The setting of Hoi An is really quite beautiful: riverside with pretty streets – often lantern lit at night – lots of narrow alleyways connecting main roads and even ancient decorative bridges.
It is also a massive tourist destination and sometime hellishly busy… The best way to see the old town before it fills up is very early morning. Despite the vast numbers visiting and the fact that the old town is all tourist shops, restaurants or hotels, its not a ‘party’ town tho – most places are closing down by 10.30 or even earlier.
As befits somewhere at this level of busyness, there are some extravagant pricing options, but I did think that the food choices were better than those found in Hue, you can eat at reasonable prices but you need to look around.
Morning Glory restaurant on Nguyen Thai Hoc is recommended, as is Rice Drum further along the same road. There are some very expensive options, Brothers Cafe out to the east of town has a lovely riverside setting in an old house – it gets recommended a lot, but I thought it was extremely average, at the prices they charge it shouldn’t be…
If you want a more local feel cross the Cau Cam Nam bridge (near the food market) and follow the road until it curves left (about 700m), here you will find some riverside local restaurants – they look basic, but the food is great home style quality and very fresh.
The beach at Hoi An, spreads north some 40km to Danang, and its being built into a major destination. Global hotel chains, golf courses and smart residential developments are springing up along the whole length of the beachfront.
Just before Danang are the Marble Mountains (more hillocks really). There are lots of retail opportunities at the foot of the mountains (in fact more on sale than you could imagine the mountains could produce), but its worth a stop to see the temple atop one of the larger mountains.