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Along the coastline of Vietnam, you’ll find the charming seaside city of Hoi An, or Hội An. From the lantern-lined streets to the bright yellows of the Old Town, Hoi An is easily one of the most charming and tourist-friendly cities in Vietnam. A visit to Hoi An is the perfect mix of action and relaxation, a slice of paradise outside the hustle and bustle of the hectic cities.
Let’s dive in to find out the best things to see in Hoi An, Vietnam, plus everything you need to know to plan a perfect trip to this amazing Vietnamese city.
Where is Hoi An?
Hoi An is located in central Vietnam in the Quang Nam Province along the coast. The closest nearby tourist destination is Da Nang, however its central location makes it a great stop whether you’re visiting the north or south.
Here is the distance to Hoi An from a few major cities in Vietnam:
- Hoi An > Da Nang: 45 minutes by car
- Hoi An > Hanoi: 45 minutes by car to Da Nang + 1 hour 20 mins by plane
- Hoi An > Hanoi: 10-14 hour overnight bus
- Hoi An > Hue: 4 hours by bus
Before you dive into the article, here are some popular tours in Hoi An to check out:
Popular tours in Hanoi
Best time to visit Hoi An
The best time to visit Hanoi is between late October and April. This is when you will get the most days with sunshine – as the rainy season is from May to September. in the winter months you can expect cooler temperatures (think light jacket weather) but as you inch closer to the rainy season the temperatures will start to soar. It hovered just under 100 degrees fahrenheit when we were there in early May.
How to get there
If you’re planning to travel to Hoi An by plane, then it is important to understand that there is no airport in Hoi An itself. The closest airport is located in Da Nang, which is about 45 minutes by car from Hoi An. To reach Hoi An from Da Nang you have a few options:
By shared shuttle – you can prebook a seat in a shared tourist shuttle from Da Nang to Hoi An (or vice versa) for as little as $7.
By local bus – if you’re on a budget, you can take the local bus from the Da Nang central station to Hoi An for as little as $1 per person. This method can take up to 1.5 hours, without traffic, so it is quite a bit longer than a private option.
The best time to visit Hoi An is between February and August. This is the dry season, so you’re the most likely to encounter beautiful, sunny weather. If you’re traveling to Vietnam on a budget, I’d also recommend the “shoulder month” of December which is considered to be more of a transitional month with mixed weather. You may not have perfect beach days, but the weather should still be beautiful enough for sightseeing.
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Where to stay
Getting around Hoi An
Hoi An is an incredibly walkable city, especially if you are staying in or near the Old Town. If you’re looking to venture a bit further out to the rice fields or beaches, a bike or scooter are both easy, affordable options.
Best things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam
Explore the ancient Old Town
Hoi An’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s a must-visit on any trip to Vietnam. Wander through its cobbled streets (on foot or by bike) and get lost in the lantern-filled city. I love the mix of French and Vietnamese influence on the architecture. Make sure to stop at the Hoi An Night Market.
Note, in order to protect and preserve the Old Town of Hoi An, a $5 ticket is required to enter some buildings and parts of the city. You will see plenty of places in town to purchase a ticket.
Design tailor-made clothing
Hoi An is one of the best (and cheapest) places in the world to get good quality tailor made clothing.
A lot of people use their trip to Hoi An as an excuse to get a handmade suit or elegant gowns designed. During my visite, I opted for four more casual pieces. I ended up with two simple black dresses, a bright blue romper, and a long blue flowered maxi dress.
Here are some tips for selecting your tailor:
- Have a design in mind before walking you arrive into a tailor or you’ll be completely overwhelmed by the options
- Shop around and don’t be afraid to negotiate prices
- Check store reviews
- Most shops need 1-2 days to complete your pieces so plan accordingly
Visit the Hoi An Night Market
Located in front of the Japanese Bridge, the Hoi An Night Market is one of the most famous markets in visit while traveling in Vietnam. This is a great place to try local dishes, or shop for souvenirs for home.
The market is open daily from 5-11pm.
Explore the Japanese Bridge
Built in the 16th century, this beautiful bridge sits across the main river in Hoi An. It is beautiful during the day and at night, when it is lit up. You will need the Hoi An ticket to cross the bridge.
Lounge on the Hoi An beaches
While not the most beautiful beaches in the world, Hoi An oe provide a nice escape for some lazy beach days. Popular beaches in the area include An Dang Beach and Cua Dan Beach. You’ll find sunbeds to rent and tons of fun various watersports.
Explore Hoi An by bike
One of the best ways to explore Hoi An, especially if you’re exploring outside of the Old Town, is by bike. You can rent a bike from most hotels, and set off exploring through nearby villages and rice paddies.
My bike took me through the winding yellow alleyways, along the river bends, through the rice fields, and down to the beach! It is definitely the most efficient means of transportation. That being said, you should definitely hop off your bike at times and get lost among the brightly colored buildings of the old town.
Learn about the local cuisine with a cooking class
Popular dishes include:
- Banh Mi (traditional meat sandwich)
- Cao Lau (pork rice noodle)
- Banh Bao Banh Vac (white rose dumpling)
Visit the My Son Sanctuary
Take a ride out to the nearby My Son Sanctuary, a group of Hindu temples dating back to the Champa Kingdom. It’s an impressive historical site, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Enjoy cheap Vietnamese beer
The beer in Vietnam is quite literally the cheapest in the world, and Hoi An is no exception.
Best restaurants in Hoi An
There are so many incredible places to eat in Hoi An, as well as dishes unique to the region from cao lau to white rose dumplings.
Here are a few of my favorite restaurants in Hoi An:
- Cafe 43
- Morning Glory
- White Rose Restaurant
- Cơm Gà Bà Buội
- The Chef Restaurant & Cafe
- Streets Restaurant
What to pack
Packing for a trip to Hoi An, Vietnam depends on the time of year that you are visiting, but at any time of the year you can expect warm, mild weather. Unlike northern cities like Hanoi, it never gets too cold in Hoi An. Overall Hoi An is not super conservative, so it is fine to wear short dresses or shorts. If you are visiting any temples, however it is important make sure both your shoulders and knees are covered, especially as a woman!
Here are a few of my must-pack items for any trip to Vietnam:
Travel sandals – you’re going to be walking a lot! So a few of comfy lightweight travel sandals are a must. I personally love my Teva sandals, and wear them most days when traveling.
Light jacket – I always travel with a light jacket for cooler nights. I love my NanoAir from Patagonia. It is lightweight but warm, and packs up super small for when you don’t need it!
Lightweight clothing: the weather in Hoi An ranges from warm to hot, with some cooler evenings. Be sure to pack lightweight, breathable clothes.
Travel tank top – maybe i’m just a creature of habit, but I have the same tank top in three colors and I travel full time with all of them. They are cute, comfy and versatile! The ultimate travel tank top in my opinion.
🏘️Book your accommodation
Booking.com will help you to book accommodation in advance and check availability
✈️Book your flight in advance
To find the cheapest flight options, you can use WayAway and find the most suitable option for you
Visiting Vietnam? Here are some other articles to check out: