What to Do in Hoi An? Don’t Miss These Tips!

Hoi An is the favorite city in Vietnam for many travelers. That’s because it has a delightful atmosphere, beautiful historical houses are everywhere, and you can find numerous excellent restaurants and charming shops. Add to that the fact that you can stand amidst beautiful rice fields and the beach is never far away, all within a 15-minute walk from the city center. Hoi An is a small town by Vietnamese standards, which means that all the attractions are easily accessible on foot or by bicycle. Curious about what to do in Hoi An? I’ve explored the most beautiful places and the most enjoyable activities, and I’m here to share all my tips for Hoi An!

How to Travel to Hoi An?

Hoi An is located right in the middle of Vietnam, making it accessible from many different destinations. Da Nang International Airport is just 30 kilometers away from Hoi An. So, you can fly there from either North or South Vietnam or even from a neighboring country. Many people travel from Ninh Binh, Mui Ne, Phong Nha, or Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An. Below, you can find information on how to travel from these destinations to Hoi An. If you’re traveling from a different destination, you can check out all the different routes.

From Phong Nha to Hoi An

By Train: First, take a bus or taxi to Dong Hoi train station, which is about an hour’s ride. From Dong Hoi, there are multiple daily trains, and after approximately 6 hours, you’ll arrive in Da Nang. Check out the current train schedules. From Da Nang, you can then take a bus or taxi, which will take another 45 minutes to reach Hoi An. So, there are a couple of transfers, but from the train, you can enjoy the most beautiful landscapes of the Hai Van Pass. If you take this route by bus, you’ll go through a tunnel, so you won’t see those views.

By Bus: If you choose to travel by bus from Phong Nha to Hoi An, you won’t need to transfer. The bus journey takes about 8 to 9 hours in total. Check out the current bus departure times and reserve your seat in advance.

Van Ninh Binh naar Hoi An

By Train: The distance between Ninh Binh and Hoi An is 700 kilometers, so this journey is quite long. The (night) train is the most comfortable way to travel from Ninh Binh to Hoi An. From Ninh Binh train station, a train departs that will take you to Da Nang in approximately 14 hours. The train offers various classes, and it is recommended to reserve a sleeper cabin. Check out all the train departure times and book your ticket in advance to secure a good spot on the train. In Da Nang, you can take a bus or taxi, and it’s another 45 minutes to Hoi An.

By Plane: If you have a bit more budget and don’t want to undertake a long bus or train journey, flying is also an option. You can first take a bus to Hanoi and then fly from there to Da Nang. In Da Nang, you can take a bus or taxi, and it’s still a 45-minute drive to Hoi An. Check out all the flights from Hanoi to Da Nang.

By Bus: There are buses from Ninh Binh to Hoi An, but this is a less comfortable option compared to the train. The bus journey takes approximately 15 to 16 hours. Check the different bus companies and departure times.

From Mui Ne to Hoi An

By Night Train: The night train is a good choice for traveling from Mui Ne to Hoi An. The night train departs from Binh Thuan, so you’ll first need to travel from Mui Ne to the Binh Thuan train station, which is about an hour’s drive. In Binh Thuan, you’ll board the night train that will take you to Da Nang in approximately 13 to 15 hours. To have the most comfortable journey, it’s advisable to reserve a first or second-class sleeper cabin. Once you arrive in Da Nang, it’s just a short drive of about an hour to Hoi An.

By Plane: If you prefer flying, you can take a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang. So, first, you’ll need to travel from Mui Ne to Ho Chi Minh City Airport, which is 200 kilometers and takes about 3 hours. From Ho Chi Minh City, multiple airlines offer direct flights to Da Nang, and tickets often cost around $50 one way. Compare flights here.

By Bus: Bus rides are available from Mui Ne to Hoi An, but the bus is certainly not the most comfortable way to cover this route, as it takes approximately 18 hours. If you have no other choice, you can check the current departure times and reserve a spot on the bus in advance.

From Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An

By Plane: Flying is the fastest way to travel this route. You can fly directly from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang Airport. Compare all flights.

By Train: It’s also possible to travel by train, but the train journey takes between 17 and 19 hours. It’s advisable to reserve a sleeper cabin for a more comfortable journey. Check out all departure times and book your train ticket in advance.

What to Do in Hoi An?

