Everything's Travel Guide to Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An is also located on the Thu Bon River which is flanked by bars, cafes and local markets and you can walk along the banks at night and take in the views across the rippling water. When you walk around the city, you can take in spots such as museums, ancient homes and pretty temples, and Hoi An also has a delicious local food scene. As if that wasn’t enough, the surrounding countryside of Hoi An is equally scenic and you can easily take a day trip out to glorious beaches or ruined cities.

  Friday, 21/02/2020, 03:14

Hoi An has a reputation for being one of the prettiest cities in all of Vietnam and the Old Town here has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its 800 historic buildings. There is a definite ‘old town’ feeling here which is like stepping back into the Vietnam of ancient times, and the city is also famous as it was never bombed during the Vietnam War.

Hoi An is also located on the Thu Bon River which is flanked by bars, cafes and local markets and you can walk along the banks at night and take in the views across the rippling water. When you walk around the city, you can take in spots such as museums, ancient homes and pretty temples, and Hoi An also has a delicious local food scene. As if that wasn’t enough, the surrounding countryside of Hoi An is equally scenic and you can easily take a day trip out to glorious beaches or ruined cities.



Square:
60 km²
Population: 163.040 people (2019)
Province: Quang Nam





OVERVIEW



Hoi An Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.

Hoi An has no airport, and no train station either. The only way to get there is by road. You can hire a taxi from the neighbouring city of Da Nang, which does have an airport with daily flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other large Vietnamese cities. There’s also a train station in Da Nang, and bus services are plentiful. We have a wide selection of hotels for you to choose from in both Cua Dai Beach and Hoi An City, whatever suits your pocket and style.



How to get Hoi An?

There are many ways to get Hoi An: by plane, by train, by car, and by motorbike.

By flight:
It’s very easy to get Hoi An by plane because Hoi An is very near the Danang International Airport, just far about 30km. This airport can connect to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hue with Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar and VietJet Air and some international flights from Bangkok,  Siem Reap, Hong Kong, Singapore, and charter flights from China.  You can check the flight ticket online on the internet or with the ticket agency. To get a cheap ticket, you should book soon – 3 months to 6 months before you go.

By train
Hoi An has not the railway station but you still can easily get Hoi An by train from Danang. From Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, it takes about 14 to 20 hours to get Danang railway station by train, then take about 40 minutes to get Hoi An from Danang by taxi or bus. The price of train ticket is about 400,000 VND to 1,200,000 VND depending on the type of train and seat.

Da Nang Railway Station: 202 Hai Phong, Tan Chinh Ward, Thanh Khe District, Danang city.

By Bus:
Traveling to Hoi An by bus is a cheaper way: about 400,000 – 500,000 NVD/ ticket/way. Lists of Buses: Hoang Long, Hlink, Mai Linh, Thuan Thao, duration: about 18 to 20 hours. This way is cheaper but also has more risk. So we recommend you should travel to Hoi An by flight or train. By train, you also can take a bus easily from Danang railway station to get Hoi An: Bus no 1 with the cost of 20,000 VND/Ticket. The whole trip takes about 40-50 min. If you come from Da Nang airport, the closest bus stop of the same route to Hoi An is at the roundabout where the streets Nguyen Tri Phuong and Dien Bien Phu meet (about 15 min walk, since you can walk along the lake). It’s very easy to check on the internet by Google Map.

By motorbike:
If you are staying in Danang or Hue or Quang Binh, you can choose motorbike to get Hoi An. This is a beautiful way with many attractions to visit on the way to Hoi An: From Danang – Hoi An: you can visit Marble Mountains, From Hue or Quang Binh, you can visit Lap An Lagoon, Lang Co Beach, Hai Van Pass, Cham Museum.


The best time to visit Hoi An


You can visit Hoi An all time of the year but the best time to visit Hoi An is from February to April every year. In summer, from May to July, it’s very hot with high temperature. In rainy season, from October to November, Hoi An rains heavily all day. It’s not suitable for outdoor activities like biking, farming, swimming and taking boat trip.

If you are lucky to arrive at Hoi An on the 14th day of a lunar month, Hoi An will be much more charming with its Full Moon Festival and “Old Street Night” exclusively available on that day. So, don’t forget to check the weather and the lunar calendar before you go.


Things to do in Hoi An


1.Walk around the Old Town




Old Town, Hoi An

Hoi An is something of a rarity in Vietnam as it managed to escape most of the bombing that razed many other cities to the ground during the Vietnam War.

