Best things to do in Hoi An

Best things to do in Hoi An

Hoi An is a tempting travel site that offers unique cultural experiences, mesmerizing landscapes, and beautiful beaches. While the town is a perfect sample of Vietnamese traditional architecture, its surroundings are enchanting with rice fields, rivers, and palm forests. All are worth exploring. To capture the authenticity of the area, here are the best things to do in Hoi An that you should not miss: 

Exploring Hoi An's Ancient Town

No visit to Hoi An is complete without seeing its charming old town. In its heyday in the 15th century, Hoi An was an important trading town connecting Asia with Europe. The rich tapestry of Hoi An's history is evident in its architecture, reflecting a blend of indigenous, Chinese, Japanese, and European influences. 
Recognized as a Unesco World Heritage site, Hoi An ancient town boasts a number of well-preserved wooden houses, timeless temples, and pagodas. 
Make sure you add these Hoi An attractions to your list of things to do in Hoi An:

Phung Hung House

Phung Hung House, dating back over 200 years, is one of the oldest houses in Hoi An. It's a typical example of a traditional Vietnamese merchant's residence. The house features a combination of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese architectural elements, including a courtyard, wooden carvings, and an intricately decorated altar.

Chua Ong Pagoda

Chua Ong Pagoda or The Tran Family Chapel is a well-preserved structure that serves as both a place of worship and a family home. Built in the 17th century, the chapel features detailed wood carvings, Chinese characters, and an altar dedicated to Ong Pagoda, a Chinese general.

Phuc Kien Assembly Hall

Hoi An has several assembly halls built by Chinese communities. Each hall is dedicated to a specific Chinese ethnic group and has its unique architecture and design. The most famous ones are the Cantonese Assembly Hall and the Fujian (Phuc Kien) Assembly Hall.

Japanese Covered Bridge

This iconic bridge, built in the 18th century, is a symbol of Hoi An. It connects the Japanese and Chinese quarters of the town and features a small temple.

Watch Hoi An Memories Show

The "Hoi An Memories Show" is a large-scale outdoor theatrical performance that narrates the history and culture of Hoi An. The show takes place in an open-air venue and features hundreds of actors, elaborate costumes, and impressive visual effects to create a captivating experience. 

Teh Dar Cultural Show

Explore the splendid Lune Performing Center in Hoi An and immerse yourself in a refined cultural performance showcasing traditional music, dance, and acrobatics. Witness breathtaking choreography and mesmerizing optical illusions as the show unfolds a narrative depicting the adaptation of a rural Vietnamese community to urbanization.

Best things to do in Hoi An for foodies

Hoi An culinary scene is quite unique. The local foods here have their own tastes, own flavors that differ from the rest of the country. If you fancy a very dedicated foodie experience then here come things you should opt:

Take a Cooking Class:

Cooking classes in Hoi An often begin with a visit to a local market, where you can learn about the ingredients used in Vietnamese cuisine. This hands-on experience allows you to engage with local vendors, understand the significance of various herbs and spices, and get a feel for the vibrant food culture of the region. Hoi An is renowned for its diverse and delicious cuisine.
By taking a cooking class, you'll have the opportunity to learn authentic recipes from skilled local chefs. This knowledge can be a valuable souvenir, allowing you to recreate the flavors of Vietnam in your own kitchen when you return home.

Enjoy a Hoi An food Tour

For those who are more interested in trying the best Hoi An foods than learning how to make some of its typical dishes, taking a food tour is just a perfect option. There is no better chance to uncover the highlights of Hoi An cuisine than this way. Whether it is a food walk tour or a motorbike adventure with food tasting, your guide will introduce you to the best local dishes that you may not find in any guidebooks. 

Embark on a boat trip on Thu Bon river

The ride offers breathtaking views of Hoi An's ancient architecture, especially when illuminated by lanterns in the evening. Basket Boat Tour: Experience a bit of adventure with a basket boat tour. Navigate the narrow waterways surrounded by lush greenery, providing a unique perspective of the town and its outskirts.

Things to do in Hoi An for beach lovers

Lying not far from the sea, undoubtedly, Hoi An offers easy access to many characterful beaches in central Vietnam. 

Photo: MarenViol

An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach is one of the closest and most popular beaches near Hoi An. It's about a 20-minute bicycle ride or a short taxi drive from the town center. The beach boasts a relaxed atmosphere, with golden sands, clear waters, and a range of beachfront restaurants and bars. An Bang is an excellent place to unwind, swim, and enjoy a variety of water activities.
Recommended reading: Best Vietnam Beaches

Cua Dai Beach:

Cua Dai Beach is another nearby option, situated a bit further to the northeast of Hoi An. It's known for its long stretch of white sand and tranquil waters. While erosion has affected the shoreline in recent years, there are still areas where you can enjoy the beach. Some beachfront resorts offer loungers and facilities for a comfortable day by the sea.

Hidden Beach (Ghềnh Côi)

A bit off the beaten path, Hidden Beach is a more secluded option for those seeking a quieter beach experience. It's known for its pristine environment, with clear blue waters and surrounded by lush greenery. The journey to Hidden Beach involves a short hike, adding an adventurous element to your beach day.

Ha My Beach

Ha My Beach is known for its scenic beauty and relatively undeveloped surroundings. It's a bit farther from Hoi An compared to An Bang or Cua Dai, but the serene atmosphere and clean shoreline make it a worthwhile destination. Luxury resorts are located along this beach, providing a more private and upscale experience.

