Hoi An is one of the most favourite destinations in Vietnam. Ancient and peaceful. Hoi An town caters to visitors of all tastes and across through continents.
This little town is just the perfect candidate for what Vietnam tourism ministry aims to bring for visitors all over the world. Warm-hearted, welcoming and traditional, however, never out of touch with the outside world are special tours in Hoi An.
In addition, Hoi An people are trying to catch up to their opportunities to find their fame recently. It is a great place for spending time by the river, watching the sunset over the river and sea. Strolling through the old town, and drinking inexpensive beer as well as local traditional cuisines will be a great experience.
How Hoi An is unique?
If you have ever visited Hoi An, surely you will be impressed with the ancient architecture of houses, streets, roads in this land. The mixed architecture helps Hoi An look very special, very beautiful and extremely charming. Because of the influences from historical events, the impact of many different cultures. Hoi An ancient town as a perfect combination of many structures, creating unique values.
Top things to do in Hoian
1. Hoian Ancient Town
The ancient town of Hoi An is located in Quang Nam, Vietnam, about 30km south of Da Nang city. Previously, in the 17th and 18th centuries, Hoi An was the busiest international trading port in Southeast Asia. However, by the 19th century, Hoi An was in a recession due to unfavourable water transportation. Therefore, the number of international ships and boats passing here decreased.
But also because of that Hoi An retains the ancient beauty, perfect integrity of an Asian trading port. In 1999, Hoi An was recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage. And since then, Hoi An tourism has grown and become an indispensable destination for international tourists coming to Vietnam.
2. Fujian Assembly Hall
The forerunner of the Assembly Hall is a small shrine worshipping the statue of Thien Hau Thanh Mau (the god blessing merchants overcome the ocean waves) picked up on the coast of Hoi An in 1697. Through the repeated restoration with the main contribution of the Overseas Chinese in Fujian State. The Assembly Hall became more brilliant and spacious, contributing to the appearance of the ancient architecture of Hoi An.
3. Guang Dong Assembly Hall
An interesting thing about the construction of the Cantonese Assembly Hall is that each part of this building was crafted in China, then transferred by boat and assembled into a complete shape in Hoi An. An interesting thing about the construction of the Cantonese Assembly Hall is that each part of this building was crafted in China. Then transferred by boat and assembled into a complete shape in Hoi An.
With a unique architecture built in the shape of the country, the Cantonese Assembly Hall is made of wood and stone. The Assembly Hall is a closed project consisting of each part such as a three-door gate, a spacious garden decorated with many ornamental plants. In the middle is a communal house, flanked by two rows of East-West houses, the main hall and the campus backyard,…
This is a traditional architecture quite similar to others. However, with a harmonious combination of different materials such as wood and stone in bearing structures. Besides the ornate and meticulous motifs, the Cantonese Assembly Hall still has its own unique features that do not overlap with anywhere else.
4. Japanese Covered Bridge
Japanese Covered Bridge is the jewel in the heart of Hoi An. The bridge was built in the late 16th century and is called the Japan Bridge. In the middle of the bridge is a small temple to worship Huyen Thien Dai De. The bridge has a quite unique roof with decorative structures and patterns showing a harmonious combination between Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Western architectural styles.
Location: The bridge crosses the creek flowing into the Thu Bon river adjacent to Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Tran Phu streets.
5. Old House of Tan Ky
Built nearly 200 years ago, Tan Ky houses a typical architectural style of Hoi An townhouses with interiors divided into sections, each with its own function. The front of the house is the place to open the shop, the back is connected with the river wharf to be the place for importing and exporting goods.
The house is built by traditional materials and crafted by local carpenters and masonry, so it has its own characteristic, agile, elegant and cozy, and shows interaction with architecture styles in the area. On February 17, 1990, the Tan Ky Dynasty was granted as a National Historic-Cultural Monument.
6. Thanh Ha Pottery Village
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Thanh Ha was a very prosperous village. It was famous for ceramic and terracotta items being exchanged and wholesale throughout the central provinces of Vietnam. Pottery village originated from Thanh Hoa, after acquiring some technical capital, it has formed pottery village today. Main products are utensils for daily life such as bowls, bowls, jars, vases, ornamental pots, shapes of the breeds … with many designs, colours are very diverse and special. Especially, it’s lighter than other local similar products.
7. Thanh Ha Terracotta Park Museum
Situated in Thanh Ha pottery village just about 3 km to the west of the ancient town of Hoi An. Thanh Ha Terracotta Park was built in 2011, on the area of almost 6,000 square meters by the architect Nguyen Van Nguyen who was born and raised in the village. The park with traditional Vietnamese pottery made of terra cotta, including models of iconic buildings.
Also it is divided into five functional areas: Nam Dieu village, Creativity Workshop, Trade Promotion, Pottery Museum and An Outdoor Exhibition Area. Each space has its own story and reflects by the symbolic pictures, objects, artifacts, etc which make visitors can understand clearly of the 500-years of Thanh Ha Pottery village.