This means that the beautiful buildings here were spared, and so you will still find some gorgeous architecture here in the Old Town which makes the perfect place to go for a walk and take in all the sights.

The Old Town has now been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is said to date back some 2,000 years.


2. Shop for local handicrafts




Hoi An Handicraft

If you like local arts and handicrafts then you will be spoilt for choice on a visit to Vietnam.

Hoi An is known across Vietnam for being a hub for beautiful locally made products and you will be able to shop for these in places like the main central market.

There are also a number of handicraft villages dotted on the outskirts of the town and you can usually take a tour to these where you can learn about the historical and cultural background behind the making of these items.

Many of these are made by local minorities and make excellent gifts or souvenirs.

In the handicraft villages you can also take classes such as ancient weaving or calligraphy.



3. Admire the Japanese Covered Bridge




Japanese Covered Bridge

The Japanese Covered Bridge is located in the centre of the city and is also one of its focal points.

The bridge spans some 12 meters and is famous for its ornate carvings, many of which are in the shape of monkeys and dogs.

This is also a very popular place for amorous Vietnamese couples who come here to take photographs as the bridge is considered a top romantic spot in Hoi An.


4. Visit Hoi An Museum




Hoi An Museum

If you want to know more about the history of Hoi An then you need to come to its main museum.

Here you will find a huge range of pieces that tell the story of the area including antiques that date from the Cham period as well as the colonial period.

There are a number of galleries here that are filled with drawings, ceramics, paintings and photographs and you can also check out signature pieces like large bronze temple bells.


5. Visit Hoi An Silk Village





Hoi An Silk Village

The Hoi An Silk Village is the place to come if you want to get outside the city and check out the ancient weaving techniques for which this part of Vietnam is known.

The village is located in Quang Nam Province which is around one kilometer from the centre of the city and you will find a quaint village with homes built in the traditional style.

The village is filled with artisans who will teach you how to make beautiful silk pieces and you can even feed the silkworms here and help to unravel their cocoons.

This is also a great place to buy some traditional silk pieces which make great gifts and souvenirs.



6. Tour the Tan Ky Family House




Tan Ky Family House

The Tan Ky Family House is one of the most historically significant buildings in Hoi An and is located in the Old Town section of the city.

The family home was built in the 18th century and would have belonged to a family of merchants.

The architecture here is a mix of Japanese, Chinese and traditional Vietnamese design motifs and you can now take a tour of this amazing property.

Some seven generations of merchants lived in the home and you will still find their original furniture and memorabilia here which will give you an idea of how people would have lived in Hoi An in the days of old.


7. Grab a coffee




Hoi An Coffee

Vietnam is a country that is famous for its delicious coffee and Hoi An is no slouch when it comes to its own brews.

One of the best places to try the coffee in Hoi An is at Mia Coffee who roast their own beans and serve up some of the most delicious espresso in the city.

The coffee varieties on offer here vary according to the season and all the beans here are handpicked to bring you the freshest and tastiest cups of coffee around.

You can even buy bags of beans here to take home as a souvenir.


8. Shop at the Lantern Market




Lantern Market

The pretty Lantern Market is located in An Hoi which is across the river from central Hoi An.

This is one of the most scenic markets in Vietnam and, as the name suggests, you can buy traditional lanterns here which come in all different shapes and sizes.

Many of these are made of gorgeous Hoi An silk and you can walk around at night and take in all the amazing illuminated lanterns which come in a range of different hues.


9. Sunbathe on An Bang Beach





An Bang Beach

Hoi An has a number of beaches, but locals will tell you that An Bang is one of the best around.

This beach is less crowded than many of the more famous strips of sand in the area and you will find pristine white sands that back on to the water.

If you come here for the day then you will also find a number of charming beachside restaurants here that serve up some delicious seafood.

If you are planning to stay by the beach a little longer then you can also rent a beachside villa here.


10. Sample Cao Lao





Cao Lau Noodles

Vietnam, as you would expect, has a huge number of different kinds of noodles.

If you want to try the regional Hoi An variety, then you need to try Cao Lao which are brown rice noodles that are mixed with lye water.

This is ash from the lye that comes from the wood on the Cham Islands which are around 12 kilometers from the coast of Hoi An.

The noodles are hand cut and then topped with pork, rice crackers and fresh herbs, all soaked in a delicious meat broth.

One of the best places to try the noodles is at Cam Ga Huong which is located off Le Loi Street.


