Hoi An Cheap Things to Do: All Solo Travelers Need to Know

Knowing free and cheap things to do in the city where travelers are going to visit, is helpful. First of all, they can save and, thanks to that, can stretch the duration of their stay. Moreover, to take part in extra activities that they never plan, making the first trip ever more memorable. That’s one of the best ways to travel from country to country or from city to another. On the other hand, travelers have to cut things that they like or dream to do due to budget problems.

Hoi An is a charming city and travelers definitely should stay long in it to relax and explore every slice of it. Many people book the accommodation for 3 or 4 nights but that time may be extended if the budget is still enough. This guide has the focus on cheap things to do in Hoi An, to suggest those who aim the same. Note the list and select the best-liked ones to experience.   

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Sunrise and Cheap Breakfast in Cua Dai Beach

Budget: 5,000 VND for bike parking + around 20,000 VND for breakfast

Between An Bang Beach and the river mouth, Cua Dai provides the best sunrise scene in Hoi An. Travelers can sit under the coconut palms or on sand bags nearby to watch an incredible, inspirational beauty of nature. Flocks of birds, exercisers, fisherman boats and distant Cham islands are great additions into this killer dawn scenery. When the sun is up, it’s time to come into the village, have breakfast and morning coffee just like a local. Noodle bowls (mi quang, pho noodle soup, grilled pork noodles) are sold with a price of around 20,000 VND. Traditional coffees are cheaper, 12,000 VND for black coffee (cà phê đen) and 15,000 VND for the one with condensed milk (cà phê sữa).

Read also: Travel guide to Cua Dai Beach

Visiting Thanh Ha Pottery Village

Budget: 35,000 VND for entrance ticket (adults)

A visit to Thanh Ha Pottery Village is unmissable, not due to low entry fee, but because of things travelers will experience. Pottery production here started from 16th century to now and used to be the busiest in the region. The entrance ticket covers some historical buildings, a pottery making class and a clay whistle as a gift. Sightseeing places are Xuan My Communal House and Nam Dieu Temple where the founders of the traditional craft are worshipped. The class is the highlight, instructed by artisans right in their house or workshop. In which, travelers will have a hands-on experience with mud (wet clay) to create their favourite object, by a manual potter’s wheel. After the final stage is completed, they can bring it home. Touring the village is also interesting. It’s possible to see locals drying “fresh” potteries in the yard, burning kilns or souvenir stores.

Read also: Thanh Ha Pottery Village


Swimming and Cheap Foods in An Bang Beach

Budget: 5,000 VND for parking or freshwater bathing + 20,000 VND for street foods

An Bang is the best beach in Hoi An and free to access. The busiest swimming spot on it is at the end of Hai Ba Trung St. There, travelers absolutely can expect lots of sun, sandy expanses, clean and warm water, moderate waves, islands in the horizon and sun beds under the talapas. The beds cost a fee (around 50,000 for the first hour), so bringing own towel and a set of skin protection gear to lie in a private space. Cold drinks and seafood dishes are available in restaurants in the back, and if buying something, the bed is free of charge. Walking further the north, cheaper deals may be seen. In the late afternoon, when the crowds appear, there are some vendors selling snacks and beverages in the “entrance”. The freshwater bathing place and bike parking are just nearby.

Mi Quang Ba Nhan (noodles, only morning) and Chao Ngheu Co Gio (clam porridge, only afternoon) are two favourite places to eat for locals. Price of a dish there is 20,000 VND.

Tasting Traditional Coffee like a Local

Morning – Around the Japanese Covered Bridge

Drinking coffee in the morning and before work time, is a habit for so many locals in town. To know this and do what they do, travelers should come to the surroundings of the Japanese Covered Bridge. The busiest time is from 6 to 9 a.m (when motorcycles are unallowed to park and enter the town). At any shop, the drinks will sit on a low plastic chair, face the streets and use another to place the cups of coffee. Hot or cold tea is served as a compliment. Two most popular coffees are cà phê đen (black coffee) and cà phê sữa (coffee with condensed milk). Price is 12,000 VND and 15,000 VND respectively.

During the Day – Tasting Egg Coffee

Egg coffee (cà phê trứng) is only in Vietnam and it’s first made in Hanoi. This specialty drink requires the yolk, honey bee, condensed milk and coffee powder. Its taste is creamy instead of strongness and egginess. Spooning to try it while it’s still hot is highly recommended (that’s why the cup is placed in a bowl filled with hot water). In Passion Fruit Coffee at 9 Hoang Van Thu, it’s 40,000 VND.

Afternoon – Coffee Xom Chieu by Rice Fields

People love to drink coffee while sitting by breezy rice fields in this coffee shop. A cà phê đen (black coffee) costs 10,000 VND and it’s 12,000 VND for cà phê sữa đá (coffee with condensed milk and ice) here. Other drinks, life juices, smoothies, soft and energy drinks are also for sale, with a price that lower 25,000 VND. In a close distance, travelers can go to the Roving Chillhouse to have a drink and see sunset. It’s more touristy and costy.

Sunset – Lo Gach Cu “the Abandoned Kiln”

This rustic coffee shop is located 5 km south of the Old Town. It’s famous for coffee tables overlooking green or yellow rice fields and an abandoned kiln with a bamboo bridge running from there. At the end of the day, plenty of people come here to unwind and watch the sunset gradually disappearing in the horizon. A cup of black coffee is 25,000 VND. If drinkers want to have condensed milk to sweeten the taste, they need to pay 5,000 VND extra. Price of coconut milk coffee (cà phê sữa dừa) is 40,000 VND.

