Hoi An is easily one of the most beautiful destinations in Vietnam: discover the top 15 things to do in Hoi An and have an awesome time!
It’s no wonder that Hoi An is one of many tourists’ favorite destination. It’s hard, very very hard not to like the town, and it’s also really hard to run out of things to see in Hoi An. From the beach to the lanterns, from the shopping to the boat trips, here are some of the best things to do in Hoi An.
Table of Contents
1| Soak Up The Sun at the Beaches of Hoi An
Hoi An is not only its ancient town: given its prime location on the coast, Hoi An has plenty of beaches to choose from, so there’s nothing stopping you from grabbing your beach towel and heading down to the sand.
An Bang beach is 3km from the old town, while Cua Dai Beach is a 4km ride away, and they are considered some of the best beaches near Hoi An and generally in Vietnam together with Mui Ne beaches.
Alternatively, if you want total peace and quiet, take a boat trip out to Cham Island for your own private tropical getaway- even if it is yours just for the afternoon!
I went to An Bang beach by bike, and it was a very nice ride by the paddy fields. I was surprised to find such an organized beach, with umbrellas, deckchairs and restaurants. I’m not sure it’s the best beach in Hoi An, but sure it’s convenient!
When you get to the beach, walk to the right and skip the first few lidos, that are known to rip off the clients. Keep walking to the fourth or fifth lido called “Paris”, where grabbing a beach umbrella and chairs is free as long as you drink or eat something: more than fair enough! The coffee and the food at the restaurant are very good, and the prices are fair.
Read also my post that compares the best travel insurance options.
2| Eat, Eat, Eat at These Hoi An Restaurants
Hoi An, Vietnam, is often considered one of the food capitals in the country: in fact, I found the Vietnamese food here to be better than most places.
One of the specialties of Hoi An is white roses, shrimp dumplings made from translucent rice dough, and made in a way they look like roses. There’s only one place in town that knows the original, secret recipe, so skip all the other Hoi An restaurants and come to White Rose. They only have two choices in their menu, so choosing a plate will never be easier.
Other favorite restaurants in Hoi An that you have to try are:
Morning Glory: you’ll find this restaurant in any Hoi An guide, and it’s not a case. The traditional Vietnamese food is beautifully presented. Try the My Quang noodles and the Ban Xheo pancakes, they are both delicious. Morning Glory is more expensive than most restaurants in Vietnam, but you can still have a delicious meal for under $10. [106 Nguyễn Thái Học, Minh An, Tp. Hội An – open 11am to 9.30pm every day]
Mango Mango: the second restaurant in town by chef Tran Duc, Mango Mango specializes in Vietnamese fusion cuisine that combines the traditional elements with fun ingredients such as chocolate or fruit. The cocktails are delicious, as well as the views over the Japanese Bridge all lightened up at night: reserve a table upstairs for the best view! [Nguyễn Phúc Chu, An Hội, Minh An, Thành phố Hội An – open 9am to 10pm every day]
Streets Restaurant Cafè: Streets is a non-profit association that trains disadvantaged young people in the restaurant and gives them the tolls for a better future. Streets serves both international and Vietnamese food, and reinvests all the profits in the association. [17 Lê Lợi, Minh An, HoiAn City, open 12pm to 10pm every day].
If you’re looking to skip the meat, check out also this list of vegan restaurants in Hoi An.
3| Shop For a Custom-Made Suit or Dress
Feeling like shopping? If you must pick a place for splurging on clothes, shoes and bags, make it Hoi An, Vietnam. There is an endless number of tailor shops (over 400!) , so many that you really won’t know which one to choose, so this is really a must do in Hoi An.
Some of the shops are really cheap, but remember that you usually get what you pay for. I’ve asked around and these seem to be the best tailor shops in Hoi An when it comes to good quality and reasonable prices:
BeBe: It started as a small family business and expanded to the point where BeBe is one of the most famous shops in Hoi An. Bebe has 3 showrooms in town, where you’ll be greeted with cordiality. You’ll notice teh attention to the details right away. The prices are very reasonable too. [11 Hoang Dieu St. Hoi An, open 8am to 9.30pm every day].
