Hoi An Ancient Town is a great place to spend a week to experience the many cultural aspects of Vietnam. One highlight is the Full Moon Lantern Festival held on the 14th of every lunar month. But if the beach is your thing, then read here for Five Nights in Nha Trang. For us, wanting to see more of Vietnam, we decided to take some day trips away from Hoi An Ancient Town.
We always like to do day trips within an hour of the town or city we are visiting. The following is a list of options to consider. And due to the heat in Vietnam, we suggest you rent a bicycle to explore.
Day Trip Options from Hoi An Ancient Town:
- Bike ride through the local rice fields
- Visiting My Son Holy Land
- Snorkelling at Cham Island
- Relaxing on the beach
Where to Stay in Hoi An Ancient Town
Ancient House Resort and Spa was chosen for us by EXO Travel. Once again the accommodation was perfect having a large room with a massive king size four-poster bed complete with mosquito netting.
Ancient House is named due to the original 200-year-old house still on the property, where the fifth generation owners still live.
Biking the Rice Fields of Hoi An Ancient Town
The sun was already at 29 degrees when having our breakfast on the terrace at 7.30 am. But having acclimatized, we decided to organize a couple of bikes from the hotel and head out to the rice fields to explore. It was 9 am and the temperature was now 35 degrees. Oh well, we have water, hats, and sunscreen.
We head over a small bridge, turning left as per the map and came upon some local farmers harvesting the rice manually. The woman has already harvested a section of rice (explains the bent backs we see on some of the old ladies walking in the villages.) The men are using a manual thrasher to separate the grain.
But what amused us, was further along the road (next to the traffic) the rice is laid out on large tarps to dry.
We had a great time cycling the pathways between the rice fields and villages, getting lost a couple of times. An amused local smiled at us as we headed down a dead-end path. And then smiled again as we passed him going back the other way a few minutes later.
Terry has learned not to take photos while riding the bike, especially when crossing a bridge. His balance was compromised and he ended up crashing into the concrete ramparts. Luckily it was the type of bike that didn’t have the top bar from seat to handles. Otherwise, his man parts would have been crushed!
While biking along we came across the Water Baskets Boats used for fishing by the locals. We were keen to find the owner and see if we could have a ride and perhaps do a little fishing, But alas nobody was about so we cycle on. We passed by local sorting palm leaves before seeing another local shelling what we think are chestnuts.
Getting a tad thirsty we spy a happy hour (soda water as only 11 am) along the river and order some spring rolls as well. Hoa Hien food was delicious.
Replenished we head back to the hotel for a swim after a great morning. On the way, we ride through the local wet market seeing watermelon at only USD1 for 2kgs. A bargain. Time to quench the thirst.
My Son Holy Land
Today we were collected late by our guide and driver as we headed to a very ancient historical site 1.5 hours from Hoi An. The drive at times was hair-raising as the driver decided on several occasions to try and pass on blind corners. We feared more for the poor lady or child on the bicycle or scooter traveling beside us or coming towards us.
The drive to My Son Holy Land had us passing through many local villages. As we approached one local village, harvested rice was drying in all sorts of places. Along the side of the road amongst the dust and fumes, or scattered on the local roundabout. So funny.
The scenery then changed to the local forest as we arrived at My Son temples discovered 500 years ago by the French in what was then dense forest.
We walked partway from the entrance with our guide where you are met by electric cars to take you further inland to the cafe buildings. At an open building nearby we were entertained by a Cham cultural dance. Terry was very, very happy! (Well they are very talented in their craft 😇)
At the end of the performance, we wandered up the path to view the various temples.
The My Son temples are a UNESCO site that dates to the 4th-14th centuries.
The site once had 70 temples before the week-long bombing attack in the American War. Some of the remaining 20 temples were still intact, others restored to varying degrees, while others were severely damaged by the bombing.
My Son was the site of religious ceremonies for the kings of the Champa Kingdom and a burial royalty. The temples are influenced by India and Hinduism.
The marvel of the temples is their construction, many are over 1,000 years old. It was fascinating to find no mold on any of the brickwork as no mortar was used. The mystery of the construction may be based on the local gum tree resin used between the bricks, and the burning of the building after construction to seal the bricks.
The other interesting information on this site is the fertility symbols in each of the temples. Each temple has a Linga and the Yoni!
Spend a Day at An Bang Beach (aka China Beach)
Yes, Terry was hoping to see Dana Delaney – but instead, we were treated to sandy beaches and waves to do some body surfing. We spent most of the day here reading, sunning ourselves and swimming. Maura also spied her fishing baskets sitting on the beach. Still clean to take for a spin.
An Bang beach is only a 15-minute ride from the hotels of Hoi An Old Town or a 30-minute bike ride. The beach area has some great restaurants and bars to keep you hydrated while you relax.
Boat Trips from Hoi An Ancient Town
Depending on the weather, boat trips are available out to the island of Bai Xep has another option for a day at the beach. Cham Island is another option and only a 90-minute ferry ride for snorkeling and scuba diving. Visiting during the week can be less busy, especially if you want to take a trek in and around the island.
Visiting Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An Ancient Town is a must-see travel destination. When booking your Vietnam itinerary, make sure to arrive for the Full Moon Lantern Festival held every month in Hoi An Ancient Town. To read more, click here Hoi An Ancient Town.