13 Awesome Things to Do in Hoi An. If you’re on the hunt for an exotic travel destination that offers a little bit of everything, Hoi An, Vietnam, should be at the top of your list. There are endless incredible things to do in Hoi An and it’s home to some of the most unique and interesting attractions in all of Southeast Asia.
From ancient temples and pagodas to fascinating markets and beautiful beaches. And there are so many more attractions in Hoi An!
It’s not hard to see why the Vietnamese town of Hoi An is a popular tourist destination. Located on the central coast of Vietnam, it’s blessed with a year-round temperate climate, stunning architecture, and a long and fascinating history.
Hoi An’s ancient town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was originally founded by the Cham people between the 15th and 19th centuries as a major port city. Over time, it passed through various hands, including those of the Chinese and Japanese. The result is an eclectic mix of cultural influences that can be seen in the town’s architecture and cuisine.
You can wander the narrow streets lined with traditional houses, shop for souvenirs at the many boutiques and art galleries, or enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants serving up local specialties. But there’s more; let’s dive into the best things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam!
13 Best Things to Do in Hoi An
Hoi An is arguably the most popular tourist destination in Vietnam for many reasons. This charming town is full of surprises, with plenty of activities and attractions that you won’t find anywhere else. From exploring the local markets to cycling through the countryside, here are 13 best things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam.
Wander Around Hoi An’s Old Town
Hoi An’s Old Town is a photographer’s paradise, and it’s the first thing you’ll notice when coming here. With its well-preserved French colonial architecture and quaint shops and cafes, the Old Town exudes a charm that is hard to resist.
Japanese Bridge was built by Japanese traders in the 17th century, The bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Hoi An. From there, stroll down to the river and enjoy the views of the colorful boats that line the shore.
You’ll find everything from traditional Vietnamese crafts to contemporary art. And be sure to try some of the delicious local food! Whether you’re a photography enthusiast or simply looking to soak up some history and culture, a wander around Hoi An’s Old Town is sure to leave you charmed.
Best Things to Do in Hoi An Old City
- Visit Hoi An Museum
- Shop at the Lantern Market
- Pass by the Japanese-covered bridge
- Take a tour of the Tan Ky Family House
- Photograph the Fujian Hall Assembly Hall
- Eat delicious street food and Vietnamese coffee
Explore Hoi An Countryside and Tra Que by Bike
With the many bike rental shops on every corner in Hoi An, it’s easy to get around town for just 30,000 VND/$1.30 per day. But while Hoi An old city is a sight to behold, what surrounds it is even more unique.
Within minutes from the old city, you could be in the midst of a rice field, among wild ducks, birds, pigs, and more. The contrast is stunning; thanks to Hoi An’s flat topography and relatively low traffic, exploring Hoi An by bicycle allows you to explore Vietnam’s countryside fully.
Needless to say, this is a great way to see some of the more traditional aspects of Vietnamese life and get some exercise! If you don’t feel comfortable adventuring in the rural area by yourself, make sure to take a bicycle tour around Hoi An countryside – it’s cheap, and you’ll have the time of your life!]
Alternatively, get on an electric scooter and go explore the traditional Vietnamese life outside the big city, you won’t be disappointed.
Travel to Son Tra Peninsula and the Marble Mountains
From the bustling streets of Hoi An, take a short journey to Da Nang and its Son Tra and the peaceful Marble Mountain. Located 42km north of Hoi An, Monkey Mountain, locally known as Son Tra, is a spectacular mountain that stands at 696m, overlooking Da Nang Bay and the East Sea.
The mountain is home to a large number of macaques, as well as various other wildlife. You can rent a motorbike, a bike, or a car to get up. If you can’t drive or would rather be taken around by an expert, make sure to book a tour from Hoi An.
Once at the top, you’ll be greeted with stunning, panoramic views of the ocean and the clouds. Before leaving, don’t forget to pass by Lady Buddha, one of the largest pagodas in Da Nang.
The Marble Mountains, on the other hand, are located right next to Da Nang’s old city, and both locations are normally visited on the same trip, or at least on the same day.
The Marble Mountains are a group of five marble and limestone mountains. Climb up to a Buddhist pagoda carved out of stone on the mountain’s stone steps. On the way back, Stop at Non-Nuoc Stone Carving Village at the base of the Marble Mountains for some relaxing time away from it all.
Get Your Tailor-made Suit
When it comes to finding the perfect suit, there’s no better place than Hoi An, Vietnam. This historic town is home to a wide variety of tailors, each with their own unique style. Whether you’re looking for a traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai or a modern Western-style suit, you’ll be able to find it in Hoi An.
The best part is that most tailors in Hoi An offer custom-made suits at very reasonable prices, as low as $50! So if you want a one-of-a-kind suit that fits you like a glove to take back home, Hoi An is your place – you won’t be disappointed!
