Colourful and lively, Hoi An is one of Vietnam’s most popular cities. Award-winning family blogger, Globalmouse, reveals how to make it a hit with the kids too
Young boys selling lanterns in Hoi An (Dreamstime)
Hoi An is at its most bewitching for kids as the sun goes down and thousands of colourful lanterns are lit. Stalls and hawkers line the river, and for a small amount of money, your kids can buy a lantern, light it and set if free to float on the river.
On our final night in Hoi An, the kids each picked out a lantern to buy and take home. You also have the chance to make your own. The Lifestart Foundation offer classes where your kids get to make your own lantern. They're actively involved in providing education for children and building homes for those without and you get to take a beautiful Vietnamese lantern home at the end. It's the perfect souvenir from Vietnam for all ages.
Tour guide with lychees (Dreamstime)
There are lots of companies offering tours of the city, but the Hoi An Free Tour group was our favourite. Led by students who are keen to practice their English, the tours include both cycling and walking tours, and cover everything from street food to trips out to visit some of the local communities.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with people who really know Hoi An and can offer a really unique insight into the life of the city. Our children got so much from our trip out with two lovely Vietnamese teenagers. It was a chance for them to ask lots of questions and hear about life in Vietnam.
Chile eating Banh Mi (Globalmouse)
Banh Mi is the Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread and, in particular, the baguettes introduced by the French. They are available all over Vietnam with all kinds of fillings, but you’ll find the best in Hoi An. Better still, you won’t have to twist your kids’ arms to try one.
There are some fantastic street food sellers all over the town and kids will love choosing their favourite hawker and filling. Our favourite was at Banh Mi Phuong. This little cafe on the edge of the old town is legendary and it didn’t fail to impress. We are vegetarian, so had the tofu banh mi, which was absolutely delicious.
A tailor at work in Hoi An (Dreamstime)
Hoi An is known as the city of tailors and is filled with row after row and street after street of little tailor shops. This is one of the best places in Vietnam to have good quality clothes made and affordable prices.
Our kids loved it because they got to design their own clothes. They picked out the fabric they liked and the pattern they wanted, then watched, fascinated, as it was stitched together in front of them.
Ang Bang beach near Hoi An (Dreamstime)
Hoi An is the perfect mix of busy city surrounded by beautiful countryside. Best of all, there are a number of beautiful beaches within easy reach of the city. Ang Bang is one of the easiest to get to and there are lots of family friendly facilities available.
You can hire a lounger and umbrellas for a small charge. There are also loos and shops selling beach toys and buckets and spades there, with everything you need for some fun at the beach. It’s the perfect way to have some downtime with kids and unwind.
Preparing traditional rice cakes (Dreamstime)
Hoi An is a city well-known for its food and the ideal place to take a cookery class. Our nine-year-old son took part and absolutely loved it.
You can take classes on your own, as part of a group or, ideally, a family class. Most cookery schools will accommodate this with some advance warning.
Water puppet show in Vietnam (Dreamstime)
A Vietnamese water puppet show is a unique and colourful form of entertainment that kids and grown ups can’t help but love. Often accompanied by live musicians and singing, the shows are an event your kids will never forget.
Hoi An’s water puppet show takes place every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, and lasts around 45 minutes at the Hoi An Theatre. Buy tickets in advance if you can.
Main image: Choosing a lantern in Hoi An (Globalmouse)