Located on Vietnam’s central coast, Hoi An is a city best known for its Ancient Town. From its well-preserved architecture to the lantern-lit streets at night, this charming town will give you a wondrous travel experience. So we have prepared a list of things to do in Hoi An. It includes many amazing attractions and places to visit, along with some must-try delicacies of the region.
Is Hoi An worth visiting?
Hoi An is undoubtedly worth visiting thanks to its unique blend of cultural, historical, and natural attractions. Its Ancient Town, recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999, is an extremely well-preserved example of an active Southeast Asian trading port during the 15th to 19th centuries. This town boasts a vibrant cultural heritage influenced by Chinese, Japanese, and European colonists and traders. However, the wonders of Hoi An are not just limited to its Ancient Town. From pristine beaches to mesmerising theme parks – this city has it all! Therefore, if you are travelling to Vietnam, it’s definitely worth your time to make your way down to Hoi An!
How many days do you need in Hoi An?
To fully appreciate the beauty and experience the best of Hoi An, it is recommended to spend at least three to four days. This timeframe allows you to immerse yourself in Hoi An’s rich history and explore the old streets of the Ancient Town. You will also have time to visit attractions outside the Ancient Town.
Best things to do in Hoi An: Sightseeing
1. Walk down the Japanese Covered Bridge
One of the most classic things to do when travelling in Hoi An is to walk down this bridge. This Hoi An attraction, the Japanese Covered Bridge, stands as a testament to the town’s historical significance. Originally constructed in the 16th century, this architectural gem was built by the Japanese community to link it with the Chinese quarters, reflecting the cultural exchange that took place during Hoi An’s trading heyday. As you walk through the bridge, you will marvel at the statues and intricate details that embody symbolic meanings from Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese cultures. This bridge is so iconic that it is featured on every single 20k Vietnamese Dong note.
The covered bridge not only provides a glimpse into the town’s rich history but also serves as a picturesque walkway. Take a stroll on it, you can feel the cool breeze as you enjoy panoramic views of the Hoai River. After the sun sets, the bridge will be illuminated by lanterns, casting a romantic glow onto the river. This makes it a favourite photo spot for photographers and tourists alike. So if you get to walk past this bridge, be sure to snap the moment down for the perfect memory!
2. Take a stroll along the Hoai River
One cannot look past the Hoai River when visiting Hoi An. It flows through the heart of Hoi An and leads to many famous attractions in the town. As you stroll along its banks in the day, you’ll be able to pass by many famous Hoi An places to visit such as the Japanese Covered Bridge. At dusk, as the sun sets, the lanterns come to life, casting an alluring glow over the tranquil waters. This picturesque view will definitely be the best Insta-worthy moment.
For first-time visitors, a boat ride is highly recommended as you will get a chance to be fully immersed in the historical charm of Hoi An. The magical ambience you will experience is simply unforgettable. So taking a stroll along this river is one of the best things to do in Hoi An!
3. Lounge at An Bàng Beach
In Hoi An, not all of the best places to visit are located in the Ancient Town. At An Bang Beach, you can escape the bustling streets of the old town and relax in peace. This beach may not be as renowned as Ao Nang Beach in Krabi. Nonetheless, it is no less of a coastal paradise. Just a short distance from the ancient town, this pristine stretch of golden sand offers a tranquil retreat for sun-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. You can bask in the sun, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, or simply stroll along the shoreline.
For the active ones, you can enjoy activities such as wakeboarding and windsurfing. If you get tired after a while, you can get a beachside massage or get fresh seafood from restaurants nearby. With a backdrop of swaying palm trees and coastal scenery, this beach is the perfect spot to savour moments of tranquillity after days of rigorous exploration of other Hoi An attractions.
4. Visit the Hoi An Impression Theme Park
Tired of theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios? Try this Hoi An attraction! This cultural theme park showcases ancient Vietnamese villages through architecture built like ancient villages and performances featuring traditional Vietnamese music, dance and folklore. One of the must-watch performances is the Hoi An Memories Show. By combining modern stage design techniques and traditional Vietnamese performing arts, this show provides the most authentic and impressive historical experience for visitors. With more than 500 performers and a huge stage, this show is described by some to be as good as an Olympic Games opening ceremony. So if you happen to be in Hoi An, be sure to mark this place down to be one of the must-visit attractions!
5. Go on a day trip to Chàm Islands
Hoi An is known for its historical attractions, but many people do not know that one of the most fun things to do in Hoi An is venturing on a day trip to the Cham Islands. This captivating cluster of islets is just a short boat ride away from Hoi An. For those looking for a chill beach day, you can immerse yourself in the tranquillity of the pristine sandy shores and unpolluted waters.
This place is also perfect for water sports enthusiasts. You can explore the crystal-clear waters teeming with vibrant coral reefs, and dive into a world of marine wonders as you snorkel or scuba dive alongside colourful tropical fish. With various marine protected areas and designated as the Hoi An Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, you are bound to come across marine biodiversity you have never seen before. This wondrous group of islets in Hoi An is truly a paradise and amongst the best places to visit here.
