To be honest, Vietnam can be frazzling. Continual bombardments of traffic, noise, hawkers, and people can really take a toll on a weary traveler from a small town in Wyoming. I was worn out by the time we hopped off the train from the north but quickly found solace in Hoi An. Albeit just as touristy as Halong Bay and Sapa, the city has a certain quiet charm about it; it is a breath of fresh air. By far my favorite town in Vietnam, it has enough activities to entice you to stay a little longer than planned.
A perfect day in Hoi An would be bookended with Cao lầu for breakfast and dinner. Cao lầu is the local specialty noodle dish, only authentic when made from a certain well in the city. In between bowls of Cao lầu, head for the very clean and quiet An Bang beach. Tour the historic sites in town. (It is a UNESCO world heritage site after all) Get your fill of shopping; the town is packed with quirky souvenir shops and custom tailors. As the sun is setting on your perfect day in Hoi An, you should make your way down to the Thu Bon River. Here the waters sparkle with lanterns from all the trees and shops. Rogue food vendors appear alongside the Thu Bon with miniature tables and stools, serving a soup du jour. So go ahead, grab a child’s size stool and enjoy your over heaping bowl of noodles (Cao lầu, of course) under the lantern lit trees and relax. Enjoy the less frazzling side of Vietnam in the lovely little town of Hoi An.