Yaly Couture: This is probably the most expensive tailor shop in Hoi An, but if you’re looking for the highest quality, Yaly Couture is where you want to go. The tailors are highly skilled and will be able to make very elaborated items. Yaly Couture has 4 showrooms in town. [47 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An Town, open 8am to 9.30pm every day]
Bao Khan Silk: Once featured in The Sunday Time Travel as the best tailor shop in all of Vietnam, Bao Khan Silk provides good quality and it’s also incredibly cheap! You can even find dresses for $20 here! So, this shop is definitely worth a visit. [101 Trần Hưng Đạo, Phường Minh An, Hội An, open 9am to 9pm every day].
READ ALSO: The Perfect 3 Days in Hoi An Itinerary
4| Take a Day Trip from Hoi An to Danang
Not only is there plenty to see in the city, but given its location, there are also plenty of things to do around Hoi An, Vietnam. First on your to-do list should be Da Nang, one of the largest cities in Vietnam, and one which has benefited massively from the country’s modernization program.
You’ll therefore find a unique mix of old and new in Danang- stroll along the beachfront and you’ll be met with modern buildings and hip young locals, but venture deeper into the city to uncover hidden treasures like the Dragon Bridge and the Cao Dai Temple.
How to get to Da Nang from Hoi An
Da Nang is only 45 minutes to an hour apart so it’s easy to reach Da Nang for a day trip.
Depending on your travel style and the amount of time available, though, sometimes it’s worth considering taking a day tour to Danang that also packs other destinations such as Marble Mountain.
5| Explore the Paddy Fields & the Countryside
In Hoi An I finally found the Vietnam I was looking for. The Vietnam I imagined, the Vietnam I dreamt of before coming here…. and you will too.
If when you think of Vietnam you imagine rice paddy fields, a great blue sky and water buffalos, you’ll find all that in Hoi An, and if you only have one day in Hoi An (but whyy??), make this the priority.
This is one of the top things to do in Vietnam in my opinion: just grab a bike and ride outside town towards the beach: you’ll find out that the real Vietnam is just around the corner.
Don’t get scammed: Along the road, among the regular workers, you’ll see at some point a water buffalo with a man, and another man on the road who invites tourists to get closer: if you want to go and take your picture with the water buffalo, know it won’t be for free. Make sure to haggle a price beforehand, cause I’ve heard of people being asked even 10 dollars for a picture afterwards!! Yikes!
If you prefer to join an organized tour, you can opt for a morning countryside tour by bike, or a farming and fishing tour which includes a countryside bike tour and a river cruise. Or also this countryside sidecar tour!
Check out this amazing video about Hoi An must sees; it gives me goosebumps and makes me want to go back asap.
6| See the Japanese Bridge
This is a Hoi An must do that should definitely be on your Hoi An itinerary. While Hoi An has a rich heritage, it’s also not ashamed of its links with other cultures. Way back in the 1590s, the Japanese community here wanted to create better links with the Chinese quarters of town. They decided the best way to do that was to build a bridge that would cross the river, and bring the two sides together.
The charming covered bridge has been remarkably well preserved over the centuries, is one of Hoi An top attractions, and is somewhat of an emblem for the city’s sense of inclusiveness. Be warned, though- the bridge is due to be renovated in the near future, so catch it while you can!
7| Have Some Very Special Tea at Reaching Out Tea House
What to do in Hoi An that gives back to the community? I always try and ask myself this question when I land in a new destination. And Reaching Ot Tea House must also be the most tranquil location I’ve found in Vietnam.
The perfect place to sip some delicious Vietnamese coffee and enjoy some cookies or light snacks, and my top recommendation for unusual things to do in Hoi An.
But Reaching Out Tea House, located in the Old Town of Hoi An, is more special than this because it’s different from all other must dos in Hoi An: it’s in fact owned by a local fair trade social enterprise that employs deaf and physically impaired people.
On each table there are a notebook and a pencil, and a few words written down, and that, together with the smiles, is how you communicate here. Please put this wonderful place in your Hoi An to do list .. your coffee will really make the difference.
8| Go For a Day-Trip to the My Son Ruins
One of the great things about Vietnam is the fact that this part of the world has an incredibly rich history. In fact, you’re never too far away from some amazing ruins, and if you’re staying in Hoi An, it would be a shame to miss out on one of the most spectacular sites in the country: the My Son ruins.
