Hoi An Travel: Ultimate Guide to Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An is considered as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. The town is located downstream of Thu Bon River in Quang Nam Province of Central Vietnam. Besides, the ancient town of Hoi An is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Hoi An

Hoi An was a major trading port in Southeast Asia that is well preserved. Most of the traditional houses are dating from the 17th -19th century and are very attractive architecturally.

Hoi An is full of amazing things to see, great places to visit, and delicious food to eat. Here's our essential guide of everything you need to know when planning to travel to Hoi An, Vietnam.

Hoi An

Hoi An Attractions

Hoi An, nestled along the romantic Hoai River, is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the country. Hoi An has many relics and landscapes captivating people.

Japanese Covered Bridge

Japanese Covered Bridge or Cau Chua Pagoda is one of the most iconic and most famous attractions in Hoi An. The bridge is the most unique piece of architecture that Japanese people left to Hoi An more than 400 years ago. The wooden bridge has a unique pink color roof with decorative structures and patterns showing a harmonious combination between Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Western architectural styles. At one end of the bridge, there are structures of two dogs and monkeys marking the birth of Japanese Emperors born in the months of the Dog and the Monkey, and the fact that the bridge was started to be built in the year of the dog and completed in the year of the monkey. In the middle of the bridge, there is a small pagoda worshiping Huyen Thien Dai De.

Japanese Covered Bridge

During the Lantern Festival, shimmering from lanterns can be seen throughout the pagoda. Another interesting fact about the bridge is that it appears as an illustration on the back of 20,000 VND note.

You are required to purchase a ticket to enter the bridge.

Hoi An’s Rivers

Thu Bon River originates from small streams flowing through the forests from Ngoc Linh Mountain that borders between Quang Nam – Kon Tum (Duy Xuyen district). You can take a boat trip along Thu Bon River. Along the two banks of the river, you will experience the views of picturesque fields and mountains.

If you will be travelling to Hoi An, you will definitely notice Hoai River which is a tributary of Thu Bon River running through Hoi An and is considered to be the symbol of the ancient town. This small peaceful river is unique and impressive, especially at night. After the sunset Hoai River becomes sparkling and fanciful as it’s filled with colorful lanterns creating the magical scenery of the river. You can rent a boat and experience the activity of dropping lanterns on the river.

Hoi An’s Rivers

Hoi An's Assembly Halls

Hoi An has been home to large numbers of Chinese who came here from all over China. These immigrants built community centers or assembly halls in Hoi An where they could meet and worship their ancestors. Nowadays, the 5 Assembly Halls are an important part of Hoi An’s heritage and famous attractions of the ancient town.

Fujian Assembly Hall

Fujian Assembly Hall: This is the biggest and most beautiful Assembly Hall in Hoi An Ancient Town. Fujian Assembly Hall is located at 46 Tran Phu Street and known as the place belonging to the largest ethnic group in Hoi An - the Fujian. This hall was built in 1690 and dedicated to worshiping of the sea goddess, Thiên Hau, who provides protection to sailors.

Cantonese Assembly Hall: It is known as Quang Trieu assembly hall. This hall, built in 1885, was the place where Cantonese traders often gathered when coming to do business or trade in Hoi An. It is distinguished by beautiful wood carvings and finely decorated columns formed of a single block of granite. On the full moon of the first lunar month every year, Cantonese Assembly Hall organizes the Nguyen Tieu festival for worshiping the ancestors of Tien Hien with many traditional rituals.

Quang Trieu (Cantonese) Assembly Hall

Trung Hoa Assembly Hall: It was constructed in 1741 being the oldest place dedicated to worshiping Thien Hau Holy Mother. The place had stood out from other assembly halls in Vietnam because it hosted the meetings of all Chinese, without distinction of their native region. Today, the hall functions as a school for Chinese nationals studying in Hoi An.

Hainan Assembly Hall: It is located in a large space between Tran Phu Street and Phan Chu Trinh Street. This hall was built as homage to 108 Chinese merchants, who were unjustly killed, because they were mistaken for pirates. It is said that King Tu Duc gave money to build this assembly hall in memory of the merchants.

Chaozhou Assembly Hall (Trieu Chau): It is also called Ong Bon or Am Ban Pagoda, built in 1845 by Chinese Chaozhou. Chaozhou Assembly Hall was the sacred place honoring the geniuses of the sea, which, according to popular belief, brought luck to sea traders.


