Travelers should know free things to do in Hoi An, to save the budget for this wonderful city and by that, can stay longer to explore. From old town, countryside to beaches, it’s possible to make a trip without any payments, except water to drink. On the coastline, sunbathing with your own towel, swimming, watching sunrise and playing sports with locals, are what to expect. Around the countryside, visitors have the chance to see slices of real Vietnamese rural life and handicraft making traditions. Nearly all places don’t require an admission to access and discover further. In the old town, tourists must purchase an entry fee. It covers 5 sites, however, there are still numerous venues and spots open with free doors.
In this article, we list all of the free things to do in Hoi An for you – travellers to design easier the best plan for yourself and of course, have fun days without spending much money. In fact, in most hotels, bicycles are free to the guests and why not take one and discover by your own way.
Table of content
- 1 Hoi An Lantern Festival
- 2 Hoi An Night Market
- 3 Beaches in Hoi An
- 4 The Marble Mountains (2022)
- 5 Precious Heritage Art Gallery by Rehann
- 6 Hoi An Central Market
- 7 Cam Kim Island
- 8 Tra Que Vegetable Village
- 9 Kim Bong Carpentry Village
- 10 Free Instagrammable Spots
- 11 Cycle around Hoi An’s Countryside
- 12 Buddhist Temples and Pagodas in Hoi An
- 13 Bai Choi Singgings and Games
- 14 GAM Gemstone Art Museum
- 15 Early Morning Fish Markets
- 16 Sunrise and Sunset
- 17 Related Posts
- 18 My Lai Massacre Village (or Son My Memorial) in Quang Ngai
- 19 Cam Kim Island: The Peaceful Countryside of Hoi An
- 20 Getting from Hue to Hoi An: Which is the Best Way?
- 21 Cycling in Hoi An: Rental, Where to Cycle and Tours
- 22 The Best Time to Visit Hoi An
- 23 The Bamboo Circus Show (Teh Dar Show) at Hoi An Lune Center
- 24 Cua Dai Beach: The Famous Beach of Hoi An
- 25 The Japanese Covered Bridge
- 26 Bach Ma National Park: Hiking, Trekking in Da Nang and Hoi An
- 27 Hoi An Wet Season: What to Do in Hoi An When It Rains?
- 28 Thanh Ha Terracotta Park
- 29 Vinwonders Nam Hoi An Theme Park (formerly Vinpearl Nam Hoi An)
- 30 Am Phu Cave Complete Travel Guide
- 31 Hoi An or Hue: Which is Better?
- 32 The Official Hoi An Travel Guide (MUST READ)
- 33 The Hoi An Market (Hoi An Central Market) Complete Guide
- 34 Hoi An Memories Show: The Best of Hoi An Impression Theme Park
- 35 Hoi An Bridge: Famous Bridges in Hoi An
- 36 How to Get From Hoi An to My Son Sanctuary
- 37 Hoi An’s Chinese Assembly Halls and Chinese Temples
- 38 Hoi An Walking Tours: Heritage, Foods, Photography & Locals
- 39 Hoi An Self Guided Walking Tour (Hoi An By Yourself)
- 40 How to Visit Golden Bridge Vietnam
- 41 Unique Experiences in Hoi An and Why?
- 42 An Bang Beach: A Guide to Hoi An’s Best Beach
- 43 Experiences in Hoi An: Get Insight Into Hoi An’s Local Culture
- 44 Things to Do in Ba Na Hills Besides Golden Bridge
- 45 Hoi An Nightlife: What to Do in Hoi An At Night?
- 46 Hoi An Countryside: Villages, Rice Fields & Tours
- 47 How to Get to Golden Bridge From Hoi An
- 48 Hoi An Entrance Fee: Old Town, Golden Bridge, My Son, More
- 49 Hoi An Airport: Everything You Need to Know
- 50 Hoi An Lantern Boat Ride on Hoai River
- 51 Hoi An Private Car and Driver
- 52 What to Do in Hoi An Ancient Town
- 53 Da Nang and Hoi An Itinerary for Visitors Staying Overnight in Hoi An
- 54 Hoi An 3 Day Itinerary: A Travel Plan for 3 Days in Hoi An
- 55 Hoi An Free Things to Do: Budget Travel in Hoi An Vietnam
- 56 Hoi An One Day Itinerary: A Travel Plan for One Day in Hoi An
- 57 Hoi An Half-Day Tours: Guide to Half Day Trips From Hoi An
- 58 Hoi An Day Tours: A Guide to Best Day Trips From Hoi An
- 59 Hoi An Beach: A Guide to All Beaches in Hoi An Vietnam
- 60 Hoi An Food Specialties
- 61 How to Get From Hoi An to Da Nang
- 62 Hoi An Cheap Things to Do: All Solo Travelers Need to Know
- 63 Hoi An Best Things To Do: Recommendations from Local Experts
- 64 Hoi An Things to Do: All What Can You Do in Hoi An Vietnam
- 65 Hoi An Things Not to Miss: A Guide to Must Do in Hoi An
- 66 Hoi An or Da Nang: Which is Better?
