Incredible Things To Do in Hoi An Vietnam +What to Eat & Where To Stay

The UNESCO Heritage Town of Hoi An is a must-visit on any Vietnam Itinerary. It’s quiet streets are a welcome reprieve from the chaos of the big cities, it is known throughout SE Asia as the spot to get clothes made. You can visit a tailor in the morning and collect your new made-to-measure threads within a few days. And if you’re wondering what to do in Hoi An whilst your waiting, never fear: From enjoying the food scene to touring the rice paddies or relaxing at the beach, there’s so many great Things To Do in Hoi An – you’re bound to find something for everyone!

Things To Do in Hoi An

Top Things to Do in Hoi An + What To Eat & Where To Stay

A Guest Post by Emma from HoiAnNow.com

The ancient city of Hoi An in central Vietnam is the place that paintings are made of. And in fact, they are – scores of people come from all over the country to pose for wedding portraits or dreamy nightscapes within the butter-yellow walls of the Old Town.

Classical music wafts from speakers and the smell of coriander from local dishes like cao lau and banh xeo floats around each lantern-lit corner. Boats bob along the ribbon of the Thu Bon River, to the murmur of elderly locals watching from a coffee stall nearby.

It’d be easy to spend your whole time in Hoi An lost in the reverie of this scene. But there’s so much to do – and I’m here to bring you ten of the best.

Top Things To Do in Hoi An

Explore the Old Town

Hoi An Vietnam Things To Do - UNESCO Hertitage Town

An obvious one really but definitely a necessity. The pretty ancient houses that line the streets are photogenic enough; add to them a swarm of die-hard selfie takers, a long line of rickshaw drivers and a variety of basket-balancing older women and you’ve got photographic gold.

The houses themselves host an array of coffee houses (coffee culture is huge in Vietnam and Hoi An is no exception), from trendy hipster joints to creaky old works of art. There’s a range of silversmiths, designer boutiques and speciality tea shops plus more art galleries and tailors than you can shake a stick at. When you first arrive, orientate yourself with the Old Town by strolling around, exploring by bicycle or commuting in style with a rickshaw tour.

Recommended:

  • Shop: The Ô Collective, 85 Nguyen Thai Hoc
  • Coffee: Faifo Coffee, 130 Tran Phu
  • Lunch: Morning Glory, 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc

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Get a new wardrobe

What to do in Hoi An? Visit a Tailor!

Hoi An is a hotbed of tailors and the ideal place for you to get some new travel clothes or occasion outfits for back home. Choose from more upmarket options, where you can get anything from suits to wedding outfits, or a more budget-friendly option that can do a turnaround within a matter of hours.

Recommended:

  • High-end: Kimmy Tailor, 70 Tran Hung Dao, Hoi An; 39A Nguyen Phuc Chu, An Hoi
  • Mid-range: Hoang Kim, 57 Nguyen Thai Hoc
  • Budget: Thuy Ngoc Cloth Shop, 328 Cua Dai

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Become a master chef

What to do in Hoi An

As the food capital of Vietnam, Hoi An is the place to go for cooking classes. You can do day-long ones that include a market tour, a rice paddy cycle or boat trip and a hands-on class with a few extras like rice-paper making and water-buffalo riding thrown in.

Or if you’re stuck for time, plenty of places offer a 1–2 hour evening class, after which you can feast on your own creations over a well-earned drink.

Recommended:

  • Day tour: Tra Que Waterwheel
  • Red Bridge Cooking Class with market visit and river cruise.

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Tour the rice fields

Hoi An Things To Do

One of the best ways to explore Hoi An’s beautiful surroundings – the vegetable gardens of Tra Que, the ancient sites and shipbuilding yards at Cam Kim and the friendly villages all around – is simply to get lost. Grab a bicycle, take some water and cycle aimlessly through fields of brilliant green, watching the conical hats of local farmers bobbing as they collect their harvest.

If DIY isn’t your thing, there are some great bike tours that you can avail of and leave finding a route back home up to someone else.

Recommended:

  • Cycling through the community garden on Cam Kim
  • Sunset dinner @ The Field Restaurant & Bar, Cam Thanh

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Hit the beach

Things To See in Hoi An - Soul Beach

When you’re all shopped and toured out of it, maybe you’re ready for a lazy afternoon at the beach. Cua Dai is closest but unfortunately, erosion over the past few years has rendered it less of a desirable choice (unless you venture to the man-made option at the very luxurious Sunrise Resort). Better options await at the slightly further, but very beautiful, An Bang and Hidden Beach. Both have options for food, drinks and massage…what more could you want?!

