Vietnam: Explore Hội An & Nha Trang
Viet Nam (originally two words) is a beautiful country stretching along the Southeast Asian Indochinese Peninsula. You will find a fusion of French, Japanese, and Chinese influences throughout the country, and many interesting activities and historical places to visit.
City #1: Hội An
Hội An was the commercial capital of the Champa Empire between the 7th and 10th centuries. By the 14th Century, the Cham moved towards Nha Trang. There are plenty of things to do and see in Hoi An.
Sightseeing & Activities
Let’s start with the Ancient Town; it’s now a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Walking around, you will notice wooden buildings, pagodas, and pedestrian streets. Look for the Japanese bridge dating from the 18th century! The Ancient Town is the place to shop for souvenirs. Later in the evening, take any of the little boats for a short tour along the river, which is filled with lanterns.
Night markets are popular in Asia. Visit Son Tra Night Market – there are stands full of exciting food, snacks, and souvenirs. A local favorite is a sugarcane drink! It’s open from 6 PM till midnight.
Sun World Ba Na Hills is an entertainment center where you can take a cable car up to about 1,400m above sea level and visit the Golden Bridge. Two giant stone hands appear to hold the bridge, and the photos taken here are stunning at any time of the day. Plan to spend at least a few hours in this resort, as there are the Lingh Ung pagoda, ponds full of Koi Fish, as well as a French Village and an amusement park to see.
70 km southwest from Da Nanag, and completely worth visiting, is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary. There are over 70 abandoned Hindu temples and tombs constructed by the Champa Kings between the 4th and 14th centuries. It’s stunning!
Something that both tourists and locals enjoy is getting tailor-made clothes. Yaly Couture is the shop to go to – there are ample choices for fabrics and speedy service. Just show them a photo or the design of what you would like to get done, and they will make it for you! Opt for a Vietnamese garment called Áo dài.
If you want to make this trip unforgettable, pass by Pon Tattoo Studio for a tattoo in Japanese style; it’s affordable, and the artist is fantastic!
Make sure to eat the traditional Phở, a broth with rice noodles, herbs, and beef or chicken, which you can find almost anywhere. If you’re looking for something unique, one of my favorite restaurants is a Spanish restaurant, Merkat, which makes delicious Salmorejo and Croquetas.
Interested in upscale? Try the superb Aubergine49 Restaurant, a dining experience featuring a contemporary menu of Eurasian cuisine by Chef Nguyen Nhu Thinh, who was previously with a 3-star Michelin restaurant. Try the Mushroom Risotto and pair it with an excellent wine!
City #2: Nha Trang
Nha Trang is a coastal city that is popular with tourists and well-known for its 6km long coastline and beach. Kauthara was the city’s name when it was part of the Kingdom of Champa. The town has a backdrop of hills and looking out to the sea, and you will find many little islets.
Sightseeing & Activities
For a cultural experience, visit Po Nagar, another Cham temple from 781 C.E. Four towers sit on Mount Cu Lau overlooking the Cai River. It is still in use as a place of worship, and you can go inside some of the towers to see relics and more.Hội An
Visit the largest market, Dam Market, for souvenirs and local products, including dried seafood, clothes, shells, bags, hats, and other local items. It’s a three-story building, and there are also numerous stalls on the outside of the complex. You will find the traditional Vietnamese coned hat called the nón lá. Feel free to bargain!
Tran Phu Street runs along the seaside, and hotels, cafes, and malls line the street, which makes it perfect for an evening stroll! Try the famous Vietnamese Coffee at Runam Bistro – locals prefer it with condensed milk.
There are countless restaurants and cuisines to try, and some of the favorites are Korean and Japanese food. At Kiwami, opt for the omelette which comes sizzling! If you are looking for western food, try MIX Restaurant, which is excellent for Greek food.
Know Before You Go:
- Locals are helpful, and Google Translate can be useful to communicate.
- You can rent a motorbike affordably; however, be mindful of the traffic!
- Insect-repellent comes in handy, especially in the evenings.