Hoi An's Assembly Halls are covered by the majority of Hoi An walking tours that are offering an easy way to immerse yourself in the city’s local lifestyle and historical sights dating back the 17th century. You can join Classic Walking Tour in Hoi An or Hoi An City and Countryside Tour to wander around Hoi An and see cultural attractions like the Chinese Assembly Halls and ancient houses.


Tan Ky Ancient House

Tan Ky Ancient House is one of the three best-known ancient houses in Hoi An, which was built 200 years ago. Tan Ky Ancient House, located at 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street in Hoi An Ancient Town, was recognized by Ministry of Culture as a cultural historical relic and later recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. The house was built in 1741 with the typical architecture of Hoi An house and divided into many sections, each with its own function. Tan Ky Ancient House is where 7 generations of Le family lived. The name Tan Ky, meaning “Progress Shop”, was given to the house by the second generation for trading agricultural products. Many evidences of the prosperous trading days of the past and the cultural exchanges between Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese in the period after the 17th century are still preserved in the house.

Entrance Fee: Included in Hoi An Old Town Ticket

Opening Hours: 8:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 16:30

Tan Ky Ancient House

Quan Thang Ancient House

Quan Thang Ancient House is considered to be one the most attractive houses in Hoi An. The house is more than 150 years old and has the architectural style of Hoa Ha China. Over the years, the house was still preserved in its original state of architectural design and interior decoration reflecting the prosperity of Chinese merchants and Hoi An as a trading port. This house was originally owned by a prosperous captain called Quan Thang.

Entrance Fee: Included in Hoi An Old Town Ticket

Opening Hours: 8:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 16:30 

Phun Hung Ancient House

Phun Hung Ancient House was built in the year 1780 and is one of the most beautiful models of Hoi An ancient architecture. The house is built with 80 columns and is two storied. Each column stands on a lotus base to stay clear from fungal or termite growth. The first floor is designed in Japanese style of four-sided roof while the top floor has Chinese design with a round shaped roof that reflects a turtle shell. Phun Hung Ancient House is home for 8 generations of the Phung Hung family. The first owner of the house was a successful Vietnamese businessman and he named the house Phung Hung which means “prosperity” with a desire that his family would always prosper. In the past, this house was a shop selling forest and handicraft products.

Ancient House

Chua Ong Pagoda

Chua Ong Pagoda, also known as Quan Cong Mieu, is one of the famous Hoi An tourist sites. The pagoda was built in the 17th century by many Chinese merchants who were coming here to trade and have chosen Hoi An as their second home, so they have built this pagoda to serve the spiritual life. The temple is a symbol of their bravery, loyalty, and virtue.

Hoi An Central Market

Hoi An Central Market is located nearby Hoi An Ancient Town. It is known as the largest market in the town, selling all kinds of goods from daily food and products to specialties and souvenirs for tourists. There is a Cooking Class with Market Tour where you can learn how to make a variety of Vietnamese dishes and Hoi An specialties, including shopping for the fresh ingredients at this local market.

Hoi An Central Market

Cua Dai Beach

Cua Dai Beach is considered to be the most beautiful landscape in Hoi An Located only about 5 km from center of Hoi An town, Cua Dai Beach can be reached in just 15 minutes. Similar to the beaches in Da Nang, Cua Dai Beach is famous for its poetic, gentle and charming beauty of white sands, blue water and gentle sunshine. This is the most popular beach in Hoi An. Not only locals but also Western visitors come here to swim at the clear blue sea and enjoy seafood. There are many luxurious but affordable resorts around the beach for you to stay.

Cua Dai Beach

An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach is located less than 5 km from Hoi An Ancient Town. Being the second most beautiful beach in Hoi An, An Bang Beach attracts many visitors by the fresh, blue water and warm sunshine. An Bang Beach is not as bustling as Cua Dai Beach, so this place is always an ideal place for those who love more peaceful and quiet spaces. There are also many interesting activities at the beach to relax your soul such as swimming in the sea, flying kites on the beach, catching the dawn, greeting the sunset and enjoying seafood right at the restaurant along the beach.

An Bang Beach

Coconut Forest and Basket Boat

No trip to Hoi An is complete without visiting water coconut forest. Now, this place is becoming an eco-tourism area attracting both domestic and international tourists. Coconut forest is located in Cam Thanh, about 5 km from the ancient town of Hoi An. Here, you will see a seven-hectare forest filled entirely with water coconut trees. The best part of the visit is that you will be floating along the water on a very unique bamboo basket boat and participate in fun activities such as traditional net fishing, basket boat performance and boat racing. You can book Basket Boat Ride Ticket in Hoi An to discover the greener and less-touristy side of Vietnam, hop on a basket boat and admire the beauty of the nearby river.

