nibbles, the food orientated central market (Bach Dang St) is worth a daytime visit, but for 'Made in Vietnam' souvenirs, lanterns and ambience you can't beat the night market on An Hoi. Here you'll find every trinket (and more) that you will have seen in the small shops spread throughout the city - displayed on tens of stalls set-up just across the bridge from the old town.
The benefits of doing your souvenir shopping here are ten-fold:- You beat the heat, prices are way more competitive (haggle) and there are plenty of bars surrounding the market should you need to down tools and reconvene. The best is Mango Mango , to put it simply the food and cocktails are outstanding and the staff make you feel so welcome.
So welcome (and the food so delicious) we know you're going to dine here. For starters try the Lord of the Squid Rings, the Buddha Bites, if you don't try the Peking duck tacos you're going to need to come back. Throw in a Geisha fish, chase the chick and cleanse the palate with copious cocktails (they are all worth trading your partner for).
Image:Mango Mango Hoi An
What to Eat
Food is one of the main reasons to come to Hoi An, and with farming and fishing featuring predominantly on the area's vocational list, wherever you chose to dine, you'll be served the freshest ingredients with very few food miles (we're talking Asian food here - that addictive combination of sweet, spicy, salty and sour is too good to waste a meal on food you can get back home).
For street food, stick to central dishes - cao lau, banh xeo, bun bo are all delicious here; made from family recipes and locally sourced ingredients. In Hoi An Central Market's food hall you can easily try them all (the small, 20,000d dishes are tapas sized). For lunch head to NU Eatery. The chef here trained with David Chang (Momofuku) and his Asian fusion menu is both exciting and delicious - try the pork sliders and seasonal salads. At The Little Menu, it's impossible to order anything that won't make your heart sing - and if you have desert here, melt).
Image: The Four Seasons Nam Hai Resort, Hoi An
If you’re looking for an easy girls’ getaway for the weekend, Hoi An is a fail-safe option. Fit in a day by the pool, beach and at the spa, some delicious meals out, a cocktail or two and an awesome shopping trip for a guaranteed fun trip with your besties.
Almanity Hoi An, 326 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoi An.
The Sunrise Hoi An, Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An.
Mango Mango, 45, Nguyen Phuc Chu, Hoi An.
NU Eatery, 10A, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Hoi An
Little Menu, 12, Le Loi, Hoi An