- 67 Hoi An Pottery Village: A Guide to Thanh Ha Pottery Village
- 68 Hoi An Ancient Town Tour
- 69 Hoi An Old Town Ticket: Price, Sellers, Included Sites, More
- 70 My Son Sanctuary Tour
- 71 Hoi An Lanterns: Festival, Making Class, Where to Buy, More
- 72 Hoi An Best Area to Stay: Guide to Where to Stay in Hoi An
- 73 Hoi An Weather by Month: Guide to Hoi An Monthly Weather
- 74 Hoi An River Cruise: Guide to The Best Boat Tour in Hoi An
- 75 Hoi An Old Town Boats: Guide to Boat Rides in Hoi An Town
- 76 Hoi An 2 Day Itinerary: Traveler Guide to 2 Days in Hoi An
- 77 Cham Island Hoi An
- 78 Hoi An Basket Boat Ride
- 79 Hoi An Coconut Village: A Guide to Cam Thanh Coconut Village
- 80 Hoi An Cham Temples: My Son Sanctuary & Quang Nam Temples
- 81 How to Get from Da Nang Airport to Hoi An
- 82 Da Nang to Hoi An: Best Da Nang Airport Transfer and More
- 83 Hoi An Tour Guide: How to Find a Private Tour Guide in Hoi An
- 84 Hoi An Ancient Town Attractions
- 85 Hoi An Old Town Map
- 86 Tra Que Vegetable Village
- 87 Hoi An Lantern Festival
- 88 Hoi An Night Market: A Thing to Do in Hoi An at Night
- 89 My Son Sanctuary Travel Guide
- 90 Hoi An Old Town Unesco World Heritage – Hoi An Travel Guide
- 91 Featured Tours and Experiences
- 91.0.1 Full Day My Lai Massacre Tour
- 91.0.2 Hue to Hoi An Private Car Transfer with Sightseeing (and Vice Versa)
- 91.0.3 Hue to Hoi An Motorbike Tour (and Vice Versa)
- 91.0.4 Hai Van Pass Motorbike Tour from Hoi An or Da Nang
- 91.0.5 Da Nang Night Tour From Hoi An with Local Food Dinner
- 91.0.6 Da Nang Day Trip From Hoi An with Local Food Lunch
- 91.0.7 Golden Bridge and Ba Na Hills Night Tour
- 91.0.8 Golden Hands Bridge Tour In Sunrise or Sunset (1/2 Day)
- 91.0.9 Cam Kim Island Bicycle Tour From Hoi An
- 91.0.10 Cham Island Tour From Hoi An (Group Tour)
- 91.0.11 Cham Island Tour From Da Nang (Group Tour)
- 91.0.12 Hoi An Vegetarian Food Tour
- 91.0.13 Hoi An Evening Walking Food Tour Through Laneways
- 91.0.14 Private Hoi An Basket Boat Tour (Shuttle Bus, Bicycle, Bike)
- 91.0.15 Half-day Am Phu Cave Tour (Private)
- 91.0.16 Hoi An Countryside Tour (Bicycle, Car, Electric Shuttle)
- 91.0.17 Da Nang Tour Package From Singapore
- 91.0.18 Hoi An Evening Tour From Da Nang
- 91.0.19 Hoi An Walking Food Tour Through Laneways
- 91.0.20 My Son Sanctuary and Hoi An Old Town Tour with Thu Bon River Cruise
- 91.0.21 My Son Day Trip From Hoi An including Marble Mountains and Basket Boat
- 91.0.22 Half Day Hoi An City Tour With River Cruise
- 91.0.23 Son Tra Peninsula Tour with Marble Mountains (Private/Small Group)
- 91.0.24 Hue Day Trip From Hoi An with Hai Van Pass, River Cruise & Lunch
- 91.0.25 Hoi An Ancient Town and Countryside Tour (Bests of Hoi An Tour)
- 91.0.26 Hoi An Tour From Da Nang Airport (Private, Optional Lunch)
- 91.0.27 Hoi An Day Trip From Da Nang (Marble Mountains, Basket Boat, Old Town)
- 91.0.28 Da Nang City Tour From Airport (Private, Optional Lunch)
- 91.0.29 Hoi An City Tour with Lantern Class, Lantern Boat, Night Market & Local Food Sampling
- 91.0.30 Marble Mountains, Basket Boat Ride & Hoi An Old Town Walking Tour
- 91.0.31 Marble Mountains & Golden Bridge Day Tour with Buffet Lunch
- 91.0.32 Marble Mountains & Monkey Mountain Tour (Half-day, Private)
- 91.0.33 Private Golden Bridge Sunrise Tour (Half-day, Optional Lunch)
- 91.0.34 Hoi An Ancient Town & Golden Bridge Day Tour (Private/Small Group)
