Our family has only been on one tour previous to this one with Xuan Tu tours in Vietnam. Our initial experience left me wanting to craft our own tour using TripAdvisor and taxis. Our private tour in Bali ended up on what felt more like a “tour of a series of gift shops”. Needless to say, my family had low expectations for this tour.
Thankfully, we decided to try another tour and Xuan Tu more than exceeded expectations, as did our guide Hai. I wanted an authentic tour given by people who loved their country and wanted to share their knowledge and personal take on their city. This is truly the service Xuan Tu Tours provided! Hai took us to all the places tailored with hands-on activities for kids. Plus, when we first met, I asked if we could find a place to buy Vietnamese coffee and skip some of the temples. He took us off the normal tour to the market in the center of Hoi An. Hai knew many of the local places, off the beaten track, as he was born in Hoi An.
The best part of the tour for me was Cam Kim Island where we rode bikes through a small village to see nearly lost arts like fresh noodle making over a fire, hand basket weaving by two sisters on their front porch and wooden boat hand craftsmanship. The best part for my three sons was lunch. Hai took us to a local place, Old Garden, down a narrow alley where the Pho broth was aromatic and savory. My sons really enjoyed Hai and his co-worker, Edward. So much so, they talked them into eating lunch with us and playing a card game of Uno. It was a fun lunch, full of laughter and joking.
The hardest part of the tour was the heat. There is much to do and see in Hoi An. I would have preferred if after lunch, the tour took an hour break to just sit in a coffeehouse or somewhere with a breeze, out of the sun. We did ask for a shortened tour and I know Hai was trying to make the most of our early departure by showing us his favorite places in a city he truly loves.
We brought along water, which was a good idea. Though you can buy bottled water anywhere in Hoi An. This tour is 80% walking. You can rent bikes on Cam Kim Island and also ride a ferry to the island. Otherwise, it is a purely walking tour. Hoi An is such a lovely city with hidden vistas and shops, on foot is best, if you can take the heat.
We are very glad we chose Xuan Tu Tours and would highly recommend you budget part of your vacation funds for this excursion. It was well worth it.
Traveller: Amy C from Tripadvisor