Recommended:

  • Soul Kitchen @ An Bang

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Get crafty

For a morning of culture and a great souvenir to take home, I’d highly recommend a visit to Taboo Bamboo. Owner Tan has created a bamboo wonderland, including a 2-story house and even an electric car! Sign up for a workshop and while away a few hours on a unique present, under his careful supervision and over lots of cups of tea. Back in town, there’s the Timing Masks workshop, where you can paint your own traditional Vietnamese theatre mask. Hours of messy fun!

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Visit Cham

Things to do in Hoi An Vietnam - Visit Cham

If you have a little longer to spend in Hoi An, and fancy something a bit different, take an early public boat to Cham Island. There, you can explore the pretty markets and pagodas, hang out with local fishermen and sample amazing Vietnamese dishes with the welcoming family of a homestay. They can arrange snorkelling trips for you too; the coral reef around Cham Island is beautifully pristine so it’s something you don’t want to miss. If you prefer to just do a day trip, a range of diving operators can take you out for a snorkeling or diving tour including a big BBQ lunch on the beach. Yum.

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Take a street food tour

Hoi An Vietnam Things To Do

Hoi An is famous for local specialities like white rose dumplings and chicken rice but what of the lesser known treats that populate this city? One tasty and adventurous way to find out is with a Street Food Tour, a gastronomic journey through the Old Town and beyond. Come hungry.

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Check out the Nipa Palms

Things to see in Hoi An - Nipa Palms

The mystical Nipa (coconut) Palms that emerge from the Thu Bon River have the ability to transport you back hundreds of years. Take a kayak or paddleboard and explore the peaceful channels through the dense foliage, in gloomy waterways that are uplifted now and then by piercing shafts of light. It’s a real way to find the joys of nature a few kilometres from the city…and it’ll help you to work off all that food you’ve been sampling, too. 😉

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Hit the markets

Hoi An Restaurants

Shopping-wise, places like Ba Le and Tiger Market are best for fresh food and veg, plus you’ll get a real sense of local life there. For souvenirs, you can spend a really enjoyable evening at the night market on An Hoi, followed by a well-deserved cocktail at Mango Mango after. With 2-for-1 at happy hour, it’d be rude not to…

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The Food Scene in Hoi An

Where To Eat in Hoi An

  • Hoi An has got some amazing restaurants and cafes that you can eat at – but if you’re looking for the authentic Vietnamese experience, The Central Market’s where it’s at. For just 20,000vnd you can eat like a very happy king and choose from the tastiest cao lao, mi quang and banh xeo around. (see below for what these dishes are!). t’s a fun atmosphere too, with all the market mamas clamouring for your custom – so take your pick, have a beer and enjoy the chaos.
  • Morning Glory – a Hoi An institution run by the wonderful Ms Vy. A  woman whose passion for food and local ingredients has ensured her popularity in the town for years. She now owns 4 restaurants in Hoi An and operates a cooking school in the same building as Morning Glory, her flagship restaurant.
  • Banh Mi Phuong – after having it’s praises sung by Anthony Bourdain almost a century ago, this sandwich shop has a queue outside morning to night. A Hoi An institution that you should definitely give a try whilst in the city – and at 20,000VND, its popularity has not inflated it’s prices!
  • Madam Khan – another spot specializing in the traditional Banh Mi. There’s no menu here and no need for one. Her single offering — banh mi stuffed with barbecued pork, pate, sausage, fried egg, pickles, papaya, carrots, parsley, chilli sauce, soy sauce and her own secret sauce — is widely considered the best in the country.
  • Marketplace – Again owned my Ms Vy and located across the river opposite Morning Glory, her signature dish of squid stuffed with pork mince along with other local specialties are on offer.
  • Mango Mango – A colourful eatery offering contemporary Vietnamese delicacies and a wide range of signature cocktails.

