We travelled to Hoi An with a 13 week old baby George in February. It was nice and quiet with warm, dry weather. A short flight from Ho Chi Minh City and you are in Da Nang, the largest City in central Vietnam. Beautiful beaches on the coast and lush jungle inland. There is plenty of offer in this area.
Hoi An itself is small and feels old. Good nightlife, 5 star restaurants and has yet to be exposed to the masses. Therefore it remains innocent and pure in terms of a travel experience. De nang is undergoing major investment and development. International hotel chains are buying up land to build on. One to watch!
BOOKING YOUR TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT HOI AN?
November to March is peak season because of the amazing weather. The Tet holiday takes place in January/February. Most locals will travel to visit family and friends. To avoid the crowds, book your flight to Hoi An in the weeks following the Tet holiday. It’s much quieter between late February and March.
If you don’t mind the rain, then travel during the rainy season. May and September, will allow you to see the city when it isn’t so packed. You’re also more likely to find cheap flights to Hoi An and discounted room rates.
BEST TIME TO BOOK FLIGHTS TO HOI AN?
There are multiple factors that influence the price of a flight so comparing airlines, departure airports and times can help keep costs down. Currently, December is the cheapest month to fly to Hoi An, with flights ranging from £510 to £550. August is the most popular month, where you will see a big jump up to an average cost of £770pp. We recommend using Skyscanner as a starting place and then searching other providers to see if you can beat their price.
Wednesday is the most economical day to take a flight to Hoi An. To get the best value, try booking a flight in the evening . Generally the prices will increase for flights in the mornings as these tend to have higher demand. If you’re visiting during a festival, make sure to book as early as you possibly can to avoid paying over the odds.
HOW LONG IS THE FLIGHT?
Average flight from London to Hoi An: 11 hours 40 mins
The official currency of Hanoi is the Vietnamese Dong. You can pay for things using a credit card or visa card but you will be charged additional fees. Exchange rates vary, so be sure to check prior to your trip. The Bank of England has an extensive list that is updated every day. If you intend on using your credit charge or debit card, you may incur charges for payments and cash withdrawals. We often use the Post Office for our exchange or use ATM’s in our destinations.
READ MORE: A Complete Guide to Flying with A Baby
DA NANG AIRPORT (DAD)
The Da Nang International Airport is the third busiest airport in Vietnam. It is an important transportation hub in the central region. The airport is located 2 km from the city centre. Airport minibuses and metered taxis are available outside arrivals for transport to the city centre. Make sure the taxi driver is wearing an official name badge and that the meter is on.
With a British passport, you can visit Vietnam for a maximum of 15 days for free and without a visa. If you wish to stay for longer (upto 30 days), you will need to apply for a e-visa. The e-Visa takes three working days to process, costs 25 USD, and is a single-entry visa, valid for 30 days.
You can enter Vietnam on an e-Visa at any of the country’s eight international airports, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, as well as 14 land crossings and seven seaports.
If you are planning a multiple-entry visit or a stay of more than 30 days, you will want to apply for a visa on arrival. The cost is 50 USD. For British citizens, you can find out more information via the UK GOV website.
Da Nang is a famous beach resort and you will find plenty of scooters to rent and on the roads. Personally it is so cheap to catch a taxi, hire a driver or minibus or walk/catch the bus. Motorcycle taxis can also be hailed (not recommended with a baby). They run off of an hourly rate which you can negotiate. Tour operators or travel agents can help you arrange for a car and driver to take you around for the day.
Under Vietnamese law, the driver and the front-seat passenger of a car should wear a seatbelt. There is no requirement for back seat passengers to wear a seatbelt. That means the middle and back seat seatbelts are often missing or broken.
It’s just one more reason to leave the bulky car seat at home. Because it’s absolutely useless if there’s nothing to attach it to. You will have to hold your baby whilst in the vehicle. Don’t be frightened, the taxis drive very slowly and due to traffic you can’t get anywhere in a hurry.