Vinpearl Land Nam Hoi An

Vinpearl Land Nam Hoi An is gradually becoming the leading attraction in Hoi An. It's known as a 5-star resort and entertainment complex including 5 different zones in the park and over 95 exciting indoor games for all ages, similar to the amusement parks in Nha Trang or Phu Quoc. Not only attracting visitor with impressive games, Vinpearl Nam Hoi An also owns a huge musical stage with a scale of audience up to 2,500. Visitors can see the performances with a combination of music and special effects. For families with young children, or large family groups, this is the most ideal place to visit Hoi An. You can book Vinpearl Land Nam Hoi An Ticket to explore this entertainment paradise that offers world class technologies and thrilling experiences.

Cham Islands (Cu Lao Cham)

Cham Islands is a group of 8 small islands, which has been recognized by UNESCO as the World Biosphere Reserve (Cu Lao Cham Marine Park). The islands are located about 20 km for Hoi An. When visiting Cham Island, you will have a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, see marvelous corals while snorkeling as well as spending leisure time on beach, enjoying good climate and cool weather, admiring plentiful plants and marine animals. There is a daily Cham Islands Day Tour from Hoi An, which departs to the island in the morning. The tour usually includes guide, transportation and a decent meal on the island. If you want to explore the island on your own, take a boat from Bach Dang Pier. The best time to come to Cham Islands is during March to August.

My Son Sanctuary

For those who are willing to know more about Southeast Asian history and culture, visiting My Son Sanctuary shouldn’t be missed. My Son Sanctuary is located in Duy Phu commune (Quang Nam), about 40 km from Hoi An town. Situated in a valley surrounded by hills and mountains, My Son Sanctuary is considered to be one of the main centers of Hindu temples in Southeast Asia. This place is used to be the most important intellectual and religious center of the kingdom of Cham Pa and may also have served as a burial place for Cham monarchs. The temples still show the unique and mysterious sculptures and architecture of Cham Pa. Additionally, the traditional Cham dance performance at the site is also a special highlight of the place. Now, My Son Sanctuary is recognized as a World Heritage Site and is a major tourist attraction in Central Vietnam.

My Son

There are many types of tours that include a visit to this place. When joining My Son Sanctuary Day Tour from Hoi An you get an opportunity to explore this great archaeological site and know the origins of My Son Sanctuary from an experienced local guide.

Entrance Fee: 150,000 VND per person

Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday: 15:00 - 22:00, Sunday: 9:30 - 22:30

Thanh Ha Pottery Village

Thanh Ha Pottery Village is located on the bank of Thu Bon River in Cam Ha ward, about 3 km east from Hoi An. This pottery village in Hoi An has developed for 500 years, being reputable for its sophisticated and delicate pottery. The pottery products include bowls, jars, pots, animal shapes, in multi forms and colors, and they are lighter than the same products in other places. For the ticket price of 30,000 VND per person, visitors are free to visit the village, learn about the process of creating traditional ceramic products, and admire the virtuosity ceramic elaborate display. Do not forget to buy some pottery products to bring back home, which is also a way for you to make a small contribution to the preservation of Thanh Ha Pottery Village.

In addition, on the 10th day of the 7th lunar month every year, at Nam Dieu Temple Thanh Ha villagers celebrate the Ancestral Worship Ceremony in honor of the merit of the ancestors for their offspring, and enhance the value of the procession of pottery preserved over hundreds of years. During that time many impressive traditional games are being played and tourists are allowed to participate in them.

Kim Bong Carpentry Village

Kim Bong Carpentry Village was built in the 16th century. The village has been known for its carpentry and traditional woodworking products, ancient architectural construction and wooden boats. There you can meet many artisans, who with finesse in their hands and creativity in the mind create impressive carpentry products.

Tra Que Vegetable Village

Although local visitors are not very interested, Westerners seem to like going to Tra Que Vegetable Village. Tra Que Vegetable Village is located 3 km northeast from Hoi An Ancient Town. This land was formed 300 years ago and is surrounded by De Vong River and Tra Que Lagoon, creating very good atmosphere with fresh air. When visiting this village, you will have a chance to stroll through vegetable gardens and learn about the local produce and history of the area. The vegetables from Tra Que Village are provided for restaurants, hotels in Hoi An and other provinces. Many kinds of organic and sweet smelling herbs have been planted in this area for ages.

