Da Nang and Hoi An are twin cities in the heart of Central Vietnam. Both are popular tourist destinations for either domestic or international visitors, and share many similarities. Due to smaller, quieter and “three stunners ” – Old town, beaches and countryside in a close distance, plenty of visitors decide to stay overnight in Hoi An, instead of Da Nang. See our guide to Hoi An or Da Nang to know more comparisons.
In this article, we outline a 6-day itinerary for those who spend the night in Hoi An. Due to so many things to see and do, it’s a little confusing to arrange from day to day and think about how to best experience. The below plan helps to make the personal research easier and just customize to create the most fitted one for yourself and beloved persons. If preferring a comfort, guided tours cover all itineraries, so it’s easy to send to a local operator and discuss for a good deal. If would like to DIY, also follow to save time and have interesting days of exploration with an own transport! We also recommend reading our guides to How to get from Da Nang to Hoi An, and Hoi An to Da Nang to find out a proper transfer between cities.
- Hoi An One Day Itinerary
- 2 Day Itinerary in Hoi An
- 3 Day Itinerary in Hoi An
- 4 Day Itinerary in Hoi An
Travel Guide to Da Nang and Hoi An
In the middle of Vietnam, Da Nang and Hoi An are two beautiful and famous cities where millions of visitors choose to enjoy their precious off-work time yearly. Da Nang is much bigger, playing its role as the capital of the whole region. It’s famous for poetic Han river waterfronts with many bridges (the most unique with the dragon). Near the downtown, there are mountains studded with Buddhist temples and great Buddha statues. If traveling by air or train, the passengers have to stop here, before getting to Hoi An. 30 km to the south, Hoi An is older and owns a Unesco world heritage town as its urban core. In a bicycleable distance, visitors can see a tranquil countryside with handicraft villages and white sandy beaches. Lantern festival – one of the most known cultural events in the country takes place in Hoi An’s ancient quarters monthly, to celebrate the full moon. As a melting pot, the city boasts of diverse cuisine and unique food specialties.
Read more information in our Da Nang and Hoi An Travel Guide.
Day 1 – Hoi An Ancient Town and An Bang Beach
Read also: One Day in Hoi An
Hoi An’s ancient town of course is the best choice for the first day in the city. It’s easy to get from anywhere by road vehicles and boat if visitors would like to. Streets and quarters inside this Unesco world heritage site are friendly for pedestrians and bicycles in nearly all hours during the day. So, apart from walking, visitors can choose to ride a bicycle from the accommodation and tour around the lantern town. Tourists must buy an entrance ticket to sightsee the best preserved buildings and museums (see details and recommended sites in our article here).
In the evening, Hoi An old town mesmerizes visitors by uncountable lanterns varying in size, shape and color. Wandering around to view the romantic scene and take pictures, visiting the night market and getting a boat ride along the canal to drop candle paper lanterns, are popular activities. Due to the abundance of foods, restaurants and great atmosphere, having dinner here again is what visitors really love. Find out the best places to dine out in Hoi An old town restaurants.
An Bang is the best beach in Hoi An, 4 km from the old town. Only a short transfer ride is required to get there, for swimming in the blue water. Under the talapas and coconut palms, there are lots of sun beds to rent, relax and enjoy cool breezes and a picturesque scenery in the front. Cold beers and cocktails are served all day in nearby seaside bars (if taking something, visitors may not pay for the beds). It’s really convenient to grab one and make the visit more awesome; Sure, don’t forget to bring a swimsuit to soak in and take part in water sports, like surfing. Read our complete guide to An Bang Beach for further details.
Day 2 – Da Nang (Marble Mountains, Cham Museum, More)
Read also: One Day in Da Nang
Morning: The second has a focus on the best attractions in Da Nang, the neighbouring city with Hoi An (30 km distance). The Marble Mountains is the first wow factor, only 20 minutes drive from the city center. This famous place is a group of 5 spectacular hills topped with century-old Buddhist temples and pavilions to enjoy panoramic views. Hidden away in the mountain, there are numerous amazing caves and grottoes where Vietcong communists hid during the American war. Around its foot, local people have carved stone sculptures for over 400 years. Up the north and by the same coastline, Son Tra Mountain (peninsula) houses Vietnam’s tallest Lady Buddha – 67 meters and the youngest Linh Ung Pagoda. Both are top sights.