This complex of abandoned Hindu temples dates back to the fourth century, and for hundreds of years it was the temple of choice for the kings of the Champa dynasty, as well as the final resting place for many of them.
While it’s not as well known as Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, My Son is very much the Vietnamese equivalent, and the sense of peace and tranquility to be found here is something that will stay with you for a very long time.
Sadly, a significant chunk of the architecture at My Son was destroyed by carpet bombing during the Vietnam War, but the remaining ruins are still a sight to be beheld. Best of all, the site is only about an hour away from Hoi An, so a visit to the ruins it’s definitely one of the best day trips from Hoi An.
The easiest way to tour the ruins, and the one I suggest, is definitely joining a tour. Luckily, there are million options out there to visit them. You can join a classic (and super affordable) half-day tour, or get up at 4.30am for watching sunrise over the countryside and visit My Son before the crowds arrive.
Other cool tours to My Son include:
– Hoi An to My Son Half-Day Cycling Tour, that combines the ruins with a great ride through the Vietnamese countryside and paddy fields.
– My Son Sanctuary Private Countryside Jeep Tour: this tour gives you the flexibility of being private, and combines the ruins with a visit to a bustling market and a traditional village via Jeep.
– Full-Day My Son Sanctuary Heritage Tour by Vintage Vespa, where you’ll ride a vintage Vespa through villages and markets on top of visiting the site.
If you are staying in Da Nang, some Hoi An tours also include a visit to My Son: highly recommended.
9| Take a Cooking Class
During your time in Hoi An, you’ll discover for yourself just how delicious Vietnamese cuisine really is. If you’d like to bring a little of that flavor back home with you, then you’re in luck: a cooking class is a great way to learn how to whip up these delicious dishes for yourself and one of the top things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam!
This market tour & cooking class is a great place to start, since not only will you learn how to cook a range of tasty treats, but you’ll also be taken on a tour of some of the city’s hidden culinary gems – for less than $30 per person.
Two other cooking classes that are worth checking out:
– 6-hour Vegetarian Cooking Class Tour, ’cause some of the best Vietnamese delicacies are vegetarian
– Hoi An Walking Tour & Cooking Class – Small Group, that mixes history with delicious food.
Kiman Hoi An Hotel, where I was staying at (more below!) offers a free cooking class a few days a week, and I cannot recommend enough to take advantage of it.
The experience starts with a tour of the local market, where guests help do the shopping for the ingredients needed for the cooking lesson.
I had decided to cook chicken with cashew nuts and veggies, and the cooking class in itself led by the hotel chef was very easy even for me who I am a terrible cook!
I was given a recipe to replicate the dish at home, and I finally was able to eat: yummi!
The cooking class is free of charge, you only pay for the food you decide to cook. Trust me, even if you are not a big fan of cooking, I found this one of the most fun things to do in Hoi An… I was so proud of my plate!
10| Go for a stroll to the Lantern Market
Hoi An really comes alive at night, and an Hoi An must see is the spectacular Lantern Market. Every evening, the 300-meter-long Nguyen Hoang Street is transformed into a sea of color, as vendors set up stalls selling everything from handmade jewelry and clothes to delicious snacks.
The whole thing is topped off- and takes its name from- the hundreds of different colored lanterns that decorate the street and illuminate the stalls. If you’re looking for an authentic Hoi An experience, then the Lantern Market is not to be missed!
11| Find the best Banh My
Banh My Phuong is supposedly the best place in town for banh my, which are crispy baguettes with veggies, herbs, eggs and any kind of meat.
This little place has become famous after Anthony Bourdain filmed here an episode of “No Reservations”, and of all Hoi An restaurants, this must be the most incuspicuous. I can’t say if this is the best banh my you can have, but it’s indeed very very tasty… and super cheap too!
Banh My Phuong: 2B Phan Châu Trinh, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, open 6.30am to 9.30pm every day
12| Sip Egg Coffee
Now we know what you’re thinking- egg coffee sounds a little weird. However, it doesn’t just involve cracking an egg into a coffee cup. Instead, it’s something close to a tiramisu or egg custard, with plenty of sugar added for a real sweet kick.