There is no shortage of fun attractions and activities in Hoi An. Whether you’re interested in culture, relaxation, or adventure, there’s something for everyone. Below, you’ll find the best tips for visiting Hoi An.

Explore the Countryside of Hoi An with a Bike Tour

A fantastic way to explore the countryside around Hoi An is with this bike tour. During the bike tour, you’ll venture off the beaten path and get to know the real life of the Vietnamese people. You’ll visit places you wouldn’t easily find on your own and gain a unique insight into local life.

During the bike tour, you’ll make several stops, including one at a family-run business where they make rattan mats. At the next stop, you’ll learn how to weave the typical Vietnamese fisher baskets. You’ll even get the chance to paddle in these fisher baskets yourself, and let me tell you, it’s not easy to maintain your balance! The bike tour is guided by enthusiastic guides who speak good English and are happy to answer all your questions about local life in Vietnam. This was definitely one of the most enjoyable things to do in Hoi An for me!

Explore the Old Town of Hoi An

Thanks to its perfect seaside location, Hoi An was an important trading port from the 15th to the 19th century. In the historic center, you can still find many old trading houses from that era, often adorned with richly decorated facades. This part of Hoi An has been well-preserved and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999. Visit the old town both during the day and in the evening. In the evening, it becomes incredibly atmospheric with countless colorful lanterns.

Tip: In the historic center, you’ll also find a few remarkable attractions like the Japanese Bridge and the Hoi Quan Phuoc Kien Temple. You can learn more about them in the following paragraphs. To access some of the attractions in the old town, you’ll need to purchase an entrance ticket, which you can obtain at the yellow ticket booths.

Stroll on the Cau Temple – the Japanese Bridge

The Cau Temple, also known as the Japanese Bridge, was built in the 16th century and is one of the most famous attractions in Hoi An’s old town. The 18-meter-long bridge features graceful arches, intricate wood carvings, and colorful decorations. In the middle of the bridge, you’ll find a small Buddhist temple. It’s quite small and dark, so you might easily overlook it, but it’s a shame to miss this unique place.

Visit the Chinese Temple Hoi Quan Phuoc Kien

Hoi Quan Phuoc Kien is a Chinese temple surrounded by large flower pots filled with beautiful colorful flowers. In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful temples in Hoi An, mainly due to the bright red colors of the woodwork combined with green roof tiles and golden details. Inside the temple, the entire ceiling is covered in incense. It is lit to appease the gods.

Enjoy Cocktails and Relax on An Bang Beach

Hop on a bike and cruise from the old town in Hoi An to An Bang Beach, which takes about 20 minutes. I must mention that you shouldn’t expect a pristine white sandy beach, but An Bang Beach is certainly a nice place to escape city life and take a refreshing dip in the sea. Dolphin Kitchen and Bar is a fun beachfront spot to grab a bite to eat and enjoy a cold beer or a refreshing cocktail. You can sit on the terrace or relax on one of the loungers.

Must-do: Learn Vietnamese Cooking with an Authentic Cooking Class

Vietnamese cuisine is world-famous, and that’s why it’s a lot of fun to take a cooking class here. Before my trip, I searched extensively for the best cooking class in Vietnam, and I can confidently say that I found the absolute best one. With this authentic cooking class, you’ll join Thom, a lovely woman who was born and raised in Hoi An. She welcomes you to her home, which is about a 25-minute boat ride from Hoi An.

After the boat ride, you’ll start with a visit to the local market. Here, you’ll get a glimpse of authentic Vietnamese life, learn about the products, and purchase all the necessary ingredients for the cooking class. Afterward, it’s time to head to Thom’s house, where you’ll see how rice milk and rice paper are made. Pay close attention because you’ll be making these yourself, as you’ll need them later to prepare your dishes.

During the cooking class, Thom will tell you all about Vietnamese cuisine and why food is so important in Vietnamese culture. In total, you’ll prepare four different dishes, including the delicious Banh Xeo, a filled rice pancake. At the end of the cooking class, you’ll receive a small cookbook with the Vietnamese dishes you prepared that day. Are you a vegetarian? That’s not a problem, but be sure to mention it in the comments during the booking process.

Tip: You can also combine this cooking class with the bike tour mentioned earlier in this article in one tour. It’s ideal for when you have limited time in Hoi An, and it’s also a bit cheaper.

