Hoi An is easily one of the most visited and beautiful places in Vietnam. Because of its charm and exceptional history, it’s a popular place to experience and explore the romance of this Southeast Asian ancient town.
It’s no surprise that this ancient trading port dating the 15th to 19th century is today protected under UNESCO. With a fusion of cultures and influences that stretches from Europe, Japan, and China, Hoi An is charming.
From beaches to lanterns, ancient ruins to farming villages, there’s plenty of things to do in Hoi An to make your stay quite an adventure.
Table of Contents
- Explore the Streets of Hoi An’s Ancient Town
- Discover Hoi An by Night
- Walk Over the Ancient Japanese Bridge
- Discover the Silk Village
- Marvel at the Acrobats at Lune Performing Center
- Eat and Drink Your Way Around Hoi An
- Experience Vietnam’s Craft Beer
- Support the Local Community Through Your Cup of Coffee
- Explore the Ancient Ruins of My Son
- Discover Hoi An’s Countryside on a Sidecar
- Explore Tra Que Vegetable Village
- Get Clothes Tailor Made
- Bonus Tip: Road trip to Hue via the Hai Van Pass
Explore the Streets of Hoi An’s Ancient Town
This destination is a trading port that has been preserved meticulously through time, dating from the 15th to 19th century. It is easy to see the fusion blend of influences from Europe, Japan, and China combined to produce a site praised to possess some unique heritage.
Hon An Ancient Town is best visited from 9 AM onwards, and even if you meet many closed shops, it will still be lovely admire the streets and ancient buildings without having to avoid a crowd of tourists…it’s truly the best time to snap those insta-worth shots. Escape photobombing by going early. Must-visit stores include Sunday and Metiseko, which are also quite instagrammable.
Discover Hoi An by Night
Glistening, calm rivers making resting boats dance, lanterns that illuminate the streets, a night market that suggests the city never really sleeps, Hoi An by night is a very special dusk to see.
A crazy full moon could light the darkness, and there is a great atmosphere filled by locals and tourists to enjoy. Thank the moon and the lanterns for the river’s shiny surface and attracting beauty. Enjoy a leisurely river cruise or release a paper lantern and make a wish.
Walk Over the Ancient Japanese Bridge
If anything, this aged bridge is one prominent reason there are so many tourists in Hon Ai. In the 1590s, the Japanese community residing here decided to build a bridge to create better links to the Chinese quarters of town. The Ancient Japanese Bridge crosses the river and connects both sides of the city, being well-preserved and an emblem of the Hon Ai’s sense of inclusiveness. This is definitely one of those sites best visited first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Discover the Silk Village
The Hoi An Silk Village opened in August 2016 and is influenced by the ancient silk weaving culture of the Quang Nam province, which was used as the city’s commercial seaport for more than three centuries. Down the street from the town’s center, the Silk Village offers an unparalleled experience that informs you about the Hoi An traditions. During the tour, you will learn how it all goes from silkworm to dress – the entire production process. There are also spots to eat offering local delights and a high-end silk showroom where you can design custom garments.
Marvel at the Acrobats at Lune Performing Center
The iconic moon-shaped big top is quite hard to miss, even from within the Hoi An town – that’s the Lune Performing Center. There’s a show almost every evening from 6pm onwards and runs for almost 2 hours…and it’s 2 hours that quickly fly by because the show is incredible. A showcase of talented acrobatic performances and story lines that is influence by Southeast Asian culture and history. Tickets start at 700,000 Vietnamese Dong, and it my opinion worth every penny.
Eat and Drink Your Way Around Hoi An
Held as one of the food capitals in the country, Hoi An does not only never run out of stock but also has one of the best Vietnamese meals you can find anywhere in the country. Get to taste white roses and shrimp dumplings made from translucent rice dough. Visit Co Mai Restaurant for a traditional Vietnamese meal with French influence. The chef has curated a menu filled with regional flavours using locally sourced organic vegetables from the Tra Que Village. There’s also Morning Glory Restaurant, the Hoianian, and the Hoi An Roastery, where you can have My Quang Noodles, modern Vietnamese food, and local coffee, respectively.
Experience Vietnam’s Craft Beer
Who would have thought, but surprising enough there’s a whole industry in Hoi An (and Vietnam) of craft beer specialists…with some brewed in Hoi An itself. Head to the Tap House to taste a variety of craft beers on tap. There’s bound to be some confusion on your part, as there are around 15 to 20 of them to choose from, but each is as interesting as the others…so I recommend getting a tasting tray to try a few.
Support the Local Community Through Your Cup of Coffee
Yeah, you read every bit of that right. There is a way you can support the local community – with your coffee cup. Under the auspices of the Reaching Out Tea House – a Hoi An social enterprise – you can contribute a quota to support the local speech and hearing-impaired community. While all of the staff at the tea house cannot hear or talk, you have absolutely nothing to worry about because there are tools in place to help you communicate with them. Notes, words blocks, gestures, bountiful smiles and lots more, you can still make a joke and make them laugh.
Explore the Ancient Ruins of My Son
The ancient site of My Son is UNESCO protected and is about an hour and a half drive away from downtown Hoi An. Built between the 4th and 14th century, My Son was a central worship center for the Champa people; Hindus who had five kingdoms in the surrounding areas.
The temple survived centuries through wars and unending neglect, but unfortunately was hit hard during the Vietnam war. However with a lot of restoration effort and funding, you can now visit My Son and appreciate its ancient history. Discover aged bricks, semi-faded monuments and masterpiece sculptures in the ruins, which make for an extraordinary, mysterious vibe. It’s 150,000 Vietnamese dong to enter the complex.
Discover Hoi An’s Countryside on a Sidecar
Travel the boulevard-like stretches of the Vietnamese countryside on a motorcycle sidecar. This is a great way to explore the rice fields and farming grounds of Hoi An’s countryside. Sit back in a retro soviet-style sidecar, take photos on Central Vietnam, and experience the Tra Que organic vegetable gardens. Each trip costs 1,200,000 Vietnamese dong per person, and the ride lasts over an hour. The journey begins at the Victoria Resort Hoi An, and continues through the Instagram-worthy rice paddies, a stop at the Tra Que vegetable village and right back where it started.
Explore Tra Que Vegetable Village
Why not spend some time exploring and helping where most of Hoi An restaurant veggies come from? Pass a few hours assisting local farmers with their daily task at the Tra Que veggie village. Get picked up by 8:00 AM and possibly spend the rest of the day touring the ancient town, markets, and farmer’s village. Tra Que is a place you can get a locally thrown together meal, connect with native farmers, and test your gardening skills. Ride in an air-conditioned vehicle to the vegetable hub, grab a shovel upon arrival, don a hat, and burst in the fields with fresh organic produce.
Get Clothes Tailor Made
The ancient town of Hoi An might be famous for its historical buildings, but it is also equally popular for their tailors. There’s a tailor literally in every nook and cranny of the town, who can quickly whip up custom dresses and suits within one to two days.
Bonus Tip: Road trip to Hue via the Hai Van Pass
And when you think you’ve explored enough of Hoi An, take a road trip through the mountainous stretch of central Vietnam along the Hai Van Pass up to the ancient city of Hue. It’s a beautiful scenic trip over 120km and will take you approximately 3 hours. I recommend started nice and early in the morning to avoid the bulk of the traffic, and do stop along the way to snap breath-taking views.