- 91.0.35 My Son Sanctuary & Golden Bridge Day Tour (Private/Small Group)
- 91.0.36 Private My Son Sanctuary Sunrise or Sunset Tour
- 91.0.37 Full Day Hoi An Ancient Town & Countryside Experience With Local
- 91.0.38 Full Day My Son Sanctuary & Hoi An Countryside Tour With Local
- 91.0.39 Full Day Hoi An Ancient Town & Coconut Village Experience
- 91.0.40 Son Tra Peninsula, Marble Mountains and Hoi An City Tour
Hoi An Lantern Festival
Read details in Hoi An Lantern Festival
This well-known celebration is held monthly, in the full moon in Hoi An Ancient Town. After the sunset, people will hang up lanterns in their houses, restaurants, shops and streets that are varied in size, shape and color. They do believe that the action brings luck, happiness and prosperity to themselves and beloved ones. Their ancestors had the tradition from 15th century and they are still keeping it. Since the town won the Unesco world heritage title, lanterns using the candle are encouraged to save energy. By the canal, locals also light candles on paper lanterns, and then drop down the water to make wishes. Thanks to a magic, mythical world of lights, vibrant atmosphere and lively slices of life, nobody misses the lantern festival. Of course, no fee is required to attend.
Read also: Hoi An old town walking tour, night market and sampan boat ride (half day)
Hoi An Night Market
Read details in Hoi An night market
From the Old town, visitors need to walk across the bridge to the opposite bank, to get to the Night market. It opens from dusk to around 10 p.m (or may be later during the high seasons), with over 150 stalls standing along a street. Foodies in town all know this place, because they can see a variety of yummy street foods and food specialties, such as pork barbecue rolled with rice papers. Shopaholics never miss a stroll around, to “safari” cheap souvenirs and gifts, and many other things to buy. Thanks to sparking colorful lantern shops, instagrammers also love the market and hope to take at least a photo with the fantastic backdrop. Night market opens for the public, so unquestionably, it’s one of the “best” free things to do in Hoi An.
Read also: Hoi An old town, night market and sampan ride (half day)
Beaches in Hoi An
Read details in Hoi An’s beaches
Hoi An coastline is long (nearly 10km), fine sandy, bordered by blue water of the Pacific ocean and lined by coconut palms. The nearest beach from the Old town (also the best) is An Bang where lots of sun beds and thatch talapas stand by its expanse. During the sunny months, this place is really ideal to sunbathe, get a tan and relax with cool breezes. Due to being shallow and rock free, the sea here is really safe for swimmers and little ones. For that reason, local families love to visit with their members after a long day of working. On the coast, there are many restaurants and bars to choose from, for a cold drink or snacks. Down south, sun seekers should know Tan Thanh, Hidden and Cua Dai beaches. All of them are nice to soak in unpolluted water, cool off or chill out with a pretty view in the front.
Note: An Bang Food and Music Festival is held once a year in An Bang beach, with no tickets and fees. Visitors can see a variety of foods prepared by chefs from top-notch restaurants and handicraft things to buy. Tables and comfy sofas to watch live international music are also available.