What To Eat In Hoi An

  • Cao lao– A Hoi An Specialty, Fat, chewy, yellowed noodles are served with slices of fatty pork, beans sprouts, raw greens, crunchy bits of rice crackers and a dark, rich pork broth
  • Mi quang – Another Hoi An Specialtythick-cut, broad, rice noodle that somehow manages to be soft, slippery and chewy at the same time.  It’s served with a small amount of very rich broth and is usually topped with roasted pork, fresh lettuce, herbs and crunchy rice crackers. The wow factor comes in the form of a few boiled quail eggs, peanuts and small fried river shrimp, meant to be eaten with the shell on.
  • Banh vac – also known as white rose dumplings is a steamed rice flour dumpling with a centre of ground shrimp meat and its delicate folds do make it resemble a flower.
  • Banh xeo – A crispy savory fried pancake made of rice flour, water, turmeric powder, stuffed with slivers of fatty pork, shrimp, diced green onion, and bean sprouts.
  • Com ga – Hoi An’s version of chicken rice has exploded in popularity recently. The rice is cooked in flavourful chicken stock and served with shredded chicken (which has been boiled whole), herbs, thin slices of onion and a bowl of broth. Add lime and chilli to your taste and you’re all set with a hearty comfort food meal.
  • Banh Mi  – A fusion of French and Vietnamese, this baguette filled with a selection of mayonnaise, pate, cold cuts, barbecue pork, cilantro, herbs, pickled veg, chilli sauce is a staple throughout Vietnam.

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Where To Stay in Hoi An

Vinh Hung Riverside Resort (4*) - Luxury Stay ($75+ per night)

Strategically located in the heart of the city, this 4-star resort makes for an excellent base in Hoi An. It has complimentary wireless internet, a bar and is close to Vinh Hung Riverside Resort Spa which offers a range of amenities, including a Turkish steam bath, a sauna and a Jacuzzi.
Book Now | Compare Prices for Later | Read Trip Advisor Reviews
Atlas Hotel (4*) - Mid-Range Stay ($40-$60 per night)

Conveniently located in the middle of the city, this 4-star hotel makes for an ideal base in Hoi An. The hotel has a variety of facilities including a swimming pool, a hair salon, coffee bar and a day spa.
Book Now | Compare Prices for Later | Read Trip Advisor Reviews
Orchid Garden Villas (2*) - Budget Stay (<$50 per night)

Situated in Hoi An City Centre, it is within walking distance of several local attractions.
Book Now | Compare Prices for Later | Read Trip Advisor Reviews
Ngo Homestay Hoi An - Homestay (<$20 per night)

Ngo Homestay Hoi An is conveniently located in the city centre and is close to local attractions, including the Museum of Trade Ceramics. The comfortable rooms include a flat-screen TV, a mini bar and private bathroom.
Book Now | Compare Prices for Later | Read Trip Advisor Reviews

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Extra Hoi An Adventures

IF YOU HAVE THE LUXURY OF TIME AND CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF HOI AN, TAKE A LOOK AT THESE GREAT TOURS TO EXPLORE THE SURROUNDING AREA:

  • Explore the UNESCO Heritage site of My Son & Marble Mountain on this day trip. Examine the wealth of abandoned towers left behind by the ancient Champa civilization, enjoy an included lunch in Hoi An before continuing to Ngu Hanh Son (the Marble Mountains) to take in the area’s natural caves, beautiful pagodas and mountaintop views.
  • Ride around the Hoi An Countryside on a Bicycle (afternoon) or Scooter (morning or afternoon) Tour. Offering tasty food stops stops, a river cruise, or sunset BBQ – click the links to find out which tour is best for you.

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Hoi An Travel Tips

How To Get To Hoi An

  • Train , Plane or Automobile! Vietnam has good transport links throughout the country. Visitors can fly into Danang airport and then take a 45 minute taxi/private transfer (approx $25USD) into Hoi An; or arrive via train from major cities all over the country.
  • Vietnam’s air-conditioned trains are safe, comfortable & inexpensive, the ideal way for independent travellers to get around and see Vietnam at ground level.  There are a variety of different ‘class’ tickets available (much ore than the usual 1st and 2nd class options!) The Guy in Seat61 has a fantastic summary of travel by train, and it was what we used to plan our train trip through Vietnam (Hanoi -> Hue -> Ho An -> Nah Trang -> Saigon/Ho Chi Minh)

How To Get Around

  • Hoi An is easily one of the easiest towns to navigate. It is much smaller and quieter than it’s bigger counterparts and the center of the town is closed off to vehicular traffic for several hours a day.
  • Visitors can leisurely wander the streets of this beautiful UNESCO Heritage Town without the fear of being taking out the by the motorcycles that are ever present in Vietnam, or if wanting to explore the wider area, push bikes are available to rent at most hotels (approx 30,000VND per day)
  • A cyclo is also another great way to take a tour of Hoi An. Each seat 2 people and cost around 25,000VND per kilometer, but we recommend agreeing a price and route before hopping in. Most drivers are happy to share their knowledge of the town and its landmarks whilst giving you a tour.
  • Motorbike rentals/taxis and regular taxis are available outside the old town if  you are wanting to explore further afield. Motorbike rentals start at around 100,000VND per day and should include a helmet.