According to one story, the recipe was originally created when milk was hard to come by in Vietnam. One savvy café owner decided to try replacing with egg, and hey presto- a local delicacy was born!
It takes skill to get it just right, but when done properly, egg coffee is a one-of-a-kind culinary experience and one of the unique things to do in Hoi An.
You’ll find it on pretty much every café menu in Vietnam, so whether you’re enjoying it on its own, or as the perfect end to a meal, egg coffee is something you simply have to try while you’re in Vietnam.
The best place to try it is Hoi An Roastery: there are six locations around Hoi An, so you’re never too far!
13| Relax By the River
Hoi An originally grew thanks to its ideal location for international traders. Situated at the mouth of the Thu Bon River, it made for the ideal gateway to the rest of Vietnam, while also being in a prime spot to stop off at on the way to China and Japan. A lot of that wealth seeped into the surrounding areas of the city, which means that the Riverside district is home to some of the most beautiful buildings in town.
There are plenty of pretty cafes to stop off at and rest your legs while sipping one of those egg coffees we mentioned earlier and enjoying probably the most famous of Hoi An sights.
It might be cause I’m Italian and we have it in our blood, but relaxing by the river and see the daily life going by is one of my favorite Hoi An things to do.
14| Explore the nightlife in Hoi An
Like most big cities, Hoi An really comes alive at night- giving travelers the chance to see how people in Vietnam like to party. Naturally, there’s a huge array of restaurants to choose from, so just follow your nose to pick whatever you think smells the tastiest. Once you’ve filled your tummy, wander down to the Hoi An Ancient Town and Riverside districts, where most of the things to do in Hoi An at night are located.
For instance, you could stop by Q Bar, a hip, modern bar that serves up plenty of great cocktails. Alternatively, White Marble Wine Bar is housed in a refurbished heritage building, and allows you to sip on your drink while gazing out at stunning views of the river.
15| Get a massage
While Hoi An has a lot to see and do, it can sometimes get a bit too much. If you find that the heat and crowds of the city are getting you tense, then why not relax with a soothing Vietnamese massage? It’s a great way to relax and unwind!
While Vietnamese massage originally developed from Chinese techniques, it has been refined over the centuries to become very much its own thing. It mostly focuses on kneading and working out knots in the muscles, so while it can be a little strenuous while the massage is taking place, it really does leave your body feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.
If you’re looking for the best places to get a massage in Hoi Ann, then both Heaven Garden in Nguyen Phan Vinh, and My Chi Spa in Tan An Ward both come highly recommended. What’s more, they are open until well into the evening, so they are a great place to wash away the stresses of a busy day!
You can even combine a 1.5 hour herbal bath and body massage with a candlelit sunset dinner cruise – romantic! Check it out here.
FAQ – All You Need To Know About Hoi An
What Is The best Time To Go To Hoi An?
The best months to visit Hoi An are February to May, when the temperatures are warm but not too hot and humid. Keep in mind that it can get VERY hot and humid between June and August.
On the other hand, the rain season lasts from September to January. It can be annoying, the temperatures are at their lowest, but prices are definitely lower and there are less tourists around.
Is Hoi An Worth Visiting?
A big fat YES! I wasn’t a big fan of other parts of Vietnam to be honest, but Hoi An really conquered me. Its charming old town all lightened up at night, the boutique shops, the cobbled streets were some of my favorite Hoi An highlights. Hoi An NEEDS to be in your itinerary.
How Many Days in Hoi An?
When people ask me how long to stay in Hoi An, I always reply as long as you can. Can you tell I feel in love with this town? No, but seriously, I recommend staying for at least 3 nights.
But what to do in Hoi An for 3 days, you ask? Plenty! Go explore the city, go on some Hoi An day trips, try a cooking class, cycle by the paddy fields and relax at the beach. You can even do a homestay in Hoi An if that’s your thing. If you have time, stay even longer, you won’t regret it.
What To Buy in Hoi An?
In my opinion, after a month trip in Vietnam, Hoi An is the best place in Vietnam to shop for souvenirs. From custom made suits to lanterns for friends and family to artisanal souvenirs, make sure you leave some space in your luggage.
How To Get To Hoi An
Easy! Hoi An is very well linked. No matter where you are coming from, you can choose between bus, train (even sleeper train) or plane.