Hiring a bicycle in town, riding over new or old Cam Kim bridge and through villages, your journey to get here is stunning.



Getting Refreshment with Mót Herbal Tea

In front of Tan Ky old house, Mót is a small beverage seller in town, a single-story house with low tables and chairs. Its herbal tea is known by every local tourist and many foreigners in recent times. The drink is made by a harmonious mix of different ingredients, including cinnamon, ginger, rock sugar, green tea, lime, lemongrass and Chinese liquorice. Its taste is fresh and cool, perfect for a hot day or refreshment while strolling around the town. Owner family (recipe holder) serves a paper cup with bamboo straw, ice, lotus and tea leaves. The price is 10,000 VND.

This kind of local beverage is only at 150 Tran Phu St. Shouldn’t buy it in other places else, you may drink “not authentic flavours”.  

Lunch in the Hoi An Central Market

Hoi An Central Market has many stalls where a variety of foods is sold, with a fixed and clearly-shown price. The range is from 20,000 to 60,000 VND for a dish of rice or bowl of noodles. Travelers can easily see different local specialty foods here, including cao lau, mi quang, banh mi, white rose dumplings, fried wonton, chicken rice, and more. Although this marketplace is common to tourists, but the taste in general is authentic, same to any eateries out there. For a desert, chè (sweet soup) is most loved by locals.

On one side of the market, the first stall of well-known Banh Mi Phuong is still there. A member of Phuong’s family keeps making tasty banh mi sandwiches today for travelers.

Read also: Hoi An Central Market

Banh Mi Phuong – “Anthony Bourdain Banh Mi”

Banh Mi Phuong is the most famous banh mi (sandwich) restaurant in Hoi An. It has become popular in travellers’ itineraries in town since the visit of Anthony Bourdain (a famed American chef). He praised its sandwich as the best in the world. In times of the main meals, this food mecca is busy by locals and tourists who make a long queue before the makers. They can select their favourite fillings from a variety of meats, vegetables and fruits (like avocado). The proteins include pork (grilled, char siu, ham), beef, chicken, egg, sausage, Vietnamese sausage (chả lụa) and crocodile. A homemade pate is a must, prepared by the chef’s own recipe. A banh mi here costs from 15,000 VND.  

Read also: The best Banh mi in Hoi An

Hire a Bicycle and Ride around Countryside Areas

Countryside around Hoi An old town is serene, characterized by green rice fields, villages with small lanes and traditional handicrafts. The best way to explore it is on the wheels of a bicycle (because it’s cheaper than a motorcycle). One day rental is about 20,000 to 40,000 VND depending on where travelers rent. The easiest piece of country to go to, is Tra Que Vegetable Village where farmers at work in lush gardens are easily seen. Just following Hai Ba Trung Rd, it’s at the end of paddies. Cam Kim Island is another well-liked destination to cyclists, especially in guided tours. It’s accessible by two Cam Kim bridges or a ferry (to Kim Bong carpentry village). 20 mins drive to the east, Cam Thanh is known as the coconut village because it has a large palm forest where people row the basket boat to move around there.

Read also: Countryside around Hoi An

If aiming to ride to Tra Que vegetable village, should visit An Bang beach too because it’s just a kilometer away. Don’t forget a swimsuit. Parking fee there is 5,000 VND.


Dinner with Street Foods

Street foods are cheap eats in Hoi An and Vietnam. The best time to meet vendors is in the late afternoon and evening when it becomes cooler. Just roaming around the Old Town, travelers will see many to sample. Their first bite may be bánh xoài (mango cake), bánh bèo (water fern cake), bánh ướt cuốn thịt nướng (grilled pork skewers with fresh rice papers and raw vegetables) or bánh bột lọc (clear dumplings). The price ranges from 10,000 to 40,000 VND for a dish. For a dessert, let’s try chè (sweet soup) just like a local. A vendor selling this food arranges various pots around here, and each contains a different soup (ingredient). Diners often point out what they want to eat and she will spoon a proper portion later. Locals love to eat with ice to feel more pleasant on a hot day. A cup of chè costs from 10,000 to 20,000 VND.

Read also: Hoi An street foods

Cheap Things to Do in Hoi An at Night

Buy a Paper Lantern and Drop down the River

Paper lanterns are sold along the waterfronts and bridges of the Old Town, with a price between 10,000 and 20,000 VND. Locals often drop one down the river in the full moon and pray then, for themselves and beloved persons around. Also influenced by Buddhist culture, the lanterns have a lotus shape and a candle. Don’t need to pray, you can buy one and photograph or make a video as a beautiful memory in Hoi An.

Lantern Boat Ride

Travelers have no difficulty to look for a sampan in waterfronts, like Bach Dang Rd to board and view the town. From a different point, they have a different experience with new photo opportunities. Should pay a ride in the busy (busiest) hours to see the best beauty of lanterns can be, diversity of colors and vibrancy from crowds. Meanwhile, there are so many shimmering lights from candles in paper lanterns floating on the water. Price of a 20-mins ride is about 50,000 VND per person, and each boat legally allows 4 passengers. If you cruise the canal longer, pay more.

Vietnamese Folk Games

There are several folk games around the town during the Lantern festival that travelers can participate in and have fun. Breaking the clay pots is popular. The players have to wear a bandage to blindfold and move forward to use a stick to break any pot. They can listen to instructions from the audience to do right. One time costs 10,000 VND only. 


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