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Hoi An Travel Tips

Hoi An Japanese Bridge

Hoi An Japanese Bridge


In Hoian, ATMs are widely available (they really want you to spend here). Most charge around 20,000 dong per withdrawal, with a frustratingly low limit of 2 million dong per transaction. However, Agri Bank on the corner of Tran Hung Dao Street, where it meets Le Loi Street, has a withdrawal limit of 3 million dong and does not charge an ATM transaction fee.

Internet and WiFi is available everywhere. Everywhere. 3G will get you through during Hoi An’s frequent power outages, which sometimes last more than a day.

Tourist etiquette

A little bit of common sense and humility goes a long way in bridging the gap between cultures and understanding the basics of Vietnamese etiquette makes a difference.

Hoi An itself is booming, however Quang Nam province is still one of the poorest in Vietnam, with most of the surrounding villagers surviving on farming and fishing. Thinking is far more conservative than in the big cities.

Dress to the occasion. In town, shorts and a T-shirt are fine. If you’re planning on stopping in on a few pagodas and temples, the normal rule of covering shoulders and knees applies. Beachwear is fine at the beach but bathing topless or nude is a no-no. When walking, cycling or motorbiking around, wear a shirt — away from the beach, girls in bikini tops and bare-chested boys cause offence.

Never buy anything from a child no matter how cute they are. The same applies to paying for photos. These children are put on the street by their parents when they should be at school or at home in bed. The money they make, more often than not, is not used for helping the family or for the child’s education but for funding gambling or drinking habits. Donate to an NGO doing reputable work instead. There are many good ones. We’ve listed for instance Lifestart Foundation, Swim Vietnam and Ong Vang.

The Vietnamese are natural performers and most are happy to pose for a photograph. Before you shove your camera in their face though, it’s simple manners to chat and ask if it’s okay. If you are photographing a market stall owner, buy something from their stall and check they don’t mind rather than encouraging them to demand a fee. The exception to this is in the countryside. Farmers and fisherpeople do struggle and often live in poverty. If you offered 10,000 dong for their patience, it would really make a difference to them.

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