What a delightful town, full of character and heritage that is very well maintained, but unfortunately most shops cater only to tourism and therefore lack a uniqueness. You immediately notice the easygoing nature of the town, thanks to the motorbike ban in the old center it is remarkably quiet and slow paced making it ideal to stroll around. Set along the Thu Bon River it still feels like an old riverside village and less like the (very) touristic town it is these days.
If you walk about early enough you will experience the town waking up, the dogs being let out, locals enjoying some tea or ca phé while chatting to one another. But before you know it streets are steadily being filled with curious tourist. By the time it's midday the town centre is packed and most of the restaurants and shops are doing great business. Nevertheless there are still some great local spots in and around town where we enjoyed some great food and cheap drinks.
The market is a wonderful place to enjoy some local delicacies and escape the midday heat. At nighttime there are quite a few bars catering to the younger backpacker crowd offering cheap drinks and two for one deals. It has to be said that the food in Hoi An is amazing, from the street vendors to the market or the vast amount of restaurants, it is all equally fantastic and affordable. I still have very fond memories of the Cat Lau we ate at the market. If the busy streets are getting the best of you just rent a motorbike and explore the surrounding area. You can go for the beach or even make your way up to the mountains just north of Danang. Once you're out of the centre the roads get quieter and the ride is pleasant, through rice fields and villages. We especially loved our trip to the Champ temples of My Son.
One thing you really have to do is go to a tailor and have them make you a custom tailored suit. The prices are ridiculously cheap compared to European standards and the professionalism and finish are top notch. In just three days we had an equal amount of suits made. Best value ever!