what to pack?
Patience & A Plan
or those that find the oppressive heat and humidity of a Hoi An summer or the incessant rain of the monsoon months hard to bear, you'll love the dry, warm spring days Hoi An experiences throughout April.
The weather is perfect, it's not too hot; not to humid. The rice fields are a vibrant spring green, the trees in full bloom and markets abundant with freshly caught seafood and tropical produce. It's also the school hols and Hoi An's busiest month after Christmas - book your hotel early!
Perfect! Daytime temps hover around the mid to late 20's and as the sun drops, so does the ambient temperature. Rain at this time of the year is as rare as an unbooked table at Hoi An's most popular restaurants and the beach season kicks off good and proper.
TIP: The dive season (and Cham Islands), on a good year begins in April, but it's not until May that the visibility really begins to clear as the deep water warms and the ocean settles to allow for a smoother journey. For anyone other than the hardier water babies, both snorkelling and diving may be a test on the extremities - it can be cold in the water. If that concerns you, take the boat to the island and explore beyond it's busy beaches - school holidays attract hordes of domestic travellers for the sun, sand and seafood. Fortunately most go no further, leaving the rest of Cham Islands colourful villages, and coastal paths just for you.
accommodation: where to stay:
Anywhere with room!
In the countryside, the areas:- Tra Que, Cam Chau and Cam Thanh, are stunning in April. The reason for this is that the rice fields that take up most of the land here are at their most beautiful. As there is not too much to keep the farmers busy at this time, it's also quiet, the relative calm attracting a whole host of tropical birdlife and song.
As the temperatures are perfect for cycling, the locations of these countryside hotels (midway between town and beach) offer an alternative way to discover the rural villages, lane and river ways that take you the quieter route in to town, rewarding you with access to a quieter and more remote side of Hoi An.
In the old town, It's high season and despite more and more options opening up near the beach, the old town is where everyone wants to be and unless you book early (or swing a last minute deal) you'll likely be paying rack rates. Still great value compared to much of Asia's most visited locations, but high for Hoi An.
Another factor worth a thought is that the old town will be crowded with visitors which can wear on you after a while, if you think this might be a problem discount any properties lacking a river view - actually, discount some of those too, you want to be positioned to the rear of An Hoi island for the breeze and the sunsets (use the Hoi An Silk Marina as a location pin), or a on the very edge of the old town - The Anantara or Hotel Royal M Gallery Hoi An are good choices.
The Beach: This can be tricky if you are in the market for a beach resort; the reason? Beach maintenance. Damage control on the beaches worst hit during the storm season doesn't get started until March when the tides and winds calm. From that moment noisy sand dredgers, bulldozers and workers inundate the beaches and sea leaving sea views peppered with smokey ol' barges, constant noise and limited private beach areas away from the workers. Discount Palm Garden Resort, The Agribank (now Tropical Beach) and the beach part of Hoi An Beach Resort and focus your search on The Sunrise Hoi An, The Boutique, Four Seasons Nam Hai or the Victoria - these resorts are only mildly effected these days (the Four Seasons location was never effected) as previous erosion preventative measures have withstood the elements. Also, the management at these resorts are far more concerned than others in the area with guest experience and the quality of stay - any disruptions to proceedings will be communicated honestly, well ahead of your booking giving you the option of making alternative arrangements should you feel the necessity.
For smaller guest houses, B&Bs and private villas, both An Bang beach and Tan Thanh beach (just north of An Bang, before the Boutique) are worth considering, though we'd recommend steering clear of Tan Thanh for April 2018 (mass development is in progress making all but the beach one big building site).
In An Bang, the better places get booked way ahead of time - if you are reading this at Christmas, you may be too late.
Hotel Royal Hoi An M Gallery
Dolphin House, An Bang beach
festivals & Traditions
National holidays, International Labour Day (yes we know, celebrate working with a day off! 1st May). Buddha's Birthday (8th day of the 4th Lunar month - this is a big one in Hoi An), Dien Bien Phu Victory Day (7th May), and Ho Chi Minh's birthday (19th May). Other than the crowds, most of the above will pass by unnoticed by the western eye; all except Buddha's birthday, a celebration of love, peace and harmony where the towns temples overflow with Buddhist followers and the river and town decorated by lanterns and giant lotus flowers.
a May day itinerary:
morning: Start the day on a glorious sunrise; picture a glassy calm ocean with an island backdrop and throw in a dramatic red sky as the sun climbs the sky. It's beautiful, and it's free! Just grab your sunhat and camera and head down to the beach, or for an even better view point, hook up with SUP Monkey for their Aloha Sunrise stand-up paddle board tour of the coastline, an easy paddle suited to all abilities with breakfast thrown in.
Tip: Early risers only, to catch the best of it you'll need to be at the beach before 5am