Get ready to travel back in time to the Vietnam of centuries past. The quaint streets decorated with hanging lanterns, colorful historic homes, and cozy coffee houses set the scene for this impressive fishing village. Even though Hoi An is relatively small, it’s a remarkable town guaranteed to make your senses come alive.
If you want to make sure you enjoy and explore all the gems of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, keep reading to learn about all the best things to do in Hoi An and much more.
What You’ll Find in this Article
If you are looking for something specific, like best places to stay in Hoi An, use the index below to go directly to that section.
- Best Things to Do in Hoi An
- Best Day Trips from Hoi An
- Best Places to Stay in Hoi An
- Must-Eat Dishes in Hoi An
- Best Time to Visit Hoi An
Best Things to Do in Hoi An
There hundreds of things to do in this beautiful ancient town but below are what we consider some of the best things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam.
1. Wander Through the Hoi An’s Old Town
Old Town is very unique and has gorgeous scenery. Stunning ancient houses, designer boutiques, and art galleries line the colorful streets of Hoi An just waiting to be visited and photographed. The amazing coffee culture makes it easy to find a delicious coffee house around every corner. One thing that always makes the list of sights to see in Hoi An is the landmark Japanese Covered Bridge, one of the most photographed bridges in all of Asia.
Because of its UNESCO status, more than 800 historic buildings have been preserved in Hoi An, so wandering through Old Town is like taking a trip back in time. 22 historic buildings or museums are open to the public, but they require a ticket costing 120,000 VND ($5.27 USD) that will get you into five places of your choice. With such a lively culture and charming atmosphere, Hoi An’s Old Town is not to be missed.
2. Learn How to Cook Delicious Vietnamese Food
Foodies and cooks rejoice as the availability of cooking classes is endless – you can choose from full-day classes, half-day classes, and even evening classes that only last one or two hours – and some of them even include boat trips and tours of a local market. You can learn to cook everything from grilled fish in banana leaves to Cao Lầu (a specialty dish unique to Hoi An) to Phở.
One of the best cooking class options available is the Hoi An Eco Cooking Class. This half-day experience begins with a hotel pick-up before heading to a local market. There you’ll explore and experience the sights and sounds of the local market while getting tips about bargaining techniques. The experience doesn’t stop there, as you’ll hop into a traditional Vietnamese round boat then cruise through the river surrounded by nipa palms (mangrove palms).
After relaxing on the boat and fishing for baby crabs, it’s time to put on an apron and get cooking. In two hours you’ll learn to make rice papers by hand and the secret art of making delicious Phở. The cooking continues with fresh spring rolls (Gỏi Cuốn), crispy sizzling Vietnamese pancakes (Bánh Xèo), banana flower salad (Gỏi Bắp Chuối), and more. We promise you won’t leave hungry, but you will leave with a happy tummy and a taste of Vietnamese cuisine. This two-hour hands-on cooking class is also vegetarian friendly, and can cater to celiacs and other dietary requirements. If you are searching for a truly authentic Hoi An experience, this cooking class is a must.
3. Get a Tailor-Made Suit or Dress
The tailoring in Hoi An is known throughout the world. There are hundreds of tailors in the area ready to help you add to your wardrobe, and typically you can get a quality tailored suit or dress within 24-48 hours. It’s one of the best things to do in Hoi An for everyone because they have shops for every price range. But with so many options, beware of the tourist traps that have no problem overcharging you and selling low-quality clothes.
Everyone from the hotel receptionist to the cab driver are likely to recommend a tailor because they earn commissions from tailor shops. Try to do your research before you arrive, and once you get there you can check out different places so you can bargain and test out fabrics. The best tailors are sure to provide excellent clothing and service that will make you remember Hoi An for years to come.
4. Get Crafty
One of the best things to do in Hoi An is to discover your inner artist. The culture and creativity here is undeniable. When you get crafty in Hoi An, not only will you have a unique souvenir to take home with you, but you’ll learn more about their history, culture, and tradition in the process. Some of the most popular activities are lantern making, mask making, and bamboo carving.
