Hoi An, Lanterns on the river

14 Best Things to Do in Hoi An, Attractions, and Day Trips – 2022 Travel Guide

Last Updated on November 5, 2022

Located in the Quang Nam province, Hoi An is probably the cutest city in Vietnam and it can’t be missed on a trip to central Vietnam.

Its colorful old wooden houses are definitively a must-see, a stroll through Hoi An ancient town will take you back in time while a guided tour will help you learn about the region’s history and busy past.

The whole historical center has been well preserved and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. More than 1000 buildings have been restored, including pagodas, temples, and houses, some open to visitors, fully furnished according to the traditional style. Hoi An is full of surprises and is perfect to spend a couple of days.

There are also plenty of other things you can do in Hoi An and many day trips you can take to visit its surroundings.

Read on to discover Hoi An top tourist attractions, the best things to do while in Hoi An, and the best day trips from Hoi An you can go on.

Travel tip – Before any international trip, make sure to get travel insurance and check visa requirements.

Related – Everything you need to know before a trip to Vietnam

The Japonese Bridge, Hoi An, Vietnam
The Japanese Bridge

Hoi An is a perfect example of a traditional Asian international commercial port. It is also highly representative of the cultural fusion which took place over the centuries. The urban map hasn’t changed since the 17th century, and even today, you can still observe the cultural melting pot and the commercial activity of the busy city.

Temple, Hoi An, Vietnam
Temple

Cars and motorbikes being forbidden in the old town, pedestrians and cyclists will have the streets all to themselves. Stroll around Hoi An old town, probably the most beautiful Hoi An attraction, and don’t hesitate to get lost, the streets have a unique charm, and you’ll be amazed from beginning to end. On your way, make sure to see all the lanterns which light up the city at night, giving it a magical vibe.

If you’re there during the full moon, you’ll have the chance to witness the lantern festival where hundreds of lanterns are deposited on the thu bon river to celebrate the full moon (book a hotel room in advance because it gets really crowded for the festival). It’s one of the best things to do in Hoi An, the city is famous for its lantern festival, so try to be there during the full moon to witness this incredible event.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on any links and make a purchase I’ll get a small commission, at no cost to you.

Related – Vietnam Bucket List – Top Destinations to Add to your Itinerary

Best Places to Visit in Hoi An

Cua Dai Beach

Cua Dai Beach, Vietnam, Hoi An attractions
Credit – Martin Fisch


Probably one of Vietnam’s most beautiful mainland beaches, a visit to Cua Dai is one of the best things to do in Hoi An. The beach is wide, the sand is white and the water clear. It’s the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring the old town.

Another great beach is An Bang Beach. It’s a great place to watch the sunset with a beer. You will also find a couple of resorts along An Bang Beach, perfect for a relaxing stay by the sea.

Hoi An Riverside

Hoi An Riverside is the place where the new meets the old. A stroll along the river will allow you to witness the traditional lifestyle mixed with modernity. In the morning you can go to the wet market, and at night, during the full moon, you can see the thousands of lanterns lighted up, while you can sample some local food any time of the day.

Hoi An ancient town and its historical buildings

Among the top Hoi An attractions is, of course, the old town. The ticket allows you to visit five places, if you want to visit more than five, you’ll have to buy another one. Everything can be visited on foot and you can either go on your own or join a walking tour.
Hoi An attractions within the old town:

  • Ancient houses: Trần Family’s Chapel, Old House of Đức An, Nguyễn Tường Family’s Chapel, Old House of Phùng Hưng, Old House of Quân Thắng, Tan Ky Old House.
  • Museums: Hoi An Museum, Museum of Trade Ceramics, Museum of Folklore, Museum of Sa Huỳnh Culture.
  • Pagodas and Temples: Quan Cong Temple & Quan Am Pagoda
  • Art Center: Hoi An Traditional Art Performance Theatre
  • The Japanese Bridge
  • Communal Houses: Cam Pho, House of Tụy Tiên Đường.
  • Chinese Assembly Halls: Quang Trieu (Cantonese) Assembly Hall, Phúc Kiến / Fukian / Fujian / Phuc Kien assembly hall, Triều Châu / Chaozhou Assembly Hall, Hải Nam / Hainan Assembly Hall.

Cam Kim Island

Only a short ferry ride away from Hoi An, Cam Kim Island is a great place for cycling or strolling around paddy fields. There you shouldn’t miss the Kim Bong Carpentry Village and look at some crafts.

Best Things to do in Hoi An

As you’ve seen above, there are plenty of places to visit in Hoi An. Apart from sightseeing, you can participate in one or two of the many activities available in town.

Take a Cooking Class

If you have ever tried Vietnamese food, you know how tasty it is.

During your stay in Hoi An, take the time to take a cooking class to learn to make a few dishes. Start with a trip to the local market to shop for fresh ingredients and learn more about Vietnamese produce, then head to the kitchen where a chef will teach you how to prepare a typical meal.

Book your cooking class here >>

Learn to Make Lanterns

If you like crafts, you can learn to make your very own lantern while in Hoi An. Using silk and bamboo, make a beautiful lantern you can bring home. Lanterns are believed to symbolize luck, happiness, and wealth when hung in front of a house.

Book the later making class here>>

Join a Food Tour

For foodies, go on a food tour to sample the local cuisine. Start by exploring the night market, trying some Vietnamese typical street food, then head to a local’s home for a delicious home-cooked meal. The tour will also take you on a boat ride on the river and you’ll get the chance to learn to play Bai Choi (bingo) and Dap Nieu, two popular local games.

