an Instagram guide to Hoi An, Vietnam

Modern travel trends are heavily influenced by the images people see online; something I feel two ways about {but I'll save that for another post}. Hoi An is an incredibly photogenic town that often gets skipped over in favour of Hanoi or Saigon {Ho Chi Minh City}. However, thanks to the world of social media that we live in, Hoi An's decaying yellow walls, colourful lanterns, French architecture, and corner cafes are making it onto everyone's Instagram grids. 

In this guide, I'll give you the inside scoop on Hoi An's never-ending photo opportunities and I'll answer the question people seem to always have: How'd you get that photo?!' {the answer to which is obvious: paparazzi follow my every move...}.

Here are some of Hoi An's coolest places to grab 'grams... 

 remember to keep your shoulders and knees covered, even if you're just passing through or stopping by a temple-- cultural respect is everything

remember to keep your shoulders and knees covered, even if you're just passing through or stopping by a temple-- cultural respect is everything

TEMPLEs + pagodas //

The stunning temples and pagodas all over Hoi An are great, vibrant backgrounds for photos. That being said, there is etiquette that often doesn't get followed. Remember that these are holy places. Covering your shoulders and knees is expected at Vietnamese temples {similarly to Thailand and Laos}. 

Tip: Sitting on temple walls or touching Buddha statues is a no-no. Also, taking off your shoes when entering a temple is standard etiquette. 

How I got my shot: Lola Mendez took my picture while we were working on a writing project together. You can visit her blog here


Old Town //

Vietnam's lantern-lit town is known for its yellow walls and colourful storefronts. I like the look of the walls sort of decaying under bright paint. There are heaps of spots around the Old Town that make great opportunities to pull out your camera and take a pic. I suggest walking up and down Tran Phu Street.

Tip: Take to the streets early to avoid hoards of tourists walking around in the afternoon.  

How I got my shot? Rose of Where Goes Rose  snapped this for me as we tried to stroll off brunch. 


'Hoi An vibes only' wall //

I stumbled upon this wall via the wonderful world of Pinterest. Hidden in the back room of the SUNDAY in Hoi An interior design shop, you'll find two swings to play on and a beautiful pink backdrop complete with a built in seat to pose on. 

Tip: There are two different SUNDAY in Hoi An shops with pink painted walls. One, however, has horrible florescent lighting sitting indoors that the staff try hiding behind a white canvas curtain. The other {where the above photo was taken} is in the SUNDAY in Hoi An shop on Tran Phu Street {MAP}. It's outdoors and heaps of people get there 'grams here. 

How I got my shot? Lola Mendez, a fellow travel writer I met while working in Hoi An snapped my picture while we were en route to Vegan Beets to meet up with another creative friend, Rose. 


Gam museum //

Instead, a gemstone museum that doubles as a high-end jewelry store known as Gam {MAP}, you'll find a quiet little wine bar that is very much begging for you to bring your camera. Unfortunately, due to me feeling sick and not having photography skills up to par, I never got the shot I envisioned. Insert me looking flawless and casual under the hanging plants and in front of the rock wall in your brain, would ya? 

Tip: Buying a glass of wine here can be expensive, especially given the lack of wine options and given that I'm a beer girl through and through. If you want a picture at the Gam Museum but you don't want to pay so much money, order a soft drink for 25,000 VND {USD $1.07 at time of publishing}. 

How I got my shot? I didn't. I wasn't feeling great the night a group of my lady friends and I went out to Gam, so I was just not having it. The photos of me were naghhhht cute, I couldn't figure out the right manual settings, and people kept walking through my photo. It's still a great spot and maybe you'll have better luck {and better camera skills!!}. 


AN BANG Beach Swing //

This sneaky little beach swing can be found on the ocean side of Sound of Silence Coffee Shop {MAP}. Walk through the cafe, up the small hill and directly on the other side you'll see the beach and the swing. Funnily enough, I haven't seen many people taking photos on it. Probably because they're too busy soaking in the gorgeous ocean view. Still, it's worth grabbing a few pictures on your way into the water. 

Tip: Make sure you protect your camera from sand. I've have to send off my camera for repairs after traveling around the San Pedro de Atacama and it suffering sand damage from a single grain! Grab the shot you want, then put your camera in its bag and keep it in the cafe. The lady at the tour table will happily chaperone it for you. 

How I got my shot? I caught these photos with my three-legged boyfriend {a.k.a. my tripod}. My friend Rose of Where Goes Rose snapped pics of me here the day before, but the beach was emptier when I returned the next morning meaning fewer photobombs! 


Tam Thanh mural village + beach //

Though technically not in Hoi An, the entire art project that is Tam Thanh Mural Village is gorgeous. However, if you are more interested in a beach shot with boats in the sand, Tam Thanh makes a great stop for tourist-free photos. I have some of my favourite photos from all my trips to Vietnam at Tam Thanh's beach near the many fishing boats that dot the shore. 

Tip:  Don't go in the middle of the day. The heat is extreme and makes taking pictures more difficult for people like me who aren't professionally trained photographers. Lesson learned! 

How I got my shot? Asking my travel companion on the day. Remember, when asking doesn't work out, use a tripod! 


Photos are the only souvenirs I get from the places I visit 9.99 times out of 10, which makes them super meaningful. I think of them as a visual diary of a moment in time. That being said, let's all try to remember {me included} to experience a place first and photograph it second

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