Best things to do in Hoi An: Shopping
6. Shop for souvenirs at Nguyễn Hoàng Night Market
The Hoi An experience is not complete without some souvenir shopping. For all travellers, this is the place to visit to get some local trinkets for your loved ones. You can make your way here as you stroll along the banks of the Hoai River during sunset. The market comes alive as the sun goes down, and you will find yourself immersed in a kaleidoscope of colour, scents and sounds.
Local vendors will eagerly show you souvenirs, handicrafts, clothing, accessories, and more. And like many Asian night markets, make your best effort to bargain for the best deal. Even if you are not in the mood to purchase anything, just admiring the diverse array of items on display and witnessing the hustle and bustle of the night market is an experience in itself. So make sure to put this market high up on your list of things to do in Hoi An!
7. Taste street food at Công Nữ Ngọc Hoa Night Market
The night market experience won’t be complete without some street food! This market is truly a food lover’s paradise located in the heart of Hoi An. As you walk into this market, an array of street food stalls lining the bustling lane, along with mouthwatering aromas, will lull you further in. You are going to be overwhelmed with the diversity of Vietnamese delicacies, from sizzling grilled meats to fragrant bowls of noodles and delectable rice dishes. Be sure to try out some classics such as Banh Mi, Vietnamese spring rolls and water fern cakes!
At this market, locals and tourists alike gather to savour the authentic Hoi An flavours. Not only will you be able to feast on great food, but you will also be able to experience the vibrant atmosphere and buzzing energy of this culinary hub. Therefore, even if you are not a foodie – why would you not be, though – coming here is still one of the best things to do in Hoi An.
Best things to do in Hoi An: Dining
8. Eat Cao Lầu
Cao Lầu features thick, chewy noodles made by using water sourced from the town’s ancient Cham wells. The noodles are first tossed with tender slices of pork, crisp greens, and fragrant herbs. This dish is then topped with crunchy rice crackers and drizzled with a savoury broth. The combination of flavours, from the smoky notes of the pork to the refreshing herbs and the richness of the broth, creates a harmonious and satisfying ensemble. The distinctive taste and texture of Cao Lầu can only be found in Hoi An, making it a must-try dish for food enthusiasts visiting the town. So if you ever drop by Hoi An, go to a local eatery and savour this Hoi An speciality!
Recommended place: Quán Cao lầu Bá Lễ – Quán Cao Lầu ngon tại Hội An
Address: 49/3 Trần Hưng Đạo, Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quảng Nam 56000, Vietnam
9. Gobble down Cơm Gà Hội An
Love Hainanese Chicken Rice? Well, you should try this dish, the Vietnamese version of chicken rice. This deceptively simple yet incredibly flavourful meal features tender and succulent poached chicken served on a bed of fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth. The chicken is accompanied by a medley of fresh herbs, cucumber slices, and pickled vegetables that add a delightful crunch and tangy contrast to the dish. To elevate the flavours further, you can drizzle a spoonful of the aromatic chicken broth over the rice. Each bite will make you crave for more. So, go ahead and complete one of the best things to do in Hoi An – gobble down this mouthwatering dish!
Recommended place: Cơm Gà Hội An Ngon
Address: 119c Trần Cao Vân, Phường Minh An, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
10. Slurp on Mì Quảng
Hailing from the Quang Nam province, this aromatic noodle dish will leave you slurping with satisfaction. Mì Quảng features turmeric-infused rice noodles, paired with an irresistible combination of tender meat or seafood, fresh herbs, and a rich broth. The dish is further enhanced with ingredients such as peanuts, crispy rice crackers, and scallions. Each component adds its unique texture and taste, resulting in a harmonious blend that just tastes so good! The vibrant colours of Mì Quảng, from the golden noodles to the vibrant greens, make it a feast for the eyes as well. Whether enjoyed at a local restaurant or a street-side stall, this iconic dish provides a taste of the region’s culinary heritage and is a true delight for food enthusiasts. So, grab your chopsticks and slurp away!
Recommended place: Mì Quảng Ông Hai – Mr. Hai Noodles
Address: 6A Trương Minh Lượng, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam 560000, Vietnam
11. Sip on Mót Hội An
One of the best things to do in Hoi An is to indulge in the herbal beverage Mót Hội An. This traditional tea is a testament to the town’s rich tea-drinking culture. Usually served in a plastic or paper cup, Mót Hội An is a fragrant and refreshing tea that includes a blend of various herbs and flowers. With hints of jasmine, lotus, and other locally sourced ingredients, each sip allows you to unwind and relish in the chill vibes of this town. Enjoying this tea offers a moment for you to slow down your footsteps and soak in the beauty of Hoi An. Whether you choose to enjoy it at a teahouse overlooking the Hoai River or while walking about the beautiful city, sipping on this tea is one of the best things to do in Hoi An.
Recommended place: Mót Hội An – Nước Thảo Mộc Sả Chanh
Address: 150 Trần Phú, Cẩm Châu, Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Immerse yourself in the charming city of Hoi An for an unforgettable vacation
Hoi An’s attractions offer places to visit for everyone, whether you want to explore historic landmarks, indulge in shopping sprees, or savour tantalising local cuisine. With our list of things to do in Hoi An, go ahead and embark on a captivating journey during your summer vacation! And don’t forget to get the best carry-on luggage to be prepared for your trip! For those who have pets, make sure to check out the best dog boarding services to take care of your furry loved ones while you travel!