Hoi An Nightlife Attractions

If you enjoy a picturesque setting, the Hoi An nightlife offers a unique experience in Vietnam. The city comes alive at night with lots of bars and restaurants illuminated by thousands of Chinese lanterns. It’s small scale, but very welcoming.

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The Hoi An nightlife has a romantic charm that will make you want to relax, and soak up the scenery with a bottle of wine and some fine dining. However, if you are more of a 15 bottles of beer and a kebab sort of guy then you may be disappointed... unless you just feel like taking a break from the hard-core party scene.

My first general impression of Hoi An is a little confused, this is neither your typical Southeast Asia tourist destination nor a traditional Vietnamese town. It’s a sort of artificial mixture that somehow works, and the westerners who have visited the place do speak very highly of it, with many blown away at just how inviting and attractive the city is.

Geographically Hoi An is located in central Vietnam, more or less on the coast, and just a short taxi ride from Da Nang. If you are interested in central Vietnam, then you’ll definitely want to visit both of these two cities, so the close proximity is a big bonus.

A typical row of bar/restaurants in Hoi An

Da Nang is the much larger of these two cities, with a population of almost 1.5m compared to a mere 120k in Hoi An, but there’s more than enough to see and do in Hoi An to keep you occupied for a week or two if you want to base your trip here.

The local vibe

Whilst the Hoi An nightlife scene is a lot more toned down than your typical party animal sort of scene, recent years had seen a drift towards more of the loud music, late night drinking sort of stuff. However, that didn’t sit well with the local inhabitants.

The city has such a close-knit community that the bars are audible to many of the local residents, and when they started opening after-hours the complaints started pouring in. Ultimately, the authorities stepped in and issued closure orders to the bars such that midnight is a cut-off point, patrons need to be informed about last orders (for drinks) 15 minutes before a bar closes, and music is restricted to 50 decibels after 10pm.

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I would class myself as belonging more to the 15 bottles of beer and a kebab crowd that I mentioned earlier, but I’m actually quite pleased that Hoi An is deterring that crowd from visiting. As much as I like to party, I also like a change every now and then, and the Hoi An nightlife fits the bill nicely.

It is not a city that I could live in, any more than living back in the west is something that I would want to return to, but in the same way that an occasional visit home recharges your batteries, a visit to Hoi An feels almost like time off from the daily grind of having beer for breakfast in Pattaya and similar places... Of course, if you are not a budding alcoholic, I fully appreciate that you might not have a clue what I’m talking about :)

An Bang Beach

An Bang beach is located a few kilometres from the city centre and it’s a good one. It has been consistently voted one of the most picturesque beaches in Asia by Tripadvisor readers and for anyone that likes to spend a few hours in the sun before heading out into the Hoi An nightlife for some fun, then this is the place to head to.

An Bang beach is conveniently located for sun-worshipers.

You won’t get mobbed by hawkers trying to sell you all sorts of trinkets, food, massages and the like. You can actually relax here and soak up the sun.

I think that having a beach option is a good option to have in any place where you are more likely to have the company of a lady during daylight hours, because it gives you something to do other than have sex and drink beer...

Hoi An Nightlife Travelers

If there’s one thing that does bugs me about Hoi An, it’s the attraction that it holds for backpackers, or twatpackers as they are sometimes better known. I’ve never really been a fan of these younger, hippy sorts, not even when I was a young guy myself.

Backpackers are fine when they aren’t too drunk, and in Hoi An it helps that the nightlife is more toned down. Unlike in Saigon, where the backpackers get a bit too excitable for my taste, like a bunch of virgins who’ve just discovered sex and think it makes them real men, the Hoi An nightlife lacks both unrestricted drinking and girls who will flatter their egos.

In short, if you tend to sigh at the sight of these guys then don’t worry too much, they’re usually better behaved here.

The city comes alive at night with thousands of lanterns and other illuminations.

Most of the other visitors are usually a little more refined than you find in some places, obviously with a few exceptions, and nightlife activities have more of a romantic feel than a lust-fueled feel.

Hoi An Restaurants

There’s a wide range of local and international restaurants to choose from and the quality of your average eatery is high.

The usual advice of eating at places that are busy is always recommended, and especially so if you can find a place that is popular with customers who look local.

By busy I don’t necessarily mean large, there are lots of small restaurants with just a few tables, and they can be amongst the best quality offerings in town.

If like me, you prefer to eat during the day rather than at night, and you follow my advice about heading off to An Bang beach during the day, then a good restaurant to eat at there is the ‘Shore Club’ which has plenty of good options to choose from.

There are plenty of other restaurants along the beach, but none that I know have a reputation as good as the Shore Club.

Final Thoughts

If you prefer to holiday in a smaller city, one that’s more of a town than a city, then Hoi An is one of the best places in Vietnam and is heartily recommended. The Hoi An nightlife has got enough bars and restaurants to entertain you for a week or two and An Bang beach is ideal for sun-worshippers.

I suspect most people will prefer to base a holiday in nearby Da Nang and do an excursion for a few days in Hoi An, but I think I’d prefer to do it the other way around and base my trip in Hoi An. The prices are slightly cheaper and the nightlife is actually better in my opinion.

For guys that like to party hard into the early hours, this part of Vietnam is not the place for you, and you should probably aim for either Saigon or Nha Trang.

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