The wet season is in full swing in Hoi An and it’s much more intense than I’d imagined. Having visited Vietnam three years ago, I’d experienced some extreme tropical storms and heavy rains without much interruption to my trip, so naively thought the wet season would be a breeze. I’d also read a handful of articles about the weather in Hoi An, which led me to conjure up romantic scenes of navigating The Ancient Town by boat. Although the locals do use boats to get around, the flooding isn’t all that romantic as the ground floors of many businesses become submerged and are subsequently out of action for a while. Having said that, Hoi An still manages to retain its charm and offers a hotspot of cosy cafes for locals, expats and passers-by to take shelter from the rain. Here are my top three coffee shops to escape the cold, wet weather.
Number Three: Bettina
Address: 05 Phan Chau Trinh, Hoi An, Vietnam
Atmosphere: 4/5 | Value for money: 2/5 | Drinks: 4/5 | Snack selection: 5/5
If you’re looking for a taste of France during your time in Hoi An, then Bettina is the place to go. With a delectable selection of French treats, including a cheeseboard (the first one I’ve seen since arriving in Hoi An) and a range of teas, coffees and wines, Bettina is a great place to pass the time when it’s wet outside.
Although slightly on the pricey side, the cost is relative to other cafes and restaurants situated within the Ancient Town. The price is also reflected in the high-quality coffees, which are made using strong coffee beans and fresh milk.
The space Bettina occupies looks like many of the other quaint coffee shops in Old Town, with the characteristic yellow paint and shutter-clad windows. However, if you look closely you’ll notice metal chairs outside with delicate floral designs; a sight which isn’t too dissimilar to those found on the streets of Paris. Once inside you’ll see a few chairs and tables topped with decorative vases of wildflowers, but the main features are the window panel into the kitchen – which is typical of a high-end French bistro – and the mezzanine section above. Bettina is authentically French and the perfect place to go to get your cheese and wine fix when in Hoi An!
Number Two: Mia Coffee
Address: 20 Phan Boi Chau, Hoi An, Vietnam
- Atmosphere: 4/5
- Value for money: 3/5
- Drinks: 5/5
- Snack selection: 3/5
Vietnam is famous for its production of coffee and there’s an abundance of ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk) in Hoi An. Although Vietnamese iced coffee is delicious, when it’s cold and wet there’s nothing like a hot latte or cappuccino to warm you up. Despite the large concentration of cafes in Hoi An, it’s somewhat difficult to find a decent Western coffee here. Cue Mia! Serving up a selection of coffees, from Piccolos to Americanos, it’s definitely the best caffeine fix in town.
The coffee shop’s interior is as warm as the coffee, with wooden walls and soft lighting tempting you in from the rain. Although it’s often hard to find a seat in Mia Coffee (it attracts crowds of locals, expats and travellers), it’s definitely worth a try and you won’t be disappointed.
Number One: Lapin Café
Address: 67 Tran Cao Van, Hoi An, Vietnam
- Atmosphere: 5/5
- Value for money: 5/5
- Drinks: 5/5
- Snack selection: 3/5
Lapin Café is a little blue gem of French-Vietnamese charm. With an extremely wide selection of teas, coffees and juices, there’s something for everyone at Lapin. The extensive drinks menu also features drinks from Northern and Southern Vietnam, including specialities such as the Hanoi favourite ca phe trung (egg coffee).
Despite being situated on a busy street, which often plays host to a market selling fresh vegetables and seafood, once you step into Lapin you’re transported into a relaxed, contemporary atmosphere. Adorned with vintage prints of books such as Alice in Wonderland and teapot shaped chairs, Lapin is unlike any of the other cafes in Hoi An. Western sofas (a rarity in a country which favours the wooden kind) and a large bookcase create a warm and cosy feel within the café, which is mirrored by the couple who run it; Eric and Victoria. Eric’s half Vietnamese-half French heritage combined with Victoria’s Vietnamese background means you can order a delicious croissant with French Bonne Maman jam and a sweet, Vietnamese ca phe sua da to accompany it for a couple of dollars!
Lapin is the crème de la crème of modern, French-Vietnamese cafes and is a must if you’re in Hoi An.
No matter what season it is, you can make the most out of Hoi An by visiting any of these awesome cafés.