Cu Lao Cham Islands

For a more adventurous beach experience, consider taking a boat trip to the Cu Lao Cham Islands. The islands, located off the coast of Hoi An, boast pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Day trips or overnight stays on the islands offer opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and exploring the natural beauty of the marine environment.
Looking for a more isolated island escape in Vietnam? see our guide to Con Dao island - the last tropical paradise in Vietnam. 

Hoi An Travel Experiences for Adventure-minded Travelers

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Hoi An Countryside Tour

Rent a bicycle and explore the picturesque countryside surrounding Hoi An. Ride through rice paddies, visit traditional villages, and witness local farmers at work. Tra Que Vegetable Village: Join a cycling tour to Tra Que Vegetable Village, where you can witness traditional farming methods and even participate in planting or harvesting vegetables.

Kayaking on the Thu Bon River

Many operators offer kayaking tours on the Thu Bon River, which flows through Hoi An. These tours often include a mix of paddling through tranquil waters, exploring local fishing villages, and enjoying picturesque landscapes.

Moon Bay Kayaking

Moon Bay is a beautiful and peaceful area located about 7 km from Hoi An. Some kayaking tours take you to Moon Bay, where you can paddle through the mangrove forest and enjoy the serenity of the surroundings. 

Biking to Traditional Villages and Hoi An countryside

From Tra Que to Cam Kim island, there are many small roads to choose from to wind through Hoi An`s rice paddies and its enchanting scenery. We recommend you to book a guided tour as it allows you to interact better and understand more about the local lifestyle. 

Festivals and Events

Lantern Festival:

If you have the opportunity to visit during the full moon, you'll witness the Full Moon Lantern Festival. On these nights, the entire town turns off electric lights, and the streets are lit solely by traditional lanterns. The market becomes even more festive, with cultural performances, traditional games, and a lively atmosphere.

Hoi An Full Moon Festival

Celebrated every month on the 14th day of the lunar calendar, the Full Moon Festival features traditional performances, games, and a lively atmosphere throughout the Ancient Town.

Hoi An Practical Information 2024

When planning a trip, you may have many questions in mind to make sure your travel is smooth and enjoyable. Here are some of our tips to help you organize your time in Hoi An:

When is the best time to visit Hoi An?

The best time to visit Hoi An is generally during the dry season, which spans from February to August. During these months, you can expect pleasant weather with lower humidity and minimal rainfall. The peak tourist season is from February to April when temperatures are mild.
May to August brings warmer temperatures, but it's still a popular time to visit. However, if you prefer a quieter experience with fewer tourists, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of September to January.

How many days I should spend in Hoi An?

We recommend you spend at least 3 days in Hoi An if allowed. It is a good timeframe to benefit from visits to Hoi An Tourist Attractions as well as soaking up the sea-sun-sand by one of its beaches.
Certainly, if you have only 1 week in Vietnam then you can do 2 days and 1 night in Hoi An to explore its key sites.

Getting to Hoi An?

The nearest international airport that receives foreign travelers is Da Nang International Airport. It takes about 1 hour to reach Hoi An from this airport.
You can also take a flight from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang and then connect your travel to Hoi An. The flight frequency is high which means you can easily book a morning or afternoon flight from any of these airports.
Train travel is also available to Da Nang train station. 

Is there any entrance fee for Hoi An Ancient town?

Yes, you are requested to pay 120.000vnd for the Hoi An ancient town entrance fee. The ticket permits you to visit old houses, temples, and pagodas inside the town.
Keep in mind that boat trips or other services are not included in this fee.  

Day Trips from Hoi An

Looking for further ideas to fill up your travel plan around Hoi An? 

My Son Sanctuary

A Journey into Champa Civilization A short drive from Hoi An, My Son Sanctuary stands as a testament to the ancient Champa Kingdom's architectural prowess. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, My Son is a complex of Hindu temples dating back to the 4th century. Nestled amidst a lush valley surrounded by mountains, these ancient ruins are dedicated to various deities, and their intricate carvings and red-brick structures showcase the Champa people's skill and devotion.
The journey to My Son from Hoi An takes about an hour, and upon arrival, visitors are transported back in time. 
Related Article: Best Places to See in Vietnam

Da Nang City with Marble Mountain and My Khue Beach

A mere stone's throw from Hoi An lies the bustling city of Da Nang, a dynamic urban center with a perfect blend of tradition and modernity. The journey from Hoi An to Da Nang takes around 30-45 minutes, making it an easily accessible day trip option. Da Nang is home to the iconic Marble Mountains, a cluster of limestone hills riddled with caves and grottoes, each associated with a different element.
A visit to the Marble Mountains provides not only panoramic views of the surrounding landscape but also the opportunity to explore Buddhist sanctuaries nestled within the rocky formations. Another highlight of Da Nang is the Dragon Bridge, a dazzling display of engineering and artistry. This unique bridge, shaped like a dragon and illuminated with vibrant LED lights, comes alive on weekend nights, breathing fire and water—an impressive spectacle that draws both locals and tourists alike.
For those seeking a relaxing escape, My Khe Beach offers golden sands and azure waters. Known for its pristine beauty, it's an ideal spot for a leisurely afternoon or a refreshing swim.

Hai Van Pass

If you're seeking a countryside retreat, Hai Van Pass stands out as an unparalleled destination to immerse yourself in Vietnam's breathtaking landscapes. Renowned for its coastal mountain pass and meandering scenic route, it has earned widespread acclaim as one of Vietnam's premier attractions. The pass gained international recognition when the Top Gear team embarked on their Vietnam Special journey. Despite the construction of a modern tunnel for convenience, avid motorcyclists often opt to traverse the pass, enticed by the panoramic vistas of mountains and sea. However, navigating this route demands skill and caution, given its challenging terrain marked by sharp corners and twists.

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