You can search down here the best way to get to your destination:
➤ Coming from Da Nang: BOOK HERE the shuttle, bus or private transfer to Hoi An
➤ Coming from Hanoi: BOOK HERE the bus from Hanoi to Hoi An
➤ Coming from Nha Trang: BOOK HERE the bus from Nha Trang to Hoi An
➤ Coming from Dalat: BOOK HERE the bus from Da Lat to Hoi An
It’s worth checking out Vietnam Airlines site for plane tickets: even just a couple of days before, you can easily find tickets for $30-40 from Ho Chi Minh. From Da Nang Airport to Hoi An, it’s only a 45-minutes to 1 hour drive.
BOOK HERE a shared shuttle or private transfer from the airport to your hotel in Hoi An for as little as $7 per person.
Where to Stay in Hoi An
Hoi An provides all kinds of accommodations for every budget, but if you are wondering about Hoi An hotels, I have a few recommendations for you. Book your accommodation by using the map below ⬇
Luxury and Boutique Hotels
Silk Sense Hoi An River Resort: Situated on the Co Co river, it’s one of the finest riverside resorts in Hoi An. Some of the suites feature open air bathrooms and private pools. Take advantage of the free bikes to go to An Bang Beach, only 1,5 km away.
Check out rates and availability for Silk Sense Hoi An River Resort.
Allegro Hoi An. A little luxury hotel & spa: Located in the historic Old town, this luxury hotel features beautiful rooms with bath tubs, a great buffet breakfast and an outdoor pool. Everyone raves about the incredible service and the faultless staff. Check out rates and availability for Allegro Hoi An.
Luxury for less: < $70 a night
Aira Boutique Hoi An Hotel & Spa: If you prefer to stay by the beach, Aira Boutique is located by the white-sand An Bang Beach, features a private beach area and 2 outdoor pools. The Old Town is 5 km away. Check out rates and availability for Aira Boutique Hoi An Hotel & Spa.
Ha An Hotel: An island of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of the historic Old town. Spacious rooms with tubs, and beautiful grounds with a lush garden and a pool. Complimentary bikes.
Check out rates and availability for Ha An Hotel.
On a Budget
Lavini Hoi An Boutique Villa: In a tranquil location by the paddy fields, this 3-star hotel is only a 5-minutes bike ride to the Old Town. Very nice rooms and beautiful outdoor pool.
Check out rates and availability for Lavini Hoi An Boutique Villa.
An Bang Beach Villa: With a score of 9.7 on Booking, you can tell this place is great value for money. 200 metres from An Bang Beach, spacious and nice rooms, and an outdoor pool.
Check out rates and availability for An Bang Beach Villa.
Kiman Hoi An Hotel & Spa: A pool, buffet breakfast, and free bikes for $20 a night. Scroll down for a full review!
I stayed for two night at the 3-star Kiman Hoi An Hotel & Spa, and it was a great pick.
My room was a Deluxe Room that features a balcony, a seating space and a coffee maker.
Rooms are simple yet very comfortable and tastefully decorated; I liked the black and white prints on the wall and the room didn’t lack anything.
If you are planning to both visit the old town and spend some time soaking up the sun at the beach, Kiman hotel is located in a great location, not far from all the best places to visit in Hoi An … and getting around Hoi An is so easy!
The Old Town is only 1km away, and you can eaily reach it by walking or biking, while Hoi An beach is just a 20-minutes bike ride away and one of the top things to do in Hoi An.
Good news! Bikes are available to guests free of charge!
A complimentary breakfast is served each morning until 10 am, and there’s a good choice of items: fresh tropical fruit and baked goods, Asian dishes such as dim sum and there’s a cooking station where you can order eggs and omelettes cooked at the moment.
The hotel offers to its guests a pool, which is not huge but trust me, you’ll love to jump in it in one of those hot, humid days.
Rates on Booking.com start at $25 for a deluxe double room, which includes breakfast, and it’s honestly a steal for the service offered!
So, where to stay in Hoi An? I would definitely go back to Kiman Hoi An Hotel & Spa!
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Many thanks to Kiman Hoi An Hotel & Spa for hosting me. All the opinions expressed in this Hoi An blog post are my own.
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you book something through one of my inks I might get a commission, at absolutely no extra cost to you.