Lanterns are especially popular in Asia – some believe they bring luck, happiness, and wealth – and there are even festivals dedicated to them, like Taiwan’s annual Lantern Festival.
Mask making is one of the crafts that’s great for the whole family. Some workshops even allow you to choose from an intensive mask-making course or a less structured mask-painting workshop that may be a better fit for the little ones.
For anyone interested in crafting your own creation with bamboo, Taboo Bamboo is where you need to be. At this workshop you can craft everything from a bamboo train to a natural amplifier for an iPhone. Getting crafty is a fun way to share in the culture of Hoi An.
5. Visit Tra Que Vegetable Village
Learn about the daily life of farmers by visiting the Tra Que Vegetable Village. It’s well-known for over 20 different vegetables, and instead of using manure or fertilizer, farmers use algae only found in the village’s lagoon. Though small, this impressive village supplies organic vegetables to all of Hoi An and other areas close by.
Only three kilometers from Hoi An’s center, many love enjoying a leisurely bike ride or a relaxing walk around the area. Along with touring the area, you can take advantage of gardening activities, a cooking class, and a foot massage with medicinal herbs.
There’s no doubt the Tra Que Vegetable Village is one of the most wonderful places to visit in Hoi An.
6. Explore and Experience the Central Market
You can’t experience the best of Hoi An without adventuring to the Central Market. Make sure to brush up on your bargaining skills, then get ready for this exciting experience.
Located on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Hoi An Central Market is renowned for its fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables, spices, and silk. This market thrives throughout the day and will be packed with locals and tourists alike.
The stalls closest to the entrance tend to have the highest prices, so make sure to walk around for a bit before you choose what to buy. Regardless of what you choose to buy, don’t forget to haggle :)
At the market you can also enjoy local food at the many food stalls inside the Central Market such as Cao Lau, Mi Quang, Fried Spring rolls and more. And unlike most street stalls the prices are on the menu so you won’t have to worry about paying the “tourist price”.
7. Try Hoi An Food Specialties
The food scene here is unlike any other. With so much tasty food around, you’ll never have to wonder what to do in Hoi An because you can always find something interesting to eat. From street food stalls to five-star restaurants, this is the tastiest stop you’ll make in all of Vietnam.
Hoi An even has a variety of specialty dishes that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Keep scrolling and check out the food section to see the must-eat dishes in Hoi An and where you can find them. They have so many delicious specialty dishes that you don’t want to miss out on.
8. Relax at the Beach
Like many other coastal destinations, a visit to the beach highlights the top things to do in Hoi An. Cua Dai Beach is the closest to town, but unfortunately it’s fallen victim to coastal erosion so it’s not a great choice. If you’re adventurous, you can head to the area between Cua Dai and An Bang for a lovely undeveloped beach with no crowds that the insiders know as Hidden Beach. But the ultimate Hoi An beach experience can only be had at An Bang Beach.
An Bang is a tree-lined beach about four kilometers from the city center and is decorated with white sand, palapas, sun loungers, and restaurants. Since it’s relatively unspoiled by development, it’s the perfect place to be whether you want to relax or get in the water. Lounge chairs can be rented from restaurants for 15,000 – 40,000 VND, or they’re free for the day if you buy something. An Bang has stunning views for days of the Marble Mountains, Da Nang Bay, and Da Nang and Cham Island.
Hoi An is home to an expat surfing community, so there are many surfing and stand-up paddleboarding classes available, as well as places to rent boards. If you’re an avid surfer, the best time to visit Hoi An is between September and March when you’ll have ideal wave conditions and an average water temperature of about 77°F (25°C). An Bang is definitely one of the necessary places to visit in Hoi An.
9. Do a Free Bike Tour
Many of the best things to do in Hoi An can be reached by bike, and cycling through the picturesque towns and surrounding countryside is always a great way to spend an afternoon.
