Skip to Content

The Hoi An Floods

We’ve been seeing amazing images in galleries around town of picturesque Vietnamese women paddling canoes and sampans through floodwaters in Hoi An‘s incredibly ancient laneways but we didn’t really expect to be here to experience the Hoi An floods for ourselves. This post is about being in Hoi An during flooding.

Hoi An Flooding 6 the November 2017
This morning the water is higher again. I’ve just heard from a friend who lives near the waterfront, she has 3.5m of water in her house but her power has just come back on.

The day before yesterday (3rd November) we heard that local officials announced the flood gates up-river from us would be opened at 3.30pm. It was low tide then but the water was abnormally high thanks to days of heavy rain and a typhoon (Typhoon Damrey) lurking somewhere off the coast.

None of the locals seemed too concerned and our landlady, when she popped round with the beautiful shirt she’d made for Chef, didn’t even know. She wasn’t worried, it’s almost an annual event here in Hoi An, what’s a bit of water?

That evening Chef and I took an Uber down to the Old Town to see what was going on. The rain was coming down sideways and the river was lapping at the entrances of the river-side shops and restaurants.

We stopped by Sau Mai, our usual restaurant, just to say hi and wish them well. They were stacking chairs on tables. Not that the stacking would have helped much, their entire ground floor must be completely flooded almost to the roof.

We returned the next morning around 7am and even then there was no way to get to that front road. By 5pm next day we were in thigh deep water 3 streets back from the waterfront. It’s 2 am now and I’m awake checking online with the chattering expats in Facebook groups, they say this could be the biggest flood Hoi An has ever seen, higher than the 1999 historic flood with estimates ranging between 3.5 and 5m. I think it’s time we left.

UPDATE: The flood waters are now down (8 November) but locals say they could rise again between the 11 th and 16 th of November as more heavy rain is due.

Hoi An Flooding Best Restaurant in Hoi An Sao Mai
Our favourite restaurant in Hoi An, Sau Mai, is on the waterfront. We can’t get down there but I’m guessing that their downstairs is now completely filled with water. We really hope the family are safe upstairs as currents must be fairly strong down there, around town there’s no problem, the water is quite still.
Hoi An Old Town Flooding Depth and Years
Next door to Sau Mai, the Blue Mango has flood levels marked on the wall. The 2017 flood is higher.

Flooding in Hoi An

I’m so glad we had the opportunity to live here, it’s a beautiful town and the Vietnamese people are some of the best on the planet. We WILL be back.

For now just some photos and video of the last couple of days. I’m gutted in a way that we’re due to fly tomorrow, I wish we could stay and help with the clear up, but we have a pre-arranged date with Langkawi for Ironman Malaysia.

We’ve lived in Australia, Romania, London and Wales, living in Hoi An has been different, and fantastic.

See our video of the floods and the heavy rain preceding them last October and November, below.

Ignore the “News”

I’m seeing very sensationalised, laughable “news” reports online from the British gutter press and an Australian news channel. The situation here is NOTHING like they describe.

We had notice that the flood gates would be opened and water rose slowly over 2-3 days. Never believe what you read in those publications.

Typhoon Damrey and Hoi An

Typhoon Damrey did not “slam” Hoi An, nor were tourists given 15 minutes to “flee”. Typhoon Damrey hit other parts of Vietnam hard, if the news reports are to believed, this was not what happened in Hoi An.

Winds were strong but not typhoon or cyclone strength, all we saw was a lot of rain. The floods arrived after floodgates were opened further upstream to release pressure on over-full reservoirs.

This was a man-made flood. Hoi An is not a disaster zone, the floods are receding and businesses are re-opening. The news you are seeing is over-hyped sensationalism.

At What Time of Year Does it Flood in Hoi An?

Usually November and December. It doesn’t flood every year, but it’s certainly not rare.

The wet season has been intense with days of heavy rain, be prepared for that if you’re travelling to Hoi An at this time of year. You certainly won’t be wanting to use the beach, seas are rough and most of the sand has washed away on Ang Bang and Hidden Beach.

Cau Dai beach had no sand even before the wet season but we remember it from 2001.

Our house is well outside the flood zone, our street is dry but residential areas outside the Old Town are flooding fast and power is going down. The people on the waterfront and on the islands are, I hope, still dry on upper floors, if not there are boats everywhere, people can be got out.

I hope these wonderful people stay safe.

APEC and Hoi An (2017)

APEC is causing disruption and road closures including the main coastal highway to Hoi An from Danang. When we left yesterday (10th) the coastal road was already closed and we had to take the back route to the airport.

Check road closures and dates before you plan your journey. As a side note, don’t try and bring a drone through Danang airport until after APEC is over, they haven’t been letting them in.