That being said, before accepting the quote and the suit, confirm exactly what you want with the sales assistant to get your dream suit and not a cheap representation. Also, you’ll get to choose the material, so check all the fabrics they have in store before paying.
Lastly, with so many tailors in Hoi An, you can always go to the shop next door if you’re not fully satisfied with the service or fabric.
Ba Na Hills and the Golden Bridge
Ba Na Hill is a popular tourist destination known for its scenic views and, more specifically, its Golden Bridge, famous for its hands. The hilltops are covered in lush vegetation, and the area is home to a variety of flowers and fauna, and even a stunning waterfall.
After starting the day calmly traveling to Da Nang from Hoi An, you can take the Suoi Mo funicular cable car, a breathtaking journey that will get to the Ba Na Hills SunWorld, a theme park above the landscape.
Don’t forget to take a stroll in the French village!
After having fun wandering around the theme park, seeing the waterfall, and photographing the pagodas, get back down and see the Golden Bridge, one of Vietnam’s most popular attractions.
It’s worth noting that both the Golden Bridge and the Ba Na Hills get very crowded and I would recommend joining a tour to be guaranteed entrance and have somewhat of a private space.
Take a Day Trip To My Son’s Sanctuary
My Son Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage site located about 1 hour from Hoi An. Home to a series of ancient Hindu temples that were built between the 4th and 13th centuries, My Son Sanctuary is one of the most popular and interesting tourist destinations in Vietnam.
What makes the ruins at My Son so special is that they date back to the early centuries AD, when the Hindu Champa civilization dominated much of central Vietnam. That’s not it; Being a Viet Cong refugee, the Nixon administration targeted My Son from the air and demolished most of the site in 1969 during the war.
My Son Sanctuary is usually crowded with people roaming around having little to no information about the site, which is a shame, given its long history. For this reason, if you’re willing to know interesting anecdotes about the ruins and moving stories, going with a guide is the right way to go.
Alternatively, going there by yourself is possible but you’ll have to rent a motorbike or hire a taxi due to its remote location. The entrance fee is 150000 VND, which is about $6.50.
Head to An Bang Beach
If you’re looking for a breathtaking beach destination, An Bang Beach in Hoi An is the perfect option. It is located a short drive away from downtown hoi an.
With its gentle waves and sandy shores, the beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and simply taking in the stunning view. On top of that, you can rent a jet ski, go parasailing, and ride a basketboat! I’ll get back to this in the next point of this Hoi An attractions list.
And when you’re ready to explore beyond the beach, you’ll find plenty to do around! Here, you’ll find plenty of local and Western restaurants, bars, and guest houses to spend the night, if you want to party all night long on the beach.
Ride a basket boat Along the Thu Bon River
Hoi An is a town that is nestled on the banks of the Thu Bon River, steeped in history and culture. A fun way to discover the river is by using local transportation, such as a basketboat.
Mind you, these unique boats are made from woven bamboo. You’ll have to paddle them using either oars or a motor! Basket boats have been used for centuries to transport goods up and down the river.
Today, they are mostly used for tourism. They offer a fun way to have a glimpse into Vietnam’s local life and rural areas. A basketboat ride is the perfect way to relax and take in the sights and sounds of Hoi An. So if you’re ever in town, be sure to hop on board!
I personally recommend taking a cooking class along the Thu Bon River. It is the perfect location to learn how to cook traditional cuisine, one of the best in Asia, especially after the boat ride.
Talking about food, one of the best things to do in Hoi An is to taste the amazing Vietnamese food, and I’ll you everything about it here below.
Taste all the Best Vietnamese Food
When it comes to food, Vietnam is a paradise. There are so many delicious dishes to choose from, and each one is more mouth-watering than the last. Pho, bun cha, banh mi, spring rolls…the list goes on and on. And that’s not even mentioning all the amazing fruits and vegetables that are available year-round.
If you’re looking for a culinary adventure, Vietnam is the place to be. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring all the best that Vietnamese cuisine has to offer!
I understand you may not feel comfortable eating street food or from local sellers at the market, especially if that’s your first time in Vietnam. As a side note, I’ve been there too. Because of this reason, you will want to get with a local. You can try the safest street food in town instead of going to a random shop, which is the safest option.
Discover Hoi An Night Market
The night market in Hoi An is located in the town square. It offers a variety of local goods, including handicrafts, clothes, and food. You can bargain with the vendors for the best prices on souvenirs and lanterns. Alternatively, you can simply enjoy browsing the stalls and observing the lively atmosphere.
Hoi An’s nightly market is located on Nguyen Hoang Street in the heart of town. It has over 50 local businesses selling delicious food, lanterns, accessories, and much more. It is known as one of Vietnam’s most popular markets. A 300-meter street that overlooks the Thu Bon River takes up the scene. It is lit by hundreds of colorful lanterns, making it a great spot for photography.
The market is open every evening from 4:30 to 10 p.m. It will definitely impress you, so make sure to add it to your list of things to do when visiting Hoi An. You won’t regret it!
