Are you looking for the best places to visit in Hoi An? Well, look no further. I’ve written quite a bit on Hoi An recently and I really think it might be one of my favorite places to visit and definitely in my top 5 cities. Hoi An is a charming and beautiful little old town located south of Da Nang in Vietnam and is known as the city of lanterns. There are a lot of things to do in Hoi An which will be laid out in this post.
Hoi An brings a lot of vibrancy with traditional lanterns that fill the street, brightly colored buildings, delicious food, custom clothing, and a part of Vietnam you won’t see anywhere else. There are a lot of places to visit in Hoi An, Vietnam and this ancient town is a Unesco world heritage site. If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, you definitely need to make sure you add Hoi An to your list and check out these top things to do in Hoi An.
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Hoi An, Vietnam | Things to do in Hoi An
Hoi An is a preserved ancient town and is a UNESCO site. It is on the east coast of Vietnam and centrally located which makes it a great destination for all travelers to visit. It’s become a popular tourist destination because just north of Hoi An is the popular Golden Hands Bridge attraction in Da Nang’s Ba Na Hills. Only have time to visit Hoi An for one day? Check out my one day in Hoi An itinerary.
Best time to visit Hoi An
The best time to visit Hoi An is from February to July to avoid some heavy rainy seasons. However, I did visit in August and it seemed to be pretty good. I only had one really bad rainy day and if you have traveled to Southeast Asian countries before, many of the rainstorms don’t typically last very long. Although, monsoon seasons could mean flash flooding which I did experience a little bit off and could affect your things to do in Hoi An.
How many days should I stay in Hoi An?
I suggest at least 3-4 days. It’s a lot more relaxing, but you can get a lot of things made, just enjoy your vacation, grab a massage, eat delicious food, drink, and make some awesome lanterns. I think if I was rushed on 2 days here, I wouldn’t have felt the small charm it had and truly wouldn’t have had the time to appreciate the location. If you are, however, limited on time 2 days is possible. I just think this is a place you can really feel at home in.
How to get to Hoi An, Vietnam
Getting to Hoi An is very easy. Hoi An does not have an airport or train station and the only way to get to Hoi An is by driving. So, you will need to fly to Da Nang. From Da Nang, you can easily grab a taxi for about 300,000 VND to take from either the airport or anywhere in Da Nang to Hoi An. If you want the convenience of an app, you can also select a GRAB taxi as well.
I actually stayed in Da Nang for a day to experience Ba Na Hills, Da Nang’s famous pink Cathedral, and eat some local cuisine, but I wouldn’t stay in Da Nang for that long since there is way more to do in Ba Na Hills.
Getting around Hoi An
Hoi An is actually a pretty walkable town. You can easily walk around, rent a bike, or if you want to, rent a driver using the Grab Taxi App. I walked around the entire city majority of the time and did not rent a bike or motorbike unless I wanted to get to the beach. I stayed a little more on the outer part of the town and found it easily walkable.
Where to stay in Hoi An, Vietnam
This really depends on your preference and the things to do in Hoi An you want to do. There are a lot of great places to stay in Hoi An. I stayed a little away from the city but still within walking distance and got a really great view. The best part of my location is it was quieter and still accessible. The best part of traveling in Vietnam is that the hotel accommodations are very affordable, so I highly suggest you pay for a hotel rather than stay in a hostel. Although, there are some great hostels as well that are not in any way like a typical hostel.
- Backhome Hostel & Bar – So the name in the title is a hostel, but honestly, this was more like a hotel than a hostel. I had my own room, own bathroom, and a great view of the city. So, it was a great price and a little off the beaten path. I highly recommend staying here because the staff is so welcoming and very informative. Book your stay here.
- Lasenta Boutique Hotel Hoi An – If you want something a little bit more upscale, this will be the hotel to stay in Hoi An. It’s a beautiful hotel with a pool and a gorgeous view. It’s walkable to Ancient Town but still in a quieter area. Book your stay here.
- Hoi An Beach Resort – This one, however, is a bit far from the main area of where the Ancient Town is, but it’s quiet, great for families, and perfect if you just want a beach relaxation type of vacation. You can bike into the main area from the resort where you can enjoy dinner, shopping and more. Book your stay here.