There have also been police coming house to house checking visas and passports, we’re hearing there have been deportations of foreigners with the wrong papers. The police who visited our homes were very nice, no problem.

Pictures From the Hoi An Flooding

Hoi An Flooding 2017 Old Town, 3 streets back
7am yesterday morning, 4th November 2017. The flood waters were about to reach the third street back from the waterfront. Plenty of boats around to take locals to and from their homes.
Hoi An Japanese Bridge before the floods
Hoi An’s Famous Japanese Bridge taken a few weeks ago, ( The coloured lanterns in the water are released every night, not just on full moon or lantern festival nights,  just a FYI ) The next photo was the scene at the bridge yesterday morning.
Hoi An Flooding 2017 near the covered bridge
Standing at the entrance of the Japanese bridge looking across the river to An Hoi island. The dots in the water are the tops of the wooden walking bridge there. The water must be at least a meter deeper here now, it’s inaccessible due to fast flowing water flowing between houses near here.
Hoi An Market still open in Flooding November 4th 2017
The scene at Hoi An market yesterday morning ( Nov 4th) at 7am. Water is advancing along the side of the market. Stall holders simply set up shop further and further into town. Business as usual.
Hoi An flooding at the market
The market around 4.30pm November 4th. We were still able to cycle along this street, the water was to my thighs.

 

Thai restaurant Thai Market Hoi An Vietnam, flooding
Today, November 6th, everyone is still in good spirits but the water is getting higher still. More rain is expected today but right now it’s dry.

Are You Travelling to Hoi An Today?

I know for sure that the Almanity Hotel is high and dry, it’s very close to our house. We have a full review of the Almanity Here.  Our post on where to eat and what in Hoi An won’t be much use to you, all these places are under water. I do know that now, today, Ganesh Indian Restaurant is dry. Mia coffee is under water.

UPDATE 4.30pm 6/11/17  The water has visibly started to go down near us. Not much, maybe 30cm. The White Rose restaurant on Hai Ba Trung is now open ( we just ate there) it was flooded at breakfast time. That doesn’t mean it won’t come up again! The tide is about to start coming in.

UPDATE  8.00 am 7/11/17  The flood waters are going down. A significant drop. Can’t give you exact figures yet.

UPDATE 9am 8/11/17  From my friend who lives on the waterfront in the Old Town ” Yesterday the water was down, and we cleaned the whole day but everything was still messy. From 11-16 Nov there will be heavy rains, maybe the floods will rise again.”

UPDATE 21/11/17 A second round of flooding predicted in the next few days, riverside already flooded.

For PinterestHoi An flooding Vietnam

Hoi An is one of the nicest places I know. It’s one of the cleanest, prettiest, most friendly places in South East Asia. It’s also incredibly cheap and the food is superb. Come if you can, these people are the best and deserve your custom. We will be back to spend more extended time in Vietnam.

When Does Hoi An Flood?

Hoi An can flood any time between late October and January.

In 2017 Hoi An flooded in November and only once, but more than one flood per year can, and does, happen. Hoi An does not flood every year, but almost every year. We are still in Hoi An in 2018 and it will be interesting to see what flood season brings this year.

We are still here in Hoi An and our house is still dry. We are due to fly to Malaysia from Danang tomorrow. They are saying that water levels will continue to rise today and tomorrow, some are even predicting 4 or 5m.

There is a chance we may leave Hoi An later today and stay overnight in Danang, but for now everything is fine. We’ll continue to monitor the situation in Hoi An and add photos to this post.

I wanted to get this post at least semi-published in case we lose power, some areas of Hoi An have had no power since yesterday. Thanks for being here and thanks for caring about the flooding in Hoi An. Some tourists are stressing about being stranded in hotels, they will be fine, our thoughts are with the local people on the waterfront and on the islands. As always, the Vietnamese people just keep laughing and smiling. Want more information on travel in Vietnam? Visit our Vietnam travel page.

Making Bahn Xeo Vietnamese Pancakes
Previous
Banh Xeo, Eating and Cooking Vietnam's Crispy Pancakes
Getting a new UK passport in Bangkok Thailand
Next
Getting a New UK Passport in Bangkok Thailand

CJ

Friday 9th of November 2018

Hi, I will start a new job in Hoi An. I'm still wondering to stay in Hoi An or Danang as i will bring my spouse and 2 years old daughter. I'm worry that Hoi An might be to boring for my family and also the yearly flood worry me. But to travel daily between danang and hoi an for work will be a food idea?

