The Heritage Town is roughly within the area south of Phan Chu Trinh, west of Hoang Dieu (which connects to Cam Nam Bridge), and it extends east past the Japanese Bridge along Nguyen Thai Minh Khai Street until it reaches the roundabout. The southern border is, of course, the river. The Heritage Town is closed off to motorised vehicles every day of the week, 08:00-11:30, 14:30-16:30 and 18:30-21:00. Even if you rent a motorbike you may find yourself needing a bicycle to get around the area on such days -- these are widely available for 20,000 VND a day. You can also just get off your motorbike and push it through the closed off area.
Keep in mind that due to it occupying low ground, surrounded by rivers, mountains and the ocean, Hoi An floods every rainy season between late October and mid-December, at least on some days. Some years it's only knee high waters on a handful of days, but in extreme cases the waters have risen up to two metres high and have, along with mud slides in the nearby mountains, been severe enough for the whole region to be classified as a disaster area. If going during wet season, be sure to check the weather (Foreca.com is a good resource) during the days leading up to your departure to ensure no typhoons are on the way. If a typhoon is heading to central Vietnam, be prepared to change your plans; Mui Ne in the south and Sapa up north are both lovely at this time of year.
If you do make it to Hoi An in wet season, it's wise to check into a hotel that occupies high ground -- the guesthouses along Ly Thuong Kiet to the north of town, most of the accommodation near the beaches, and most of those on Tran Hung Dao are safe bets. The entire Heritage Town is prone to flooding, so forget those romantic riverside retreats. If for some reason you do stay in the flood zone, be sure to request a room above the ground floor. Travel in and out of Hoi An is generally not affected unless there's a typhoon, but many businesses shut their doors during floods so think twice before prepaying for that tailored suit or dress or booking a cooking class. Bear in mind too that the more typical floods are nothing to be too frightened about -- the waters usually recede almost as quickly as they arrive, and no matter where you are, high ground is never more than a few hundred metres away.
Hoi An isn't nearly as prone to scams as Hanoi or Saigon, but there are a couple things to watch out for. First, if arriving by bus, a "welcome committee" will be waiting to offer a free ride into town. Feel free to take it, but be warned that you will be dropped off at Ly Thuong Kiet and "coerced" into staying at this or that guesthouse. There are some decent budget spots on Ly Thuong Kiet, but overall the quality and value gets better if you head down to the traffic lights and take a left onto Hai Ba Trung. Secondly, a handful of women have recently been drugged at some of Hoi An's late night bars on the outskirts of town, so keep an eye on that drink if you go and never accept drinks from strangers.
ATMs are widely available (they really want you to cash up and spend here!) and charge 20,000 VND per withdrawal. Most of your banking needs can be met by heading to the intersection of Tran Hung Dao and Hai Ba Trung Streets. To the north of the intersection on the left is the Vietcom Bank -- no ATM but they cash travellers cheques for dong at no commission and offer credit card advances at 3.3%. They also receive, but do not send, Moneygrams. The TechCom Bank is north of the intersection, kitty-corner to the Vinh Hung 2 Hotel. They have a 24-hour ATM, do not cash travellers cheques at all, and offer credit card advances at 3%. Western Union is available here. Sacombank is on Tran Hung Dao, to the east of the intersection, next to Treat's Same-Same But Different Cafe. They cash TCs for 2% commission or US$2 per transaction, whichever is more, and credit card advances are available at 3% commission. They also have a 24-hour ATM.
Internet is available everywhere, though rates vary widely and it may save you a couple of dong to find a place that doesn't cater to tourists. Many hotels make free internet terminals available in the lobby to their guests only. Hoi An has now got Mega Wifi, which you can access everywhere, even as far as Cua Dai beach and it is free. Power outages are frequent and connections can be spotty.
The main post office is on Tran Hung Dao St at the corner of Hoang Dieu. It's got a nice interior -- take a look up at the wood carvings in the ceilings -- and provides chilly air-con and nice desks to sit at and write postcards. The internet here is a good value at 3,000 VND per hour and there's usually a free terminal.
There are several ticket stalls run by the Hoi An Office of Tourist Services where you can buy tickets for the Culture Tour on the corner of Le Loi and Tran Phu, on the corner of Hai Ba Trung and Than Phu, and on Tran Phu between Hoang Van Thu and Tran Quy Cap.
The main hospital is at the intersection by the traffic lights where Le Loi meets Tran Hung Dao and the tourist hospital is the Pacific Hospital.
Most boats for Cham Island depart from the Coast Guard Pier, known as such because there's a Coast Guard office there. Once you take Cua Dai Road to the beach, it's about five kilometres south. But, in all likelihood, you'll be driven there.
Hoi An Office of Tourist Services: 10 Nguyen Truong To, Hoi An. T: (0510) 861 327, F: (0510) 863 761. www.hoianworldheritage.org www.hoianoldtown.vn
Hospital: 4 Tran Hung Dao, Hoi An. T: (0510) 914 660, F: (0510) 864 566.
Pacific Hospital: 6 Phan Dinh Phung, Hoi An. T: (0510) 3921 656, Emergency: T: (0510) 3921 888.
Post Office: 6 Tran Hung Dao, Hoi An. T: (0510) 861 480, F: (0510) 862 444.
Sacombank: 91 Tran Hung Dao, Hoi An. T: (0510) 911 031, 520, F: (0510) 911 032. Open week days, 07:30 to 11:15 and 13:00 to 16:30, Saturdays 07:30 to 11:15 only.
TechCom Bank: 927 Hai Ba Trung, Hoi An. T: (0510) 917 888; F: (0510) 917 886. www.techcombank.com.vn. Open week days, 07:40 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 16:45, Saturdays 07:40 to 11:30 only.
Vietcom Bank: 642 Hai Ba Trung, Hoi An. T: (0510) 916 374. Open week days, 07:30 to 11:30 and 13:00 to 16:00.
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