From The Straits Times    |

1. To spend a day with local fishermen


This is one of the most unforgettable experiences you can have here. Enquire with your hotel concierge on a tour that offers intimate exposure to both the local farming and fishing communities. You’ll cycle along country roads, witness local Vietnamese rural life first hand while photo opportunities abound – maybe a water buffalo working in a rice paddy, ducks swimming along the river, or farmers tending their crops. On a river cruise, meet and chat with local fishermen, learn the important aspects of traditional net fishing, and paddle a unique Vietnamese bamboo basket boat while exploring coconut palm-flanked waterways.

2. To go snorkelling or diving around the Cham Islands


The Cham Islands is a cluster of eight small islands 18km from Hoi An. Coral reefs surround each of these islands, making them perfect for snorkelling, scuba diving and discovering authentic Vietnamese island life. 

3. To have a suit or dress custom made


Hoi An has a long tradition of tailoring, and having a dress, shirt or suit made just for you can be an exciting affair. There are hundreds of tailors downtown. The sheer number makes Hoi An a buyer’s paradise, so the visitor who doesn’t bargain down the price of a suit or silk shirt is really missing out. Of course, many other items are on sale in Hoi An, including lacquerware, brocade and other traditional trinkets.

4. To enjoy a sunset cruise


The most special part of the day for local fishermen is the late afternoon, when they set out to sea with expectations of a bountiful catch. The Hoi An Sunset Cruise Tour enables you to witness two daily rituals: the passing parade of the local fishing fleet, and the magic of the sun slowly sinking in the sky – while enjoying a delicious dinner.

5. To visit My Son Holy Land

Image: / My Son temple 

During the fourth century, My Son became the religious, cultural and educational center of the Cham Empire. Most of the temples were dedicated to Cham Kings associated with divinities, especially Shiva, who was regarded as the founder and protector of Champa’s dynasties. As some of the ornamental work at My Son was never finished, archaeologists knew that the Chams first built their structures and then carved decorations into the brickwork. It’s said that during one period in their history, the summits of some of the towers were covered with a layer of gold. In 2000, My Son was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

6. To play golf on world-class courses

Image: Montgomerie Links

The International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) recently named Vietnam the Golf Destination of the Year for Asia/Australia – and for good reason. In the Hoi An area alone, there are two golf courses as good as any in the world – Montgomerie Links and the Dunes Course at Danang Golf Club. The former was designed by 2010 European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie, while the latter was conceived by former world No. 1 Greg Norman. While the courses are right next to each other and impeccably maintained, they offer different styles of golfing, which is why I recommend trying both.

7. To hit the beach

Image: / An Bang Beach 

If you like the beach, you’ll love it at The Nam Hai, where every villa faces the sea and is on beautiful Ha My Beach (above). Walk southwards and you’ll reach An Bang Beach, which CNN named as one of the world’s 100 best beaches for its “gentle waves and soft white sand.” It’s a good place to rent a surfboard, or try some Vietnamese seafood. There are lots of cool restaurants and bars along this stretch of sand.

This story was originally published in Silverkris