It is a great experience to immerse yourself in local life and learn more about the Vietnamese way of life.

Book your food tour here>>

Go on a Basket Boat Ride through the Coconut Forest

Combine two great experiences – visiting Coconut Forest and taking a basket boat ride – with this awesome tour that will take you through the jungle and mangroves on traditional Vietnamese fishing boats. Stop at Cam Thanh Village, known for its many coconut trees, and go on an adventure on the river.

Book this tour here>>

Visit Hoi An Silk Village

Located outside the city, the Hoi An Silk Village is the perfect place to learn about the ancient weaving techniques for which Central Vietnam is known.

The village in itself is beautiful, with many traditional houses, where local artisans will show you how to make beautiful silk pieces.

This is also a great place to shop for typical gifts and souvenirs made of silk.

Related tour – Half-Day Silk Cloth Producing Process Tour

Best Day trips from Hoi An

Explore the countryside

As a day trip from Hoi An, you can take a bicycle tour in the countryside where you will visit non-touristy villages and learn more about the daily life there, while seeing incredible landscapes on the way.

You can also rent a motorbike or bicycle for the day and go explore on your own with stops at the places listed below.

The Marble Mountains

Between Hoi An and Da Nang you can visit the Marble Mountains, of the 5 mounts, it’s only possible to visit one. Sparkled with temples and pagodas, the climb is worth it, prepare to get sweaty because there are many steep steps. The view up there is great.

You can either go on your own or join a tour.

This local company offers sunset tours from Hoi An, their guide will show you the best places to visit there and will teach you more about the importance of this pilgrimage site. You can book their tour here>>

Temple in Marble Mountain
Temple in Marble Mountain

My Son Sanctuary

Forty kilometers away is the UNESCO world heritage site of My Son, this old sacred Cham capital is rich in history and will please fans of architecture. The ruins are surrounded by nature and the place can be really peaceful.

You will the best pictures around sunset.

The park also organizes traditional dance and singing shows several times a day.

You can easily go on your own if you rent a motorbike or go on a tour with a local guide – you can book an excursion to My Son from Hoi An here>>

For more info, check out this My Son complete travel guide.

Cham Islands

The Cham Islands are a paradise on earth, featuring pristine beaches, virgin rainforests, and rich traditional life.

You can easily take a day trip from Hoi An and enjoy a day of exploration and relaxation at the beach. You can also join a snorkeling or diving tour.

Book a tour with a local company that will take you through several villages, beaches, and reefs for the perfect combination.

Ba Na Hills

If you’re on Instagram, you have probably seen pictures of Ba Na Hills and its spectacular Golden Bridge.

This company offers day trips from Hoi An to the bridge as well as several other attractions. The tour will take you to the Ba Na Linh Ung Pagoda with its 30-meter statue of Buddha, Tinh Tam Garden, Nghinh Phong Peak, and Vong Nguyet Hill where you will get amazing views, and of course to the Golden Bridge. You can book this tour here>>

Hoi An Travel Tips and Itinerary

To visit the places open to the public, you will have to buy tickets in an accredited shop (everywhere around the old city). With one, you can visit five places of your choice. Don’t miss the Japanese Bridge, built in 1593, the market, the Phuc Kien Temple, and the Phung Hung House.

Hiring a guide for the day is also a nice way to visit the Hoi An ancient town and to learn more about the history of each place.

If you’re on a tight schedule, half a day is enough to visit Hoi An, but staying 2 days is better, this way, on day one you can visit the old town, and go on a day trip from Hoi An on the second day.

It can get pretty hot, so don’t forget to bring a hat or an umbrella.

The closest airport to Hoi An is the one in Da Nang, less than an hour away. To get from Hoi An to Da Nang airport, or vice versa, you can easily grab a bus or hire a cab. You can also take a bus to/from Nha Trang or Hue.

Hoi An Accommodations – Hotels, Beach Resorts, Backpackers

Note that accommodations in Hoi An are more expensive than in the rest of Vietnam and the prices tend to climb up during peak seasons. Most hotels inside the historical city are expensive, for budget options you’ll have to go a bit farther.

Backpackers/budget:

  • Bed Station Hostel & Pool Bar – Located within walking distance of Hoi an old town, this hostel features comfortable dorms with air-con, lockers, a pool, breakfast, and a bar. They also organize plenty of activities, so its perfect for socializing.
  • Hai Long homestay – Located right on the beach, this affordable homestay features private rooms with aircon and breakfast in a family atmosphere.

Nicer options:

  • Allegro Hoi An Hotel – Located in the heart of the old town, this small hotel features nicely decorated rooms, free bicycles, an outdoor pool, a restaurant. and transfers to the beach and the main sights.
  • Q Villa Hoi An – conveniently located this modern hotel features everything one needs for a pleasant stay.

Beach resort:

  • Four Seasons The Nam Hai – this beautiful beach resort near Hoi An features private villas, some equipped with a kitchen and a private pool, several pools, a spa, a bar/restaurant, and a kid’s center. Breakfast is included.
Lantern - Hoi An - Vietnam

Best time to visit Hoi An / Weather

The best months to visit Hoi An are March to May, and June to August if the heat doesn’t bother you. October to January is the rainy season, so expect rain and maybe a storm. From January to March the weather can be a bit chilly so pack accordingly. Make sure you have a light raincoat, like this one, it will also come in handy anywhere you travel to.

Related – Full list of lightweight travel essentials to pack for any trip

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Hoi An Travel Guide

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