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What To Do in Hoi An – Day Trips, Where To Eat, Places To See, Where To Stay – Your 2024 Guide

What To Do in Hoi An – Day Trips, Where To Eat, Places To See, Where To Stay – Your 2024 Guide

Life imitates art in the ancient riverside town of Hoi An. Picturesque and dreamy, the town lies along the country’s central coast, charming globetrotters with its gastronomic offerings, well-preserved and multi-influenced temples, and other historic buildings, and a laid-back culture that offers no less than a one-of-kind experience to anyone who strolls down its sunshine-colored streets.

Hoi An is a historical city, a UNESCO-listed heritage site, one of Vietnam’s most beautiful destinations. Beaching, sightseeing, and many culturally and historically immersive activities make up a vibrant mix of experiences, giving you plenty of answers to the question – what to do in Hoi An? Read along as we break down all there is to know when exploring this unbelievably chill town. 

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How To Get To Hoi An

What to do in Hoi An
Photo credit: nguyenkhacqui via Pixabay.com
  • Even with limited direct trips from the country’s major points, Hoi An is still pretty accessible, owing to its central location that makes entry from Northern and Southern Vietnam relatively easy. There are no direct flights or train stations in town, so a connecting trip is on your agenda if you go by either of the two.

    You can get to Hoi An by either bus or motorbike. You can also get here via train or plane, but the closest train station and airport are both located in Da Nang, which is not that far.

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Things To See and Do in Hoi An (pinned map)

What To Do in Hoi An

Hoi An offers the kind of experience that is more relaxing than exciting. It’s a peaceful recluse for travelers seeking to savor Vietnam’s unique country charm at a leisurely pace. The town’s brand of tourism dwells upon a meaningful appreciation of the present that pays tribute to a celebrated past and takes pride in the cultural context of its cuisine, religion, art, and architecture.

TIP: Fastest way to extend your Vietnam visa

What to do in Hoi An
Photo Credit: Romacdesigns via Pixabay.com

Cycle Around the Old Town

The Old Town area is compact enough to be explored on foot, but do it like the locals and ride a bike to go around. Exploring the old town is like stepping back in time, where you’ll see preserved structures of Vietnamese, French, Japanese, and Chinese influences in what used to be a significant SE Asian trading post in the 15th – 19th century.

Along the lazy Thu Bon River are colonial buildings that line the riverside, sporting yellow-painted walls, and shops and restaurants that dot the streets. Famous landmarks in the old town include the Quan Cong Temple and the Japanese Covered Bridge. 

  • Entrance fee: $6
  • Location: Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam

Check Out the Lantern Market at Night

As the sun sets in Hoi An, the lanterns light up on Nguyen Hoang Street. The 300-meter-long street comes alive with a colorful lantern in various shades and hues. The street is gradually filled with locals and tourists as vendors set up shops under the multi-colored light of the lanterns – a postcard-perfect scene for which Hoi An is widely known.

At the shops, you can get anything from snacks to clothes to handmade trinkets for your souvenirs. It’s a spectacular sight that is not to be missed when you’re in Hoi An.

  • Location: Nguyễn HoàngMinh An, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
What to do in Hoi An
Photo credit: tasy via Pixabay.com

Take Up a Vietnamese Cooking Class

Learn about Hoi An’s culinary culture by enrolling in a cookery class during your stay. There are many cooking classes to choose from, most notably at the Red Bridge Cooking School, the Tra Que Waterwheel Organic Farm Cooking Class, and the Green Bamboo Cooking School.

Most of the classes offered include a tour of Hoi An’s market, local vegetable and herb gardens, and some of the city’s most remarkable restaurants that will give you great insights into the traditional cooking techniques, recipes, and ingredients of Hoi An’s celebrated culinary offerings.

  • Cost: $30 – $50

Get Bespoke Clothes

Hoi An is easily one of, if not the best place to get tailored clothes made. Most shops can even finish your basic dresses and smaller clothing items in just a matter of hours. Here you can have your suit made, a gown, or a budget-friendly outfit. You can find tailor shops all around town and the cost for your new wardrobe will depend on the fabric’s quality, clothing style, and the time it will take to make it.