Entrance ticket: 30,000 VND (~ 1.5 USD/ticket)
8. Cham island
Cham Island or Cu Lao Cham is about 15 minutes on speedboat from Hoian and 1 hour on traditional wooden boat. It offers travellers a little getaway. It is UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The main island is Hon Lao, the largest and the only one inhabited. Spending one day or two days trip to Cham Island will offer you to have a relaxing on nice wild sandy beach of Bai Ong, Bai Huong. Also visit Hai Tang pagoda for more history of the island. Especially, Cham Island is very great for snorkeling and diving in Vietnam to see coral reefs as well as the diversity of marine creatures.
The best time to visit is from March to September.
9. Bay Mau Palm Forest
Bay Mau palm forest offers visitors an opportunity to discover the kingdom of palm. It looks like as the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre. This palm wetlands are 5km to the east of Hoi An City in Cam Thanh Commune, the site covers an area of 80ha surrounded by water. Bay Mau Palm forest is the green tourism area and the “lung” of Hoi An.
It is the salt-marsh ecological area with poetic scenery for sunset and the abundant flora and fauna. Also it is home to different kinds of marine life such as shrimps, crabs, fishes, snakes and mollusks.
10. Tra Que Organic vegetable village
Just 5km from Hoian ancient town, you escape from the bustling city just about 15 minutes by cycling. You will enjoy a farming area with nice weather and lovely people. It is Tra Que vegetable village. The great way to enjoy its peaceful and beauties, riding a bicycle will bring you all. You will see rice fields, glassy rivers, and lazy water buffaloes lounging in the mud.
Tra Que makes you the feeling to discover by local farmers use traditional way to grow vegetables as organic way. You also have the opportunity to do it as a local farmer right here.
11. Make tailor a suite/dress within a short time
Hoi An is also very popular across Vietnam for its textile industry and one of the reasons many people come here is to get clothes tailor made.
You will find amazing tailors all over town and can choose from a different of silks, others textiles and patterns to make your own personalized creations. You only need from one to three days to get your clothes made when the design is simple. And it can be up to a week for more complicated pieces. You can make plan to make tailor while visiting Hoian to avoid disappointed.
Although Hoian is famous for tailor made with a lot of tailors, you will be expected to bargain hard and wander around so that finds the best deal for your wish.
12. Hoian Silk village
Hoi An Silk Village is a great place to visit and experience when you wish to out of city centre. Travel here you can see the ancient weaving techniques of silk.
Just one kilometer from the centre city, you will find a tranquil village with the home built in the traditional style and combine to visit Thanh Ha Ceramic village. While visiting the village, artisans will teach you how to make beautiful silk pieces. And you can even feed the silkworms here and help to unravel their cocoons. A product from traditional silk will be ideal for a gift and souvenir in your tour in Vietnam.
13. Lantern making at a workshop
Hoian is very popular for the symbol of colourful hanging lanterns. A rich history as a trading port makes Hoi An a mecca for all kinds of traditional Vietnamese handicraft and manufacturing. When you are looking for an interactive experience with local people and learn how to make a lantern.
Let make plan to do it, there are many workshops for you to try and share this experience. These workshops are an amazing and fun way to learn about Vietnamese culture and traditional craft techniques.
14. An Bang Beach
Hoian is not only famous for ancient town and countryside beauties, but also for nice sandy beaches. It is just 5km from ancient town. An Bang Beach is one of the nice beach for relaxing in Hoian which will find pristine white sands that back on to the water. Resorts and beachside villa is ideal for your accommodation and relax on beach. You can also enjoy an affordable dining at An Bang Beach with fresh seafood and Vietnamese BBQ to authentic Italian and French style.
Small restaurant such as Soul Kitchen, La Plage and White Soul stay open until late. It will make you lively parties, themed nights, happy hour promos, strong cocktails, cold beers, and a diverse playlist.
15. My Son Sanctuary in Hoi An
My Son Hindu Sanctuary or called My Son Hollyland is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where is 50km from Hoian ancient town and 90km from Danang city. It is the great sample of the ancient Champa civilization in Central Vietnam. It was an independent state from around the 2nd to the 17th century, at which time it was occupied by Vietnam.
The impressive Hindu-themed ruins feature many beautiful stone sculptures, temples and towers in tropical jungle surroundings. When visiting the My Son Champa Sculpture, you can see the skillful use of red bricks and especially the sandstone.
Although it isnot as original today because of the time and the war destroyed most of towers. My Son still a secret and impression for your experience and discover. A must-visit for those who appreciates history.
How to go there?
Travel to Hoi An By Air
From Danang International airport. It is the closest airport to Hoian, located in the heart of Da Nang city. It is 30 kilometres from Hoi An.