If you don’t want to set off on your own, there is a free bike tour available to get you acquainted with the countrysides of Kim Bong and Duy Vinh. Kim Bong is a carpentry village known for making everything from budget-friendly knick-knacks to thousand-dollar statues. You can meet artisans along the way and even enjoy a boat-making workshop.
You’ll continue through the beautiful countryside to Duy Vinh, a village known for mat weaving, where you’ll learn about making rice paper. This free bike tour is the perfect way to learn about rural life in Vietnam.
10. Visit the Nipa Palm Forest
The peaceful retreat to the Nipa Palms is one you’ll never forget, and the journey is part of what makes it worth it. Large palms and beautiful foliage will shadow you as you cruise through the quiet waterways on a traditional bamboo basket boat, kayak, or paddleboard.
Enjoy the relaxing sounds of the water and trees blowing in the wind, and every so often you’ll see wildlife, fishermen, and motorboats returning home. Whether you stay for an hour or the whole day, it’s the perfect place to relax and refresh.
Best Day Trips From Hoi An
1. Da Nang
A 30-kilometer drive along the coastal road will get you to the sprawling city of Da Nang. Shopaholics and beach bums will absolutely love this place. Many tourists tend to just pass though Da Nang, so you’re more likely to enjoy a more peaceful beach experience. The most well-known beaches are My Khe Beach, Lang Co Beach, and Non Nuoc Beach, but there are several more on the northern and southern ends of Da Nang.
Some of the other interesting sites that make it one of the greatest day trips from Hoi An include the Da Nang Cathedral, Cao Dai Temple, and the Museum of Cham Sculpture. Only a short ride from Hoi An, Da Nang is definitely worth your time.
2. My Son
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most common day tours from Hoi An. The 4th century temple complex is thought to be the longest inhabited archaeological site in Indochina. The Cham built temples to honor Hindu divinities, and as the political and religious capital of the Champa Kingdom, it remains one of the most important Cham sites in Vietnam. These impressive ruins are filled with motifs and designs representing Hindu symbolism and mythology.
The on-site museum is a great introduction to the historical significance of the ruins and it’s a great place to start, especially if you’re not taking a guided tour. Other wonderful Cham ruins are scattered throughout Vietnam’s coast, but My Son is surely the cream of the crop.
3. Cham Island
15 kilometers off the shore of Hoi An is the breathtaking Cham Island. The cluster of islands makes for a perfect day trip, and you can even stay overnight and enjoy a homestay or camp on the beach. Cham Island is a protected marine park featuring 135 species of coral and a variety of macrolife.
It’s accessed by booking an excursion with a tour company, or by hopping a speed boat or a public wooden supply boat. Tourist boats regularly visit the island from about March – September, but during the wet season the waters aren’t safe to navigate.
Snorkeling and diving tours are the island’s most popular activities for tourists. You can book a Cham Island snorkeling tour here.
For those not interested in watersports, there are picturesque beaches, impressive pagodas, and beautiful markets in the area.
Mountain biking is also a popular activity on the western side of the island. Cham Island is the perfect escape and tops the list of great things to do around Hoi An.
4. Marble Mountains
Limestone and marble combined to create five hills named to represent the elements – earth, water, wood, fire, and metal. Prepare for lots of stairs, but the views of Non Nuoc beach, the Son Tra Peninsula, and Cham Island are more than worth it.
Along with its popular climbs, the Marble Mountains are a renowned pilgrimage site, and some caves have even been turned into religious shrines. There’s something cool to see around every corner as tunnels, caves, peaks, and temples decorate the area.
For the extreme sports lovers, rock climbing and repelling excursions are available in some of the caves. They have repelling and climbing available for all levels, but one of the fan favorites is a 50-meter drop out of the jungle through a dark hole into a small temple chamber.
A perfect way to end the day is by watching the sunset from the top of the main mountain. Just make sure to bring a flashlight, because it’ll be tricky getting down in the dark. To see truly unmatched beauty, definitely take a visit to the Marble Mountains.