- Tribee Ede – If you are looking for more of a hostel or budget-friendly for a solo traveler, this is one of the best hostels in Hoi An for solo travellers to stay. It’s perfect for It’s located right in the heart of where all the action is, making it a perfect location to stay. Book your stay here.
Things to do in Hoi An – What to do in Hoi An
It may not seem like there is a lot to do in Hoi An, but there is a lot to eat, lots to drink, and lots of shopping as well. Check out this beautiful Ancient town with relaxing beach vibes.
Things to do in Hoi An – Popular Cafes
Vietnam is popular for its famous Vietnamese coffee, so visiting a cafe in Vietnam is a must. Hoi An, I must say, had some of the best coffee I have had in Vietnam. There were so many great varieties, the coffee was well made, refreshing, and just overall great quality. I really miss their coffee and need to go back for more.
- Cong Caphe – This is one of the most popular cafes in all of Vietnam. They are known for their coconut coffee which honestly is amazing. It’s a little sweet so if you don’t really like your coffee to be sweet, it might not be for you. It reminds me of a Frappuccino but not as sweet. with its icy cold flavors, but so much better. This is one of the most popular places to grab coconut coffee in Hoi An.
- Phin Coffee – I got a really delicious Vietnamese egg coffee here and it’s worth trying. It’s more for those who like stronger coffee. It’s very smooth and frothy on the top because of the egg. It’s a must-try for sure.
- The Espresso Station – This coffee shop is for the beautiful outdoor patio and hidden alley. This cafe is a delicious coconut coffee as well, but I just found this coffee shop to be beautiful. It’s great for those of you wanting to get work done or just want an outdoor patio that is relaxing and catch up with friends and family.
- Hoi An Roastery – Espresso and Coffee House – This is a popular cafe because of the location on the main strip. They also serve breakfast, so if you want a cafe that serves food this is a great location for that. However, with all the great food in Hoi An, you don’t want to miss out on popular restaurants or street food.
- Olivier Coffee – This cafe was less crowded and has a lot of open seats. This is a great cafe to work with because of all the open tables and it’s a little off the beaten path from where the main areas are.
Things to do in Hoi An – Top attractions
Looking for the top attractions to visit and things to do in Hoi An? This is the best list of things to do in Hoi An and should be on your list.
Get Custom Tailored Clothing
A lot of people visit Hoi An because of the affordability you can get with getting custom clothes made. It’s a shopping haven and mecca for many of us women who want to get fitted and custom suits, rompers, dresses, and more. Some of the popular things to get made are shoes, rompers, wrap dresses, leather sandals, and more.
RELATED: Hoi An Tailors
Japanese Covered Bridge
This is one of the most popular things to do in Hoi An, but it’s just a pretty bridge in Hoi An and honestly, I found a lot more beauty in the city itself.
Hoi An Night Market and Hoi An Lanterns
I think this is one of the most popular things to do in Hoi An and why people come to Hoi An. It’s is a city known for its colorful lanterns. It’s absolutely beautiful to see at night with them all lit up. There are many vendors in the night market that sell these beautiful lanterns, souvenirs, street food, and more. The night market is just over the bridge crossing the river. This was my favorite thing to do in Hoi An at night.
Get body or foot massage
What I love about traveling in Southeast Asian countries is the affordability of being able to get luxury things you would otherwise not be able to get. Getting a massage and a pedicure is very affordable and worth it while on vacation. There were a lot of places in Hoi An where I enjoyed getting an excellent foot massage. This was one of my favorite things to do in Hoi An, so much so that I got 3 massages!
Explore Marble Mountains
Marble mountains are not exactly in Hoi An, but it’s located just south of Da Nang city. It’s an absolutely stunning place that is made of a cluster of five marble and limestone hills. They are named after the 5 elements. You will see a lot of photos of the beautiful cave located inside. You can get a gorgeous view of the city if you climb to the top of the mountains. You can reserve your space for your hiking tour here.
Eat Banh Xeo
If you only have the chance to eat one meal in Hoi An, Banh Xeo is a must. Hoi An is notorious for this popular dish and most people will say you’ve never been to Hoi An if you haven’t tried the Banh Xeo. Their Banh Xeo is different than other Vietnamese cities. It’s smaller in size and has more vegetable options to eat with. It’s absolutely delicious and a must-try.
