Old Town Hoi An Is An Eclectic Mix Of The Old And The New And It Is Filled With Quaint And Beautiful Shops You Simply Must Make An Effort To Visit.
In 1999, the Ancient Town of Hoi an was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. This was bestowed in an effort to preserve this major trading post of the 16th and 17th centuries which enabled foreign influences to shape some of its charm. Whilst it still houses some significant historical buildings such as the Old Japanese bridge, pagodas, Chinese temples and French Colonial homes, the Old Town is now filled with shops to satiate one’s shopping appetite.
I did zero research for this part of our Vietnamese holiday with the intention of having the luxury of just wandering the streets. During our days spent on the Old Town, we discovered some unique little cafes and shops of which we spent a good amount of time in each as we were simply enjoying them so much! And funny how one day of it just isn’t enough as we found shops on the 2nd and 3rd day which we were sure we walked past but didn’t quite catch our eye at the time. So here’s a list of some of these charming shops and cafes in Old Town Hoi An that we found and I certainly hope you’ll add them onto your list!
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #1
Hoachampa Café Market – 43 Phan Châu Trinh.
Hoachampa is a delightful café that not only has a delicious selection of teas and coffees on their menu, they also sell cacao, roasted coffee beans and tea leaves. It was without a doubt the best Vietnamese coffee we had in all of Hoi An whilst the kids enjoyed iced teas and iced chocolates. The owner Sinh, was friendly and was very forthcoming with information about how he sources and roasts his coffees. It was a fascinating conversation!
If you’re looking to buy some coffee, this is the place to go. Very authentic, fairly priced and a big variety. For Kopi Luwak lovers, you can also source some here. I have read reviews that they package them very well for travel so you don’t have to worry about the coffee losing any of its freshness. Sinh also has a greatly selection of handcrafted tea cups and tea pot sets which make for great gifts. I am still kicking myself for not getting one.
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #2
PaPillon Noir – 30 Tran Hung Dao Street
This was my favourite clothing store in the Old Town. Created by talented artist Uyen Diem Trinh, she paints and embroiders on gorgeous silks to produce unique pieces of ready to wear clothing. Her Facebook page describes her work as wearable art and I would have to agree. Her clothes are flowy, elegant, sophisticated, and certainly one of a kind. The price tag is not unaffordable but not cheap by any means. I could have bought the whole store but settled for handcrafted neckpiece to add to my collection. And so far, its attracted some lovely comments!
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #3
Metiseko – 142 Trần Phú, Minh An
Metiseko is by far the most beautiful shop in all of Hoi An. Housed in a 2 storey ancient home, the boutique stays true to its heritage and utilises its natural interior in the most tasteful way. Every nook and cranny is well thought out to include the usage of the garden area in the centre, found so commonly in these homes in Hoi An.
Metiseko is founded by French designers but draws inspiration from Vietnamese art, landscapes, ceramics, and paintings. Made only with organic cotton and natural silk, Metiseko have the loveliest of collections. I adored their array of scarves they had on offer with both subtle and bold colours and prints of varying kinds.
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #4
An Viet – 22 Nguyen Thai Hoc
An Viet is well known as a custom tailor but it has so much more to offer. As you enter this beautiful old home, you are greeted by women creating tapestry art with silk threads. The workmanship is flawless and it’s a free hand copy of prints of which the colours and artwork are identical to that of the image they were replicating. These women sure have nimble fingers and sharp eyesight! We asked how much it would cost to duplicate a photo of my girlfriend’s daughter to perhaps a piece as big as a sheet of paper and we were quoted USD$1000. Art adorn the walls of the ancient house and one can’t help but admire their talent.
At the back of the house, we found a small room of women hard at work looming in the traditional manner. Despite having witnessed this process on numerous occasion, I have to say I am still at a loss of how they actually do it. It’s a mesmerising process as the 2 women worked in perfect unison of shedding, picking and battening.
Head up the narrow and spiral stairs and you will find a stunning array of the softest silk scarves. You are somewhat spoilt for choice and I took forever to decide. We all picked up one each and Hannah is completely in love with hers. Amidst the showcase of scarves, the kids were fascinated and slightly grossed out by the silkworms hard at work on the large netted wooden boards. Further into the bowels of the old ancient house is the actual tailor. And nestled in amongst the gorgeous fabrics is a traditional wooden implement that transforms the silk into the threads used to make the material. Overall, I felt like we walked into a museum. What a great experience!
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #5
Thuong Hieu Viet (Viet Made) – 164 Tran Phu, Hội An
This was the kids’ favourite store of all time! This shop had the cutest collection of handmade crafts, bags, furniture, decorations and best of all, soft toys. Using the prettiest of fabrics, we oohed and ahhed our way through all the animal (puppies, hippos, pegasus, dinosaurs, pigs, hens, etc.) stuffed toys of varying sizes. They also had a massive selection of soft toys on key rings which were so ugly, they were adorable. We spent a ridiculous amount of time in this shop and we came back a further 3 times with our friends!
Make sure you ask for a cheaper price, especially if you’re buying a few items. We managed to knock off a substantial amount but that only fuelled our inability to resist from shopping for more. Gifts….. that was my excuse!
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #6
Copenhagen Delights – 29 Le Loi, Minh An Ward
You’d be forgiven for thinking Copenhagen Delights was an international chain of clothing and homeware stores for kids from Denmark. It is instead a Danish family business based in Hanoi. Designer Pia Normann saw a gap in the market when she struggled to find clothing for her 3 children that were of good quality and impeccable design. So in 2010 she decided to create her own collection.