There are many flights in and out Danang airport daily. So travellers can choose with different options to Danang and then go ahead to Hoian.
- Domestic flights: Buon Ma Thuot, Can Tho, Da Lat, Cam Ranh/Nha Trang, Hanoi, HCMC, Pleiku, Vinh, Hai Phong
- International flights: Bangkok (Bangkok Airways, Vietnam Airlines), Beijing (China Eastern), Hong Kong (Dragonair; Hong Kong Express), Kunming (China Eastern), Macau (Air Macau), Seoul (Korean Air), Siem Reap (Silkair, Vietnam Airlines), Singapore(Silkair; Jetstar), Tokyo (Vietnam Airlines)
From Chu Lai airport: This airport belongs to Quang Nam Province. It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes (80 km) to reach Hoian ancient town.
There are some airlines have the flights to Chu Lai airport: Airlines, Vietjet Air và Jetstar.
Domestic flights: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh.
International flights: Bangkok, Vientiane, Beijing with Vietnam airlines, Lao airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airlines, HongKong Airlines, Singapore Airlines. Some have transit in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
The closest is Da Nang train station. It is 30 kilometres away from Hoi An. It is easy for the traveller to take a taxi and motorbike to Hoi An. There are many trains from North to South and vice versa with a stop in Da Nang.
Bus service to Hoi An is limited as most long-distance buses head to the major hub Da Nang. From Danang traveller can take a local bus or taxi to Hoi An.
Open bus tour companies have a schedule to Hoi An directly. Therefore, it is the best option for travel from Hanoi to Hoi An as well as from Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An. And the bus always stops at big cities like Mui Ne, Da Lat, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hue, Quang Binh, Ha Noi.
Here are bus companies for reference: The Sinh Tourist, Camel, Trekking, Phuong Trang
When is the best time to go to Hoi An?
The best time to visit Hoi An is from February to April every year. It rains less, the climate is pleasant. Avoid going in summer because of the high temperature, very hot. The rainy season from October to November also has the disadvantage of wet space due to heavy rain.
You should visit Hoi An on the 14th, the full moon of the lunar calendar to attend the old town night. On this day of the full moon, all families in the old town of Hoi An will turn off the lights and light the lanterns. You will have the opportunity to see firsthand the red lanterns spreading across the street, a typical setting of Hoi An on the occasion of the festival. Besides, the festivals, the special performances also do not make you regret.
Top Recommended accommodation in Hoi An
Best luxury hotels in Hoian
- Four seasons resort the Nam Hai, Hoi An
- Sunrise Premium Resort Hoi An
- Hotel Royal Hoi An- MGallery by Sofitel
- Palm Garden Resort
- Boutique Hoian resort
Hoian Best Reasonable Price Hotels
- Hoian Estuary Villa
- Rural scene Villa
- Charming homestay
- Hoi an Chic Hote
Hoian Best cheap hotels
- Hoian Garden place & Spa
- Water coconut boutique Villas
- Hoian Waterway resort
Hoi An specialities
Although Hoi An ancient town is small, its culinary culture is extremely diverse.
Pho Hoi Chicken Rice
With all the meticulous pulling skill in the way of processing, Hoi An people have created a chicken rice dish that is impressive enough for people to give it a unique name: Pho Hoi chicken rice. It served with onions, sour papaya, herbs Tra Que, also has a cup of soup mixed heart, liver, kidney served to increase the appeal.
The White Rose cake
Dumpling-cauldron Cake or the white rose cakes are two types of bread with similar ingredients, usually eaten on a plate of cakes. The Cauldron Cake filling made from crushed ground shrimp mixed with a little pepper, garlic, onion, lemongrass and esoteric spices. The dumpling filling is made from pork, mushroom, sliced green onions and then fried with esoteric spices. Perhaps this seasoning is also a reason why dumplings – cauldron (white rose cake) can only eat well when in Hoi An.
Corn sweet soup
It is a rustic dish became very famous in Hoi An because it is made from the famous Cam Nam corn in here. It has a sweet, elegant and natural aroma of freshly broken corn. Unlike the Southern sweet soup, Hoi An corn sweet soup does not cook with coconut water. Therefore, it has the original taste of corn, only when sprinkled with some juice to increase the fat. Cam Nam corn season is also the tea season, most especially from March to September each year.
Rice paper (rice paper / wet rice cake)
Similar to Thanh Tri rolls in Hanoi, instead of being thin rice paper with atrial fillers, in Hoi An, rice paper also has shrimp. When eaten, the cake is sprinkled with fragrant onion fat, served with silk rolls.
Hoi An Pancake
Hoi An Pancake is a genuine specialty of Hoi An town. The main raw material for making pancakes besides rice is also shrimp and meat. To make a pancake, a person must sit by the fire constantly hot, so the rainy season of the year from October to December is the most suitable season for making pancakes in Hoi An.