Take the Sabirama Cooking Class in Hoi An
Hoi An is known for some amazing food and Anthony Bourdain’s favorite Banh Mi location in Hoi An. I highly suggest you learn how to cook some amazing Vietnamese food here in Hoi An. It was one of the best places where I ate Vietnamese cuisine. I definitely could not get enough. Book your cooking class here.
Make your own Hoi An Lantern
One of my favorite things to do in Hoi An was to create my own lantern. If you want a souvenir worth remembering, why not make your own. In this Hoi An lantern-making class, you will learn step by step how to make a lantern. Don’t worry if you don’t find yourself very crafty, the staff are very helpful and will make sure your lantern turns out to be successful and beautiful. Save money and take the class here.
Rent a Bike and explore the city and surrounding beaches
Hoi An is a very bikeable city that makes it great and affordable to get around. You can also easily find some grab bikes in the main city area. Many of the hotels and hostels will allow you to rent a bike for an affordable price. I’d suggest visiting one of the surrounding beaches if you have the chance and take a relaxing day in the sun. You can also rent an umbrella and sunbed along the beach. If you are interested in a Hoi An bicycle tour, book your tour here.
Take a Hoi An lantern boat ride on Thu Bồn River
Things to do in Hoi An at night is to take the popular lantern boat ride on the Thu Bon River with floating lanterns along the river in Hoi An. You can do it in the day but it’s not as common with how hot it can be outside and the direct sunlight. The floating lanterns make the experience even more magical. This river runs through the heart of Hoi An which is perfect to visit at night.
Street Food at Hoi An’s Central Market
If you came to Vietnam to try all the delicious street foods, well Hoi An Central Market has it all. Try all your favorite street food dishes in Hoi An from Banh Cuon, Banh Mi, Pho, Banh Xeo, and more. Try some of the fresh fruit smoothies as well. You can eat at affordable prices, so it’s a great place to save money and try all the food you want. There are a lot of food tours you can take in the area. Try everything you want, by enjoying an affordable and fun food tour.
Hoi An Photo Opportunities
Wake up early before everyone is up and take a walk into the city and get some great photos without anyone in them. It seems that Hoi An is a city that is a bit slower and reminds me of a typical beach town in California. I woke up around 7 in the morning and was able to get some beautiful shots of myself in Ancient town. This to me was a must-do in Hoi An.
Check out the Fujian Assembly Hall
As you already know, a lot of Hoi An was designed with Chinese architecture in mind. This is also a place of worship and is a popular Hoi An tourist attraction for many. This specific hall is known for relating to the sea, sailors, and shipwrecks. It’s where people around East Asia can worship the Goddess of the Sea.
Take a day trip to My Son Ruins
If you have more time, take a day trip or a half-day trip to see My Son Ruins. This area is filled with ruins that remind me a bit of Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It’s a great tourist place to visit with kids and just something different to do than just the Ancient Town.
What to eat in Hoi An
It can be overwhelming to know what to eat in Hoi An. There are so many great dishes to eat and usually never enough time to try everything. I tried so many dishes in Vietnam and these are my favorites to eat in Hoi An. These are some of the best Hoi An old town restaurants and best places to eat in Hoi An.
- Banh Xeo – This is the popular dish for Hoi An and my favorite dish in Hoi An. I couldn’t get enough of it. This dish is with a fried egg pancake filled with shrimp and bean sprouts, which can be stuffed with meat from a sewer and wrapped with lettuce and other spring veggies, rice paper. You dip the rolls in a peanut-like sauce. Supposedly, it originated in Hoi An, although I have seen it in Ho Chi Minh City, it’s quite different than the style in Hoi An. The one in Hoi An is smaller in size which allows for better bites of everything. The one in Ho Chi Minh was quite large and shareable.
- Cao Lau – Another Hoi An exclusive dish, this is a dry noodle dish with a minimal amount of sauce at the bottom. You will need to mix the noodles and veggies with the sauce at the bottom and enjoy it. There are some crunchy wontons you break up and put in there as well.
- Hoanh Thanh Chien – Known as Wontons – This isn’t the typical wonton you might be thinking of. These are crispy wontons topped with a sweet kind of sauce. Not my favorite only because I have more of a savory palate, but a lot of people recommend it.
