Two of the best ways to explore Hoi An, Vietnam are by bicycle and by motorcycle. Since not everyone is up for a moto ride (and you certainly don’t need to be!) here are 5 tips to ensure you enjoy your ride through this beautiful old city.
5 Tips for Exploring Hoi An by Bicycle
1. Use Sun Protection
Hoi An enjoys many lovely sunny days and when you’re out pedaling past the beautifully green rice paddies, it can be easy to forget to cover up with sunscreen and a hat. It was certainly hot when I was in Hoi An in April of last year and this year so I picked up a souvenir hat from a nice lady at a stand across from Banana Split. You’ll find plenty of stalls selling hats in the old town so haggle down to the right price and grab one on your way through town.
2. Stop for Coffee
As you must know by now from travel posts, coffee is a must in Vietnam and there’s nothing better than stumbling (or bicycling) upon a new, local, or interesting coffee shop. And trust me, there will be plenty! Don’t hesitate to stop during your ride for a ca phe sua da (or two, or three…)
You could usually find me at Banana Split having a coffee but I loved the outdoor cafe we found across the Thu Bon river from Hoi An’s old town. It was heavily shaded and fairly calm despite the upbeat music playing over the speakers and the locals having coffee, beer and playing card games.
3. Head for an Island Adventure
The coffee shop we found across the river is on a quiet island across from Hoi An’s old town. To get there via bicycle you can take a quick ferry ride across the river with your friendly boat captain, several locals, and usually a chicken or two. Peter and I did get very lost on this island when we were there in April 2015, so be sure to pay some attention to which turns you decide to take while exploring, but don’t be afraid to cycle and explore.
4. Chat with the Locals
Say hi, be friendly, and you’ll almost always find that the locals here will be happy to give you directions (or recommend a tailor…), chat, invite you to a wedding, or help you climb up partially collapsed abandoned tower that happens to have reallyyyyy cool/scary steps.
5. Wake Up Early
Whether you prefer an early morning walk or an early morning bicycle ride, do try to explore the old town before 8AM. It’ll be much quieter and perfect for taking photographs of the beautiful, historical architecture. The old town is very different in the early mornings than it is once the shops are open and the tourists arrive.