A Rainy Day Guide
Photography: Quang Huy
When Rain Needn't Stop Play
oi An isn't shy of a monsoon shower or two, and they can happen at anytime of the year.
Rather than let a little inclement weather put a downer on your stay, we've rounded up some of the best wet weather action in the city. Pull on your poncho and throw on those flip flops - and stick it to the weather with this handy list of things to do in Hoi An on a rainy day.
Photography: Quang Huy
On a rainy day, ditch the hotel breakfast. Instead take an early morning amble down to Hoi An's central market, grab a mi quang from the food hall and enter the ‘food jungle’ that offers more than 80 types of fruits, vegetables, flowers, roots and herbs unique to the countries climate and biodiversity. Down by the river a banquet parade of seafood awaits - lobster and blue crab fresh from the nets, line-caught snapper and grouper, and fat juicy scallops. It’s a paradise for any chef and tips you off to what's in season.
Souvenirs: Souvenirs: Quang Nam chilli jam, Phu Quoc fish sauce, coffee and black peppercorns.
Camp out in a cafe! Hoi An's cafe culture is verging on overtaking the tailor trend, you'll find cute cafes on every street, but the best are hidden down the alleyways that wind through the old town. Alleyway favourites are Phin Cafe, The Espresso Station and on Nguyen Thai Hoc, near the market, Cocobana - where you can warm your soggy cold feet (or wash off the muck from the wet market) in a hot herbal spa bath.
Once you've had your fill, the best place to escape the gloom is in the old town - grab a ticket and visit the ancient houses, assembly halls and pagodas.
Going back to the 18th century, during the autumn monsoon Hoi An was at its busiest. Traders, merchants and sailors would abandon ship to settle in for several months at a time, awaiting the spring trade winds before beginning the final leg of their treacherous journey along the Marine Silk Road. On dark, gloomy days, they would gather in assembly halls and family temples, seeking comfort among fellow countrymen, telling tales of their travels, stories of pirates, folklore and of home. On a wintery day, there's a special ambience and charm about these places that captures your imagination and makes the stories of their history feel more significant.
Banh xeo is the Hoi An locals favourite winter warmer (that and rice wine, but we'd recommend going easy on that) and there is no better place to try it than Ba Le Well - all you can eat for 120,000d and free entertainment - you can't go wrong (well, actually you can - refuse a table in their new 'foreigner' garden and their mojitos. Instead, dine with the locals on the bench seating out front and you'll have a grand time).
If your time is short in Hoi An, then how about an evening packed with great food, entertainment and fun? Vietnam Vespa Adventures offer a great evening street food tour with discounts for kids (under fives go free).
With a bar or seven on every street, you might struggle to make a decision. We're guessing your preference is a great ambience, decent city views and tipples that aren't likely to leave you clutching the toilet at dawn. Selflessly, we've tested out the city's offerings already and narrowed your search down to the top 10 bars in Hoi An and for the more budget conscious, Hoi An's best happy hours
Rainy Day Tours & Activities
For rainy days we've already rounded up a good selection of craft workshops here. If you’re not great with arts and crafts, try cooking. Herbs & Spices offers full and half-day options and teaches you to cook typical Vietnamese dishes like mango salad, fish in banana leaf and sticky rice (an art). You can also do a short tour of the market to learn about the most common ingredients in local dishes and how they’re grown.
During dry days make the most of the less humid climes on an action-packed detective adventure with Urban Tales.
Further afield, the Marble Mountains offer a good half day of Indiana Jones-worthy cave explorations (take the lift in the rain as things can get a bit slippery), My Son is at its greenest and should the rain come and the kids complain, Bana Hills is armed with some good underground theme park action. For a more specialist tour, Hoi An Photo Walks host excellent photography tours.