Take a trip to this rustic riverside town that’s known for its temples, beaches, and fresh cuisine. Hoi An was one of the few places spared by the calamity of wars, and as such retains much of its historical buildings and natural landscapes. It has avoided modern developments and stayed true to Vietnamese culture and roots, meaning that visitors will get a taste of the true Vietnam when they visit this lovely town on the coast.
Not only is Hoi An filled with history and wonder, it’s also one of the best places in Vietnam to visit weather-wise. The central coast area is dry and sunn from May to July, unlike areas both north and south of the town. Summer travelers will find that many seek out this pleasant little area for sightseeing and exploring, but even at the peak season of visitors it still is calm, peaceful, and a delight to travel through.
For those who are ready to embark on an adventure through Hoi An, this article will help you to figure out how to best navigate to the area, where to stay, and what should be near the top of your list for places to visit, activities to engage in, and sights to see!
How to get to Hoi An?
Since there are no airports or train stations anywhere in town, the only option to get to Hoi An is by road. Taxis are available for hire from the next city over, Da Nang, which also has a domestic airport that can receive flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other larger Vietnamese cities. Da Nang also has plenty of buses and a train available from major cities, so really the only trick to getting to Hoi An is reaching Da Nang first. You can also book a private city transfer from Hue and Da Nang.
When you arrive in Hoi An, you can visit the city on your own or you can also book a city tour.
Where to stay in Hoi An?
Gia Lam Villa Hoi An
If you’re looking for a great guesthouse that will not only save some spending cash for souvenirs and keepsakes but also provide excellent service at a great price, then book a night or two at the Gia Lam Villa Hoi An!
Rooms are furnished with a flat-screen TV, private bathroom, kettle, seating area, and desk. Certain rooms have views of the outdoor pool, which is free for guests to use at any time! There’s even an on-site bar that serves up some of the best local drinks for those old enough to enjoy them!
Why Guests Love It: Guests are generally pretty excited when they find out that the guesthouse offers free bike rentals, as it means that traveling around the town is even more fun and exciting and more sights can be seen in a shorter time! The Asian breakfast gives guests a real, authentic taste of Vietnam and sets them up for a great day on a full and satisfied stomach. Having free WiFi throughout the property means you’re always connected and able to look up information for your trip, though the friendly hotel staff are more than willing to help as well!
Book It Now: Gia Lam Villa Hoi An
Hoi An Hotel – Hoi An Hai Au Boutique Hotel
Only a few minutes away from Old Town in Hoi An, this awesome hotel has an on-site restaurant, outdoor pool, and travel desk. If you didn’t bring your laptop but want to use a screen bigger than your phone, there are internet-ready computers in the lobby for guest to use at their leisure!
The travel desk – which is one of the best features of this hotel – has everything you’d ever need to book tours and tickets at a moment’s notice. You can even exchange your currency right at reception!
Why Guests Love It: Guests fall in love with their clean and comfortable rooms, as well as the delicious breakfast served up by the hotel chefs. With such a spacious room, great location, and friendly staff, the Hoi Au Boutique Hotel is quickly becoming one of the most sought after hotels in all of Hoi An! Come see why guests are so enamored with this hotel’s great service, great prices, and stellar accommodations!s
Book It Now: Hoi An Hai Au Boutique Hotel
For more tips about accommodation in Hoi An, feel free to check out this blog post: Where to stay in Hoi An.
You can also check this post to know where to eat in Hoi An.
The 10 Best Things to do in Hoi An
1. Old House Of Tan Ky
Built over 200 years ago by a Vietnamese Family, the Old House of Tan Ky is a preserved building that remains one of Hoi An’s most interesting sights. The name Tan Ky means “Progress Shop”, and was given to the house by the builder’s children due to the fact that the owner wished for a prosperous business.
The house stands exactly as it did almost two centuries ago, with every detail meticulous preserved so that visitors today see the same details those who made the house wanted guests to see. Interesting enough, visitors will be surprised to find both Japanese and Chinese elements mixed into the Vietnamese architecture! Keep an eye out and see if you can spot these subtle differences!
2. Kim Bong Carpentry Village
Starting in the 16th century, this amazing village of artisans once serviced major cities like Hanoi and Hue to build citadels, royal tombs, and other architectural projects. Though the main projects that were handled in the village were houses and furniture, it wasn’t uncommon for larger projects and prominent buildings to also be undertaken by the village. The main three groups of artisans that practiced and perfected their craft in the village were civil wooden furniture, architectural construction, and shipbuilding.
Artisans still continue working in the village to this day, and those who visit the village can even watch masters of their craft utilizing their skills and knowledge to create new products, such as furniture, statues, and doors. Visitors can even take something home with them to remind them of their trip, whether it’s an inexpensive drink coaster or a religious statue with a price tag of thousands of dollars!
