Hoi An, the historic gem of central Vietnam, will fascinate you with its picturesque streets, colorful lanterns, and charming atmosphere. Renowned for its well-preserved ancient architecture, this once-prosperous town is now a must-visit for travelers seeking authenticity. From strolling along the Thu Bon River to exploring traditional craftsmanship in the artisan district and savoring famous local dishes, Hoi An offers a wonderful experience where ancient traditions harmoniously blend with contemporary vibes. Here are the best things to do and to see in Hoi An, where past and present intertwine to create a truly magical destination.

Things to do and to see in Hoi An

I. Best things to do in Hoi An

  • Stroll through Hoi An ancient town : Discover the old town of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a true gem with its ancient houses, souvenir shops, tailors, street vendors, lantern-lit evenings, and traditional music performances. The best things to do in Hoi An include leisurely walks along the picturesque harbors, where colorful lanterns create a magical atmosphere at night. Visit ancient houses like Tan Ky old house and the Japanese Bridge, each offering a fascinating glimpse into Vietnamese architecture and culture. Don’t miss taking a boat ride on the Thu Bon River to admire the serene beauty of the surroundings.

A gentle stroll in Hoi An, a city with an exceptional heritage

  • Relaxing on An Bang Beach : What to do in Hoi An for a relaxing day ? Enjoy An Bang Beach, one of the best things to do in Hoi An. With its golden sand and turquoise waters, An Bang is the perfect place to relax and forget about daily stress. Water sports enthusiasts can try surfing, paddleboarding, or kayaking. After a fulfilling day, savor fresh seafood in the beachfront restaurants while admiring the sunset.
  • Exploring the Tra Que Vegetable Village : A visit to Tra Que Vegetable Village is a must for those who want to explore Vietnamese rural life. Cycle through lush landscapes and participate in a farming experience where you'll learn traditional vegetable growing techniques. This activity is not only educational but also one of the best things to do in Hoi An to reconnect with nature. After your experience, enjoy a local herb massage for complete relaxation.
Tra Que Vegetable Village, one of the most attractive destinations in Hoi An
  • Visit a lantern making workshop : What to do to experience handicrafts in Hoi An ? Hoi An is famous for its silk lanterns, and a visit to one of the many lantern-making workshops is one of the best things to do in Hoi An. Learn traditional lantern making techniques and create your own unique souvenirs. This activity is perfect for the whole family and helps you better understand local crafts. Additionally, you can take home a work of art that will help spark your memories of Hoi An.
  • Explore local cuisine : What to do in Hoi An for a culinary adventure? Enjoy Hoi An local cuisine and enjoy the unique flavors. Try specialties like “Cao Lau,” a delicious noodle soup, “Banh Bao Vac” (also known as white roses), and “Com Ga Hoi An,” fragrant chicken rice. Take a stroll through the night market and let yourself be captivated by the aromas of spices and fresh herbs. Each dish reveals the unique flavors of the region and tells a rich story of tradition.

II. Best things to see in Hoi An

Hoi An, a picturesque and enchanting town, is a true gem of Vietnam that captivates all who venture there. Nestled in the heart of a network of winding canals and surrounded by lush vegetable fields, Hoi An is a perfect fusion of ancient history and contemporary charm. When asking what to see in Hoi An, prepare to be transported to a world where every cobblestone street tells an ancient story, where colorful lanterns illuminate the nights, and where floating markets overflow with life and flavors. Every corner of this historic town reveals a fascinating history, making Hoi An an unforgettable destination for travelers seeking authenticity and timeless beauty. Hoi An awakens all your senses and invites you to discover its unique charm.