 
11. Take a trip to the My Son Ruins




My Son Ruins

If you want to take a day trip out of Hoi An then head for the My Son Ruins which consist of a collection of Hindu temples that were built from the 4th to the 13th century.

The temples are located to the west of Hoi An and it is possible to come here for the day from the city.

My Son is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it has been preserved and restored after the temples were abandoned for centuries.

The site sprawls over 140 hectares and you can learn all about how Hinduism would have been a key part of Vietnamese culture in the days of old.



12. Shop at Hoi An Central Market




Hoi An Central Market

Lying along the lush banks of the Thu Bon River is the Hoi An Central Market which is the best place to shop for handicrafts while you are in town.

You will find a huge mixture of products here including silk pieces and other textiles as well as local foodstuffs and aromatic spices.

Another key reason to come here is to try the toothsome street food which is sold out of carts in the market.


 
13. Visit the Fujian Hall Assembly Hall




Fujian Hall Assembly Hall

One of the most opulent buildings in all of Hoi An is the Fujian Assembly Hall which dates from the 17th century.

This was built by the Fujian Chinese community in Hoi An and is considered a sacred space.

The main hall here is covered in carved figures that feature around a gateway which is etched with carvings of mythical Chinese creatures.

There is also a large courtyard here and legend has it that if you pray in the Assembly Hall then you will be lucky when it comes to conceiving children.

This is down to the presence of the 12 Midwives which are carved fertility statues that stand in the grounds of the hall.

14. Explore the local countryside




Hoi An Rice Fields

Hoi An is famous for being surrounded by lush emerald green countryside.

As such, if you are staying in the city then make sure that you don’t miss a trip here so that you can take in the rice paddies, hills, and dainty villages firsthand.

You can sign up for a number of tours such as a cycling or trekking tour and you will get to discover pretty secluded beaches, mountain passes and much more.



15. Admire Quan Cong Temple




Quan Cong Temple

Quan Cong Temple was founded in 1653 and is dedicated to Quan Cong.

This was the name of a famous Chinese general who was worshipped in Hoi An and revered thanks to his qualities of justice for all, loyalty, integrity and sincerity.

At the temple you will find a wood and papier mache statue of the general which is partially gilded and stands on a central altar.

You can make an offering to the general and a lone caretaker will strike a bronze bowl to commemorate the moment.

16. Try the local barbecue





Hoi An Barbecue

One of the things Hoi An is famous for is its delicious barbecue.

The best place to try this is along the north bank of the Thu Bon River and if you go there after dark you will find dozens of small charcoal grills set up which sell tasty barbecued skewers.

You can choose from different options including pork, prawns, or chicken, and the skewers are served with herbs and some rice paper wrappers which you can wrap around the meat or seafood.

The barbecue also comes with a delicious spicy peanut sauce mixed with tomatoes and sesame seeds.


17. Visit Phung Hung Old House





Phung Hung Old House

If you are visiting the Japanese Covered Bridge then you can also combine this with a trip to the Phung Hung Old House at the same time which is just a few doors down.

The house is known for its ornate and colorful entrance hall which is covered in lanterns and embroidered wall hangings.

There is a pretty balcony here with some spectacular views and a charming suspended altar.


18. Check out the nightlife




Hoi An Nightlife

If you are looking for some nightlife in Hoi An then the best thing to do is head over the central footbridge that will take you to An Hoi islet.

Here you will find a number of bars and cafes along the river which serve up ice cold beers or other drinks.

If you want to try the local tipple than ask for the locally brewed larger which is called bia hoi and which makes a crisp and refreshing choice after a hard day of sightseeing.


 
19. Take a boat to Cam Kim Island




Cam Kim Island

Cam Kim Island is located around 30 minutes away from Hoi An and you can catch a local ferry over from D Bach Dang.

The main reason people come here is to check out the artisan woodcarvers who are known for having carved some of the most famous public buildings in Hoi An.

You can find the historic homes of many of the master carvers in the village of Kim Bong on Cam Kim Island and you can also pick up some woodcarvings here that make great souvenirs of your trip.



20. Visit the Museum of Trading Ceramics




Museum Of Trading Ceramics

Located in a scenic restored wooden home, the Museum of Trading Ceramics is known for housing a collection of artifacts that come from all over the world.

Some of the pieces here originated in Egypt, and you can learn all about the history of trading in Hoi An in the days of old.

There is also an exhibition here which tells you about the restoration of old buildings in Hoi An which is great if you are interested in ancient Vietnamese architecture.


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