Clustered around the Song Huong (Perfume River), Hue is a gorgeous combination of old and new. Century-old fortress walls are complemented by sleek and modern buildings. For the culture and history lovers, this is the place to be.
While the Imperial Citadel is one of the most common sights to see, there are countless other places to see like pagodas and imperial tombs. Within the Imperial Citadel, make sure not to miss the Hue Jungle Crevice and Forbidden Purple City. After strolling around or cycling through the countryside, head a bit east to visit the rare and unique Thanh Toan Bridge.
Like Hoi An, Hue is renowned for its cuisine. If you have some extra time and want to live like a royal, we recommend booking an imperial banquet dinner. You’ll be dressed like Vietnamese royalty, listen to traditional music, and be served “royal” dishes. It’s such a fun way to end your time in Hue.
6. Monkey Mountain
Escape the noise of the city and head to Son Tra Mountain (or Monkey Mountain). This magnificent national park is a popular escape for both tourists and locals. The mountain used to serve as an observation base during the Vietnam War and Indochina wars, and now it yields sweeping views of pristine beaches and the surrounding countryside. The mountain’s jungle trails are perfect for nature enthusiasts and hikers as it’s home to many rare species.
One of its most prestigious sites is the Linh Ung Pagoda. Home to a 67-meter tall statue of the Goddess of Mercy, the structure has 17 levels. Offering everything from breathtaking views to tropical vistas, nature is at its finest at Monkey Mountain.
7. Hai Van Pass
Winding roads, blind corners, sudden curves, and steep inclines make Hai Van Pass a thrill-seeker’s dream. This 25-kilometer mountain pass is most often tackled by motorcyclists and die-hard cyclists, but you can also privately hire a driver and guide. The altitude reaches 496 meters, so it’s home to some of the best overlooks you’ll ever see. Be prepared for breathtaking town, beach, bridge, and sea views.
In addition to the perfect views, along the pass you’ll see the ancient Tran Dynasty’s Hai Van Gate, a French-built fort, Hai Van Tunnel, and wartime gun towers. Seafood restaurants and coffee houses line the coast if you want to stop for an extended break, but there’s only one official tourist rest stop along the way. Get in touch with your adventurous side and experience the greatness of Hai Van Pass.
Best Places to Stay in Hoi An
From budget hostels to luxury resorts, Hoi An has a place to stay for every type of traveler. To make your trip planning a little bit easier we have listed some of the best places to stay in Hoi An for you below.
If you are looking for hostel recommendations, check out our guide to the best hostels in Hoi An.
Almanity Resort and Spa
You’ll have a perfect journey to wellness when you stay at Almanity Resort and Spa. This award-winning luxury hotel has everything from complimentary daily spa treatments to Vietnamese cooking classes. Your room will be an oasis that sets the tone for your entire stay. They’re elegantly decorated, and some even boast a private, open-air jacuzzi. Chef Vien provides the ultimate culinary experience as Four Plates specializes in Vietnamese, Italian, and Japanese cuisine that will knock your socks off. Along with the spa, the two-level pool, beauty salon, fitness center, and silent sanctuary are available to ensure you look and feel your best during your time in Hoi An. With perfect Vietnamese hospitality and a staff committed to treating guests like royalty, there’s no better place to stay in Hoi An than Almanity Resort and Spa.
Hoi An Odyssey Hotel
Right on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Hoi An Odyssey Hotel is the perfect countryside haven for your time in Hoi An. Standard and family rooms are available, making it great for the whole family. Endless complimentary amenities are at your fingertips to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Take advantage of everything from renting a bike to cycle to Old Town to catching their shuttle to the hotel’s private beach. The premium dining satisfies everyone’s taste buds, and the bar and pool-side service exceed expectations. Only a 10-minute walk from the Old Quarter, Hoi An Odyssey Hotel gives the perfect combination of location, beauty, and convenience.