3. Cau Chua Pagoda
This exquisite pagoda bridge is the most iconic site in Hoi An, and has brought in visitors from around the world to bask in its beauty. The Cau Chua Pagoda represents the architectural and cultural exchange between Japan and Vietnam, as the construction of the building was only madepossible by donations from Japanese merchants. The architecture features a wooden pagoda with yin-yang tiles on the roof, as well as a large plate that declares the bridge as “The Welcome Bridge” in Chinese.
There’s a rich story behind why the bridge was constructed that centers around a giant monster of the sea, whose head was in Japan, tail was in India, and back was along the coast of Vietnam.
To stop the monster from causing earthquakes that devastated Japan and Vietnam, the bridge was built to worship powerful genies and to hold the monster in place so it could not move and create earthquakes. Come see for yourself the bridge that saved Asia from a monster!
Before to continue, if you are ok to visit the surrounding of Hoi An, we highly recommend you the new Instagram sensation: Ba Na Hills. You can get more info about it here: Ba Na Hills Travel Guide.
4. An Bang Beach
For those who like their beaches to be natural and untouched by man, the An Bang Beach is a perfect getaway that puts you right in the middle of a gorgeous sandy beach. Visitors can enjoy an array of activities, including sunbathing, swimming, surfing, and paddle-boarding. The best time to visit the beach is between September to March when the waves are just right and the temperature of the water is 25ºC.
For those who still want some creature comforts while they have fun in the sand and sun, there are still a few resorts, restaurants, and bars nearby to quench your thirst, fill your stomach, and lighten your wallet!
5. Hoi An Night Market
Enjoy a night of splendor and wonder as you enter Nguyen Hoang Street and are greeted by over 50 local vendors, each of them selling snacks, trinkets, jewelry, clothing, or accessories. It’s a great opportunity to taste the local cuisine as well as purchase interesting items that you’d never find anywhere else!
The street stretches for 300-meters overlooks the beautiful Thu Bon River. At night, the area is illuminated with traditional colorful lanterns that provide an amazing atmosphere of fun and excitement.
If you want to learn how to make these beautiful lanterns, you can check out this post about Lantern Making in Hoi An!
6. Cantonese Assembly Hall
This popular tourist attraction showcases historical and cultural architecture that has great significance within Vietnam. Built in 1885, the Assembly Hall has had many uses and visitors, though it was traditionally a place for Chinese fisherman to exchange goods and rest between journeys.
Here you’ll find dragons, lions, statues, vestiges, Chinese terra-cotta seats, and documents of recorded Hoi An history. If you managed to travel to this stunning architecture beauty at the beginning and middle of the year, you might arrive in time to take part in the Nguyen lieu Festival and open market gathering!
7. Thanh Ha Pottery Village
This easy to reach village is a one-stop attraction that many find they can spend the whole day at! Also called the Hoi An Pottery Village, the entire area is dedicated to making pottery goods to be used locally or sent out across the world. Many visitors delight in trying their hand at making traditional pottery items, such as cups, bowls, or even ocarinas! You an also paint terra-cotta masks, walk freely around the houses and workshops, and engage with the locals who are friendly and welcoming! Enjoy taking part in a craft that’s centuries of years old but still practiced to this very day!
8. Phuc Kien Assembly Hall
Also called the Fujian Assembly Hall, this building was originally created so that those who came from Fujian, China, could come together with others from the same origin while they lived in, worked in, or were merely visiting Hoi An.
This assembly hall is now a World Cultural Heritage site, which attracts many visitors who want to catch a glimpse of its superb architecture. Though it may have started as a simple thatched pagoda when first built, the assembly hall has been built up to reflect the heritage and history of Vietnam.
9. Hoi An Ancient Town
The Hoi An Ancient Town is exactly what it’s name implies – an ancient town that has withstood the test of time and is now a fully function, living, breathing, museum for visitors to explore and enjoy. Featuring a mix of cultural influences – Chinese temples, French-colonial houses, Japanese-designed bridges, and more – Hoi An Ancient Town has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999. Though Ancient Town is no longer used as it was during centuries past, Hoi An has kept the area well-preserved and maintained in order to keep their past and history alive.
10. Quan Cong Temple
Commonly referred to as the Ong Pagoda, this famous temple in Hoi An was built by both Chinese immigrants and Viet people to create one stunningly beautiful sight. The temple was created to pay respect to ancestors of the past, and was also used by sailors to pray for luck on their trips to the sea.
The Quan Cong temples is held twice a year based on the dates of the birth and death of the genie worshiped at the temple – the 13th day of the first lunar month and the 24th day of the sixth lunar month. The festival are always fun and exciting, and visitors are more than welcome to join in on the festivities!
Hoi An is a great place to travel to if you want to have a relaxing and enjoyable experience with peaceful atmospheres and tranquil locations. There’s always fun and exciting activities to be had, but most prefer to just go with the flow and see where the river takes them. Overall, Hoi An is a perfect representation of what Vietnam was born to be, and continues to proudly display the country’s heritage, history, and heart.