You have 3 days in Hoi An and want to make the most out of it? No problem. This Hoi An itinerary will guide you through what to do in Hoi An for 3 days.
Hoi An is a quaint town located on the coast of Central Vietnam. Characteristic yellow buildings adorned with colored lanterns line the streets, and paddle boats and candles float down the Thu Bon River.
This UNESCO World Heritage Town is at the top of many visitors’ to-do lists when they travel to Vietnam. This guide will not only cover the must-do activities in Hoi An, but it will also include getting tailored clothing and recommendations for the best dishes to eat. Follow this 3-day Hoi An itinerary on your first time in Vietnam and have the time of your life.
How to Get to Hoi An
The most common way to get to Hoi An is from Da Nang. Da Nang City has an international airport, just 45 minutes away from Hoi An.
➤ You can book a shared shuttle bus from the airport online from companies like Klook and Get Your Guide for around 120,000 VND. Shuttles leave on the hour and take you to the door of your accommodation within the Old Town.
➤ A private taxi can also be rented for around 450,000 VND. Your accommodation may be able to arrange one for cheaper, at around 300,000 VND.
➤ The cheapest way to get from Da Nang to Hoi An is by public bus. The #1 bus leaves from various stops in Da Nang City. Tickets cost 18,000 VND per person, or 30,000 VND per person including luggage.
Where to Stay in Hoi An
Staying within the Old Town is the best place to stay in Hoi An during your first trip to Vietnam. This is where you’ll find the majority of attractions, and many amazing choices for food and shopping. There are countless hotels in Hoi An Ancient Town to suit all budgets.
For those who want to spend most of their time in Hoi An at the beach, you could stay right on the coast, just five kilometres from the main town. Choose between resorts at An Bang, Cua Dai and Ha My Beaches.
3 Days in Hoi An Itinerary
This you’ll find here is a sample 3 day Hoi An itinerary. Of course, these are just my suggestions. Feel free to use this for inspirations and make your own itinerary.
Day 1 – Shopping and Eating in the Old Town
Get Clothing Tailored
Hoi An is the best place in Vietnam to get clothing tailored. In the Old Town alone, there are hundreds of tailors lining the streets. There is no limit to what you can get tailored. For men, suits are the most popular choice. For women, evening gowns are common.
Especially a good idea for those who have an event to go to, or those who struggle to find clothes that fit them well. I’m incredibly petite, so every time I visit Hoi An, I make sure to get a few pieces made.
Prices vary depending on which tailor you choose. It’s best to consult with a few tailors first to discuss your options and obtain quotes. My favorite tailor shop is Tuong Lai Future and my top pick for a high-end tailor shop is Yaly.
⚠️ Choose one on your first day to ensure your clothes are ready before you leave Hoi An.
Visit the Heritage Sites
Within the Ancient Town, Hoi An has some beautifully preserved heritage sites. Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, Duc An Old House, and Phuc Kien Assembly Hall.
➤ The Japanese Covered Bridge is located near the riverfront at the end of the pedestrian bridge. This bridge joined both the Japanese and Chinese communities.
➤ The Duc An Old House was a successful bookshop and a housing complex for a beloved family.
➤ The Phuc Kien Assembly Hall was constructed for Chinese settlers to celebrate their ancestors and gods.
Banh Mi Phuong for Lunch
Banh Mi Phuong is one of, if not the most famous place to eat in the whole country. The reason it is so well-known is it was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s show, “No Reservations”.
A banh mi is a Vietnamese-style baguette, typically consisting of meats, pate, freish herbs, and salad. Starting at just 20,000 VND, a banh mi is an incredibly affordable meal. They’re quite addicting – the second time I visited Vietnam, I had one banh mi each day for lunch. With all the flavours available I don’t think I could ever get sick of them!
Don’t let the long lines discourage you, the staff make the baguettes very efficiently.
Go Shopping in the Old Town
The shops within Hoi An Old Town are great places for the best things to buy in Vietnam. Wander around the charming streets of Hoi An and shop for clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, and other handicrafts.
The vast majority of travellers start their journeys through Vietnam from either the north or the south, so by the time you reach Hoi An, you’ll be familiar with the art of bartering.
Give yourself a few hours to explore the town at least once during your trip. Don’t miss out on the smaller side streets – you’ll find local restaurants and hand-painted lantern shops there.
Watch the Sunset at a Riverfront Bar
The Thu Bon River is the hub for tourists in Hoi An. The riverfront is so picturesque with the paddleboats adorned with vibrant lanterns and the pedestrian bridge completely lit up after dark.
Across the bridge, you’ll find many bars with views of the river. Grab a cold beer, wine, or cocktail, and enjoy the sunset.
These bars are a major tourist spot, so get there before sunset to ensure a seat with a great view. Drinks will cost a premium on the riverfront due to the location. Regardless, the price of drinks in Southeast Asia is cheaper than that of the Western world.
Most bars serve great food to accompany the drinks, so you could grab dinner here. If you’re travelling on a budget, head past the restaurants and around the corner, where you’ll find a complex of local Vietnamese cafes. Grab a meal for as little as 30,000 VND.
