2 fun things about Hoi An, Vietnam

three people in Vietnamese style hats in a so-called 'basket boat'

Last Updated on June 3, 2023 by Ellen

Hoi An, Vietnam is famous for its colored lanterns and paper candle boxes that glow at night. It sets a romantic, somewhat whimsical vibe — if you can get around thousands of visitors. None of those people seem to know about a fantastic ice cream stand just a few blocks from the tourist mobs. So let me point the way.

Also, I’d like to point out a fun side trip to the coconut boat rides near town. But first, the ice cream.

As a continuous world traveler, there are times I would give anything for New York salt bagel with cream cheese and a regular coffee. Or several slices of New York pizza. I haven’t lived in New York for many years, yet I crave these things from my youth. Maybe it’s a vague feeling of homesickness. Maybe it’s simply that I want what I can’t have. Enter soft serve ice cream — from the traditional types of machines from back home!

On our first night in town, we walked by local people who sat at small tables in front of a shop as they enjoyed super-cold, creamy ice cream flavors like chocolate, mango, coconut, “matcha” (tea). It was another sweltering night in Vietnam with still, thick air. We joined them. It was so perfect that we ended up going back every night we were in Hoi An for a taste of home.

I know a little about the owner. His name his (pronounced) Dun; his family’s convenience store features two soft-serve ice cream machines; the ice cream stand inside the store is called Kem Tu’oi; his son runs the machines Monday through Saturday; on Sunday your only option is pre-made cups in the freezer, but even those are great. I also know this is the nicest family you could ever meet.

We spent several evenings chatting with Dun while we ate our ice cream cups. One night he recommended we take a coconut boat ride because “everyone is happy.” Check out the video at the end of this post to see what he was talking about.

A cup of Kem Tu’oi ice cream costs 10,000 dong. That’s the equivalent of 44 cents. Servings are small by super-sized American standards, but even if you ate two cups, it’s still less than one dollar and you won’t feel like a pig. (I was known to have two cups some nights, and the spouse was known to have three.)

So. You’re in Hoi An, or going there, and you want to know where to find the only soft-serve ice cream I can recommend in Vietnam. It’s easy to find. Just get out of the old town area, walk a few blocks west on Hung Vu’ong Street.

You won’t find this ice cream stand inside the family’s store on Google maps. But just for you, dear reader, but I took a screen shot of its location, and a photo of the front.

When you go for a refreshing, tasty soft-serve ice cream in Hoi An on a hot and steamy day or night, please send Dun our best wishes.

Coconut boats near Hoi An

Below is a two-minute video montage of that boat tour Dun recommended. He didn’t recommend a specific company, only that we try it for laughs and something different to do. We picked “Tin Basket Boat Tour” on our own, based on TripAdvisor reviews. It’s a small mom-and-pop place — not the giant boat on the river in old town, though it has the same name.

It was about $8 per person for an hour of fun. Tips and return taxi to your accommodations are not included, but transport to the boat is part of the deal.

Send a message to Tin’s WhatsApp to make arrangements: +84 93 582 89 81.

Other adventures in Vietnam:


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