Hoi An is one of the most charming cities in Vietnam. Located in the central part of the country, Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination. Its mix of history, culture, and natural beauty make it a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to Vietnam. The city is known for its stunning yellow buildings, fairytale-like lanterns, beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, and unique shopping experiences. In this blog post, I will highlight the top things to do in Hoi An, as well as provide some travel tips to help you make the most of your visit to this beautiful city. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s explore all that Hoi An has to offer!
How to get to Hoi An
You can get to Hoi An by train, plane and a bus. These are the closest public transport locations:
Traveling by plane
The closest airport is Da Nang located 30km from Hoi An. There are direct flights from every major city in Vietnam. You can get your plane tickets at skyscanner.com. To get to Hoi An from Da Nang, follow our instructions you can find further down.
Traveling by bus
In case you want to get directly to Hoi An without having to change in Da Nang, try traveling by bus. You can find direct bus to Hoi An from most of the tourist destinations around. Check 12go.asia for bus timetables and prices. You should also ask around at your accommodation or booking offices nearby. Most places in Vietnam will help you organise the transport to your next destinations. It might even be cheaper. You will probably go to Da Nang with a big sleeper bus. There you will change to a car for the rest of your journey. Booking office will organize all of this for you.
Getting to Hoi An from Da Nang
If you travel to Hoi An via train, flight or bus in some cases you will have to get to Da Nang first. There are a few options from there.
- Public bus – there used to be a cheap public bus connecting the two cities. It was cancelled during covid and the service wasn’t renewed since then. Therefore there is NO PUBLIC BUS!
- Minivan or car – your hotel will most certainly be able to organise a transport for you. Expect to pay around 260.000 VND per person.
- Taxi – this might sound strange but private taxi was cheaper than shared transport. We organised this at our hotel for 270.000 VND for 2 people.
- Grab – the prices on Grab change a lot. We found it pretty expensive commpared to other options. You might be able to get a car 380.000 VND. It can be shared by up to 4 people.
Best time to visit Hoi An
Hoi An has two seasons – rainy and dry. The rainy season is between October and February. The dry season is between March and September. Expect the summer months to be very hot. We came in may and had a few rainy days, mostly showers in the evening.
How to get around Hoi An
- Walk – our favorite way to discover narrow streets of the old town. This way you won’t miss any cute cafe or lovely photospot.
- Rent a bicycle – another great way to wander around the old town. The bike rental costs around 30.000 VND/day. It might be harder during rush hour when streets are crowded. You can even cycle all the way to the beach if you want.
- Motorbike – not useful in the old town, since no vehicles are allowed in. But it’s great to explore the area and visit Marble mountains, Golden Bridge, beaches or My Son ruins. Rental might costu you around 120.000 VND / 24h.
Things to do in Hoi An
If you book any of the tours below, we will earn a small comission. You still pay the same.
1. Explore the old town
Hoi An’s old town is a magical place that transports you back in time. Its picturesque streets are lined with historic buildings with influences from the French, Chinese, and Japanese. Stroll through the bustling streets, sample local delicacies at the street food stalls, or bike around. Hoi An is also renowned for its traditional tailoring. The perfect place to get your suit made!
2. Enjoy romantic evening near the river
Evening is the most magical time of the day in Hoi An. The lanterns come to life and their light makes it feel like you’re in a fairytale. You have to experience the old town when it gets dark. It is one of the top things to do in Hoi An. Find yourself a nice little restaurant or caffee on the river banks and watch the boats float by.
3. Marvel at the beauty of lanterns
The old town is full of beautiful lanterns hanging around every corner. It looks the most beautiful in the evening, when sellers turn their lanterns on. Shop around and get a souvenir lantern, learn how to make such a lantern (link) or take photos here. Many shops and sellers will charge you a small fee for a picture. But you can always find a place where you can take a picture for free.
3. Go on a boat ride in the evening
Price: 1-3 people 150.000 VND, 4-5 people 200.000 VND for 20 minutes
Many people come to Hoi An only to experience the atmposhere once the sun sets and lanterns come to life. There is no better place to be than on the riverbanks or on a boat. You can even light a candle and release a small floating lantern!