THINGS TO DO
HOI AN ANCIENT TOWN
Hoi An’s ancient town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in December 1999. The streets are a remarkable reservation of Chinese temples, pagodas and french-colonial houses. Many of which were built around the 16th century. We had cocktails and food at a local brewery before exploring.
On either side of the streets you will find shops, tailors and food outlets. The main draw is the beautifully crafted Japanese-designed bridge. We took the pram and it is wide and flat. Watch out for tourists being driven around in seats pulled by a cyclist. There are lot’s of them and when busy can be a mine field to navigate!
£30 | Half day Ancient Town Tour from Da Nang
HOI AN NIGHT MARKETS
Walking around the ancient town at night is a totally different experience. The streets literally come alive. Noises, smells and music. Enjoy shopping whilst being surrounded by traditional lanterns and colourful lights. Night time is perfect for a boat cruise down the canals.
We would recommend enjoying an evening meal and the sites before it gets too late on in the evening. Depends on the age of your children. During peak the bars are busy and loud!
£54 | Walking Tour and Boat Ride
LANTERN MAKING CLASS
Locals believe lanterns bring happiness, luck, and wealth. Choose from a wealth of different silks then, work with your instructor to craft a bamboo frame. Then you create your lantern! Oh and did I mention that it folds so you bring it home in your luggage?!
Not only do you get to make and create your own lantern. But your also get to indulge in a little Vietnamese tea tasting at the end. The studio is wheelchair and pram accessible. After seeing the old town at night, you will really love making your own with your children.
£13 | Lantern Class
BIKE THROUGH THE COUNTRYSIDE
See Da Nang and Hoi An from a different perspective. Your ticket includes a short boat trip down the Bon River to Duy Vinh island. From there, you get to explore the island with a guide. Enjoy a leisurely pedal through the tranquil villages and rice fields.
Your guide will explain the history and technique and answer any other questions. There are regular stops but we would recommedn taking your own food and drink. You will stop at trinket shops/food stalls on the side of the road but keep your belly safe!
£15 | Afternoon Countryside Bike Tour
LUNE PRODUCTION SHOW
Built on An Hoi, a small island just south of Hoi An. The performing arts centre was constructed in 2018. With a moon-shaped dome, decked with wicker-basket chandeliers and bamboo scaffolds, you can’t miss it! It is dubbed as Vietnam’s answer to Cirque du Soleil. You can watch dance and acrobatics to beatboxing and music production.
It has 299 seats situated in a semi-circle right up at the stage’s forefront. You get a good clear view, no matter where your seat is. Be sure to take a jumper or jacket because the air con makes it cold! It’s worth mentioning that you cannot eat, drink, or take photos inside the auditorium.
Vietnamese Cirque Du Soleil
TRA QUE VEGETABLE VILLAGE
Tra Que is a charming little village on the edge of Hoi An. Get there by taxi or minibus. Aptly named after sweet scented vegetables, used by locals in their cooking. Spend the day learning about farming in Vietnam before having a go yourself!
Experience a day of living and working with the local people in Tra Que vegetable village. It is something different to your typical tourist attractions. You can get a massage, enjoy a boat ride and some cooking lessons whilst your there.
£40 | Half Day Tour From Hoi An
The Japanese Covered Bridge is located in the centre of the city and is also one of its focal points. You have to pass through as you enter the old town. We got dropped off by taxi at one end and then walked down. There are big wooden blocks at either end you have to step over.
The bridge spans some 12 meters and is famous for its ornate carvings, many of which are in the shape of monkeys and dogs. Don’t be surprised to see Vietnamese couples who come here to get their wedding pics taken! It is considered a top romantic spot in Hoi An.
This experience is pretty special and different. Your ticket includes a local teaching you how to select fresh ingredients from the bustling Hoi An Central Market. Before they demonstrate then, assist you in cooking a local dish. Which of course you get to eat!
It’s a 30 minute board ride from the market to the open air cooking area. The chefs are very friendly and really helpful. We always make sure we ask for recommendations for food and places to visit – they are the local experts! Highly recommend this activity with or without children.
£32 | Cooking Tour, Market Trip and Boat Ride