When to Visit (Climate)

  • Hoi An’s dry season is between February and July where the city sees lots of sunshine, lower humidity and the least rainfall. General consensus is that the best time of year to visit is between February and April when average temperatures are 23-28ºC – rather than the 29-31ºC often experienced in May – July.
  • The rainy season in Vietnam falls between September and January where It can rain constantly and there is a high probability of flood and typhoons. Contrarily this is considered the high season in Hoi An, with the quietest months being June and July.

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So there you have it – hopefully we’ve given you lots of info about this UNESCO World Heritage town to help plan your trip  – and given you a great list of things to do in Hoi An once you get there! Don’t forget to let me know you’re own highlights once you’re back – and if I have any suggestions of things we’ve missed, feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Oh, and if you liked this post please tweet, pin and share – I’d really appreciate it! Click the P in the share bar for full size (+ 2 hidden) images!

Hoi An Things To Do   What to do in Hoi An Vietnam

What to do in Hoi An   Hoi An Things To Do

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Hi There! Thanks for reading our Where to Stay, What to Eat and The Top Things To Do in Hoi An Vietnam. I just wanted to let you know that this post contains affiliate links, which help support this site at absolutely no cost to you. If you enjoyed this article and are going to be searching for some of the things I mention anyway, I would love it if you could click through from the links above. These links help me keep this site online and updated – so thank you in advance! Read my full Disclosure here.

Hi, I’m Emma. I’ve been living in Hoi An for the past 2 months, where I’ve been lucky enough to work with HoiAnNow.com. I get to do my 2 favourite things here – experiencing local culture and writing about it afterwards. Life is good. 😉
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47 thoughts on “Incredible Things To Do in Hoi An Vietnam +What to Eat & Where To Stay

  1. Jennifer says:

    Hoi An seems really quite modern. I love the juxtaposition of this with the traditional architecture. Having classical music on the streets sounds so romantic! I would love to cafe hop here.

  2. Arnav Mathur says:

    This is indeed a wonderful and helpful post. Specially for me as I am researching about Vietnam for my trip in August. I initially had a day for Hoi An but looks like I need to give this wonderful city some more time.

  3. James says:

    I love visiting UNESCO cities as they are well kept and photograph-able, Hoi-An looks to be exactly that, especially when you mention the colorful rickshaws and typical Vietnamese women balancing baskets on their heads. I love Vietnamese food so I would be spoilt for choice in the Ba Le and Tiger Markets. THey look to have a decent range and well priced hotels in Hoi An, perfect for a few nights.

  4. Nicole Anderson says:

    I just loved my time in Vietnam where I saw Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang which were both extremely different from each other. Reading through all the fabulous detail and lovely photos in this post, I now definitely want to experience Hoi An. Aside from enjoying the beauty of this place, the tailoring options appeal to me as well as the cooking classes.

  5. Marcie says:

    Those boats in Old Town really caught my eye! I love how colorful they are! We love Vietnamese food and would love to take a cooking class there. What a fun and memorable way to learn more about Vietnam and its culture. And I can’t believe how affordable the hotels are!?! I’d love to add Hoi An to our next trip to Asia!

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Marcie – we did the Morning Glory cooking class whilst we were there and loved it – and the hotels as certain a bargain, and often great quality. It’s just one of the great things about Asia.

  6. Natasha Haley says:

    This post is amazing. A really full and great guide for anyone who wants to visit Hoi An. I have heard a lot about Hoi An but it has way more to offer than I realized before. I would love to take a street food tour and go to the beach there

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Natasha – it’s a really great town, and one that offers a nice contrast to the big cities in Vietnam! I Hope you get to visit one day.