1. Historical and cultural destinations to see in Hoi An

  • The Japanese Covered Bridge : One of Hoi An's iconic attractions is the Japanese Covered Bridge, built in the early 17th century. This picturesque bridge, adorned with sculptures of monkeys and dogs, connects the Chinese and Japanese quarters of the old town. With its unique architecture and vibrant colors, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the multicultural history of Hoi An. By crossing this bridge, you’ll get an idea of the region’s rich commercial history and the harmony between the different communities that thrived there.
The Japanese Covered Bridge, a timeless symbol of old Hoi An
  • The Fujian Assembly Hall : Located in the heart of the old town, the Fujian Assembly Hall is a typical example of Chinese architecture. Founded in the 17th century by merchants from Fujian, it served as a meeting place for the Chinese community of Hoi An. You can admire the exquisite architectural details, ornate altars, and intricate sculptures that adorn this historic site. This sacred site offers insight into Hoi An's cultural and spiritual heritage.
  • The Precious Heritage Museum by photographer Réhahn : Located in the historic heart of Hoi An, the Precious Heritage Museum is a must-visit for culture and photography enthusiasts. Founded by the famous photographer Réhahn, this unique museum showcases an impressive collection of portraits and traditional costumes from the various ethnic groups of Vietnam. It is an enriching experience that reveals the authentic and multicultural soul of Hoi An and Vietnam.
Explore the Hoi An priceless heritage museum
  • Hoi An Market : For an authentic and lively experience, Hoi An Market is a must-see. Located along the Thu Bon River, this bustling market offers a multitude of local products, from spices to textiles to fresh seafood. It is the perfect place to taste local cuisine, such as the famous "Cao lau" and "Banh mi". When strolling through the walkways, you will feel the liveliness and friendliness of daily life in Hoi An.

2. Natural destinations to see in Hoi An

  • An Bang Beach : Located just a few kilometers from the center of Hoi An, An Bang Beach is a true haven of peace. Imagine yourself walking on soft, golden sand, lulled by the soothing waves of the South China Sea. An Bang beach, with its relaxed atmosphere, is perfect for those looking to escape the urban hustle and bustle. Rows of coconut trees and picturesque beach bars provide an ideal setting for relaxing moments under the Vietnamese sun. Don't forget to taste fresh seafood served right on the beach.
An Bang Beach features in the top 10 most beautiful beaches in Asia 2024
  • Cua Dai Beach : A short distance from Hoi An, Cua Dai Beach stands out with its white sand and sparkling turquoise waters. This is the perfect spot for a day of relaxation or water activities like kayaking or windsurfing. The sunset at Cua Dai is a spectacle not to be missed, with the sky tinted in shades of orange and pink, creating a romantic backdrop for an evening stroll.
  • Cham Islands (Cù Lao Chàm) : For an extraordinary adventure, embark on a journey to the Cham Islands, a small archipelago located about 15 km off the coast of Hoi An. This natural sanctuary, recognized by UNESCO, offers pristine beaches, preserved coral reefs, and exceptional marine biodiversity. Diving and snorkeling enthusiasts will be enchanted by the richness of the underwater world, while hikers can explore winding trails through lush tropical forests, discovering rare plants and animals. The Cham Islands, with their wild charm and tranquility, are a must-visit destination for nature lovers.
  • Bay Mau Coconut Forest (Rừng Dừa Bảy Mẫu) : Lastly, don’t miss the Bay Mau Coconut Forest, often called the “miniature Mekong Delta.” This unique forest, located a few kilometers south of Hoi An, invites you to an immersive experience in the heart of nature. Board a traditional bamboo boat, called a "thung chai", for a peaceful ride through canals shaded by majestic coconut trees. You can observe local fishermen in action, take part in traditional fishing demonstrations and even try your hand at rowing. The serenity and beauty of Bay Mau Coconut Forest make it an ideal getaway for the whole family.