Hoi An

Hoi An Memories Show

Hoi An Memories Show is a large performance art show with modern staging techniques where 500 performers take over the outdoor stage in their traditional Ao Dai costumes. Here you get a chance to explore the traditional themed village and experience what it's like to live in Hoi An 400 year ago.

Don't miss a chance to have unforgettable memories during your trip by watching the Hoi An Memories Show. Hoi An Memories Show Ticket also includes a visit the Hoi An Impression Park right next door for more fun memories in Vietnam.

Cafes in Hoi An

Hoi An Ancient Town with long streets sparkling with lights from colorful lanterns and small boats running along the riverbank is a perfect view that can be enjoyed sitting at one of many unique cafes offering cozy corner for admiring the charm of the ancient town. If you are planning to travel to Hoi An, visit at least some of the 12 Best Cafes in Hoi An to enjoy a light snack, get a quick cup of coffee, or hangout with friends on your holiday.

Hoi An Cafe

Nightlife in Hoi An

When the sun goes down, Hoi An gets even more amazing and romantic. The night in Hoi An can be the highlight of your visit. Make sure to check out our Hoi An nightlife guide to find the best places to visit and best things to do in Hoi An at night.

Hoi An at Night

Hoi An Cuisine

Besides the beautiful scenery of the old town, Hoi An also attracts visitors with its delicious dishes that bring unique flavors. Discovering Hoi An cuisine is an experience that shouldn’t be missed when visiting the ancient town. The most famous Hoi An dishes that are really worth trying are listed below.

Hoi An Cuisine

Chicken Rice (Com Ga Hoi An): This is one of the signature dishes of Hoi An. It features tender shredded chicken tossed with Vietnamese coriander, onions, and lime juice dressing. The restaurant called Com Ga Ba Buoi is one of the famous chicken rice restaurants here.

Hoi An Noodle (Cao Lau): Cao Lau is a regional Vietnamese dish made with noodles, slices of barbecue pork, pork crackling, bean sprouts, lettuce and herbs.

Quang Noodle (Mi Quang): As the name suggests, this noodle originated from Quang Nam. The yellow noodles are the only distinctive addition to this dish. There are many variations of toppings including slices of pork belly, shrimp, roasted peanuts and toasted sesame rice crackers.

White Rose (Banh Bao Banh Vac): These dumplings are made from translucent white dough which is filled with spiced minced shrimp or pork.

With every kind of taste, you will find numerous dishes of Hoi An cuisine suitable for yourself. You can try and feel Hoi An in your own way by choosing your favorites from the list of Hoi An Food You Must Try.

Otherwise, you can join this Hoi An Street Food Walking Tour to try Hoi An best food and unique flavors including Banh Mi (Vietnamese Baguette Sandwich,) Goi Cuon (Spring Rolls,) and Cao Lau (Hoi An Noodles).

Hoi An Cuisine

How to get to Hoi An

By Airplane

Hoi An is a small town without its own airport. However, Hoi An is located between 2 airports: Da Nang Airport (DAD) and Chu Lai Airport (VCL). In fact, the distance from Da Nang Airport to Hoi An is only 30 km so it’s much closer than Chu Lai Airport (70 km). The number of flights landing at Da Nang Airport is significantly higher so not many people choose to fly to Chu Lai.

Several airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar, Vietjetair operate on routes from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Da Nang. After arriving to Da Nang, you can continue your trip to Hoi An by bus, motorbike or taxi. It’s relatively easy to travel between Da Nang and Hoi An.

Airplane

By Train

There is no railway station in Hoi An. If you want to go there by train, you also have 2 options: Da Nang Station (30 km away) and Tam Ky Station (50 km away).

If you are planning to take a train from Hanoi or other destination in the northern part of the country, you should stop at Da Nang Station. Da Nang Station is a big station with modern facilities and receives domestic trains daily from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Nha Trang.

If you will be traveling from Ho Chi Minh City or other southern destinations, you should stop at Tam Ky Station as it will be less time-consuming than going to Da Nang and going back to Hoi An.

Train from Da Nang to Hue

Train from Hanoi

There are 6 daily trains from Hanoi to Da Nang, namely SE1, SE3, SE5, SE7, SE9, SE19. The most suitable trains with reasonable travel time are as follows:

  • SE1: Hanoi 22:20 - Da Nang 13:25
  • SE3: Hanoi 19:30 - Da Nang 11:05
  • SE19: Hanoi 20:10 - Da Nang 12:20

Train from Ho Chi Minh City

There are 5 daily trains from Saigon to Tam Ky, namely SE2, SE4, SE8, SE10 and SE22. The most suitable trains with reasonable travel time are as follows:

  • SE2: Saigon 21:55 - Tam Ky 12:24
  • SE4: Saigon 19:45 - Tam Ky 11:08
  • SE22: Saigon 14:40 - Tam Ky 8:12

By Bus

There are many buses to Hoi An running from Hanoi, Saigon and other famous tourist destinations. If you do not mind the cramped space, long travel time and want to travel cheaper, you can choose this option.