The store on Le Loi is somewhat out of place on this vibrant street but anyone with kids wouldn’t be able to resist a quick peek. They have a divine range of clothing for kids up to 12 years of age and the home décor range is right up there in terms of design, functionality, and quality.
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #7
Reaching Out – 103 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street
I only made a very brief stop at Reaching Out as we were running out of time but with so many reviews encouraging me to go, I stuck my head in very quickly.
According to Reaching Out, “it was conceived out of a deep passion, on part of its founders, to help persons with disability (PWD) become integrated into society and live productive lives. We are different than other gift shops in this UNESCO World Heritage city because we are a social enterprise. The artisans who craft our authentic Vietnamese products are all PWD. The profits earned on our sales are returned to the business to develop job training and employment for other PWD’s. They are thus enabled to work in our shop or elsewhere in Vietnam. We adhere strictly to fair trade principles, thus ensuring that our employees and suppliers are equitably compensated.”
Had I had more time I would have could have picked up some well-priced fair trade gifts to bring home. I saw some beautiful homewares, handicrafts and jewellery and wished I could have supported this noble cause. Next time!
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #8
Cong Ca Phe – 64 Cong Nu Ngoc Hoa
Unbeknown to us, Cong Ca Phe is a prolific chain of café throughout Vietnam of which it is well known for its ability to be its unique self in every city they have set up. The Cong Ca Phe in Hoi An is situated right by the river and it is a digital nomad’s ideal spot to park oneself amidst well thought out décor, ample seating both upstairs and downstairs and a picture perfect view to boot. I loved everything about the café from its location, to its interior design and not to mention their menu offerings.
Cong Ca Phe is famous for their coconut coffee and can I say it was delicious! The kids had iced chocolates and fruit smoothies whilst the traditional Vietnamese coffee packed a punch.
Framed by tall wooden shutters, bench tables line the windows and further supplemented by outdoor concrete seats. We sat there watching the world go by as we took our time to enjoy our drinks and view. I think Andrew even managed to catch a nanna nap!
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #9
Art Gallery – Near 50 Le Loi, Minh An Ward
In my giddy state of shopping euphoria, I was re-miss in not making a note of this gallery we visited. I do know that it is located very close to 50 Le Loi Street and it is not one of the bigger, more commercialised galleries. It is a small shop that specialised only in black brush work on rice paper. It was run by an old man who was extremely patient.
We spent a lot of time in this store as we were completely spoilt for choice. The art work is simple, tasteful, and depicts Vietnamese life. They come in an assortment of sizes and they were so very cheap. A painting the size of an A4 sheet costed us USD$3.00 and we didn’t even try to bargain the prices down. The photos frames I bought to house them costed 3 times more but they have made a significant memento in our home. Hannah bought a couple for herself and as gifts for her father and grandfather, who loves Chinese calligraphy and art.
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #10
Art Book – 166 Tran Phu Street
I am a sucker for a good book store and when I walked past Art Book I was immediately drawn in and certainly wasn’t disappointed. Art Book is a chain of stores in Southern Vietnam of which it was one of the first book stores to highlight books, magazines, and newspapers in a foreign language. Their genre of books stretches across international architecture, fine art, literature, and graphic design. If you’re interested in all things Vietnam, you are spoilt for choice in finding topical books about Vietnamese people and their land.
The store itself is visually appealing as it sucks you in the deep bowels of the store. Filled with souvenirs, stationery and a big selection of movie and propaganda posters, it’s a great place to lose yourself for a couple of hours.
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #11
La Thein Thai – 9 Nguyen Thai Hoc.
Also known as Cocobana, La Thein Thai is a beautiful ancient house that has been transformed into a tea room and garden. For a mere ₫100,000 or USD$5.50 you can get a flavoured iced tea and a 30-minute tea foot bath. Even though we were in Hoi An during the Vietnamese winter, it was still quite a warm day for us so an iced tea was a welcome respite. And when you add a foot bath into the mix as you enjoy the tranquility of their gorgeous garden, we couldn’t say no.
On this day my girlfriend and I had taken our daughters out for a shopping day and it was so nice sipping on our passionfruit and kumquat flavoured teas in super comfortable lounge chairs. Lots of photos, selfies, and giggles. The foot bath came in a typical Asian aluminum tub, dimpled from long term usage. Lined with bath salts and tea leaves, hot aromatic tea is generously poured into the basin, enough to cover our feet up to our ankles. Half way through our soak, as the tea is reduced to a cooler temperature, the bath is topped up with boiling hot tea to ensure it stays warm.
If you don’t want to sit in the garden, there are seats right by the window, perfect for those who love to people watch. It was bliss!
CHARMING SHOPS AND CAFES IN OLD TOWN HOI AN #12
Ginkgo – 93 Tran Phu, 59, Le Loi street, 133 Tran Phu
In 2006, a French traveller to Vietnam was looking for good quality T-shirts with unique designs. When he couldn’t find any, he saw a gap in the market and he decided open a store selling T-shirts inspired by Vietnamese culture. Everything is made locally whilst the entire process from beginning to end is eco-friendly.
When we were there, Ginkgo had massive sales so we had a great time shopping in their stores. The fabrics used were all super soft and the designs were quintessentially Vietnamese. From bright to subtle colours, we really enjoyed all the products it had to offer. They have 3 stores in the Old Town itself so you won’t miss it!
Shopping in Hoi An truly is a fun experience. I did however opt to leave out the stores they had in abundance such as the tailors, larger art galleries, lantern, leather goods and the scarf shops. There is a plethora of them and you won’t miss them when you’re there and to be honest, after a couple of streets, they all start to look the same. Instead I have chosen to highlight the one off stores and quaint cafes that we visited and enjoyed. Enjoy!