Join a Vietnamese Cooking Class
The country’s rich culture and history have resulted in a unique cuisine that is loved by foodies from all over the globe. And, of course, one of the best places to enjoy Vietnamese food is in Hoi An.
In a Vietnamese cooking class in Hoi An, you will learn how to cook some of the country’s most popular dishes. These include pho, spring rolls, bun cha, and more. Additionally, you’ll leave the class with a new-found appreciation for Vietnamese cuisine.
You will get to enjoy a hands-on cooking experience. Additionally, you will get to explore Hoi An’s vibrant food market. Here, you’ll find an array of fresh produce and ingredients that are used in Vietnamese cooking.
At the end of the class, you’ll sit down and enjoy the meal that you helped to prepare. And, of course, you’ll have the recipes so that you can recreate the dishes at home!
Go Snorkeling on Cham Island
If you’re looking for an amazing snorkeling experience, you’ll want to head to Cham Island. Cham Island is located off the coast of Hoi An and is about 20 km, or 20 minutes away by speedboat. The clear waters and diverse marine life make it a perfect spot for snorkeling.
You can expect to see everything from colorful fish to turtles and more. Cham Island’s coral reefs are popular with divers and snorkelers alike, and you’ll be provided with everything on tour to go scuba diving, snorkeling, and even trekking packages at reasonable rates.
In fact, apart from snorkeling on Cham Island, you can explore on land if you go there by yourself from Hoi An. There are plenty of hiking trails and stunning views available for you to enjoy.
Take a Day Trip to Hue
Last but certainly not least on our list of best things to do in Hoi An is to go to Hue for the day. Hue, Vietnam is a beautiful, historic city that is definitely worth a visit.
Located in central Vietnam, Hue was the country’s imperial capital from 1802 to 1945 during the Nguyen dynasty. As a result, there are many historic sites to see, including the Citadel, the Imperial City, and the Royal Tombs. The city is also home to a number of temples and pagodas, as well as the Imperial Citadel.
In addition, Hue is known for its traditional cuisine, which combines elements of both Chinese and Vietnamese cooking. Do I even need to say how delicious that is? Be sure to try some of the local specialties, such as bún bò Huế (beef noodle soup) and bánh khoái (fried wontons).
I would recommend taking a day tour with a local guide to learn all the stories about the former capital. You have the option to stay in Hue for up to 3 days. After that, go back to Hoi An and enjoy all the remaining attractions.
Best Things to Do in Hoi An – FAQs
Is Hoi An worth visiting?
Hoi An is surely worth visiting for its cool, creative, and unique vibes. The city is brimming with artists and artisans, and there’s always something exciting to see and do. Hoi An has something for everyone. Whether it’s exploring the well-preserved ancient town browsing the many art galleries and shops, or simply relaxing on the beach.
And of course, let’s not forget the food. Hoi An is renowned for its culinary scene and with good reason. From fresh seafood to savory street food, there’s no shortage of deliciousness to be found here!
What is Hoi An Popular for?
Hoi An is popular for its well-preserved architecture. Its quaint streets are lined with cafes and shops along with all the traditional red lanterns hanging everywhere. Hoi An is also known for its tailors. They can make custom-made clothing at a fraction of the price you would pay back home.
Apart from that, the town is also home to many artisans, who sell their wares in the markets and shops. If you’re looking for unique souvenirs, Hoi An is the place to go.
How Long to Stay in Hoi An?
While Hoi An is a beautiful city that is definitely worth a visit, there is no need to spend more than 3 days here. Hoi An’s old town is a well-preserved example of traditional Southeast Asian architecture mixed with its French heritage. This is what contributes to much of its appeal.
Once you have seen the old town and visited some of the local shops and restaurants, you’ll be ready to take a day trip around Vietnam or continue to either the northern or southern region. However, it’s also possible to explore other parts of the country.
Is Hoi An Safe?
Is Hoi An Expensive?
These were all the best things to do in Hoi An, making it a must-visit destination in Vietnam. With its unique and charming atmosphere, this town is definitely an excellent option for explorers seeking something special. Hoi An, with its narrow streets and colonial architecture, is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the country. Its endless supply of tailor-made clothes adds to its charm and appeal. So what are you waiting for? Book your trip today!
Things to Do in Hoi An – Recap
- Wander Around Hoi An’s Old Town
- Explore Hoi An Countryside and Tra Que by Bike
- Travel to Son Tra Peninsula and the Marble Mountains
- Get Your Tailor-made Suit
- Don’t Forget Ba Na Hills and its Golden Bridge
- Take a Day Trip To My Son’s Sanctuary
- Head to An Bang Beach
- Ride a basket boat Along the Thu Bon River
- Taste all the Best Vietnamese Food
- Discover Hoi An Night Market
- Join a Vietnamese Cooking Class
- Go Snorkeling on Cham Island
- Take a Day Trip to Hue