Hoi An is a really nice little riverside town. It's about 1/2 an hour south of Danang Airport and was once a major international trading port, but is now one of the most popular tourist spots in Vietnam. We had about a 4 hour drive from Hue along the coastal route through the mountains which was quite a nice drive. It was a bit overcast when we got up into the mountains so the view from the high pass wasn't great but on a clear day apparently you can see along the coast from Danang to Hoi An.
The main tourist area in Hoi An is in the old town with its narrow pedestrianised streets and old Chinese styled buildings. Hoi An is one of the few places that had hardly any damage during the war(s) so there's still a lot of ancient buildings in the town, although most of them are now shops and restaurants! It's a really nice place to walk around at night when the streets are all lit up with Chinese lanterns. We had a walking tour of the old town when we arrived and visited a few of the historical sites in town. We were staying out of the town a bit next to the beach but the hotel had a regular shuttle bus into town which was handy. The beach is OK but probably not somewhere we would choose to go for a beach holiday.
Since arriving in Vietnam we've not stayed more than two nights in one place and been on sightseeing tours almost every day so we decided to have 3 nights in Hoi An so we could have some time off from the sightseeing and relax a bit. We did a half day cooking school one day which included a visit to the local market in the morning to collect some supplies (and so they could try and sell us more stuff!). We then had a boat trip down the river to the cooking school. The school was good fun and we've got a few more Vietnamese recipes to try out at home! The food in Vietnam is amazing and because we're on a guided tour we've had at least one meal every day that's included in the tour, so they have taken us to some really nice restaurant that we probably wouldn't have found on our own. They usually have a set menu and just keep bringing plates of food, normally 4 or 5 courses. We've definitely put on a few pounds while we've been here! One night we were sat outside one of the street cafes chatting to one of the local 'traders' and she pointed to my belly and said "Ah.....Laughing Buddha!", which Vanessa found highly amusing, bloody cheek!
There are dozens of tailor shops in Hoi An that will make more or less anything you want, suits, shirts, jackets, dresses, shoes. Vanessa got a dress made at one shop and got measured up at about 7pm and it was ready at 3pm the next day, pretty cool! We visited one of the factories where they produce silk and saw the whole process from the tiny baby silk worms and the little silk cocoons. They also do some amazing silk embroidery.
We left Hoi An on 17th March and flew from Danang to Ho Chi Minh City where we'll be staying for a few days before heading to Phu Quoc Island.