17 Amazing Things To Do In Hoi An, Vietnam

If there’s one place that has captured my heart in Vietnam, it’s Hoi An. Known for its beautifully preserved Ancient Town, Hoi An sits downstream of the Thu Bon River, truly a postcard-perfect gem.

Visiting Hoi An, you can learn about traditional cultural values, mingle in the ancient style of ancient houses, or enjoy tasty local dishes.

In this travel guide, I’ll share the best things to do in Hoi An and nearby, sprinkling in some personal tips from my visits.

Hoi An Vietnam art gallery

Watch the lanterns in Hoi An 

Over the years, the lanterns have transformed from mere objects of décor to iconic symbols representing the spirit of Hoi An.

In the evening, Hoi An is illuminated by the glow of hundreds of beautiful lanterns. These vibrant lights that sway from the trees, cafes, and traditional houses aren’t just decorations; they’re the heart of Hoi An.

Lantern shop at night in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Just walking under a canopy of these lanterns after dusk, you’ll feel like you’re in another world. And when the full moon dances in the sky, the locals celebrate by setting little paper lanterns afloat on the Thu Bon River. You can time your visit and join in this magical tradition, then make a wish as your lantern sails away.

And hey, why not make your own lantern? Take a lantern-making class and learn from the masters. I promise you, creating your own little beacon of light will be a memory to cherish.

Visit Thanh Ha Pottery village

Do you know what else makes Hoi An special? Its traditional villages!

Dating back to the 15th century, Thanh Ha Pottery Village is a fantastic place where local traditions remain. As you walk through the narrow lanes of this village, you’ll see artisans, young and old, molding clay on manual wheels, shaping pottery by hand and foot pedal.

I still cherish the memory of the afternoon I spent at Thanh Ha, discovering the age-old pottery-making process, my hands shaping clay for the first time. It’s an experience I highly recommend.

Thanh Ha Pottery Village Hoi An Vietnam travel guide

You can get a little adventurous and join Hoi An countryside tour. The tour usually kicks off at Tra Que Village, where you get an insight into the locals’ farming practices. Then, it’s time to test your ceramic skills at Thanh Ha Village. Round off the day with a serene bamboo basket boat ride in the Coconut Forest. Trust me; you won’t regret this immersive cultural journey!

Thanh Ha Pottery Village Vietnam tour

Try delicious local food

Hoi An food is worth the trip alone! From street vendors selling iconic dishes like chicken rice, Banh Mi, Cao Lau, and more, the flavors of Hoi An are delicate, varied, and absolutely delicious.

Vietnamese chicken rice Hoi An
Ba Buoi chicken rice in Hoi An

Every mouthful of these dishes is like a burst of flavors, revealing a little bit more of Hoi An’s soul. But remember, leave room for the White Rose, a delicate dumpling that’s pretty as a picture and oh-so-tasty.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, hop on a Hoi An food tour! You’ll get to pedal around the city, make new friends, and feast on different local dishes. Yum!

Join Hoi An cooking class and basket boat tour

If you’re anything like me, you’ll agree that a local recipe is the best souvenir from any place! So, how about donning the chef’s hat and getting busy in a Vietnamese kitchen?

You’ll start your day by visiting the local market, where you’ll haggle for fresh ingredients. Then, it’s time to set sail on a traditional bamboo basket boat and try your hand at crab fishing.

And after all this fun, we get cooking! You’ll learn everything from crafting a perfect Pho to frying up some tantalizing Banh Xeo. The best part? You get to eat what you cook!

Cooking class Vietnam

Visit historical buildings

With its rustic charm and picturesque streets, Hoi An Ancient Town is like a postcard coming to life! The narrow lanes, lined with colorful colonial buildings and traditional homes, are perfect for strolls.

And every now and then, you’ll come across a workshop where local artisans are crafting incredible pieces of art. Stop by landmarks like the Fujian Assembly Hall, the Japanese Covered Bridge, Tan Ky Old House, and the Tran Family Chapel to soak in the rich history.

Japanese Covered Bridge Hoi An Vietnam

And remember to stop for a cup of Vietnamese coffee at one of the charming cafes. It’s the perfect way to watch the world go by!

Watch Hoi An Memories Show

Hoi An Memories Show is a mesmerizing blend of music, dance, dazzling costumes, and breathtaking special effects. With a cast of over 500 actors and actresses, the performance showcases the history and legends of Hoi An in a grandiose and visually stunning manner.

Through a series of meticulously crafted scenes, the Hoi An Memories Show takes you on a journey through different periods of Hoi An’s history. From the bustling trading era to the time of silk production and the arrival of European traders, each scene unfolds with precision and artistry, capturing the essence of the city’s cultural heritage.

Cycle in the morning

Besides walking, you can also rent a bicycle and explore the town in the early morning.

As the sun lazily climbs up the sky, the town awakens, and you can see it all in its raw, charming beauty. With the narrow lanes almost empty and the hustle-bustle yet to start, you’ll have the town to yourself. And trust me, that’s a feeling you wouldn’t want to miss.

best things to do in Hoi An Vietnam cycling in the morning
Picture this: It’s early morning, the town is serene, and you’re cycling through quiet streets, soaking in the local life. It’s a peaceful, pleasant way to start your day!