- Banh Bao – Known as White Rose Dumplings – These beautifully crafted White Rose Dumplings are something to try. They are dumplings filled in a thin rice wrap and originated in Hoi An.
- Banh Mi – Banh Mi is something you need to try in all of Vietnam, however, Anthony Bourdain’s favorite Banh Mi place is located in Hoi An. This is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich with homemade crunchy soft French bread, filled with meats, veggies, and a sweet chili sauce.
- Mi Quang – This dish is very similar to Cao Lau. It’s a noodle dish that is popular in Central Vietnam.
- Com Ga – This is a chicken and rice dish very popular to many Vietnamese.
- Pho Bo – You can’t go to Vietnam without trying and eating Pho. This is my favorite dish because I love the flavors of the broth so much. It’s a noodle dish with typically a beef-based broth and some spring veggies.
- Banh Cuon – This is one of my favorite things to eat because it reminds me of eating at one of my best friend’s houses. Her parents would make this popular dish. It’s this thick rice noodles and covered in a sweet and salty sauce with vinegar and fish sauce topped with crispy fried onions.
Where to eat in Hoi An
One of my favorite things to do in Hoi An was to try all of the amazing Vietnamese dishes. I have a pretty detailed guide for Hoi An Restaurants, so I won’t go into too much detail about that. If you want more information about the restaurants, be sure to check out my guide to Hoi An restaurants.
- Hoi An Central Market – You can get almost all of the dishes above at the Hoi An Central Market. Although, I really suggest you get the Banh Xeo and Pho here.
- Streets Restaurant – This restaurant is pretty popular for its Mi Quang.
- Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen – It’s pretty obvious in the name that it is known for Banh Mi. I actually preferred this place over Anthony Bourdain’s favorite Banh Mi Phuong. I’ll let you decide or go to both and tell me which was your favorite!
- Banh Mi Phuong – This is a very popular place and known to be Anthony Bourdain’s favorite Banh Mi place of all time.
- Bale Well – This was my favorite place to get Banh Xeo and was recommended to me by a friend of mine. It’s a great place to get Banh Xeo and the perfect bite each time. They will teach you how to make it so don’t worry about that.
- White Rose Restaurant – If you want to try the famous White Rose Dumplings, there is no better place to get freshly made dumplings daily other than at the notorious White Rose Restaurant.
- Morning Glory Restaurant – If you want to try Cao Lau, I highly suggest you go here to try. The Cao Lau was so great and it’s one of those dishes you can only get in Hoi An.
Where to Shop and What to buy in Hoi An, Vietnam
There are a lot of things you can and should buy while in Hoi An and here are some of the popular souvenirs and things to buy in Hoi An..
- Leather Goods – Shoes, Bags, Wallets
- Custom Clothing – Head over to the cloth market to get more affordable prices or you can easily enter the many shops along the street. Read my post about the popular Hoi An Tailors.
- Lanterns – You can purchase these at the Night Market or make your own lantern
- Non La – A traditional Vietnamese hat
- Round Straw Bags
Hoi An Bars | Where to Drink in Hoi An
If you are looking for the perfect night out and things to do in Hoi An at night, here are some of the most popular bars to visit in Hoi An. Although, Hoi An isn’t necessarily the party town in Vietnam and many small shops close early for the day. However, with the night market being open, some places are staying open later to cater to travelers who want that nightlife.
- Hoi An Sports Bar – This location is open until 11 pm and perfect for those you want a hangout to watch sports on several TV screens.
- White Marble Wine Bar – This is a great location to get food and great wine. This is a casual bar to get wine and enjoy a few snacks before dinner, but you can also enjoy dinner there as well.
- Tap House Hoi An – If you are looking to try local craft beers, this will be a great location to go. This is probably one of the best tap houses or the only tap house you should go to in Hoi An. This location closes at 10 pm as well.
- Mango Rooms – This is a popular location to get a cocktail in Hoi An, however, it is only open until 10 pm at night. You can get a great view of the town on the balcony and enjoy your cocktail with some live music.
Best beaches in Hoi An
A lot of these beaches are near or around Hoi An. Some are located in Da Nang which is not too far from Hoi An.
- An Bang Beach
- Cham Island
- Ha My
- Cua Dai
- Hidden Beach
- Binh Minh beach
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- One Day in Hoi An
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