Hoi An Ancient Town is a Unesco world heritage site by the mouth of the Thu Bon River. It has grid-plan streets filled by silk lanterns and bougainvillea flowers that served as a trading port from 15th to 19th century. Although it lost its important role in international commerce for a very long time, a diversity of merchandise is still seen in the town today. Thanks to the decline, travelers have the chance to see a mostly intact, unique townscape with ancient buildings. It showcases different cultures and religions that were introduced by merchants from the rest of the world. Besides the reputable Unesco title, it’s nicknamed as “capital of tailors”, “the prettiest town of Vietnam”, “the Venice of Vietnam” or “town of lanterns”. This article reveals Hoi An ancient town tour, to assist travellers to easier choose suitable guided options. Tours are varied, from sightseeing, walking, food tasting, cyclo, cooking to photography. Read and pick your best!
- Day Tours from Hoi An (Guide)
- My Son Sanctuary Tour (Guide)
- Da Nang Golden Bridge Tour (Guide)
- Day Trip to Hue from Hoi An (Guide)
A Quick Guide to Hoi An Old Town
Main travel guide: Hoi An Old Town World Heritage
– Location: Minh An ward, Hoi An city, Quang Nam, 30km south of Da Nang and its airport
– Opening hours: all hours, but the bulk of sightseeing places often open from 7 a.m to 6 p.m and some buildings welcome visitors at night.
– Ticket: 120,000 VND, valid until you leave Hoi An (not only one day regulated) and entry to 5 five sightseeing places is covered.
– History: a bustling international trade port in the Maritime Silk Road flourished from 15th to 19th centuries. Japanese, Chinese, and European boats anchored here to exchange the cargo.
– Why Should I Visit: a Uneso world heritage site with many ancient buildings to visit, diversity of foods to try, photogenic spots to take pictures, souvenir shops to go shopping and colorful scenes of lanterns every night. It’s also known as “capital of tailors” where travelers can have a perfectly-personalized suit or dress with a quick turnaround. The lantern festival in the full moon is unique to Hoi An.
– The best time to visit: from February to September when skies are clear, and the sun is seen. During the wet season (October to January), it’s nice to walk in town if it doesn’t rain but typhoons often occur, causing the floods.
Why Should I Book a Guided Hoi An Ancient Tour?
A tour with a local guide is needed in Hoi An ancient town, a world heritage site. First reason is that the town has a long history, from 15th century and keeps its leading role in international commerce for the next 400 years. As a result, there are lots of historical sites and cultural traditions that come from different countries. To know better to much better, a knowledgeable guide can’t be excluded. There are only 5 sightseeing places covered by the entrance ticket, so he/she will recommend the buyers the best-fitted ones for them.
Secondly, later additions into the town soon become an attraction to tourists, like tailor shops, restaurants, bars, souvenir stores, coffee shops, etc. In fact, their number is huge and the business competition leads to confusions to travellers. But nothing makes the guide stress, he/she quickly suggests a plan in which every highlight and traveler’s favourites are covered. The best time to visit each place is also not outside of his/her knowledge, for example, ideal times to photograph or avoid long queues. On the streets, delicious foods from vendors may be nice to sample. He/she knows the finest places selling them.
Highlights in Hoi An Old Town
– Sightseeing: Japanese bridge, Chinese assembly halls, Vietnamese old houses, museums, night market, Precious Heritage gallery, sunset in Bach Dang waterfront.
– Activities: making a custom-made suit, cooking class, cyclo ride, handicraft workshops, lantern boat at night, photographing at instagrammable spots.
– Eating and Drinking: local food specialties like cao lau noodles, street foods, coffee shops serving locally-sourced beans.
– Festivals and Events: the Lantern festival in the full moon.
Walking Tour – Classic Hoi An Ancient Town Tour
Our pick: Half-day Hoi An Ancient Town Walking Tour
The classic Hoi An ancient town tour is by foot that the bulk of travelers do to explore one of Vietnam’s prettiest attractions. It can be begun anywhere along the boundaries of walking streets (world heritage area). Ticket booths are many there, to purchase a ticket and “legally” walk further. The town features a grid-like layout with 5 horizontal streets and vertical streets and small lanes. So many historical buildings stand aside Tran Phu, the oldest road.
The guide makes the way to tour around all of these lantern quarters, aiming to see 5 ticketed places and other highlights (like market). At each stop, he/she explains things before the eyes in detail. The best tailors, coffee shops, souvenir stores, handicraft workshops and street food spots, are also recommended to fully discover the town. After sunset, travelers have the chance to stroll in the night market and get on a boat to enjoy the beauty of lanterns from a different point. If traveling by yourself, read our comprehensive guide to Hoi An Old Town before starting.
*5 places we recommend you visit with the ticket: Japanese bridge, Old house of Tan Ky, Museum of trade ceramic, Fujian assembly hall, and Traditional art performance house at 66 Bach Dang Rd.
Hoi An Ancient Town Food Tour
Main article: Hoi An food tour
Many guided food tours are organized in Hoi An ancient town, the hub of restaurants, eateries, beverage stalls and vendors. Late afternoon and evening are the best times to walk out and taste delicious, new dishes. In different parts of the town and different selling places, the guide will reveal every secret behind each dish, from name, meaning, ingredients, how to make, flavours to how to eat like a local. By that, travellers can get insight into the rich culinary culture of one of Vietnam’s capitals of food. Hoi An cuisine is influenced by the Chams, Viet people, Japanese, Chinese and a little French. Some eats are only found in the city, giving interesting stories to listen to. Food tours by bicycle, motorcycle (vespa) or jeep often take the tasters beyond the old town’s boundaries.
If just want to make your own food tour, you should read our guides to Hoi An’s street foods and Hoi An’s food specialties first. After knowing what you like to sample, note the best selling places and then start. The tour can be combined with sightseeing historical sites, night markets and see lanterns. Except for the vendors, two local meccas – the Central market and the Night market provide most chances to consider dishes. When you have an idea about where to go, heading there, it’s easy to order and enjoy various things at an affordable price.
Hoi An Ancient Town Photo Tour & Workshops
Tour – The Morning Photo Walk
From 6 to 8:30 a.m, this photography tour provides a walk through Hoi An ancient town and its central market. In which, travelers can understand more about photography, improve personal skills and capture iconic pictures about the town by themselves. “Only phone” is possible to participate. See details in hoianphototour.com.
– Inclusions: drinks, tea or coffee, photographer guide
– Exclusions: traveler’s photography equipment (camera or phone), Hoi An old town ticket, hotel pick up and drop off
Hoi An Photo Tours Workshops
Now, the Hoi An Photo Tour designs 5 workshops for different equipment, time of the day, and theme. See brief information as following below:
– Travel photography workshop: 2-hours duration, started with a coffee to let the guide know better about the traveler and his/her expectations. Then, together wander around the town and through the markets, to discuss more and go straight to composite parts. People photography is the focus. The price is 99 USD per person.
– Smartphone photography workshop: 2-hours duration, aiming to guide travelers to best use their own phone as a creative tool to capture memorable pictures on the holiday. It costs 99 USD.
– Street photography workshop: 2-hours duration, aiming to make the “graduation” of travelers with a sharper vision as a street shooter. Basic camera settings are uncovered, only available in advanced workshops.
– Food photography workshop: 2-hours duration with 4 different dishes (salad, noodle, main dish, dessert) in the Old town. The guide introduces the art of food styling, and lighting current skills of travelers to a next level. The price is 99 USD.
– Night photography workshop: from 6 to 8 p.m. The expert guide provides professional guidance on photography with a traveler’s phone and a tripod, to catch memories of Hoi An by night. If book after 1 p.m (same day), you’re advised to call.
Hoi An Ancient Town Cyclo Tour
Apart from walking and riding a bicycle, touring on a cyclo (xich lo, trishaw) is another way to explore Hoi An ancient town. The three-wheel vehicle appeared in Vietnam in the French colonial time, used to carry the colonists and rich people only. A ride on it is laid-back, allowing you to join the traffic and see everything from a special point.
Nowadays, in the town, travelers have 2 ways to meet up a rider and discover the world heritage: hail any they see in the street or go to the “terminals” at the Folklore museum. Price in the second place is cheaper but it’s needed to wait and the tour may be shorter. The best way to book a private rider with a fixed itinerary. Because if travelers don’t deal to stop at historical attractions (may be 5), the rider just moves around straight away.
Hoi An Ancient Town Cooking Tour
There are many cooking schools based in Hoi An Ancient Town, including the ones in the top list. Amongst a plenty of offers, the itinerary that learners will follow is quite similar in general. In the beginning, a market is the focus. There, the chief introduces a variety of local ingredients, shopping culture and helps to interact with sellers. The visit allows you to see different slices of life also. After that, everybody goes to the school where a couple of Vietnamese foods are guided to make. Experiences are hands-on. Options designed for professional and experienced cooks are available as well. See the bests for yourself in our article about Hoi An’s cooking class.