Hoi An’s tailors are known for their skills throughout Vietnam. Not only will you have a new addition to your closet (or suitcase), you’ll also contribute to the locals’ livelihood and craft.

  • Cost: $20 – $50

What to do in hoi an

Photo credit: Steve Douglas via Unsplash.com

Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge

The Japanese-covered bridge, also known as Cau Temple, is one of the town’s oldest and most picturesque and crowded spots. This iconic landmark was built in the 18th century as a way to connect to Chinese neighborhoods. The bridge is pinkish and spans over 60 feet across a canal. It even has intricate carvings and sculptures. Many locals still visit this site to worship for protection from calamities, just as merchants once prayed for fair weather.

  • Address: 186 Trần Phú, Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
  • Opening times: Open 24 hours
  • Entrance fee: $6.42

CHECK THIS HOI AN TOUR THAT COVERS THE JAPANESE BRIDGE

Explore the Assembly Hall of Fujian Chinese

The Assembly Hall of Fujian Chinese is the largest among the four assembly halls. It was built in the 1690s, and the building materials have been well-preserved due to regular maintenance. If you only have a short time and can only visit one assembly hall, consider choosing this one. You’ll find stunning traditional artwork, Chinese architecture, and lush gardens here. When visiting this sacred place, make sure to dress moderately.

  • Address: 46 Trần Phú, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
  • Opening times: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Entrance fee: $5.13 for adults but free for children under 10 years old

MORE INFO ON HALF-DAY HOI AN WALKING TOUR

Visit the Old House of Tan Ky

This house was constructed in the 1700s with a mix of Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese architecture. It is one of the city’s first buildings to receive a National Heritage Site title. Regardless of age, a local family was allowed to live here until today to help maintain the house. You can even order White Rose Dumplings, a specialty of Hoi An, and the family will prepare them straight from their kitchen.!

  • Address: 101 Nguyễn Thái Học, Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
  • Opening times: 8:30 AM – 5:45 PM

CHECK TOUR PRICE FOR TAN KY OLD HOUSE

Experience the Basketboat Ride

Don’t know what to do in Hoi An? Ride the funny basketboat! Although rather touristy, a traditional bamboo basket boat trip is enjoyable.! It is made from interwoven bamboo which is used to access shallow and small waterways around Hoi An. The rides are frequently offered as a part of a package deal, including a cooking lesson and a bike ride. You may see local fishermen at work and learn how to catch crabs around the stunning surroundings of the coconut forests.

  • Address: Thôn Vạn Lăng, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam 560000, Vietnam
  • Opening times: Open 24 hours
  • Entrance fee: $5- $6.50

CHECK BASKET BOAT TOUR PRICE

ANOTHER BASKET BOAT TOUR

Craft Your Own Lantern

If you happen to be strolling through Hoi An Old Town, the eye-catching and vibrant lanterns that illuminate at night will most definitely attract your attention. Take part in a fun bonding activity where you can unleash your creative side. Creating your own lantern is an excellent opportunity to learn about traditional Vietnamese craft methods. There are other lantern-making classes in the city, but this workshop has received much positive feedback. Many visitors to Vietnam also bring lanterns back home as a souvenir or a gift to family and friends.

  • Address: Thành phố Hội An, Vietnam

CREATE YOUR OWN LANTERN THROUGH A WORKSHOP

Day Trips From Hoi An

Got time and extra bucks to spare? Perfect! Because Hoi An is conveniently located in central Vietnam, many destinations are within a short trip from the ancient town. Grab the opportunity and take these side trips, easily doable within a day or less, and you’ll be back in Hoi An in no time.

My Son Ruins

A collection of 4th-12th-century temples await to captivate you at the My Son Ruins. The 140-hectare sanctuary, which holds the remnants of the Kingdom of Champa, was largely abandoned in the past millennium until eventually rediscovered in 1889 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Remarkably, My Son is well-preserved, with temples and structures that mirror the influence of the Hindu religion in the early Vietnamese culture.