III. FAQ - The most frequent questions about traveling to Hoi An

1. When to visit Hoi An ?

Best time to visit Hoi An
Dry Season (February to August) : Hoi An, with its timeless charm and picturesque landscapes, is an ideal destination to visit during the dry season from February to August. During this period, the weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30°C. The sky is clear, blue and sunny, making it perfect for exploring the natural wonders and golden beaches of the region.
Rainy Season (October to December) : The rainy season, from October to December, brings a different yet equally captivating atmosphere to Hoi An. Frequent showers refresh the air and bring out the vibrant colors of the landscapes. It is also a less touristy period, offering a more intimate and authentic experience. The rain adds a touch of mystery and magic to strolls along the lantern-lit canals.
High Tourist Season (June to August) : The months of June to August mark the high tourist season in Hoi An, with an influx of visitors enjoying their summer vacations. While this period can be livelier, it also offers an unparalleled festive ambiance. An Bang and Cua Dai beaches are perfect for sunny days and lively evenings with local events. For those who enjoy the buzz, it's the ideal time to discover night markets, street performances, and craft workshops that make Hoi An famous.
The seasonal change (January and September) : For a quieter and more budget-friendly visit, January and September are perfect alternatives. The weather remains mild, with less rainfall in September and a gradual return to warmth in January. These seasons allow you to enjoy Hoi An's attractions without the crowds, while also benefiting from more affordable travel and accommodation services. This is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the local culture, take Vietnamese cooking classes or simply wander through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town.
Regardless of the time of year, Hoi An promises an unforgettable experience, blending historical charm and natural beauty for enduring memories.

2. How to get to Hoi An from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City ?

To travel from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An, there are several options depending on personal preferences, time available and your desired comfort level.
  • Train : The train is a popular option for those who want to admire the beautiful landscapes of Vietnam. From Hanoi, the train journey to Da Nang (the nearest station to Hoi An) takes approximately 16 to 17 hours and covers a distance of 800 km. From Ho Chi Minh City, the train journey takes between 17 and 19 hours. Train tickets range from 355,000 VND to 1,500,000 VND per trip, depending on the type of seat chosen. This mode of transportation allows you to relax while enjoying the country’s natural beauty, offering a true adventure. Once you arrive in Da Nang, it is easy to reach Hoi An. You can take a taxi or a local bus for a journey of about 30 minutes. Traveling by train is ideal for those seeking an immersive and authentic experience, where every moment of the journey provides a new perspective on Vietnam’s diverse landscapes.

  • Plane : For those looking for speed and comfort, the plane is the best option. Direct flights connect Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City daily to Da Nang, the nearest city to Hoi An with an airport. The flight takes about an hour and 20 minutes, allowing you to maximize your time exploring in Hoi An. Although plane tickets can be more expensive than other means of transport, they offer a significant time saving. Prices vary depending on the airline and booking period, but this option is ideal for time-pressed travelers.
  • Sleeper Bus: Another possibility is the sleeper bus, with journeys lasting 17 to 18 hours from Hanoi and 20 to 21 hours from Ho Chi Minh City. Ticket prices start from 400,000 VND per trip, making this option suitable for the budget. Buses are generally well-equipped, with reclining seats, blankets, and sometimes even Wi-Fi, to ensure the most comfortable journey possible. Traveling by sleeper bus allows you to see the Vietnamese landscape unfold while resting. Upon arrival, buses usually stop in the center of Hoi An, facilitating immediate access to local attractions.
By choosing the mode of transportation that best suits your needs, your journey from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An will be a memorable adventure, rich in discoveries and unique experiences. Whether you prefer the relaxation of the train, the speed of the plane, or the economy of the bus, each option offers a different way to discover the wonders of Vietnam.

Conclusion about things to do and to see in Hoi An

In conclusion, Hoi An is an enchanting gem of Vietnam, harmoniously blending history, culture, and picturesque landscapes. What to do and to see in Hoi An ? This charming city is full of wonders, whether you’re strolling through the historic streets illuminated by lanterns, enjoying the golden sandy beaches, or venturing into the surrounding nature. As you discover the best things to do and to see in Hoi An, you will be captivated by the timeless beauty of the old town, the fascinating history of the ancient houses, and the warm hospitality of its inhabitants. Don’t miss this enchanting destination on your next trip to Vietnam, where every street corner tells a story, and every smile welcomes you like a friend.
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