Day 2 – Marble Mountains and Bamboo Circus
Any Hoi An itinerary for 3 days should include some time to include the surroundings of Hoi An. There are quite a few day trips you can take, but I suggest you pick Marble Mountains as you can do it in half a day.
Marble Mountains Tour
The Marble Mountains are remarkable limestone karts located 30 minutes from Hoi An. There are five mountains, all named after five elements.
If you haven’t already spent time in Da Nang prior to visiting Hoi An, taking a half-day tour to the Marble Mountains is a great way to spend your time.
⚠️ Choose a tour that brings you to the Marble Mountains in the morning, when temperatures are cooler. There are a few hundred stairs to climb to an impressive view, and when we went in the afternoon, we really regretted not leaving for the attraction until when the sun was at its harshest.
Banh Xeo, White Rose and Goi Cuon for Lunch
Banh xeo, white rose and goi cuon are delicious Vietnamese side dishes.
➤ Banh xeo is a savoury pancake flavoured with turmeric. The pancake is filled with meat and bean sprouts. The correct way to eat the pancake is to tear off a piece, then wrap it in lettuce and herbs.
➤ White rose is another special dish from Hoi An (and another one of my favourites). This dish has been likened to a shrimp and pork dumpling, although the rice paper is unwrapped, so it resembles a white rose.
➤ Goi cuon are fresh spring rolls. Typically, pork and prawns are the meats used. It will also include fresh herbs and salad, wrapped in rice paper. These are the perfect light and healthy snack. You could also try cha gio, deep-fried spring rolls.
Book your first tailor fitting the day after your consultation. The bulk of your garments should have already been made (which is super impressive) and you’ll get to try them on to see whether any alterations are required. The work ethic of the Hoi An tailors is impressive.
Head to the Hoi An Lune Centre for the Performing Arts for an incredible show. The Bamboo Circus runs shows from 6 pm, with tickets starting at 700,000 VND per adult.
This circus is set inside a circular bamboo tent. The A O storyline, which is the show currently performed at the centre, focuses on life in fishing communities. The performers use bamboo sticks to tell their stories.
Cao Lau for Dinner
It’s hard to choose a favourite Vietnamese dish – I’ve been impressed with every meal! But, if I had to choose, I think it would have to be cao lau. Cao lau noodles originated in Hoi An, and are rarely sold outside of central Vietnam.
The noodles used are not the classic rice noodles used in pho, instead, they are yellow noodles steamed in lye water found from one of the two wells in Hoi An.
Day 3 – An Bang Beach and Cooking Class
Visit Central Market
Central Market is one of the few places within Hoi An Old Town with more locals than tourists. The market sells fresh produce and meats. Locals tend to visit during the morning, so this is a great time to visit a more authentic side of Hoi An.
Bike to An Bang Beach
There are a few beaches located nearby each other in Hoi An. There’s Cua Dai which is a very popular beach due to the resorts stationed nearby, there’s Ha My further north, and there’s An Bang Beach which is located around 5 kilometres from the Ancient Town.
This makes it the perfect distance to cycle to. Hire a bike from the Ancient Town for as little as $1 USD for half a day, then take a leisurely bike ride to the beach.
Take a dip in the ocean, then dine at the beachfront restaurants. They all sell refreshing fruit smoothies which are perfect in the warm weather.
Mi Quang for Lunch
While you’ve heard of pho, you may not have heard of another rice noodle dish, mi quang. This dish originates from the central region of Vietnam, so Hoi An is the perfect place to try the dish. What makes this dish special is that turmeric is used in the meat broth. Mi quang is served with meat, vegetables, and fresh herbs.
Last Tailor Fitting
Your clothing will likely be ready to pick up after the second tailor fitting. Last-minute changes may be made to straps and button placement, for example, and some of the time the tailor will finish it off for you while you are there.
If any major alterations need to be made, organise to pick them up another time before you leave Hoi An. The tailors work very fast, so they should have no problem getting your garments to you before you leave. The average turnaround for tailoring seems to be around 48 hours.
I’m definitely a foodie. I love to eat and learn how to cook different meals. Cooking classes are great because they teach you skills you can use back home. When you’re feeling the post-holiday blues, just cook up a Vietnamese meal and feel like you’re there again.
The classes are super informative and you don’t need to be a chef or avid cook to be able to follow the class. We booked at Vy’s Market Restaurant & Cooking School. We made a few dishes including the iconic Hoi An dish, cao lau, and banh xeo crispy pancakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
I only have 2 days in Hoi An. What should I do?
Two days in Hoi An is going to be tight, but doable. I suggest you follow the itinerary for Day 1 and 3 and skip Day 2 entirely, as you won’t have time to go on a day trip from Hoi An in 2 days. No worries, you’ll still have enough time to experience the best that the city of Hoi An has to offer!
Are 3 days in Hoi An enough? How many days in Hoi An do you recommend?
I’d say that three days in Hoi An is the perfect amount of time, especially if you then have another couple of days to explore Da Nang and maybe go to the Ba Na Hills park. If you don’t, then maybe stay 1-2 extra days in Hoi An so you can go on more day trips. But otherwise, if you follow the Hoi An 3 day itinerary that you can find up here, you’ll be able to see and do most of the best things in Hoi An.
There you go! Hopefully this itinerary was useful to plan your 3 days in Hoi An, Vietnam. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.