21 Best Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An, a once-thriving trading port in Southeast Asia from the 15th to the 19th century, continues to enchant visitors with its timeless charm. Stepping into the ancient town of Hoi An, one is transported back in time, encountering a harmonious blend of indigenous and foreign influences that have shaped this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its picturesque beauty, rich historical and cultural heritage, friendly locals, and an array of captivating activities, Hoi An stands as a must-visit destination for travelers from across the globe.

Beyond its historic allure, Hoi An offers a wealth of attractions and experiences to explore. From wandering the lantern-lit streets of the ancient town to sampling delectable local cuisine, embarking on river cruises, and exploring nearby beaches, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Hoi An. So, let’s embark on a journey to uncover the 21 best activities to enjoy in this charming town!

1. Cycle Around to Explore the Ancient Town

Cycle Around to Explore the Ancient Town
Cycle Around to Explore the Ancient Town

With its picturesque white sandy beaches, verdant rice fields, and the tranquil Thu Bon River, Hoi An invites visitors to explore its ancient streets while pedaling on two wheels. Cycling provides an ideal means to fully immerse oneself in the charm of this historic town.

Hoi An offers a plethora of cycling routes to suit every preference. One can leisurely pedal through the old town in the morning, absorbing the ambiance of its quaint streets. Alternatively, a venture to Cam Kim Island or Tra Que Vegetable Village offers insight into local life and traditions. For a truly authentic experience, consider cycling into the countryside to witness the traditional Vietnamese way of life.

While cycling, you’ll have the chance to uncover historical sites, engage in shopping, and indulge in delectable Vietnamese cuisine. Whether exploring the ancient town or venturing into the countryside, cycling in Hoi An promises an unforgettable journey filled with scenic vistas and cultural encounters.

2. Have a Boat Trip

For a unique way to explore Hoi An, consider embarking on a boat journey instead of the typical cycling tour. Hoi An offers abundant opportunities to discover its charm from the water.

Boat trips usually last for an hour or two, allowing you to leisurely cruise along the Thu Bon River. Seated in a traditional coracle, you can either row the boat yourself with the guidance of a local or a tour guide, navigating through small rivers and canals. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with rowing; assistance will be provided.

This activity not only offers a chance to admire Hoi An’s picturesque landscape but also provides insights into its cultural heritage. The boat journey goes beyond mere sightseeing, offering opportunities to engage in activities such as fishing and experiencing the daily life of the locals.

3. Order a Tailor-Made Suit

Order a Tailor-Made Suit
Order a Tailor-Made Suit

Renowned for more than just its colonial architecture, Hoi An boasts a rich history in tailoring that traces back to the ancient Silk Route. Therefore, purchasing a high-quality suit in this historic city makes for an excellent souvenir or personal indulgence.

To ensure you find the perfect tailor, consider browsing through reviews on platforms like TripAdvisor to identify the highest-rated shops. Before getting fitted for a suit, it’s essential to negotiate and agree upon a price, as costs may vary depending on the quality of materials used. Once the price is settled, the tailor will take your measurements, and you can return the following day for fittings and adjustments. While the process may take a day or two, the end result of a tailored suit is well worth the investment of your time.

4. Buy Local Handicrafts

In addition to its stunning architecture, exciting activities, and delectable cuisine, Hoi An boasts a world-class shopping experience that’s sure to delight visitors.

When seeking souvenirs for your loved ones, consider purchasing local handicrafts such as silk lanterns, pottery, leather goods, and tailored clothing. Street vendors throughout the town offer a wide array of these items, allowing you to peruse and select the perfect gifts. Known for its vibrant shopping scene, Hoi An provides numerous options for finding the best bargains and goods. Take your time to explore the bustling streets and markets, where you’re bound to discover unique treasures to commemorate your visit to this enchanting destination.

5. Visit Japanese Covered Bridge

Visit Japanese Covered Bridge
Visit Japanese Covered Bridge

Hoi An’s Japanese Covered Bridge, dating back to the 18th century, stands as one of Vietnam’s most iconic attractions. This beautiful historical piece of Japanese architecture features sculptures of two dogs and two monkeys, representing the Chinese years in which many Japanese Emperors were born. Spanning approximately 60 feet in length, the bridge is adorned with vibrant red colors and topped with a wooden pagoda roof. You can easily locate this landmark at the west end of Tran Phu Street, just a short distance from the town center.

