Hoi An has nice architecture. Most of it though has been filled by "tailors" or other shops catering to tourists. The result is that Hoi An is a white city. There seem to be more tourists than locals. Like a shopping mall. With a lot of "tailor" shops.
Hue is a Vietnamese city. The people are awesome. The sites are cool. Motorcycling around the citadel area is really neat. Was driving around the area when I ran into Tu Duc's tomb, which I surprisingly found pretty interesting.
Generally though, for me it's about people. And I really like Hue people. And Hoi An is all foreigners... shopping.
Perfect, exactly what I needed. Thanks a lot, Rasheeed.
#5 krestniy has been a member since 26/7/2011. Posts: 11
I certainly wouldn't disagree with you, forcefully or otherwise, as I agree with the points you make about Hue and Hoi An. However, I still love Hoi An. Maybe that's because I like my food, and there are loads of nice places to eat and chill, it's got some of the most picturesque views I've ever seen and also I love that it's so near to two lovely beaches. So I can overlook the shops and the tourists.
I also appreciate what Hue has to offer but the two places are so different that your choice has to come down to what you want from the trip. If you want everything then I'd stick with your original schedule.
Why plan a timeline at all? Go to Hue first while coming south. If you like it, stay until you don't like it, and then head to Hoi An. If you get to Hoi An, you get to Hoi An. If you don't, you don't.
In my view, part of the pleasure of coming here, perhaps the most important part, is slowing down. Have a rough plan of what sequence you want concerning what towns to visit, but not a timetable. You get to what you get to and don't sweat the rest.
Agree with Mac. I like Hoi An. I recommend it but not as a must see. But if you are going that way you might as well. It has many redeeming qualities. The beaches are worthwhile. If you get out of dead center while you are wandering it won't seem as "white".
Hi, the Hoi An backer has arrived, hopefully not too late!
Now it could just be because I (along with my Vietnamese travel companion) was embraced into a local Hoi An Vietnamese community for almost 2 months, but I don't think it's at all fair to call Hoi An a "white city" or "shopping mall." Actually having become close with a number of real Vietnamese people who call Hoi An home and don't work in the tourist industry, I find those judgments a little offensive and narrow-viewed.
Sure, if you spend all your time in the Old Quarter where all the tailor shops and restaurants that cater to tourists are, you'll see a lot of tourists. But to me the real charm of Hoi An is in the surrounding area. We spent weeks just biking or motorbiking around the country outside the Old Quarter and it was some of the most stunning and charming scenery I saw in all of Vietnam. If you leave the small Old Quarter and venture out along the river and ocean you'll see real Vietnam (and hardly any tourists).
But in defense of the Old Quarter too - it definitely is a tourist trap, but a shopping mall? Come on now. Although there are lots of tourists in the Old Quarter of Hoi An, it still retains its old school Vietnam charm on every corner. Aside from being home to a number of shops it is nothing - absolutely nothing (!) - like a shopping mall. You tell me, does this look like a shopping mall? I can't stand shopping malls like the massive ones of Siam Square in Bangkok, but I love Hoi An. If you start exploring the little ally-ways that are everywhere, you'll see plenty of locals living like regular locals. The architecture of Hoi An is truly special, but to me what makes the place an absolute "can't miss" is the vibrant (Vietnamese) life, art and culture that the city is most definitely a center of.
And, let's not forget, Hue is a huge tourist area too! The temples of Hue are great, but overall I'd take Hoi An any day.
Just my 2 dong,
Agree with DL on the aspects of Hoi An . Yes, the tourists and tailor shops etc are there, but there is a lot more to Hoi An than that. If you have time, have a look around Hue and then make your way down to Hoi An making sure you take a little time along the way to see Lang Co, Hai Van and I reckon Da Nang is a pretty good place to stop at as well. Big city that is much overlooked by tourists. The beach between there and Hoi An is pretty cool as well. If your time is limited not sure that you will get much out of the half day trip out to My Son.