The Marble Mountains (2022)
Read details in The Marble Mountains
In 2022, entrance fee to the Marble Mountains is free. 15 km north of Hoi An center, this nationally-famed attraction is a cluster of 5 jagged limestone and marble hills. A king named it “Five Elements Mountain” or Ngu Hanh Son, and each hill represents an element. The largest one Hon Thuy Son or “Water Mountain” is the tourist draw because it owns the oldest Buddhist temples, holiest shrines, most amazing caves and scenic high points. All are one by one along a hike with hundreds of steps. In the foot, visitors can see the Hell Cave where Vietcong communists hid in the American war. Just outside, local people have carved marble sculptures for sale for over 400 years up to date.
Precious Heritage Art Gallery by Rehann
This private art gallery and museum is the best of its kind in Hoi An. It’s founded and owned by Rehann, a talented French photographer living with a love for Vietnam. He spent a lot of time touring around the city and traveled around the country, to capture the most memorable moments and beauty of Vietnamese people. In the first space of the gallery, visitors will see impressive pictures of them, hanging up on the walls. In the remaining parts of the ground floor and the upper floor, the most complete collection of traditional costume from all 54 ethnics is seen. How the French men approached each group of people is told on the front information board.
Hoi An Central Market
Read details in Hoi An central market
This central market of the Old town (and city) opens from the early morning to dinner time. Around the sunrise, visitors can see a bustling scene of fishers and buyers in the fish market by the river. Then, tour around Bach Dang St next to, to see a variety of local procedures in different colors. In the first rush hour of the day, photo opportunities are many, to capture the most lively, authentic slices of life. “Under the roof”, the sellers have fresh meats, cooking utensils, spices and cooked foods for sale. In the entrance of the market, the well is still producing water and in use. Some people use the water from there to prepare cao lau noodles, instead of the one from Ba Le well because it’s nearer. In Tieu La St, it’s possible to see locals dun drying the fresh noodles on round trays that are rarely seen around the town. Around the dusk, visitors have the chance to meet various street food and souvenir stalls, including on the pavement and with a cart.
Cam Kim Island
Read details in Cam Kim island
Cam Kim Island is surrounded by Thu Bon river, the largest waterway in the province. To get to it, visitors need to cross two Cam Kim bridges or get a boat ferry from the old town’s quay. Due to being isolated from the city and mainlands for a long time, people here still keep nearly-unchanged rural lifestyles, traditional handicrafts and speaking accents. Their village, gardens and rice paddies are still free from large constructions, crowds of tourists and factories. For that reason, lots of visitors want to come here and get insight into the countryside of Hoi An – the real Vietnam.
The best way is on wheels of a bicycle which allows you to paddle in small, low-traffic back roads and access local families. Without a guide, visitors can ride over Cam Kim bridge, visit Kim Bong carpentry village, nearby Cam Kim market and across other villages and windy rice paddies. No fee is required to enter and get around this pretty piece of Hoi An’s countryside. The bicycle is available in the hotel, so why not?
Read also: Hoi An old town and Cam Kim island bike tour (full day)
Tra Que Vegetable Village
Read details in Tra Que vegetable village
Tra Que is a traditional village 3 km north of the Old town and not far away from An Bang beach. Visitors can cycle to get here, visit lush organically-grown vegetable gardens and photograph the farmers at work. Growers are happy to allow visitors to join their daily works, such as transplanting baby herbs, watering and so on. Near the gardens, there are a couple of historical sites to see, including communal houses, temples, tombs of military soldiers and Champa wells. At the end of the day, coming to nearby rivers or rice paddies, visitors definitely have the chance to witness a brilliant sunset.
- Hoi An ancient town and countryside experience
- My Son sanctuary and Hoi An countryside tour
Kim Bong Carpentry Village
Ride the free bicycle in the hotel and cross over any of Cam Kim bridges, visitors will get closer to Kim Bong carpentry village. It’s established in 16th century by people who moved from the north of Vietnam. Over 400 years, the traditional handicraft is still passed down from father to son, and the tradition becomes a national intangible cultural heritage. Boat building “industry” is still alive by the river and in the inner roads, there are workshops where artists are hard working in their sculptures. Galleries don’t require an entrance ticket, so feel free to walk in and admire masterly-crafted furniture and objects. Take the bicycle further inside the Cam Kim island, visitors may see more slices of Vietnamese rural life along the roads.