Lunch: Thia Go Restaurant, Madam Lan (Vietnamese foods), Hai San Nam Danh (seafood), Mi Quang 1A, Mi Quang Ba Mua (local noodles)
Afternoon: Within the second half-day, visitors can visit the most famous places around Da Nang downtown. The Museum of Cham Sculpture is a must see because it’s unique, preserving Vietnam’s largest Champa sculptures (up to 2,000 artifacts). Another featured museum is the Ho Chi Minh and Fifth Military Zone Museum where visitors learn about the history of the area and life of people in recent wars. Han Market and Da Nang Cathedral (aka Pink church) are other popular attractions in town. Don’t forget that the city is also famous for bridges spanning over the poetic Han River. Around sunset, rooftop bars are ideal to chill out and enjoy one of the most beautiful moments of the day, with a nice beverage in hand.
Evening: tasting street foods in Son Tra Night Market by the Dragon Bridge where the fireshow occurs on Saturdays and Sundays, local foods at Banh Mi Ba Lan (stick breads), Banh Xeo Ba Duong (rice pancakes) or Bun Cha Ca 109 (fish cake noodles).
Day 3 – The Golden Bridge and Ba Na Hills
Read also: Golden Bridge and Ba Na Hills Day Tour
Morning: visitors should depart early to avoid the crowds and skip long queues. Depending on rescheduling of the day, Ba Na Hill’s world-record cable cars will carry the passengers to the French Village or the Golden Bridge. The ride is about 15 minutes (5 kilometers in length) and provides a great experience, especially such picturesque scenery seen from the cabins. The Golden Bridge and its surroundings are recommended to see first, due to the reputation. This 150-meters-long walkway features gold plated handrails and two huge supporting hands. It’s one of the world’s new wonders. At a close distance, visitors also have lots of photo opportunities in landscaped gardens, and learn about history in an old wine cellar or Linh Ung Pagoda.
Lunch: the most popular choice for lunch in Ba Na Hills is buffet, served from 11 am to 2 pm in some restaurants in the French Village. Live music is available in the largest venues, like the Beer Plaza.
Afternoon: Roaming around the French Village (surroundings of the buffet restaurant) to see and photograph, is the first thing to do. The most outstanding building here is the Saint Denis Church that visitors have no difficulties to consider. Walking uphill via a stone-paved road to its left, over hundreds of steps, Nui Chua summit – the top of Da Nang (1,487 meters asl) and temples are what to expect. There, an impressive panoramic view down to below hills and national park are seen. The rest of the village, visitors can have fun with exciting games in Vietnam’s largest underground amusement park – the Fantasy, outside the alpine coaster and joyful outdoor performances. Festivals are held throughout sunny months.
Evening: Beside the Old town, An Bang Beach is another place to have dinner and enjoy the nightlife in Hoi An. By the coast, there are top-notch restaurant-bars where the guests will see an extensive food menu and a long list of beverage choices. Both Vietnamese and international dishes are covered. On some selected evenings, live music is available, with the attendance of foreign artists. The best dining places are revealed in our guide to An Bang Beach restaurants. If looking for a late night party, some bars open until the early hours of the next day.
Day 4 – My Son Sanctuary and Hoi An Countryside
Read also: My Son Sanctuary and Hoi An Countryside Day Tour
Morning: exploring My Son Sanctuary where Champa kingdom’s emperors built 71 temples and ruins by unique techniques that were just partially discovered today. 50 km west of Hoi An, all are located in a stream valley under the foot of a mountain like a bird’s head. In 1999, this complex was inscribed by Unesco as a world cultural heritage. Sometimes during the day, the show in which Cham artists perform traditional dancings and musical instruments. It’s not to be missed.