  • Entrance fee: $7
  • Location: Duy Phu Commune, Duy Xuyen District, Duy Xuyen, Vietnam
    How to get there: My Son is 40 km from Hoi An, about an hour of travel time, depending on your transportation. You can hire a private car for around $25-$35 for a half-day trip or rent a motorbike for around $5-$13 if you’re up for the drive. Do note that prices may vary based on the rental company and type of vehicle.

CHECK THIS MY SON RUINS TOUR PRICE

MORNING MY SON SANCTUARY TOUR

Cham Island

Cham Island or Cu Lao Cham, is a cluster of 8 islands off Hoi An’s coast. The islands are built upon deposits of rocks and soil collected over time from the sea or river flows. Hundred-year-old buildings and ancient artifacts can be found on the island, proving the Cham civilization’s existence. In 2009, UNESCO recognized the Cham Island Biosphere Reserve for its diverse ecosystem and thriving flora, fauna, and rich marine life.

  • Entrance fee: $3
  • Location: Chàm IslandsTân Hiệp, Hội An, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam
  • How to get there: Go to Cua Dai Beach; from there, it’s an 18-km trip by boat to the island. You have three options: (1) hire a private canoe (fastest at 15-20 minutes, but most expensive at $340-$510), (2) buy a canoe ticket at $13, and (3) travel by wooden boat or tau cho. This last option will take over 90 minutes to reach the island. 

CHECK THIS CHAM ISLAND PRICE

OTHER CHAM ISLAND TOUR OPTION

Marble Mountain

Located between Hoi An and Da Nang sits the five mystical hills that make up the city’s famous Marble Mountain. This cluster of hills is well known for its curious caves, tunnels, and peaks that hikers and backpackers cannot resist. Booking a trip to Marble Mountain is an incredible activity, while Da Nang is a great spot to learn more about caves in Vietnam.

The Marble Mountain is a popular attraction in Da Nang. It is a popular pilgrimage site in the country where you can encounter 17th-century Buddhist temples, sanctuaries, pagodas, and grottoes. Atop the summits are remarkable viewpoints giving sweeping views of the city and coast below.

  • Entrance fee: $2
  • Location: 2 Huyen Tran Cong Chua, Hoa Ai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang
  • How to get there: This one’s as easy as hopping on a bus heading for Da Nang. Fare for yellow buses is $1 and $6 for private bus companies. The nearest bus stop is close to the foot of Thuy Son, Marble Mountain’s main attraction. 

CHECK THIS MARBLE TOUR PRICE

ANOTHER MARBLE TOUR OPTION

Best Beaches in Hoi An

A quick Google search of Hoi An’s top beaches and these two destinations will surely pop on top: Cua Dai Beach and An Bang Beach. Hit either or both and complement your old town experience with a day of relaxation with the sun, sea, and sand of Hoi An. Please take a look at our list of Best Beaches in Vietnam.

Cua Dai Beach

This 3km stretch of gorgeous seaside escape is a favorite afternoon hangout spot for many of Hoi An’s locals and visitors. Restaurants and hotels dot the coast, providing food, drinks, and wellness options. You’ll also find woven bamboo baskets and traditional fishing boats bobbing in the crystal waters or resting on the beach’s white sand. At night, Cua Dai Beach comes alive as more people pour in to dine in one of the many excellent seafood restaurants in the area.

  • Entrance fee: Free -If you want to use a lounger for free, buy food or drinks from nearby hotels and restaurants.
  • ​Location: Cam An Ward | Hoi An – Quang Nam, Hoi An, Vietnam
  • How to get there: From Hoi An, Cua Dai is located east, about 10 minutes away – more or less, depending on if you’re going there in a taxi, on a motorbike, or bike. You’ll find road signs enough to lead the way. If you rented a motorbike or bike for the trip, prepare to pay a parking fee. 
  • Food to try: Fresh seafood at Cay Gio Restaurant and Mama Ly

An Bang Beach

Au Bang Beach’s placid water makes it an ideal destination for swimming and paddleboarding, and from time to time, it is also a great place to learn surfing. While underrated, the unspoiled beach stretches 4km and remains Hoi An’s most stunning go-to place for a good blend of fun and chill. The sweeping view of white sand and clear blue waters is pleasantly disrupted by the outline of Cham Islands in the distance, elevating the charm of the seascape. 