6. Check out Ancient Weaving Techniques in Hoi An Silk Village

Located not far from the bustling center of Hoi An ancient town, Hoi An Silk Village breathes new life into the long history of the Silk Road. Surrounded by horticultural farms, lotus ponds, and mulberry gardens, it exudes a serene atmosphere reminiscent of days gone by. Within this village, a dozen artisans work tirelessly, weaving silk into tapestries and various garments using ancient looms.

Visitors to the village have the unique opportunity to experience the silk-weaving process firsthand. They can feel the texture of the original silk threads and gain insight into distinguishing between authentic silk fabric and its synthetic counterparts. This immersive experience offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship behind the silk industry in Hoi An.

7. Visit Tan Ky Family House

Visit Tan Ky Family House
Visit Tan Ky Family House

Located at 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street and constructed nearly 200 years ago, the Tan Ky family house stands as one of the oldest houses in Hoi An. It serves as a remarkable example of a merchant’s residence from the 18th century in this bustling commercial port town.

The house showcases a harmonious blend of three distinct architectural styles: Vietnamese, Japanese, and Chinese. Constructed from traditional materials such as wood, bricks, and stones sourced from various provinces across Vietnam, the Tan Ky family house is a testament to the cultural diversity and craftsmanship of its time.

Throughout its history, this special house has welcomed leaders from Vietnam and other international countries, attesting to its significance and prestige. A visit to the Tan Ky family house offers a unique insight into its architectural beauty and historical importance, highlighting why it remains an enduring symbol of Hoi An’s heritage.

8. Take a Coffee Break

In the late morning, as the streets of Hoi An become more crowded, it’s an ideal time to take a coffee break and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. With numerous cafes scattered throughout the town, you don’t have to venture far to find a delightful cup of coffee.

Many cafes in Hoi An take pride in roasting their own Vietnamese single-origin beans, imparting a unique and memorable flavor to each cup. If you’re interested, the knowledgeable staff are often happy to share insights into their sourcing and roasting processes, as well as the various brewing methods they employ.

One particularly delightful experience is savoring a cup of coffee brewed using the traditional stainless steel filter known as “phin.” This method not only produces a rich and aromatic brew but also offers a glimpse into the cherished coffee culture of Vietnam.

9. Sunbathe and Swim at An Bang Beach

Sunbathe and Swim at An Bang Beach
Sunbathe and Swim at An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach, situated 3 km to the east of Hoi An, emerges as an idyllic destination for sunbathing and swimming enthusiasts. For the fourth consecutive year, it has earned recognition as one of the most beautiful beaches in Asia by TripAdvisor readers. Renowned for its pristine white sands and unspoiled beauty, An Bang Beach stands out as one of the few coastal gems in Vietnam that has retained its natural allure amidst the influx of beach tourism.

Many travelers flock to this beach to bask in the sun and take refreshing dips in the clear waters. The optimal time for these activities in Hoi An typically spans from May to September, when the weather is warm and conducive to beachside relaxation. Whether you’re seeking a tranquil spot to unwind or crave an invigorating swim, An Bang Beach offers an enchanting escape along Vietnam’s picturesque coastline.

10. Taste Cao Lau

Cao Lau, also known as Cao Lầu Hoi An vermicelli, holds a special place in the culinary landscape of Hoi An, leaving a lasting impression on visitors to the ancient town. As you wander through the streets, you’ll often hear vendors calling out “Cao lau! Cao lau!” enticing passersby to sample this iconic dish.

Numerous restaurants in Hoi An serve up variations of Cao Lau, each offering its own unique twist on the traditional recipe. This delectable dish features yellow noodles topped with a flavorful combination of shrimp, pork, and fresh vegetables. What sets Cao Lau apart is the distinctive yellow noodles, crafted from a blend of rice flour and water infused with cajuput firewood ash sourced from Cu Lao Cham.

With its rich flavors and cultural significance, Cao Lau epitomizes the culinary heritage of Hoi An‘s streets. When exploring this historic town, be sure to indulge in this beloved Vietnamese dish, as it offers a tantalizing taste of tradition and authenticity.

11. Trip to My Son Sanctuary 

Trip to My Son Sanctuary 
Trip to My Son Sanctuary

A visit to My Son Sanctuary is undoubtedly a highlight of any trip to Hoi An. Nestled within a lush rainforest, this remarkable complex is often dubbed the “Angkor Wat of Vietnam.” While it may not rival the grandeur of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, My Son Sanctuary is nonetheless an awe-inspiring religious site that merits exploration.

Once the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom, My Son Sanctuary boasts impressive structures constructed from fired brick, adorned with intricate sandstone bas-reliefs, and supported by stone pillars. Its historical significance and architectural beauty make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and cultural aficionados alike.