Visit Hoi An’s Central Market

Hoi An’s Central Market is always bustling with activity. This is because Vietnamese people go to the market separately for each meal to buy the freshest ingredients. You’ll be amazed as food is prepared on the spot, a wide variety of items are for sale, and lively negotiations take place. At the market, you can find fresh vegetables and fruits, meat and fish, as well as items like rattan baskets and flowers. The best time to visit Hoi An’s Central Market is early in the morning.

Tip: Keep in mind that taking photos of locals and their market stalls without making a purchase or asking for permission beforehand may not always be appreciated.

Stroll through Hoi An Night Market

While the Central Market caters to locals, the Hoi An Night Market is particularly popular among travelers. However, this doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, as the Hoi An Night Market has a wonderful atmosphere. It’s even one of the most popular evening markets in Vietnam. The market is located on a beautiful street by the water, adorned with numerous glowing lanterns. Especially in the dark, it’s very atmospheric and cozy. You can enjoy a meal here and grab a nice souvenir. Items here are often more affordable than in stores in Hoi An’s old town.

Capture a Beautiful Photo at Ba Mu Temple Gate

Right in the heart of Hoi An’s old town lies the stunning Ba Mu Temple. The temple was built in 1926 and is adorned with beautiful details. In front of the temple, there’s a large pond, which can create a reflection of the temple when there’s little wind. It’s perfect for taking a beautiful photo!

Admire Artworks at the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

Visiting the Precious Art Gallery Museum is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Hoi An if you love photography and culture. The museum has multiple floors and showcases the beautiful work of photographer Réhahn Steer. He has traveled to the far corners of Asia for years, where he photographed many ethnic tribes. These impressive photos are now on display at the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum. The exhibition is called The Giving Back Project, and a significant portion of the proceeds from the exhibition goes to the tribes he photographed, supporting various initiatives, including education. If you want to support his work, you can purchase a postcard, artwork, or book.

Best Restaurants in Hoi An

In addition to its many beautiful attractions, Hoi An is also home to numerous excellent restaurants and cafes. The following restaurants stand out:

Reaching Out Tea House: In this beautiful teahouse, people with hearing impairments work. It’s a great place to enjoy a delicious cup of tea.

Phi Banh Mi: Here, you can find the tastiest Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches in Hoi An. Ideal for a quick and budget-friendly lunch!

Nourish Eatery: For a healthy breakfast or tasty lunch, this is the place to go. Order a smoothie bowl or opt for a falafel sandwich. It’s also suitable for vegetarians.

Minh Hien Vegetarian Restaurant: For your daily dose of vitamins, this vegetarian restaurant is the right choice. You can order delicious Vietnamese dishes with plenty of fresh vegetables.

Rosie’s Cafe: This trendy spot serves all-day breakfast options, including healthy pancakes, yogurt with granola, and avocado toast.

MIX Restaurant: If you’re not in the mood for Vietnamese cuisine, head to this Greek restaurant. It offers typical Greek dishes like moussaka and souvlaki, with plenty of options for vegetarians.

Baba’s Kitchen: This fantastic Indian restaurant is located in the heart of Hoi An’s old town. The ambiance might be a bit casual, but the delicious food more than makes up for it!

Lim Dining Room: This is the place to go for delicious pizzas and pastas. It’s slightly more expensive than most restaurants in Hoi An, but it’s worth it if you’re looking for a cozy dining experience. The terrace is very atmospheric and perfect for a romantic dinner.

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Hoi An

If you prefer to stay at a cozy and affordable hostel near the beach, then Wanderlust is the place for you. It’s a 15-minute bike ride from Hoi An’s old town and just a few hundred meters from the beach. Perfect for those who want to spend some time by the sea. The hostel offers a nice bar, a swimming pool, a foosball table, and a projector for evening movies. Wanderlust is run by a lovely family who go out of their way to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

If you’re looking for a bit more luxury, you can count on a delightful stay at Blooms Boutique Village. It’s conveniently located between the old town and the beach, and there are free bicycles available for guests. The hotel features a large swimming pool, a beautiful garden, and a great overall atmosphere. The rooms are well-appointed, with air conditioning, comfortable beds, and modern bathrooms.

If you want to treat yourself to a unique hotel near Hoi An’s old town, Tropical Home Villa is a fantastic choice. This small-scale hotel has a fantastic design. The swimming pool is stunning, and the comfort level is top-notch!