  • Entrance fee: Free. Buy food or drink at nearby establishments for the free use of a sun lounger. 
  • Location: Hai Bà Trưng, Tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
  • How to get there: An Bang Beach is located 7km north of Hoi An, just past the Tra Que Village. As with most places in ancient towns, you can go there in a taxi or rent a motorbike or bicycle. 
  • Food to try: Mama Feelgood at Soul Kitchen Bar and Restaurant

REMEMBER

Parking at these beaches has caused several scamming issues as parking attendants (some even bogus) take advantage of tourists by charging over 20,000VND parking fees. If you ever encounter such during your visit, do not shell out more than 10,000VND. If the attendant insists on the higher fee, head towards a restaurant nearby for free parking and a seat (or longer) if you buy a meal or drink. And if you’re not in the mood for food or drinks but want to use a sun lounger, the rental fee is around 15,000 – 40,000VND

What To Eat In Hoi An

If you don’t know what to do in Hoi An, you can always head to the beach and have a relaxing day. Grab a bite of authentic Vietnamese delicacies at Hoi An’s most celebrated restaurants. Forget upscale and fancy fusion plates and have culturally and gastronomically filling meals that follow the palette and flavors of Hoi An’s traditional cuisine.

So, here’s something to add to your what to do in Hoi An list, for a genuine food adventure in this ancient town, be sure to please your senses here:

CHECK THIS FOOD TOUR OR THIS

Miss Ly Cafe

Open for over 20 years now; Miss Ly Cafe has been serving authentic Vietnamese food to locals and tourists looking to fill up on cao laubanh bao vac, and thit nuong – which happens to be the restaurant’s famous signature offerings. The menu is reasonably priced and includes vegetarian options and smoothies, too.

The meals are prepared using fresh ingredients from Cam Nam Village, Tra Que Vegetable Village, and Cham Island. Miss Ly is a charming family-owned and run restaurant that is surrounded by ancient shop-houses. The inside is a setup of simple wooden furnishings, vintage paintings, and traditional background music that makes for a truly authentic Hoi An dining experience. 

  • Location: 22 Nguyen Hue Street, Hoi An (located in the ancient town, just around the corner from the Fujian Assembly Hall)
  • Operating hours: 08:30 AM – 10 PM daily
Vietnamese food
Photo credit: Rene DeAnda via unsplash.com

Quan Dau Bac

This local eatery is a crowd favorite! Famous for its pocket-friendly authentic dishes, Quan Dau Bac sports an open-air setup facing the busy street of Phan Chu Trinh. The eatery serves authentic Vietnamese fried spring rolls, potato croquettes, fried sausages, crispy mushrooms with eggs, and chicken soup.

Their signature dish, the bun dau mam tom , or the Vietnamese tasting plate, is a must-try! You can choose between meat and vegetable variations. The meatless plate consists of rice noodles, cucumber, fresh herbs, and deep-fried tofu, while the meat plate comes with steamed pork, fish balls, beef, and mushrooms. Both options are served with a fermented shrimp dipping sauce.

  • Location: 147 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoi An (close to the old town)
  • Operating hours: 2 PM – 10 PM daily

Banh mì Phuong

Banh mi Phuong is where you’ll taste the best banh mi in Hoi An and the whole of Vietnam. Known the world over and enjoyed by even the late Anthony Bourdain, the banh mi here, as Bourdain described it, is a symphony in a sandwich. So, what makes it stand out from the rest?

Well, imagine this – a bread that’s crispy on the outside yet soft and airy on the inside, filled with grilled pork, pork patty, pork liver pate, pork floss, head cheese, pickled papaya sliced tomato, cilantro, long sliced cucumber, mints, and handmade mayonnaise. Need we say more? Oh, yeah – symphony! 

  • Location: 2B Phan Châu Trinh, Minh An, tp. Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
  • Operating hours: 6:30AM – 9:30PM daily

How To Get Around Hoi An

Hoi An is pretty easy to explore. The city center is pedestrian-friendly, with minimal traffic, especially from 8-11 AM and 1:30-4:30 PM when motorbikes are banned, but keep looking for stray daredevils. You can go around town by renting a taxi, motorbike, bike, or go on foot.