Alyson Long

Saturday 10th of November 2018

i don't think travelling between Hoi An and Danang every day would be very nice. I think I'd prefer to live in Danang if I worked there. But out of the two I like Hoi An best.

fongfong

Monday 18th of June 2018

Hello, I'm planning for family trip in Da Nang, Hoi An & Hue this year. I'm still not sure if I should travel in Aug or Nov or Dec as I'm a bit worry on the weather during these periods. Based on my research, I like the cooling weather in Nov/Dec but afraid if there will be bad weather during these period as I will be traveling with my 2 children. If I plan in Aug, I worry it will be too hot to walk around.

So, need advice on which period I should travel. I only can travel during the school holidays (Mar, May/Jun, Aug or Nov/Dec).

Thanks in advance.

Alyson Long for World Travel Family

Monday 18th of June 2018

November / December is when flooding is likely to occur. If you find our post on the Hoi An Floods last year, you'll see what can happen. At that time last year we had some good days but a lot of heavy rain too and then the town flooded for several days - weeks. But it's not a disaster zone, life goes on.

Bob Bokor

Thursday 16th of November 2017

Can anyone help me with a hotel recommendation OR neighborhood to stay in, based on my likes below? I've spent so much time looking only to find every place was much too far away from central activities.

This past February, I stayed at the Golden Bell Boutique Villa, 33A Lý Thái Tổ, Cẩm Châu. It was very nice with a great buffet plus freshly cooked breakfasts on order. It is 15-20 minutes walking to Old Town.

As it was my first time in Hoi An, I enjoyed the walk, but I think this time I would like to stay in a different section of town to walk and see/enjoy different scenery. Can anyone recommend a good section of town for that? I enjoy culture, meeting people, food, and architecture (pretty, old buildings). A little nature, but not too much, so I don't want to stay by the beach. And not too far so I can walk places.

Do you know any other similarly priced nice places that might be more convenient to wandering through the streets to see interesting things? I already spent 3 days in Old Town, so don't necessarily want to be close to there.

Some beautiful hotels that are much further out provide free bikes. I love to ride, but I have an injury that my doctor advised could get inflamed from bike riding. So I could test riding the bike, but if it causes a problem, I don't want to be so far that I keep having to take Uber taxis all the time as waiting for them also wastes time.

Any good suggestions on neighborhoods or hotels that could meet the above would be really appreciated. The nice hotels I have been looking at range from US$11 to $16 per night including breakfast plus taxes.

Alyson Long for World Travel Family

Thursday 16th of November 2017

Only the Old Town has the old buildings Bob. Also are you missing a zero off your hotel prices? The two hotels we stayed at in Hoi An ( Sunrise and Almanity) were roughly $250 per night. Hostels, homestays and guest houses will come in at under $20 / night, hostels as low as $6 for a dorm bed. There is very little accommodation actually in the Old Town, it's mostly outside.

Tim

Tuesday 14th of November 2017

Hi there. Any further updates available please. We fly in on Saturday 18th. Most reports now are over a week old. Thanks Tim

Alyson Long for World Travel Family

Wednesday 15th of November 2017

Floods long gone Tim. No new flooding. Hoi An is absolutely fine according to all my friends who are still there. I also just came through Penang, which flooded at the ame time, also fine, and it's sunny today in Bangkok :)

Bob Bokor

Tuesday 14th of November 2017

I joined a Hoi An expats Facebook group. There are so many nice people there. One of the ladies there offered to show me how to cook my favorite dish, Cao Lau. She said I could come to her house. She mentioned something about her husband, so I know she is married. Is it normal for Vietnamese to make such kind offers to strangers or should I be concerned for my safety or that there is an ulterior motive?

Another young lady offered to take me on an "unprofessional" street food of Hoi An. Also OK? We're friends now on Facebook.

I was told I could buy dried Cao Lau noodles in Hoi An, so I can take it home and be able to cook it. How much difference is the taste compared to the street food places that use the fresh noodles?

Thanks guys, for any insight you can offer.

Alyson Long for World Travel Family

Wednesday 15th of November 2017

Don't know, but Cau Lao is the noodle, not the dish. The dish is very simple, but cau lau noodles come served a few different ways, either fried, the classic with pork, or with chicken, veg, seafood etc. If it was Dao that asked you to her home to cook she's a good friend. The Vietnamese are wonderful people, extremely kind, but don't be a fool with your money. There may be a tailor's shop linked to the kitchen, if you know what I mean. There's also a bunch of miserable, grumpy old expats in that group, ignore them!

nomadic family life

Alyson is the creator of World Travel Family travel blog and is a full-time traveller, blogger and travel writer. A lifetime of wanderlust and now over 7 years on the road, 50+ countries allowed the creation of this website, for you. She has a BSc and worked in pathology before entering the travel arena and creating this website. World Travel Family Travel Blog has been helping you travel more, better and further since 2012, when Alyson and James first had this life changing idea. On this site you can find endless travel information, tips and guides plus how to travel, how to fund travel and how to start your own travel blog.

shares