4. Immerse yourself in delicious local kitchen
Hoi An is well-known for its mouth-watering cuisine. You will stumble upon many family-owned restaurants serving some of the best local food! Vegetarian or non-vegetarian, there is plennty of delicacies to choose from. You also have to try traditional Vietnamese style coffee such as Egg coffee, Coconut coffee or Salted coffe. They are all delicous! Check “Where to eat” section for the best restaurants and cafes in Hoi An.
5. Try cooking class
Price: anywhere between 30-60€ per person
Hoi an is a perfect place for a deeper insight into Vietnamese cuisine. You will find cooking classes all around the town! The class starts with a market visit and afterwards you will spend some time learning not only about preparation of food but also about Vietnamese culture. Some tours combine cooking class with a basket boat ride.
6. Make your own coffee at Unicorn cafe
We found this place by accident. And it was the best thing that could have happened! Unicorn Bowl & Coffee have some of the most delicious smoothie bowls in town. You also have to try their coconut coffe. They offer free coffee making classes. An opportunity you cannot miss! You can find Unicorn bowl & coffee here!
9. Immerse yourself in nature at Marble Mountains
Price: 60 000 VND, elevator is 15 000 VND
Time to visit: 1.5-2 hours
Opening Hours: 7 am – 5:30 pm
Marble mountains are a group of 5 limestone peaks. It is an incredible combination of caves, tunnels and Buddhist pagodas. It’s an important religious and spiritual site so don’t forget to dress moderately. We recommend arriving here early in the morning. That way you will not only avoid the crowds but the heat as well. There are lots of stairs so it might be very demanding during the hottest hours of the day. Bring comfortable shoes and lots of water. You can also join some of the tours we mention below if you can’t ride a motorbike.
9. Learn a bit of history at My Son sanctuary
Price: 150 000 VND,
Opening Hours: 6:30 am – 5:30 pm
Time to visit: 2-4 hours
My Son sanctuary is a unique collection of temples built 1600 ago. You can marvel at many different Cham temples built in a valley surrounded by lush rainforest. Many structures were destroyed during Vietnam War. Expect to find lot of ruins and remains of once grandiouse temples. You can get here by a private car, motorbike or by joining one of the tours below.
10. Take a walk on Golden bridge (in Ban Na Hills)
Price: 750 000 VND for adults, 600 000 VND for children between 1-1.4m, free for children under 1m
Opening Hours: 7 am – 10 pm
Time to visit: 1h (all day for the whole park)
You might have seen this Insta-famous place on your feed. Golden bridge at Ban Na hills is a unique structure that makes you feel like you’re walking at tht top of the world in Gods hands. The entrance fee is actually not a ticket to Golden Bridge.The entrance ticket that covers all the cable cars and attractions in Ban Na Hills amusement park. There are 5 cable cars together that will take you to 1847m above sea to an epic French village. It is full of perfect photospots and attractions not only for kids but for adults, too. You can get your tickets HERE as well.
11. Visit Da Nang city
What I found the most interesting about Da Nang was the incredible environment. Da Nang is a big city surrounded by lush jungle, hills and sea. It is vibrant and full of life! The best thing you can do is take your camera and get lost in its streets. Da Nang is amazing place to experience proper Vietnamese culture. Streetfood lovers will also enjoy it her.
Where to stay - Da Nang or Hoi An?
If your stay in here is very short, we recommend staying directly in Hoi An. There is many homestays and hotels offering good options for evey budget level. If you want to see a typical daily life of Vietnamese, stay in Da Nang. I liked that city much more. It has an incredible vibe. Hoi An feels a bit like tourist trap. The old town is full of crowds and souvenirs. For a longer stay Da Nang would be better option, And also cheaper. But it’s all about preferences.
If you book anything through the map we will earn a small comission and you still pay the same. Thank you!
Where to eat in Hoi An
- Ellie’s cafe – perfect place for breakfast
- Unicorn bowl & cafe – amazing smoothie bowls and good coffee
- Phin coffee – the most delicious coffee in Hoi An
- Buttercup – tasty toast, bowls and much more for breakfast
- Bep Nha – affordable yet mouth-watering Vietnamese cuisine
- Herbal Pizza – truly delicious Italian style pizza