To reach My Son Sanctuary from Hoi An, travelers have various transportation options available, including motorbike, taxi, or organized tours. Regardless of how you choose to journey there, a visit to My Son Sanctuary promises a captivating glimpse into Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage and ancient history.

12. Go Shopping in Hoi An night Market and Central Market

Exploring the vibrant market scene in Hoi An is an unforgettable experience that shouldn’t be missed during your visit. The Hoi An Night Market and Central Market offer distinct atmospheres and layouts, each providing a unique shopping experience.

The Central Market stands as the largest market in Hoi An, bustling with activity throughout the day. Its bustling streets are surrounded by a myriad of vendors selling an array of goods. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat, and other essentials, creating a lively and bustling atmosphere.

In contrast, the Hoi An Night Market comes alive in the evening, illuminated by colorful lights and filled with the sounds of bustling restaurants and bars. It’s a vibrant and bustling hub where visitors can immerse themselves in the lively atmosphere while browsing through shops selling traditional lanterns and other souvenirs.

Both markets offer an abundance of culinary delights and local products, providing visitors with ample opportunities to experience the vibrant culture and bustling energy of Hoi An.

13. Contemplate the Fujian Assembly Hall

The Fujian Assembly Hall stands as a symbolic icon of Hoi An’s architectural heritage, revered as a masterpiece of historical significance. Originally established as a gathering place for residents and visitors from Fujian, China, the hall served as a social hub for the community in Hoi An.

To truly appreciate the grandeur of the Fujian Assembly Hall, it’s recommended to visit during a Chinese festival when the hall comes alive with vibrant celebrations and cultural activities. Admire the intricate artwork, animal motifs, and statues adorning the hall’s interior, showcasing the craftsmanship of bygone eras.

One of the highlights of the Fujian Assembly Hall is the Thien Hau Temple, dedicated to Thien Hau, the revered goddess of the sea and protector of sailors. Visitors can pay homage to this deity and marvel at the temple’s intricate architecture and ornate decorations, offering insight into the spiritual beliefs of the community.

Exploring the Fujian Assembly Hall is a journey through history and culture, offering a glimpse into the rich heritage of Hoi An and its enduring architectural treasures.

14. Tour Quan Cong Temple

Quan Cong Temple stands as another exquisite example of Chinese craftsmanship in Hoi An, paying homage to an esteemed ancient Chinese general. Adorned in vibrant hues of red, gold, and green, the temple is a striking architectural marvel that draws visitors from near and far.

Enclosed within brick walls, the temple’s main structure is supported by sturdy wooden pillars, while its roofs feature intricate arrangements of horizontal and vertical slats. This complex architectural design reflects the meticulous attention to detail and skilled craftsmanship prevalent in traditional Chinese architecture.

Stepping into Quan Cong Temple, visitors are greeted by a sense of reverence and solemnity, characteristic of worship spaces in East Asia. The temple’s sophisticated decorations and ornate embellishments offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and spiritual traditions of the region.

Exploring Quan Cong Temple is not only an opportunity to admire its beauty but also to immerse oneself in the centuries-old history and cultural significance it embodies, making it a must-visit destination for travelers exploring Hoi An.

15. Visit Phung Hung Old House

Visit Phung Hung Old House
Visit Phung Hung Old House

Just a stone’s throw away from the Japanese Covered Bridge, the grand entrance hall of Phung Hung Old House beckons visitors with its expansive and inviting presence. This historic dwelling boasts a distinctive architectural style characterized by its Yin and Yang roof design, featuring traditional convex motifs.

Phung Hung Old House is a remarkable fusion of two distinct architectural traditions, evident in its two-story structure. The ground floor showcases Japanese design elements, characterized by a four-sided roof, while the upper floor embodies Chinese architectural influence, featuring a rounded roof.

With a history spanning eight generations, Phung Hung Old House offers a fascinating glimpse into the local culture and daily life of bygone eras. Stepping inside, visitors are transported back in time, immersing themselves in the heritage and traditions of the region.

Exploring Phung Hung Old House is not only a journey through history but also an opportunity to appreciate the architectural splendor and cultural richness that define Hoi An’s unique identity.

16. Visit Hoi An Lantern Market

Crossing over the river, you’ll encounter the Lantern Market, a vibrant hub brimming with souvenirs and trinkets typical of Vietnam. While you’ll find similar items to those sold elsewhere in the country, the true spectacle unfolds at night when the lanterns illuminate the market in a mesmerizing display.

The Lantern Market is a magnet for tourists seeking the perfect photo opportunity amidst the radiant glow of these colorful lanterns. Approximately five stalls showcase an array of exquisitely crafted lanterns, each vying for attention with its unique charm and allure.

Be prepared to navigate through the bustling crowds to capture that unforgettable shot. The beauty of these lanterns is so captivating that you’ll treasure the memory long after you’ve returned home.

17. Eat Banh Mi Hoi An

When you search for “the best banh mi in the world,” one of the top results is likely to mention “Banh Mi Phuong, Hoi An.” This accolade alone makes sampling banh mi a must-do when visiting this ancient town. But what makes this dish so special?

Banh mi in Hoi An is a harmonious blend of various ingredients: pork floss, grilled pork, pork liver pate, handmade mayonnaise, long-sliced cucumber, and pickled papaya, to name a few. What sets it apart is its unique texture and flavor profile. The banh mi in Hoi An boasts a crispy exterior and a soft, airy interior, creating a delightful contrast with each bite. It’s a culinary experience you won’t find replicated anywhere else but in Hoi An.

18. Discover Marble Mountain

Just a short 20-kilometer drive north of Hoi An lies Marble Mountain, a cluster of five limestone peaks known as the “Mountains of Five Elements” or Kim (metal), Moc (wood), Thuy (water), Hoa (fire), and Tho (earth). These mountains are not only visually captivating but also hold cultural and historical significance.

Marble Mountain is renowned for its stone-making, stone sculpture, and stone-cutting crafts. Visitors can explore numerous tunnels and cave entrances, each offering a unique experience. One highlight is climbing the Mountain of Water (Thuy Son), where you can visit Tam Thai Pagoda and marvel at its intricate architecture.

For the adventurous, there’s the option to abseil down into the cave palaces, adding an adrenaline-filled twist to your exploration of this natural wonder. Whether you’re interested in cultural immersion, outdoor adventure, or simply soaking in the breathtaking scenery, Marble Mountain offers something for everyone.

19. Relax at Beaches

Cycling 4 km from the center of the gorgeous Hoi An ancient town, you will find Cua Dai and An Bang beaches. With golden, find sand covered beaches, spectacular palm trees, and clear turquoise water, these beaches are perfect for spending a relaxing day or doing some recreational activities like swimming, sunbathing and other water sports. Especially on summer days, they are cannot-be-missed spots in any Hoi An tours so visitors can enjoy the pretty view of East Sea and cool off.

20. Scuba Diving

With its warm tropical waters teeming with hundreds of coral varieties and tropical fish, scuba diving and snorkeling in Hoi An offer unforgettable experiences. Just 21 kilometers from the old town lies Cu Lao Cham island, home to several diving sites renowned for their rich marine life.

Embark on a day trip to the remote parts of Cham Islands, where you can explore vibrant coral reefs and encounter an array of fascinating underwater creatures. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a novice snorkeler, there are opportunities for all levels of experience to immerse themselves in the beauty of the underwater world.

In addition to diving and snorkeling, visitors can also partake in cultural activities on Cham Islands, making it a comprehensive and enriching excursion from Hoi An. With reasonable prices and a wealth of marine wonders to discover, scuba diving and snorkeling in Hoi An promise unforgettable adventures for all.

21. Join a Cooking Class

For food enthusiasts, participating in a cooking class where you can learn to prepare and savor traditional Vietnamese dishes in Hoi An is an excellent idea. Nowadays, numerous cooking classes cater to teaching the art of Vietnamese and Hoi An-style cuisine, offering dishes ranging from simple to elaborate to suit your interests, expectations, and preferences.

Typically, these classes commence with a morning market excursion to procure essential ingredients. Subsequently, you’ll be guided to a cozy and intimate kitchen setting to master the techniques of crafting traditional dishes. Following the class, you’ll have the opportunity to indulge in your culinary creations while relishing the picturesque riverside scenery.

After exploring Hoi An, be sure not to miss out on numerous incredible destinations such as Sapa, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Ha Giang, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, and the Mekong Delta. These invaluable treasures offer a diverse array of experiences, from serene beaches to lively urban landscapes and rich historical wonders.

To make the most of your vacation in Vietnam, strategic planning and early booking are essential. Amidst the myriad of travel companies, Discover Vietnam Tours stands out for its seamless coordination via email and WhatsApp. They handle everything from airport transfers to accommodation, guided tours, drivers, and tailored activities.

With their expertise, let them craft a customized program to suit your schedule and preferences, ensuring a seamless cross-country itinerary. Let Discover Vietnam Tours enhance your travel experience, creating unforgettable memories in this captivating country.