Read also: Hoi An old town and Cam Kim island bike tour
Free Instagrammable Spots
Read also: Instagrammable spots in Hoi An
There are lots of places where visitors can take really nice photos that don’t require an entrance fee. Ba Mu temple gate is one of the best known ones, in Hai Ba Trung St. It’s what an enormous Chinese temple leftover from wars and renovated in a recent time. People can visit any hour of the day, from sunrise to midnight. Other highlights are “Hoi An vibes only” wall in the Sunday in Hoi An, yellow wall of Tan Ky house (riverside), Japanese covered bridge (outside), lantern streets Nguyen Thai Hoc, bougainvillea flowers and so on.
Read also: Hoi An ancient town walking tour and countryside experience
Cycle around Hoi An’s Countryside
Around Hoi An’s city centre, there is a peaceful, nearly unspoiled countryside that lots of travellers love to cycle around. With a free bicycle from the hotel, you can choose to paddle across the northern countryside (surroundings of Tra Que village) and Cam Kim island. In the first area, it’s possible to expect lush vegetable and herb gardens, rice fields and waterways dotted with fishermen’s nets. In the island, thanks to being on the river, the riders enjoy low-traffic roads through small villages, rice paddies and sedge grass fields. Sometimes, temples, pagodas and family chapels are hidden away in trees. In the late afternoon, watching the sun going down the horizon is one of traveler’s favourites. Don’t forget that Kim Bong carpentry village is on the island, without the entrance fee.
- Hoi An ancient town and Cam Kim island bike tour
- My Son sanctuary and Hoi An countryside experience (full day)
- The bests of Hoi An – old town and countryside
Buddhist Temples and Pagodas in Hoi An
Read details in Temples and pagodas in Hoi An
Visitors don’t pay an entrance fee if visiting Buddhist temples and pagodas in Hoi An, as a long-standing tradition. Therefore, you don’t need to. The most famous pagoda is Chuc Thanh (not in the old town) – the headquarter of Linji school of Buddhism in the region. It’s built in the second half of 17th century when Hoi An town reached its peak in international trade. Also dated back from the same time, nearby Phuoc Lam Pagoda is also worth a visit. Closer to the ancient quarters, the Confucius Temple is grand, newly reconstructed in traditional architecture. In a house here, disabled people make handicraft objects (like lanterns) to sell and earn for living. You can buy to support their life.
Bai Choi Singgings and Games
Bai Choi is a Unesco intangible cultural heritage in the province. It’s a mix between gaming and singing that occurs during the spring in rural villages. After winning the title from the United Nations organization, artists come to the town to perform and introduce their ancestor tradition. By An Hoi bridge, visitors can see bamboo huts where players and the audience sit and participate. All huts face an open yard where the hosts stand. Although it’s very hard to understand what they sing, watching the art allows visitors to know about a local heritage. In the lantern full moon festival, folk games and classes to teach childrens folk songs are also arranged around the waterfronts.
Read also: Hoi An ancient town, night market and sampan boat (half day)
GAM Gemstone Art Museum
At 130 Nguyen Thai Hoc St (An Hoi bridge), this museum allows visitors to enjoy the beauty and diversity of gemstones found in Vietnam and the outside. All are showcased in an old Chinese merchant’s house. In other areas, it’s possible to see options of coffees and beverages but nobody requests to take anything.
Early Morning Fish Markets
Fish markets in the sunset are stunning to visit, not only for photography lovers, but also for those who seek real slices of local people’s life. The nearest from the Old town is Thanh Ha fish market under the Cam Kim bridge. Other famous ones (but further) are Duy Hai fish market near the mouth of Thu Bon river and Binh Minh fish market on the beach. For sure, nowhere charges an entrance fee.
Sunrise and Sunset
Watching sunrise and sunset – two magic moments of the day – are favourite things to do for nature lovers and romantic souls. The best place to watch how the sun goes up, of course, is the beach. The nearest one depends on where you stay, but if staying overnight near the Old town, An Bang is the choice. There, not just scenic and inspirational scenery, the viewers also see how the life of people is at the beginning of a new day. The beach is popular to local swimmers, exercisers and sport players everyday. If lucky enough, visitors will see fishers offloading their catches of seafood on the water edge.
To enjoy the brilliant sunset, visitors can reach bridges over Thu Bon river, such as Cua Dai, Cam Kim or Cam Nam bridges. Rice fields in the countryside are also ideal, because of no obstacles. In town, come to Bach Dang river quay. After the sun disappears, it’s time to view how the lantern lights on and become sparky quickly then. Along the riverfront, paper lanterns with a candle are dropped down the water and float leisurely, making the night scape truly mesmerizing.
Read also: Hoi An ancient town tour, night market and lantern boat ride