Part 5: Hoi An | A Photographer’s Travel Itinerary for Backpacking in Cambodia & Vietnam

We’re on to part five of our blog series with photographer Sian Owen. In this episode she takes us through her week in Hoi An. This is the town she spent the longest time in during her whole trip, so for anyone wanting to travel or teach English in Vietnam, this would be a helpful read with an abundance of tips and recommendations.

← Part 4: Mui Ne to Nha Trang via Dalat        |       Hoi An: Part 5 →

After a successful time in Nha Trang, Sian took a taxi from Danang Airport to Hoi An which is about 400 000 Vietnamese dollars (VND) and it took close to 45 minutes.


Mama’s guesthouse

Stunning garden at hotel in Hoi An.

Lush green gardens in a city.

“We booked this place on and was undoubtedly our favourite place out of the whole trip”

Mama’s guest house is a home stay, which is like a hotel but with a very homely feel, the place is managed by a lady called Thu.

Mama's guesthouse Bicycles - Hoi An.

Mama’s guesthouse Bicycles.

“Every time you walk in through the door, she’d offer you the loveliest Vietnamese treats and she was altogether very helpful towards us, you could ask her for anything and she’d make sure she does she gets it for you”

“One of the best parts about this place is they have free bicycles which you can use to cycle to old town which is a very chilled 2.5km.”


A very colorful ancient town - Hoi An.

A very colorful ancient town.

Ancient Town

“This looked like a Photographic paradise to me, It does get super packed during the day so it’s best to get there early and take in the sunrise. This was the perfect time for me as I could photograph it without the crowds being there”

The are three main streets in old town, they all lead to various little alley’s in and around the town which make for interesting walks through this ancient town.

Red lanterns, Hoi An - vietnam.

So much beauty in this ancient town.

“They don’t charge you to go into old town, so if someone comes to you and ask you for entrance money then you should just find another route in.”

Leather shopping

store in old tow,Hoi An, vietnam.

It’s easy to get lost in the beauty of this place.

“Barter. That’s the magic word here. We got two leather laptop bags with straps here, they originally cost $135 each. After talking to the sellers for about 30 minutes to bring the price down, we got the bags and a leather wallet for $150. Usually the best thing to do is to halve the price they give you in the first place.”


Skating in Hoi An.

No better place to skate through.

“As soon as you open a map as a tourist in Hoi An, the locals literally all come to you and ask you how long you staying in the city for and they try roping you into visiting their store”

“We started realizing that the best thing to do is every time someone approaches you, just tell them a small white lie and say you leaving this afternoon, otherwise you end up buying from every store.”

“We went to a place called ‘Ba RI’ and I got myself 3 play suits and two high waisted shorts. Each of these items cost me $20. It’s best to take a photo from Pinterest, show them exactly what you want and they usually don’t mind tailoring it specifically to your liking.”

Walking in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Taking a breather to take in this magical city.

“I love all the things that I got made from that place, they honestly fit me so perfectly.”

Cycle through the Rice paddies in Cau Dia Beach ( its so much better then An Bang beach)

Other Activities to do in Hoi An : My Son Temple, Cham Island

Mrs Bui Thi Xong has become very famous, alot of tourists want to get a photo with her.

Mrs Bui Thi Xong has become very popular in Vietnam after a photo of her face went global.


Crispy Wontons in Hoi An.

Crispy Mouthwatering Wontons.

“Hoi An is like the food capital of Vietnam, so there were so many choices for us to eat at and we loved every minute of it. If you looking for cheaper food, you should try eat in restaurants that are in the outskirts of old town.”

Banh Mi Phuong

Lanterns at night, Hoi An!

Lanterns coming across so beautifuly at night.

“We came here at least once everyday, we had nearly every meal they offered on the menu. They make such amazing chicken and cheese baguettes too”

“We also tried the local fish dish here called ‘Cau Lau’ It was absolutely amazing and it’s very popular on TripAdvisor too.”

Banh Mi Queen ( Madam Kahn)

Ban mi Phuong food.

Ban Mi Queen specialty.

This place is famous for its Pork dishes, far less touristy but also delicious!

Nu Eatery

Nu eatery food, Hoi An.

A glimpse of the tastiness you get at Nu eatery.

“It’s up a sneaky little side alley but you’ll find it on mapsme. You must try the steamed buns for starters. The menu isn’t big and every serving is a masterpiece.”

Ganesha Indian Restaurant

Indian food in Hoi An

A slice of home in a foreign country.

“We discovered that there was a Ganesha in Hoi An too! We went there for dinner twice and found out that it was owned by the same family.”

Cafe 43

Cafe 43, cooking class, Hoi An.

A cooking class to remember.

Walking around Hoi An, you’ll constantly see cooking classes being advertised for about $25. At Cafe 43, you pay $7 for the class and you can choose exactly what you want to learn to make. The class plus the food coast us about $10 dollars each.

“We learnt to make a papaya salad, caramelized chicken clay pot and Vietnamese chicken curry. The papaya salad was an absolute winner”

Coocobox and Hoi An Roastery both have absolutely amazing coffee, smoothies and cakes.

Hoi An roastery & coffee shop.

Heaven on earth.

Sian Owen is a South African Business Science graduate and photographer. She specializes in wedding and lifestyle photography. This series of bog posts follows her recent trip through Cambodia and Vietnam, showcasing the incredible beauty of these two fascinating countries.

To see more of Sian’s amazing photography, here are her contact details:


Instagram: @sianowenphotography@sian_owen
Phone: +27 79 981 0981

Interested in Teaching English, volunteering or interning abroad? We’ll send you more info!


About Ntobeko Ntombela

Ntobeko is TravelBud's marketing intern and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Digital Marketing. Read more about him and other TravelBud authors.

He handles TravelBud's social media, blog writing and general content creation. Check out the inspiring stories he's created on the TravelBud Instagram page, featuring TravelBud alumni and their incredible experiences teaching and volunteering abroad.

He's done a fair bit of travel in his life, having explored Thailand, the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

His favorite place so far? That would be Rome, Italy but coming in a close second, thanks to a few memorable nights out, would be Phuket, Thailand.

Filed under  Travel 

TravelBud Profile Photos
With TravelBud, you’ll always be talking to someone who has taught abroad before, so you’ll get informed, first-hand advice to guide and prepare you for your life-changing experience.
Read more about us

Free Enrollment Consultation
Free Enrolment Consultation

Submit a quick application and we’ll send you more info, explain the program and answer all your questions.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *