It is no coincidence that Hoi An is in the list of must-visit places once in the lifetime of many travelers. Located by a river, it’s borned to welcome people from the rest of the world, to exchange the cargo in the past and now, to visit. This charming ancient trade port is dominated by ochre yellow color of the walls, brown color of moss-covered tiled roofs, pink color of bougainvillea flowers and reddish temples. It looks like a painting but much more energetic. After the disappearance of the sun, Hoi An’s streets and river comes to life thanks to uncountable lanterns and an abundant street food scene.
From the sunrise to midnight, Hoi An has so many things to do and this guide reveals the best among them. So, first-time travellers feel much easier to design a perfect itinerary for themselves or check out the one covering all of the highlights yet. We highly recommend reading our guide to Hoi An attractions to know exactly all you can see and do in the city.
Table of content
- 1 Best Things to Do in Hoi An Ancient Town
- 2 Best Things to Do in Hoi An’s Beaches and Islands
- 3 Best Things to Do in Countryside around Hoi An
- 4 Best Things to Do in Hoi An to Know Local Industry
- 5 Best Things to Do in Hoi An on the Water
- 6 Best Things to Do in Hoi An on Wheels
- 7 Best Shows and Performances
- 8 Best Things to Do in Hoi An that Give Back to Hoi An
- 9 Related Posts
- 10 My Lai Massacre Village (or Son My Memorial) in Quang Ngai
- 11 Cam Kim Island: The Peaceful Countryside of Hoi An
- 12 Getting from Hue to Hoi An: Which is the Best Way?
- 13 Cycling in Hoi An: Rental, Where to Cycle and Tours
- 14 The Best Time to Visit Hoi An
- 15 The Bamboo Circus Show (Teh Dar Show) at Hoi An Lune Center
- 16 Cua Dai Beach: The Famous Beach of Hoi An
- 17 The Japanese Covered Bridge
- 18 Bach Ma National Park: Hiking, Trekking in Da Nang and Hoi An
- 19 Hoi An Wet Season: What to Do in Hoi An When It Rains?
- 20 Thanh Ha Terracotta Park
- 21 Vinwonders Nam Hoi An Theme Park (formerly Vinpearl Nam Hoi An)
- 22 Am Phu Cave Complete Travel Guide
- 23 Hoi An or Hue: Which is Better?
- 24 The Official Hoi An Travel Guide (MUST READ)
- 25 The Hoi An Market (Hoi An Central Market) Complete Guide
- 26 Hoi An Memories Show: The Best of Hoi An Impression Theme Park
- 27 Hoi An Bridge: Famous Bridges in Hoi An
- 28 How to Get From Hoi An to My Son Sanctuary
- 29 Hoi An’s Chinese Assembly Halls and Chinese Temples
- 30 Hoi An Walking Tours: Heritage, Foods, Photography & Locals
- 31 Hoi An Self Guided Walking Tour (Hoi An By Yourself)
- 32 How to Visit Golden Bridge Vietnam
- 33 Unique Experiences in Hoi An and Why?
- 34 An Bang Beach: A Guide to Hoi An’s Best Beach
- 35 Experiences in Hoi An: Get Insight Into Hoi An’s Local Culture
- 36 Things to Do in Ba Na Hills Besides Golden Bridge
- 37 Hoi An Nightlife: What to Do in Hoi An At Night?
- 38 Hoi An Countryside: Villages, Rice Fields & Tours
- 39 How to Get to Golden Bridge From Hoi An
- 40 Hoi An Entrance Fee: Old Town, Golden Bridge, My Son, More
- 41 Hoi An Airport: Everything You Need to Know
- 42 Hoi An Lantern Boat Ride on Hoai River
- 43 Hoi An Private Car and Driver
- 44 What to Do in Hoi An Ancient Town
- 45 Da Nang and Hoi An Itinerary for Visitors Staying Overnight in Hoi An
- 46 Hoi An 3 Day Itinerary: A Travel Plan for 3 Days in Hoi An
- 47 Hoi An Free Things to Do: Budget Travel in Hoi An Vietnam
- 48 Hoi An One Day Itinerary: A Travel Plan for One Day in Hoi An
- 49 Hoi An Half-Day Tours: Guide to Half Day Trips From Hoi An
- 50 Hoi An Day Tours: A Guide to Best Day Trips From Hoi An
- 51 Hoi An Beach: A Guide to All Beaches in Hoi An Vietnam
- 52 Hoi An Food Specialties
- 53 How to Get From Hoi An to Da Nang
- 54 Hoi An Cheap Things to Do: All Solo Travelers Need to Know
- 55 Hoi An Best Things To Do: Recommendations from Local Experts
- 56 Hoi An Things to Do: All What Can You Do in Hoi An Vietnam
- 57 Hoi An Things Not to Miss: A Guide to Must Do in Hoi An
- 58 Hoi An or Da Nang: Which is Better?
- 59 Hoi An Pottery Village: A Guide to Thanh Ha Pottery Village
- 60 Hoi An Ancient Town Tour
- 61 Hoi An Old Town Ticket: Price, Sellers, Included Sites, More
- 62 My Son Sanctuary Tour
- 63 Hoi An Lanterns: Festival, Making Class, Where to Buy, More
- 64 Hoi An Best Area to Stay: Guide to Where to Stay in Hoi An
- 65 Hoi An Weather by Month: Guide to Hoi An Monthly Weather
- 66 Hoi An River Cruise: Guide to The Best Boat Tour in Hoi An
- 67 Hoi An Old Town Boats: Guide to Boat Rides in Hoi An Town
- 68 Hoi An 2 Day Itinerary: Traveler Guide to 2 Days in Hoi An
- 69 Cham Island Hoi An
- 70 Hoi An Basket Boat Ride
- 71 Hoi An Coconut Village: A Guide to Cam Thanh Coconut Village
- 72 Hoi An Cham Temples: My Son Sanctuary & Quang Nam Temples
- 73 How to Get from Da Nang Airport to Hoi An
- 74 Da Nang to Hoi An: Best Da Nang Airport Transfer and More
- 75 Hoi An Tour Guide: How to Find a Private Tour Guide in Hoi An
- 76 Hoi An Ancient Town Attractions
- 77 Hoi An Old Town Map
- 78 Tra Que Vegetable Village
- 79 Hoi An Lantern Festival
- 80 Hoi An Night Market: A Thing to Do in Hoi An at Night
- 81 My Son Sanctuary Travel Guide
- 82 Hoi An Old Town Unesco World Heritage – Hoi An Travel Guide
- 83 Featured Tours and Experiences
- 83.0.1 Full Day My Lai Massacre Tour
- 83.0.2 Hue to Hoi An Private Car Transfer with Sightseeing (and Vice Versa)
- 83.0.3 Hue to Hoi An Motorbike Tour (and Vice Versa)
- 83.0.4 Hai Van Pass Motorbike Tour from Hoi An or Da Nang
- 83.0.5 Da Nang Night Tour From Hoi An with Local Food Dinner
- 83.0.6 Da Nang Day Trip From Hoi An with Local Food Lunch
- 83.0.7 Golden Bridge and Ba Na Hills Night Tour
- 83.0.8 Golden Hands Bridge Tour In Sunrise or Sunset (1/2 Day)
- 83.0.9 Cam Kim Island Bicycle Tour From Hoi An
- 83.0.10 Cham Island Tour From Hoi An (Group Tour)
- 83.0.11 Cham Island Tour From Da Nang (Group Tour)
- 83.0.12 Hoi An Vegetarian Food Tour
- 83.0.13 Hoi An Evening Walking Food Tour Through Laneways
- 83.0.14 Private Hoi An Basket Boat Tour (Shuttle Bus, Bicycle, Bike)
- 83.0.15 Half-day Am Phu Cave Tour (Private)
- 83.0.16 Hoi An Countryside Tour (Bicycle, Car, Electric Shuttle)
- 83.0.17 Da Nang Tour Package From Singapore
- 83.0.18 Hoi An Evening Tour From Da Nang
- 83.0.19 Hoi An Walking Food Tour Through Laneways
- 83.0.20 My Son Sanctuary and Hoi An Old Town Tour with Thu Bon River Cruise
- 83.0.21 My Son Day Trip From Hoi An including Marble Mountains and Basket Boat
- 83.0.22 Half Day Hoi An City Tour With River Cruise
- 83.0.23 Son Tra Peninsula Tour with Marble Mountains (Private/Small Group)
- 83.0.24 Hue Day Trip From Hoi An with Hai Van Pass, River Cruise & Lunch
- 83.0.25 Hoi An Ancient Town and Countryside Tour (Bests of Hoi An Tour)
- 83.0.26 Hoi An Tour From Da Nang Airport (Private, Optional Lunch)
- 83.0.27 Hoi An Day Trip From Da Nang (Marble Mountains, Basket Boat, Old Town)
- 83.0.28 Da Nang City Tour From Airport (Private, Optional Lunch)
- 83.0.29 Hoi An City Tour with Lantern Class, Lantern Boat, Night Market & Local Food Sampling
- 83.0.30 Marble Mountains, Basket Boat Ride & Hoi An Old Town Walking Tour
- 83.0.31 Marble Mountains & Golden Bridge Day Tour with Buffet Lunch
- 83.0.32 Marble Mountains & Monkey Mountain Tour (Half-day, Private)
- 83.0.33 Private Golden Bridge Sunrise Tour (Half-day, Optional Lunch)
- 83.0.34 Hoi An Ancient Town & Golden Bridge Day Tour (Private/Small Group)
- 83.0.35 My Son Sanctuary & Golden Bridge Day Tour (Private/Small Group)
- 83.0.36 Private My Son Sanctuary Sunrise or Sunset Tour
- 83.0.37 Full Day Hoi An Ancient Town & Countryside Experience With Local
- 83.0.38 Full Day My Son Sanctuary & Hoi An Countryside Tour With Local
- 83.0.39 Full Day Hoi An Ancient Town & Coconut Village Experience
- 83.0.40 Son Tra Peninsula, Marble Mountains and Hoi An City Tour
Best Things to Do in Hoi An Ancient Town
Having Tailor Made Suits
In the past, Hoi An was a main stopover in the Maritime Silk Road. Merchants from different parts came to it to seek high-quality silk, brocade and fabrics. Although it lost its role from 19th century, tailoring and weaving traditions are still alive, and nowadays in town, there are hundreds of tailors at work. That’s why Hoi An is nicknamed “Vietnam’s capital of tailors”.
Having a tailor made suit or dress in Hoi An is a must for many travelers. Apart from cheaper prices than home, they absolutely see a variety of fabric, quality, and style in shop houses across the town. Local tailors do things quickly, with a tour around within 24hrs for simple garments and 2 to 3 days if having more requirements. Sweet, friendly and helpful service is another thing people love. Due to excellent copy ability, the customers just need to show their favorite patterns on the internet and visit again for the final fitting soon.
Read details in Guide to Hoi An tailors
Visit Hoi An’s Iconic Landmarks
Hoi An Old Town becomes a world heritage site due to being an exceptionally well-preserved traditional Asian trading port. Commerce in it was busy from 15th to 19th century and declined after that due to hard accessibility from the sea. Since then, this melting pot has been nearly unchanged, with many historical and religious buildings that are worthy to visit. The Japanese Covered Bridge is most iconic, the symbol of cultural exchange between three nationalities – Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese. Other unmissable places are the assembly hall of the Chinese Fujian community, Old house of Tan Ky (a merchant) or the gate of Ba Mu Temple. All of them require a fee to enter that is included in “Hoi An Old Town ticket”.
Read details in Hoi An Ancient Town’s Attractions
Hoi An Lantern Full Moon Festival
This monthly celebration is one of the things in Hoi An that is known by travellers around the world. It takes place on the full moon, particularly 14th day according to the lunar calendar. During the night, visitors will see an incredibly colorful world of millions of lights from lanterns hanging up in streets and paper lanterns down the river. Locals believe that luck, high security and happiness come soon to life for themselves and beloved ones. Folk games and singgings are also performed under fairy moonlight, making the atmosphere in town so lively. By the water, visitors may buy a paper lantern, let it float and make wishes like anybody nearby. A stroll around the town at this time definitely is amongst the best things to do in Hoi An.
Read details in Hoi An Lantern Festival
Learning how to cook some Vietnamese traditional foods is a fun activity in town. Under the instruction and explanation from the local chief, visitors will have much knowledge and skills. Not all about that, hands-on experiences with different ingredients, recipes and utensils are other interesting things to expect. Before the class time, some schools design a visit to the market, to allow learners to see the variety of local procedures and interact with local sellers. In the end, everybody can sit and enjoy delicious dishes just made together. Hoi An has the best cooking classes in Vietnam, take part in it and you will know that is true.
Read details in Hoi An’s cooking classes
Hoi An (Nguyen Hoang) Night Market
After the sun goes down, this place is filled by pedestrians who move from the Old Town nearby. It comprises over 150 stalls stretching along a street, with the “entrance” in Nguyen Phuc Chu Rd. Apart from the chaotic, vibrant atmosphere, visitors come here to seek delicious street foods, affordably-priced souvenirs and lightful lantern shops to photograph. If don’t shop around, the visit may not be long but actually worth it. During high tourist seasons, trendy live music from restaurants or riverfront bars deserve a stop to enjoy and have a light dance.
Read details in Hoi An Night Market
Hoi An town was a center of diverse handicrafts for many centuries. Today, successors of the artisans still continue and pass down knowledge and skills to the next generations. They also open workshops and share that to travelers who want to make souvenirs by hand and bring them home then. All of the possibilities now are about lanterns, bamboo root sculpture, masks, pottery and leather items. The “best seller” is lantern making class in which the learners are allowed to pick size, shape, color and pattern. It’s suitable for every member of the family.
Read also: Handicraft workshops in Hoi An
Tasting Street Foods
Around sunset and evening, Hoi An old town and nearby night market are a street food paradise. Local foodies love to wander around and try different tasty bites, such as barbecued pork skewers, water fern cake, clear dumplings, mango cake, sweet soup, more. If liking to get insight into most typical dishes and know all secrets about them, should explore with a local guide. Organized food tours are a lot to book in town.
Read also: Hoi An street foods
Best Things to Do in Hoi An’s Beaches and Islands
Swimming and Sunbathing in An Bang Beach
An Bang is the best beach in Hoi An, nearest from the Old Town. It boats of clean, soft sandy expanses by clear and shallow water during the sunny months. That are ideal to swim, lie in the sun and return with a tanned skin. Sun beds and chairs are also many to get one and relax with such a pretty view. Blue skies, white clouds, blue greenish sea, white sands, purple Cham islands and green vegetation make a picture-perfect scenery. Along the coast, it’s easy to take a nice cocktail from the bartender or seafood dishes in cool breezes. At night, live music is on.
Read details in Travel Guide to An Bang Beach
Scuba Diving in Cham Island
Cham Island is a marine park, Unesco biosphere reserve near the coast of Hoi An. It’s well known for rich marine life and some hundreds of coral species that make a wonderful beauty of nature under the sea. Scuba diving is the best way to discover this colorful, magic world and it’s available in some licensed operators. Instead of a high speed canoe, divers are transferred to diving spots by a wooden boat. And, instead of crowds of tourists, they only see friends on the same trip. If would like to join an underwater trek, request to double the experience on the day.
Read details in Cham Island Diving
Watching Sunrise in Cua Dai Beach
Cua Dai is the “happy ending” of a fine sandy coastline from Da Nang to the mouth of the Thu Bon River. It provides the best sunrise scene in town that nobody should not miss out on. The viewers can expect a golden sea, orangish skies, purple islands, fishing boats, flocks of birds, groups of exercisers and coconut palms. It’s really mythical, silent and mesmerizes any romantic soul.
Read also: Cua Dai Beach
Best Things to Do in Countryside around Hoi An
Cycling around Cam Kim Island
Surrounded by Thu Bon River, Cam Kim is an island with rural villages, green gardens, rice paddies, handicraft making households, hidden temples and Kim Bong carpentry village. Thanks to these things, travelers will see a real Vietnamese countryside with unspoiled scenery and nearly authentic lifestyles. Bikes are the perfect option to tour around and free to stop anytime and anywhere. If riding a bicycle, travelers feel everything at a slower pace and sure, it’s friendly to the environment.
Read details in Cam Kim Island
Basket Boat Tour
Basket boat (thuyền thúng) is unique to Central Vietnam and fisherman villages there. In Cam Thanh coconut village, people use it to access the largest water palm forest of the region, to collect leaves and fruits, and catch fishes. Now, they also convey visitors to get there, to explore and see the works that they do everyday. The ride is fun, right from the first moments when the passengers have to keep balance on a shaking vessel. Before landing, local men show their “basket boat dance” (spinning the boat in a music background). This activity is one of the best things to do in Hoi An because it provides slices of rural life and a chance to be closer to nature.
Read details in Hoi An Basket Boat Ride
Farmer Experience in Tra Que Herb Village
Tra Que vegetable village is small but tranquil, located between the Old Town and An Bang beach. Every local knows it because the farmers here produce the highest quality vegetables and herbs. Some Hoi An’s specialty foods require that ones as must-have ingredients, like cao lau noodles. They grow the plants organically, based on traditional knowledge and techniques taught by their father and grandfather. Today, visitors can learn right in the gardens. It’s possible to expect many farming experiences such as tilling the soil, transplanting baby vegetables, fertilizing by swamp weeds, watering by a shoulder pole. The childrens absolutely love to do it.
Read also: Tra Que Vegetable Village
Best Things to Do in Hoi An to Know Local Industry
Thanh Ha Pottery Village
Not far from the Old Town, people in this village have been producing potteries since 16th century. In the past, their products were for exportation. Nowadays, the artisans will guide visitors how to make a clay pot or vase by processed soil and a manual potter’s wheel, in their house. The experience is a fun time with mud and laughs. In addition, shopping opportunities are also many in the paved lanes of the village.
Read also: Thanh Ha Pottery Village
Best Things to Do in Hoi An on the Water
Basket Boat Tour in Palm Forests
This is one of the most popular water activities in Hoi An. In Cam Thanh village, locals use a basket boat (or round boat) to take passengers around an interlaced network of small canals inside a large palm forest. It could be found anywhere else in the region. During the ride, the “captain” may show how to catch fish by the rob and net, and make accessories by leaves. In the Vietnam war, communists hid in the forest to escape from attacks of the American army.
Read also: Hoi An basket boat ride
Sunset Cruise on Thu Bon River
Thu Bon is the largest river in the province, running west-east down from the Annamite Range. Downstream, Hoi An town stands by the widest body of water where the sunset reflection is so brilliant. If don’t plan to see from a rooftop bar or the top of bridges, getting a boat is another best way to enjoy. Travelers just need to approach Old Town’s waterfront, pay a ride and then have the chance to capture mind-blowing pictures throughout the cruise.
Read also: Hoi An river cruise
Unlike other water activities, travelers will go across the rivers by themselves. A local guide will make the way, through palm forest, hidden canals, fishing villages where you can meet fishers at work and peaceful lands along the banks where people herb buffaloes. There are some off-the-beaten-track options to choose from, such as sunrise ride to a fish market, sunset ride or around the flooded Old town. Thus, if taking this experience, travelers will see or see up close scenes of daily life of people who reside in riverine villages.
Read also: Hoi An Activities
Best Things to Do in Hoi An on Wheels
Bicycle Tours with a Local Guide
Everybody can make a bicycle tour by themselves across the countryside of Hoi An. But if following a local guide, it’s a different story. In his/her itinerary, he or she will select backroads where the traffic is low, to lead the way to rice fields, little-known old buildings and especially local families. There, travelers have a chance to interact with different members and learn about their life. In some houses, the owners teach how to make the handicraft product they are making (to earn for living). That product may be noodles. After learning skills and doing them by hand, travelers may try a delicious noodle bowl cooked by women in the family. Without a guide, these experiences are missed or never known.
Read details in Cycling Tour in Hoi An
Jeep or Motorcycle Tour to Hai Van Pass
Hai Van Pass is 45 km north of Hoi An town, famous globally for a lengthy, winding route along the spectacular coast. It’s one of inspirations for the content of an episode in the Top Gear – a reputable motoring programme series. A ride up and down there is really cool, loved by so many travellers who have an adventuring soul. Motorbike is the most popular choice because it’s easy to hire and drive. If not confident, there are lots of tours providing a local experienced ride for yourself. For a little bit more special, expedition on the jeep allows people to have free hands, to photograph or make videos.
Read also: Travel guide to Hai Van Pass
Best Shows and Performances
The Hoi An Memories Show
This is the star of all cultural shows in Hoi An and only outdoor one. It’s introduced to the audience for the first time in 2018, and then tickets soon sold out. With a participation of 500 people, the largest art visual performance in Vietnam is it, no others. Stunning historic stories and typical slices of Vietnamese culture are narrated in artistic languages, accompanied with great music and amazing costumes. Outside of the stage, visitors can see Asian buildings to photograph, restaurants and beverage stalls.
Read also: Hoi An Memories Show
Best Things to Do in Hoi An that Give Back to Hoi An
Reaching Out’s Workshops and Classes
The Reaching Out is a social enterprise in Hoi An, aiming to train and create jobs for local disabilities. Apart from “silent tea house”, it also opens an art and craft center where travelers will meet an artist and learn his/her skills to make a handicraft object. In the same place, there are numerous elaborately-crafted souvenirs and accessories to buy, and of course, give back again to the townies.