  7. Sandy N Vyjay says:

    Loved reading this post. The fresh perspectives of Vietnam is really interesting. There are so many things to experience there. I would love to cycle amongst the rice fields. It sounds like a really enchanting experience.

  8. Kat says:

    A very comprehensive post! I will be travelling to Hoi An during the first week of July, can’t wait to explore this beautiful town. Am going to bookmark your post for reference when I’m in Hoi An. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. Danik says:

    We would totally love to get on a bike and ride around the rice fields and up into the hills. Vietnam looks like it could become the cycle (not motorcyle ) capital of that region soon and it seems to be picking up with visitors. I seen a lot of tourists on social media riding bikes in Vietnam and as I love bikes, I so totally want to do that! 🙂 Oh, and I want to visit Hoi An now after reading this 😀

  10. Jamie says:

    This article is so detailed and well written. As a photographer I would love to visit the rice fields and hang out with the fishermen. Those would make wonderful subjects to photograph. I wouldn’t think of Hoi An as a place to get tailored clothing. Saving this for future reference!

  11. Claudia says:

    The old town of Hoi An looks so nice and like the perfect place to explore for a day. And that marina seems like a perfect place for many pictures! Thank you for such a detailed guide!

  12. Bilyana says:

    Those are some very cool suggestions! Hoi An is absolutely a place that I want to visit in the future and you have here lots of great tips and useful information.

  13. Brianna says:

    I have heard really great things about Hoi An, and now I want to visit even more! I loved learning that the city is easy to navigate and that the trains are safe to use (and air conditioned!). Will definitely remember this if I go to Hoi An.

  14. Anete says:

    This infomratiove post is just right for me as I’m planning my Vietnam trip soon. I love that they have so many great street food options. And your photos are amaizing! I’m happy to see that they have a reliable train system as I always prefer to use local transportation instead of taxis and shuttles. It seems like a great place to visit!

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Anete – I hope you have a great time in Vietnam, let me know if you have any questions about travel in the country and I’ll help where I can!

  15. Rosemary says:

    Great guide about one of my favorite cities. Hoi An is so picturesque and there is so much to do and see. You’re right about the market visits, and the Com Ga….wow! The Banh Mi sandwiches are pretty amazing as well. Loved it so much, I’d quickly jump on the first flight out. Great guide!

  16. Claudia says:

    I would love to spend a few days visiting Hoi An. I’m really interested in the cooking courses and visiting the rice fields. Vietnam has so much to offer curious travellers!

  17. Emily says:

    Hoi An was my favourite stop in Vietnam. I’d go back and relax at the beach and take a bike ride around the rice paddies as I didn’t have long enough before! And a cooking class of course!

  18. sara | belly rumbles says:

    You couldn’t have timed this post better for me. I am currently doing a choice juggling act between Cambodia and Vietnam (husband can only take 1 week holiday at a time). We will do both eventually, but your foodie coverage has me salivating!!!

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Sara! You’d love the food it Vietnam – it’s so fresh and vibrant! Cambodia food is nice, but is quite bland (IMO) and more basic than its neighbors.

  19. Dana says:

    I want to experience pretty much everything on your list. A cooking class would be awesome and taking a kayak to see the palms would be so fun for my kids.

  20. Wendy says:

    nice post and wonderful photos! It looks amazing! I think that when I would visit this place, I would try to find ways to eat as much as possible, I love Vietnamese food so much. Maybe even take more than 3 meals a day! 😉

  21. Elisa says:

    I have nice memories of Hoi An, it is a very cool place to get lost for a while. I did most of the activities you mention on the post, being my most favorite ones the food related activities. My advice for your readers: try to taste as many local dishes as you can!

  22. Carmen Edelson says:

    Vietnam is on my list for 2018 and I’ve always heard great things about Hoi. After reading this, you’ve completely convinced me to visit! I appreciate all the hotel suggestions. That’s always the first thing I look up. Happy travels 🙂

  23. Loudy says:

    I really like the part of the cooking classes I would definitely love to become a chef haha! Such a great informative post lots of information and details exactly the kind of travel posts I like. It’s also easy for the reader to read and note. Thanks a lot for sharing

    • Vicki says:

      Hmm, Fake name with link to a hosting website. I can’t image why you’re commenting. Oh wait, no, I can. You were trying to obtain a link. You’ll see that I’ve removed the link so you don’t benefit. Comment spam for links is not cool.

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