You can rent the bikes for a dollar/day, but that’s something you won’t even have to pay for as most hotels in the area offer them rent-free. While motorbiking in Vietnam is also a trendy way to get around fast. As for directions, the locals are approachable and will direct you to your destination. You can also ask your hotel for a local map. The town is compact, and finding your way around should be easy.

Best Places To Stay In Hoi An

Hoi An has become a significant destination in Vietnam and has various accommodations, from luxury to budget-friendly, are conveniently around to welcome you. They’re all over town; you can pick from the location (ancient town or beach), modern comforts, and cultural value. Wherever you choose to stay, Hoi An’s hospitality brand is well present in these top stays in town.

You can also check our list of recommendations for where to stay in Hoi An post. 

Luxury Hotel and Resort

Anantara Hoi An Resort

Located in the heart of an ancient town, on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Anantara Hoi An Resort is in itself an architectural marvel, taking inspiration for its facade from the influences of Japanese, French, and Chinese design that is reflective of the old town.

The hotel has a total of 94 rooms that are with full amenities, Wi-Fi access, a safe, and a porch overlooking the charm of old town Hoi An. There are four restaurants on-site, cafes, bar, spa, fitness and wellness facilities, and an outdoor pool.  

PROS:

  • free breakfast
  • free Wi-Fi, packing, and beach shuttle
  • an outdoor pool and wellness facilities

CONS:

  • Not best for families with infants

CHECK REVIEWS AND PRICES ON HOTELSCOMBINED or BOOKING.COM

where to stay in ho chi minh city

Mid-range Hotel

Sunset Hotel Hoi An

Located near the city’s old quarter, Sunset Hotel Hoi An is decorated in true Vietnamese style. The rooms are air-conditioned and have a private bathroom ((with free toiletries). The rooms also have basic amenities, including in-room Wi-Fi, a TV, and a minibar.

On the second floor is a restaurant serving Vietnamese, Asian, and Western dishes, with a balcony overlooking the river. It is a great spot to dine and relax – with a view! Sunset Hotel also has a pool, bar, garden, and gift shop. 

PROS:

  • free breakfast and free Wi-Fi
  • allergy-free rooms

CONS:

  • no free bikes available

CHECK REVIEWS AND PRICES ON HOTELSCOMBINED

Backpacker Hostel

Hoi An Vietnam Backpackers Hostel

Get ready to knock down a few beers and party all night at the Hoi An Vietnam Backpackers Hostel. The lively hostel sports spacious chill-out areas, always buzzing with fun activities at night.

Pub quizzes, bingo, happy hours, beer pong, and themed dress-up nights make it a must-stay if you’ve come to the party and socialize. The location is decent; it’s 2km from the ancient town and 3km from An Bang Beach. Plus, the dorm rooms and bathrooms are clean, and the beds are comfy. 

  • Cost per bed: $14

PROS:

  • free breakfast and free Wi-Fi
  • outdoor pool
  • lots of great activities to join

CONS:

  • can be loud in the evening to some guests
  • some walking distance from the Old Town

CHECK REVIEWS AND PRICES ON HOTELSCOMBINED or BOOKING.COM

Hoi An is a fantastic spot to explore Vietnam’s caves, historical spots, and beaches. Spending 2-3 days in Hoi An is easy, filled with exciting activities. We hope this guide on what to do in Hoi An has been helpful. If you have tips and questions, let us know in the comment section below.

How To Get To Hoi An

It’s straightforward to get to Hoi An by plane; the international airport of Da Nang is only a 30-minute drive. You can also take a bus if you are coming from a nearby city; Hue is only 2.5 hours away on a bus. You can also take the train, but the train station is in Da Nang, so you must take a bus to Hoi An from there. We have an extensive article on how to get to Hoi An.

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Here are the fun things to do in Hoi An, we also give some ideas about food to try, and beaches to go if you don't what to do in Hoi An. #whattodoinhoian #hoianvietnam #vietanamitinerary #vietnamtraveltips #traveltovietnam via @movetovietnam

 

 

 

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