Hoi An Sincerity Hotel & Spa
Hoi An Sincerity Hotel & Spa does hospitality right by greeting you with a welcome drink and fruit basket. All rooms and suites are warmly decorated with nice furniture, a mini-bar, a private balcony, and more. The restaurant offers all-day dining with a delicious combination of Vietnamese and Western dishes, while the outdoor seating provides the perfect space to enjoy a cup of coffee or a cocktail while looking out over the pool and garden. This amazing hotel even has an industry-leading spa. Always in touch with the latest wellness advances, numerous treatments are available to make sure you’re your best you while in Hoi An. Only two kilometers from Old Town, the complimentary shuttle and bikes are at your service to visit the best things to see in Hoi An. Hoi An Sincerity Hotel & Spa guarantees complete satisfaction during your stay.
Coconut Garden Homestay
Experience the best of Hoi An without breaking your budget at Coconut Garden Homestay. Perfect for guests of all ages, outdoors the kiddos can enjoy a playground while the adults appreciate the sun terrace and garden and lake views. All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom, air conditioning, and a flat-screen TV for your comfort. There is an on-site restaurants, and the exceptional breakfast is an ideal way to start your day. Fishing and biking are popular in the area, giving a great combination of nature and city access. You’ll be only a short distance from the best things to do in Hoi An, so they have free bike rentals and also offer motorbike/car rentals. Ni and her family always do their best to ensure you take full advantage of Hoi An while providing a comfortable and quiet place to return in the evenings.
Must-Eat Dishes in Hoi An
Some people call Hoi An the food capital in Vietnam and it’s easy to see why. Hoi An has so many delicious dishes that can only be found here and nowhere else in Vietnam (see dishes marked with a ★).
Cao Lầu ★
Pork, chewy noodles, and local greens are perfectly combined to make Hoi An’s most famous dish. The distinct texture and taste of the noodles can only be created by using water from a nearby well, so they can’t be duplicated anywhere else in the world. Locals call this masterpiece a “mixing dish” because the ingredients are served separately, and customers mix it up to their liking. Croutons and bean sprouts are often added to the top to give the dish an extra pop of taste and crunch.
Where to Get the Best Cao Lầu in Hoi An:
- Mrs. Ha Stall E035 | Central Market | Price: 20,000 VND
- Thanh Cao Lầu | 26 Thai Phien St | Price: 25,000 – 30,000 VND
- Vườn Xưa (Old Garden) Restaurant | 33 Phan Chau Trinh St | Price: 30,000 – 45,000 VND
Mì Quảng ★
Mì Quảng can be found at many restaurants and family parties. Rice noodles are combined with fresh herbs, then meat and a little bit of strong-flavored broth are added before garnishing it with toasted sesame rice crackers and peanuts. The meat can include chicken, shrimp, pork, fish, beef, or a combination of meats.
Where to Get the Best Mì Quảng in Hoi An:
- Mr. Hai Restaurant | 6A Truong Minh Luong St | Price: 25,000 VND
- Mi Quang Chi Ha | Thai Phien St | Price: 15,000 – 20,000 VND
Banh Bao Banh Vac (White Rose) ★
One family makes these shrimp dumplings for every restaurant in town. Once a spoonful of shrimp or other meat is placed in the middle of the rice paper, it’s steamed so the dumpling ends up looking like a flower. They’re served with crunchy pieces of toasted garlic on top and a side of Vietnamese fish dipping sauce.
Where to Get the Best White Rose in Hoi An:
- White Rose Restaurant | 533 Hai Ba Trung st | Price: 70,000 VND
Translated “sizzling cake”, water, rice flour, and turmeric powder are combined to create a fried pancake that can be served with meat or as a vegetarian dish. The savory pancake is typically stuffed with foods like pork, shrimp, green onion, bean sprouts, and mung bean, and then placed on rice paper where it is rolled up with fresh herbs and dipped in fish sauce.