Day Trips with Hoi An Old Town
Cam Kim Biking Tour and Hoi An Walking Tour
This day tour from Hoi An or Da Nang has two parts: sightseeing Hoi An Ancient Town and cycling Cam Kim Island, and both are switchable. It’s awesome that it allows travelers to explore two different slices of the city, the urban and the countryside. See details here.
Coconut Village and Hoi An Walking Tour
Cam Thanh or the Coconut Village is widely known for its palm forests where Vietcong communists hid formerly. Today, villagers convey travelers around there by a basket boat to explore the well-kept nature and learn how to catch fish. Mini cooking class, foot massage, and having lunch in a local house are other experiences travelers may expect. In the afternoon, Hoi An Ancient Town walking tour starts. See details here.
My Son Sanctuary and Hoi An Walking Tour
Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Sanctuary are world heritage sites inscribed by Unesco in 1999. So, there is no doubt that a tour to both is definitely awesome, one of the best experiences in the region. While the holy land has Hindu temples hidden away in a tropical forest, Hoi An town showcases different history and architecture. Of course, the knowledgeable guide will explain everything in each stopover like an expert and by that, his/her travelers learn a lot; Throughout the day, walking (many) is required, therefore should prepare a good pair of shoes. See details here.
Marble Mountains and Hoi An Walking Tour
A stunning day of exploration is made easy by the hike in the Marble Mountains and a stroll around Hoi An Ancient Town. In the hills, there are century-old Buddhist temples, amazing caves filled with small-but-holy shrines, and beautiful views from peaks. It’s an incredible natural monument with additions from people. Near the hillfoots, inhabitants of Non Nuoc stone carving village still keep their father craft what now becomes a national intangible heritage. Workshops and shops are around to see artisans at work and buy souvenirs. See details here.
Hue to Hoi An Tour
Main article: Hue to Hoi An Tour
Hoi An is 120km south of Hue, one of the most popular cities to stay overnight after that city. Between these famous tourist destinations, there are many stunning places to visit. Most stunning ones are the Hai Van Pass – a scenic coast road with spectacular views and Marble Mountains – a group of striking mountains topped with Buddhist temples and owning caves. Travelers just stop, see and photograph on the pass, while in the hills, have to hike to access the highlights. Lunch is served in Hoi An old town, before a walking tour around there begins.
Hue to Hoi An tour by motorcycle is also popular, both guided and self-guided. Travelers feel more freedom, adventuring vibes than sitting in a car or bus if deciding to do this. Places along the HW1A and coastal roads are what the riders and their friends like to see most, such as the Elephant spring, Hai Van pass, Dragon bridge, the Marble Mountains. Keep in mind to start early to have enough time to discover everything. The last attraction is Hoi An old town, time well your own reschedule! Read our article to how to get from Hue to Hoi An to select the best-fitted transports if don’t ride a motorcycle or book a private tour/car.
Da Nang to Hoi An Tour
See details in Full Day Hoi An Old Town and Marble Mountains
A Hoi An ancient town tour from Da Nang begins in the hotel at 8 a.m. Before lunch and sightseeing tour around the world heritage by foot, the morning attraction is the Marble Mountains. It’s a complex of marble hills dramatically rising from the plains, famous for old Buddhist temples and amazing caves. Climbing over steep steps is required to visit there. In 20th century, a king renamed the cluster to “Five-element mountains” and individually, the name of each mountain corresponds to an element. In caves, Vietcong communists hid until the end of the Vietnam war in 1975. The villagers living around the foot of the hills, continue their ancestor craft in carving stone sculptures. Photo and shopping opportunities are plenty in both major attractions.
Hoi An Private Tour Guide
A tour guide is necessary for travelers who would like to know deeper rich history and culture in the Old Town – a world heritage site. His/her recommended itinerary covers 5 bests of 21 ticketed sites, every lantern street, riverfront, markets, tailors and other optional highlights, such as coffee shops, souvenir stores, galleries, handicraft workshops. In each stopover, he/she introduces and explains every thing in detail, and share related fun facts or stunning stories. These guidings help travelers to save time because don’t need to research much. Moreover, learn a lot about new cultures in a new city.
Text us in whatsapp number +84968009827 if you like to find a private knowledgeable guide in Hoi An.
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