Lunch: it’s possible to return to Hoi An for lunch in top-reviewed restaurants with a mixed menu in Tran Nhan Tong St (near Pavillion Resort).
Afternoon: join in the local experiences in Hoi An’s countryside. The best known one is basket boat ride in the Cam Thanh Coconut Village, 6 km from the Old town. It lasts from 30 mins to an hour. Local fishermans will propel the boat through a nearly-untouched palm forest where small canals are interlaced, just like a maze. There, Vietcong communists hid in the Vietnam war, from the beginning to end. In the later time, visitors can go to other villages to get a water buffalo ride or learn traditional skills and knowledge in organically growing vegetables. In Tra Que Vegetable Village, basil seed herb water is known as a specialty drink, why not try?
Evening: visitors can have dinner in restaurants in Tra Que village that are surrounded by gardens and provide a peaceful atmosphere at night. Sure, vegan menus are popular here. Famous venues are Baby Mustard, Kum Quat or Water Wheel.
Day 5 – Cham Island Day Tour
Read also: Cham Island Hoi An Travel Guide
Off the coast of Hoi An, the Cham Islands is a group of 8 islands varying in size, shape and name. It’s one of Vietnam’s first-established marine parks, and a Unesco world biosphere reserve (designated in 2009). This tourist attraction is known for its sandy beaches, fresh seafood and especially, a wealth of underwater life. All divers love to discover its gorgeous coral reefs and enjoy watching colorful aggregations of fishes and mollusks. The best time is from March to August when the rains rarely fall. In the last decade, archaeologists found shipwrecks in the area that are filled by export ceramics and pottery.
Visitors often book a day trip to Cham Island from Hoi An by speed boat. After landing the main island, the guide will make the way to tour around fisherman’s hamlets and visit historical sites. Before having lunch in a bamboo restaurant, a snorkeling tour is organized for swimmable visitors (one spot only). For those who don’t join it, they can soak in the blue sea by a white sandy beach or relax on a sun chair under shaded coconut palms. A day in the Cham Island is a cool escape from the busy town and beaches in the mainland.
Note: Travelers can expect to join day tours specializing in snorkeling, scuba diving or underwater walking in the Cham Island. There are several fully-licensed organizers in town, to rely on.
Day 6 – Day Trip to Hue via Hai Van Pass
Read also: Hoi An to Hue Day Tour
Itinerary: Hoi An – Hai Van Pass – Lang Co Lagoon – Hue Imperial City – Lunch – Thien Mu Pagoda – Perfume River Cruise – Khai Dinh Tomb – Have dinner near the hotel
Morning: On the way to Hue, travel experts recommend visiting the Hai Van Pass and experience the ride to its top at an elevation of nearly 500 meters. This famous coastal road boasts of spectacular landscapes and panoramic viewpoints that are perfect for pictures. At the highest point, different military powers built their defensive structures throughout the past centuries, thanks to strategic location. On the northern slope, Lang Co Lagoon is a must see. It’s a turquoise body of brackish water by towering mountains with peaks covered by clouds. Local farmers raise oyster in rich nutrient areas and construct stilt houses.
Afternoon: Hue’s oldest Buddhist temple – Thien Mu Pagoda and Hue’s last emperor mausoleum – Tomb of Khai Dinh are highlights. After sightseeing these colossal constructions, visitors learn a lot about history, local Buddhist culture and awesome facts. There are so many photo opportunities as well. Furthermore, Perfume River cruise by a dragon boat allows the passengers to enjoy pretty sceneries along the banks of one of the cleanest and romantic waterways in Vietnam. The beauty has inspired different generations of writers, musicians, poems, novelists and filmmakers.
Evening: Visitors often choose to dine out in a place that is near the hotel, after a long journey to Hue. If looking for tasty seafood dishes, Hai San A Roi – a mecca for locals, is our recommendation.
Hoi An Private Tour Guide
If you are looking for a private tour guide who is fluent in English, knowledgeable and friendly, text us in whatsapp number +84968009827, for assistance.
Read also: Day Tours from Hoi An
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