Where to Get the Best Bánh Xèo in Hoi An:
- Ba Le Well Restaurant | 45/51 Trần Hưng Đạo | Price: 120,000 VND
- Banh Xeo Hai Dao Hoi An | 160 Ly Thai To St | Price: 15,000 – 20,000 VND
While many different cultures have their own version of chicken and rice, some think Vietnam’s version may be the best in the world. Served in layers ready to mix, yellow rice is the base of the dish followed by shredded chicken usually boiled with ginger, turmeric, green onions, and salt then dashed with fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar before being topped with a bundle of herbs. Cucumber, onion, coriander, and cilantro are typically added for color and crunch.
Where to Eat the Best Cơm Gà in Hoi An:
- Mrs. Buoi Restaurant | 22 Phan Chau Trinh St | Price: 30,000 – 50,000 VND
- Mrs. Nga Restaurant | 8 Phan Chau Trinh St | Price: 30,000 – 50,000 VND
The Vietnamese word for bread, bánh mì, is typically used to refer to a sandwich with meat, vegetables, and condiments on a certain type of baguette. A typical sandwich has one or more types of meats that can include everything from pork belly, Vietnamese sausage and chicken to tofu, canned sardines in tomato sauce, and mock duck. With vegetables including white radishes, cucumber slices, pickled carrots, and cilantro, and condiments including cheese, spicy chili sauce, pate, mayonnaise, sliced chilis, and Maggi seasoning sauce, you can create whatever type of sandwich you’re craving.
Where to Get the Best Bánh Mì in Hoi An:
- Bánh Mì Phuong | 2B Phan Chau Trinh St | Price: 20,000 – 30,000 VND
- Madam Khanh – “Bánh Mì Queen” | 115 Tran Cao Van St | Price: 20,000 VND
Honorable Mention: Mot Tea ★
The best herbal (ice) tea in Hoi An is both delicious and healthy. Made from a variety of herbs, lotus flower, lime leaves, ginger, lemongrass, and lemon are the main flavors. It’s even said to be able to relieve hangovers and reduce stress. There is only one place in Hoi An that sells this herbal (ice) tea and that is Mót Hội An.
Best Time to Visit Hoi An
The short answer is between February and April. The longer answer is that Hoi An has warm weather throughout the year, so the best time to visit Hoi An really just depends on what you want to do.
Hoi An has two seasons – the wet season and the dry season. The rainy season runs from about September to January, and the dry season stretches from February to August. Contrary to popular trends, high season in Hoi An actually coincides with the rainy season because of the hot summers.
The weather is more manageable during the wet season when temperatures range from 66°F – 75°F (19°C – 24°C), however flooding is common and typhoons are a possibility.
Many accommodations sit on high ground, so you shouldn’t be concerned about flooding because the locals are always prepared and the water tends to recede quickly.
October and November tend to be the wettest months, so just make sure you bring a good travel umbrella. The coldest months are November – January, but it’s nothing a quality travel jacket can’t handle.
While the locals may call 66°F “winter weather”, that’s still shorts and t-shirt weather for some of us, so we’re sure you’ll be fine even during wet season.
During the dry season, the sun shines, the humidity drops, and the temperature rises. Visiting between February and April is the sweet spot because you’re likely to have comfortable temperatures (between 73°F – 82°F / 23°C – 28°C), low humidity, and a low chance of rain.
Temperatures start to rise in May and they’re at their highest between June and August, but those are also the months where you’re likely to find the most affordable accommodation.
From May to July you’ll get the perfect beach atmosphere as crowds start to disperse, and if you’re an avid diver or snorkeler, then June – August are the perfect months for you to visit. July and August are also the months where you’ll see the best full moons.
In the summer months temperatures can get up to 100°F (38°C), but Hoi An has an average temperature of 84°F (29°C), so no matter when you visit you’re in for a good time.
Now that you know when to visit, what to eat, where to stay, and the best things to do in Hoi An, you have all you need to create the perfect vacation.