Bus from Da Nang to Hoi An

If you are planning to travel to Hoi An from Da Nang, there is public bus No.1 covering Da Nang - Hoi An route. The bus is running from 5:30 to 18:00, with scheduled departures every 20 minutes. Travel time from Da Nang to Hoi An is about 70 - 80 minutes. Bus ticket price is 30,000 VND per person.

Bus

By Private Transfer

For those who prefer to travel more comfortably or plan their journey with a family or group of friends, private transfer is a good choice. This option is not only convenient but also the cost per person is not that high. Private transfer options in Hoi An:

Hoi An Private Car Charter: convenient transportation to Hoi An and surrounding areas.

Private Transfers between Da Nang Airport (DAD) and Hoi An: hassle-free and affordable service that takes you directly from the airport to Hoi An.

How to get around Hoi An

Hoi An is quite small so you can just walk around the ancient town and eat specialties. It only takes 3-4 hours at most. If you plan to visit surrounding area as well, Hoi An offers a full range of transportation services such as taxi, motorbike taxi, and cyclo.

Cyclo

By Bike or Cyclo

Hotels and resorts often provide free bicycles for guests. We’ve also use this service at the hotel we've stayed in Hoi An. If not, you can easily find a bicycle for rent at about 30,000 VND per day. For elderly or children, it is also possible to rent a Cyclo.

Bike

By Motorbike

Motorbikes in Vietnam are a highly popular way for locals and travelers to get around the roads of each city. Having your own set of wheels in Hoi An gives you the freedom to visit many popular landmarks. You can even rent motorbike online here: Hoi An Motorbike.

By Taxi

If you want to go further out from the town, you can take a taxi. The most famous taxi companies in Hoi An are Taxi Mai Linh Hoi An, Taxi Hoi An and Taxi Faifo Hoi An.

Restrictions

Be noted that to ensure the safety of tourists as well as create an open space in the ancient town, Hoi An is banning the motor vehicles from entering the ancient town area in the morning from 9:00 to 11:00 and in the afternoon from 15:00 to 21:30.

On the contrary, there are many parking lots around for only 5,000 VND.

Hotels in Hoi An

Being a famous tourist destination, Hoi An has plenty of accommodations to offer, from boutique hotels and homestays to luxury hotels and high-end resorts by the sea. You should choose the place to stay depending on the purpose of the trip.

If you prefer tranquility, you should choose one of high-class hotels and resorts in Cua Dai Beach area. If you want to visit attractions and local restaurant conveniently, then hotels in Hoi An Ancient Town is your best bet.

Some of the best hotels in Hoi An that are highly rated by the guests:

Laluna Hoi An Riverside Hotel & Spa

Square Villa Hoi An

Hoian Nostalgia Hotel & Spa

Hotels in Hoi An

To feel the gentle beauty of the ancient town of Hoi An, consider staying at one of 12 Best Value Hotels in Hoi An Ancient Town.

For the best relaxation stay at one of the top 9 Best Luxury Hotels in Hoi An where you can enjoy the best service for a really reasonable price.

Best time to travel to Hoi An

The climate in Hoi An is generally mild so you can explore the beauty of the ancient town at all times of the year. The rainy season normally lasts from August to December and the dry season lasts from January to July.

The best time to visit Hoi An depends on your preferences:

  • February - April: This is the best time to visit Hoi An because the weather is cool with pleasant little rain expected. Blue skies, white clouds and soft sun let you take full advantage of your stay.
  • May - July: This is the best time for those who want to go to Hoi An and explore the beaches and Cu Lao Cham because the weather is quite pleasant at this time, the dry season is almost over.
  • October - December: This is the ideal time for those who want to sail on the Hoai River around Old Quarter because it is the rainy season when you can explore "Venice of Vietnam" in a very unique way.

When planning a trip to Hoi An, try to visit it during Lantern Festival that takes place every 14th day of every month on the lunar calendar. On this occasion, you will have the opportunity to participate in various activities, listen to traditional songs, play folk games and enjoy delicious food. You will see the colorful lanterns spread all over the streets as well. This festival is very popular between foreigner tourists and Vietnamese.

Hoi An

 

Travel Offer 2020