The latest annual Holiday Money Report from Post Office Travel Money has arrived, bringing with it an overwhelming urge to pack our suitcases and escape the Manchester drizzle, at least for a little while.

This year, the historic port city of Hội An has been named the world’s most affordable long-haul destination for British travellers, marking the first time that Vietnam has topped the list.

Each year, the Post Office weighs up a range of factors such as exchange rates, how much a meal will set you back, the all-important price of a beer and the average costs of popular tourist activities. That beer? It’s £1.16, by the way.

In a very happy coincidence, our editor so happened to have spent a week in Hội An just before the Post Office unveiled its findings. So, if you are in the midst of planning your next big getaway, here are a handful of reasons why the beautiful city in Vietnam’s central coast should be high on your list.

The stunning old town

With its gorgeous blend of preserved Chinese-style shopfronts and colourful French colonial houses, Hội An’s UNESCO heritage old town looks like something plucked straight from a fairytale — its blurred foreign architectural influences a striking reminder of the city’s time as a bustling trade port between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Often described as the ‘Venice of Vietnam’ a network of winding canals run through the old town, the main portion of which now plays host to long lines of lantern boats, ferrying tourists up and down the waterway. Sure, it gets busy on the waterfront, especially at sunset, but it certainly doesn’t detract from its allure.

Pristine beaches

Whether you’re after scuba, surfing or simply lounging beneath the palm trees, Hội An and its surrounding areas pack in some of Vietnam’s most sought-after beaches. An Bang, Cua Dai and Ha My beaches are all less than 10km from the city, offering visitors several choices for serenity should they desire.

Incredible food & drink

From old-school Bánh mì stalls and piping hot pho hidden down lantern-lined alleyways to sublime barbecue (APGGUJUNG), sumptuous burgers (Bikini Bottom) and craft beer havens (7 Bridges taproom), Hội An’s culinary offering is vast, eclectic and most of all, delicious.

The city strikes a fine blend of tradition and exciting innovation when it comes to food and drink. There are wonderful establishments like Tin Tin serving Vietnamese staples like fresh spring rolls and punchy Cao Lau, while simultaneously you’ve gems like the secretive, super-cool Mezcal Cocteleria — reached by an unassuming set of stairs beside a fantastic Mexican restaurant — pouring what are genuinely some of the finest cocktails you’ll find anywhere in the world.

Other highlights include T/T Cocktail Bar, which you’ll find within a cosy antique shop, Lenco, where you can sip homemade liqueurs in a spectacular open square beneath the remnants of an old temple and Tropical Coffee, which has mesmerisingly transformed its interior into a living, breathing rainforest.

Easy to navigate

If you need a break from the rapid-paced action of staple Vietnamese destinations like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, where crossing the road can often require serious mental preparation, then Hội An offers a much more laid-back vibe. Big portions of the old town are entirely pedestrianised while the quiet roads of the charming residential outskirts are easy to navigate both on foot or by scooter.

Temperature-wise, while still hitting mid-30s in peak tourist months, being out of these built-up cities mean things feel far less humid, making wandering between places a much more pleasant affair.

Convenient connections

From Da Nang airport, central Vietnam’s largest, Hội An can be reached by car in just 45 minutes, making it a stress-free stop in any itinerary. This also gives you access to a handful of popular day trips like Ba Na Hills and its jaw-dropping Golden Bridge, Da Nang’s famous Marble Mountain and the imperial city of Hue.


Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Wed 15 May 2024