Take a boat ride

Hoi An transforms as evening falls; the ancient golden walls are set ablaze by the setting sun, and the town shimmers under the glow of lanterns.

Stroll through the bustling streets, take a boat along the river, drop lighted lanterns into the water, and pray for peace and luck. It’s a moment you won’t forget.

Visit Hoi An night market 

Nighttime in Hoi An also calls for a visit to the lively night market.

As the sun sets, the market comes alive with twinkling lights, lively chatter, and the delicious aroma of street food. You’ll find various items on sale, from clothes and shoes to lacquerware and jewelry – perfect for souvenirs.

Also, don’t forget to sample the mouth-watering local cuisine while you’re there. From Banh Mi to Mi Quang, there’re many dishes to satisfy your tastebuds. Just thinking about it is making me hungry!

Night market in Hoi An, Vietnam.
Indulge in street food, browse through souvenirs, and maybe even end up in a restaurant or bar with fantastic live music. It’s the perfect way to wrap up your day in this beautiful town.

Watch the sunrise at My Son sanctuary

If you’re an early bird like me, watching the sunrise at My Son Sanctuary should be on your list.

Imagine a beautiful sunrise casting an ethereal glow over ancient ruins and lush landscapes. Sounds dreamy, right? That’s what awaits you at My Son Sanctuary!

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s the perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. The ruins of the ancient Cham Empire whisper tales from a bygone era, making it a must-visit for history buffs.

My Son Sanctuary Vietnam travel guide

Relax at a spa

After your escapades around Hoi An, you deserve a little pampering. And what better way to unwind than a spa session?

There are several spas in Hoi An, and my favorite is Ylang-Ylang Spa. Here, you’ll be treated to a soothing experience that’ll melt all your stress away. Whether you opt for a traditional Vietnamese massage or a rejuvenating herbal bath, it’s the perfect way to treat yourself after a day of exploring.

Hoi An spa Vietnam

Visit the art galleries

Hoi An’s vibrant arts scene is often overlooked. From traditional Vietnamese art to contemporary masterpieces, you’ll find a diverse range of styles and mediums that will captivate your imagination.

As you wander through the streets, you’ll stumble upon hidden gems, each gallery showcasing the unique perspectives and artistic visions of talented local and international artists.

One standout gallery is the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum, where photographer Réhahn showcases his portraits of Vietnam’s ethnic groups. Inside the gallery, you’ll be mesmerized by the powerful portraits and compelling stories of the diverse ethnic communities that call Vietnam home.

Have a fun day at Vinpearl Land Nam

If you’ve got kids with you, or if you’re a kid at heart (like me!), you’re going to love Vinpearl Land Nam Hoi An.

It’s an amusement park that mixes cultural experiences, wildlife discovery, and pure, unadulterated fun. Get your heart racing on one of the thrilling rides, take a dip in the Water World, or learn about local crafts in the Handicraft Village.

And don’t miss out on the River Safari – the only wildlife sanctuary in the country that lets you explore by the river!

Take a day trip to Cham Island

Close to Hoi An and just off Cua Dai Beach, the Cham Islands are a slice of paradise that you can’t miss. The islands are best visited between March and August when the sea is calm, the sun is warm, and the landscape is unbelievably gorgeous.

During your trip, you can visit the bustling Cu Lao Cham Market, snorkel, or simply relax on the beach. It’s the perfect combination of adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion!

Cham islands Vietnam

Relax on An Bang beach

Nothing says ‘holiday’ like a day spent at the beach! An Bang Beach, a mere 3km from Hoi An’s town center, is the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun.

You can lounge on the soft sand while the sun warms your skin with the rhythmic sound of the waves lulling you into a state of bliss. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?

Plus, it’s an excellent spot to catch the sunrise or gaze at the beautiful sunset. Make sure to pack a picnic, and some sunscreen, and get ready for a day filled with relaxation and maybe even a dip in the crystal-clear water!

How to get there: From An Hoi Bridge, go straight on Hai Ba Trung Street to An Bang Beach. It takes about 15 minutes to go from Hoi An town by bicycle.

An Bang beach Hoi An Vietnam

Watch the sunset at Kim Bong Carpentry Village

Speaking of captivating moments, have you ever watched the sunset over a river, casting long shadows over a traditional Vietnamese village? If not, you’re in for a treat at Kim Bong Carpentry Village!

Hoi An Vietnam sunset

A short boat ride from Hoi An, this hamlet is home to artisans who’ve been honing their craft for generations. As the day ends, find a spot by the river to watch the sky blaze with colors at sunset. It’s a sight you’ll remember for years to come!

Hoi An Vietnam sunset

Visit Tam Thanh Mural Village

Last on our list is Tam Thanh’s mural village – a testament to the power of art and community. Once a quiet fishing village, Tam Thanh has been transformed into an open-air gallery that tells the stories of its residents through colorful murals.

Each mural has its unique charm, and together, they’ve breathed new life into the village, turning it into a must-visit spot for art and culture lovers. Take a stroll through the lanes, snap some photos for the ‘gram, and witness how art can transform a community. It’s truly a sight to behold!

With the tour, you can enjoy hassle-free round-trip transfers to and from Hoi An town and learn more about the village with your English-speaking guide.

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  1. john beyer says:

    What city along the coast of vietnam is the safest for family with children.

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