Ranked at #20 among the best cities in the world as voted by Travel+Leisure in 2022, Hoi An – the charming historic town in central Vietnam – deserves all your attention!
Hoi An is home to a wide variety of things to see and do, making it the perfect place to visit for travelers of all interests. As someone who has been to this lovely town 4 times, I’m delighted to share with you an exhaustive list of 30+ ultimate things to do in Hoi An as a source of inspiration for your next trip here.
Even if you have visited Hoi An before, check out this list and see if you have ticked all the boxes. (I bet you haven’t!)
1. Wander around Hoi An Ancient Town
No trip to Hoi An is complete without visiting its famous ancient town – a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Once a meeting point for traders from around the world, Hoi An Ancient Town prides itself on its distinctive blend of both local and foreign cultures and its unique well-preserved architecture. Visitors to Hoi An nowadays can still walk past the same iconic yellow houses which dated back to the 17th century.
One tip is to try to visit Hoi An Ancient Town in the early morning (before 7:30 AM) to avoid the tourist crowd and enjoy the serene ambiance here.
2. Book a photo shooting package
If you’re visiting Hoi An as a couple or family, booking a private photo shoot is a great idea as there are so many Instagramable corners in town.
During our trip, we booked a 45-minute morning photo shoot for only VND 390,000 (~USD17) and received 30 beautiful retouched photos in return. There are also more advanced photo shoot packages, some of which include makeup, props, and hairdo as well.
- Here’s the package we booked: https://www.facebook.com/hoianimage
- Here’s a more professional photographer in Hoi An: https://fernandesphotographer.com/couple-from-finland-couple-photoshoot-in-hoi-an/
3. Admire the architectural wonders of Hoi An’s Assembly Halls
The Assembly Halls in Hoi An were once the meeting points and spiritual centers for Chinese traders in the 17th-18th century. Most of them are still well-preserved nowadays, providing visitors with a great opportunity to admire ancient Chinese architecture and learn more about their cultures.
The five most notable Assembly Halls in Hoi An are:
- Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall (46 Tran Phu Street)
- Hai Nam Assembly Hall (10 Tran Phu Street)
- Trieu Chau Assembly Hall (157 Nguyen Duy Hieu)
- Duong Thuong Assembly Hall (64 Tran Phu Street)
- Quang Dong Assembly Hall (176 Tran Phu Street)
4. Follow Anthony Bourdain’s trail and try a Banh mi Phuong
The Vietnamese banh mi has won the hearts of foodies all over the world, and there’s an Anthony Bourdain-approved banh mi stall in Hoi An that you simply can’t miss. Located in Hoi An Ancient Town, banh mi Phuong has become so famous after Bourdain’s visit that it even opens branches in South Korea as well.
While banh mi Phuong definitely deserves all praises, I personally think it’s a bit overrated. For a change, I’d suggest trying Madame Khanh’s banh mi, which is also located in Hoi An Ancient Town. You’ll be blown away by how delicious a small baguette can be!
4. Get the adrenaline flowing with a coconut basket boat tour
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled activity in Hoi An, a coconut basket boat tour should definitely be on your list.
During the tour, you’ll sit inside a basket boat paddled by a local farmer and venture into one of Hoi An’s lush green coconut forests. Complimentary coconut drinks are then served while the locals perform some incredible feats of strength and dexterity for your admiration. If you dare to, you can even ask to sit in one of those performing boats as well.
Check out this video to see how it’s like 😀
5. Get a tailored suit, dress, or ao dai in Hoi An
Whether you’re looking for a new suit, dress, or simply some custom-made clothing, Hoi An is the place to go. The prices are extremely reasonable, and the quality is excellent. You can get to choose from a wide variety of different fabrics to create a suit, dress, or ao dai that best fits your style.
Here are some most reliable tailor shops in Hoi An:
Bao Khanh Silk – 101 Tran Hung Dao Street
Thu Thuy – 60 Le Loi Street
Yaly – 358 Nguyen Duy Hieu Street
B’Lan Silk – 23 Tran Phu Street
6. Eat all the street food at Hoi An Night Market
Open daily from 5 PM till midnight, the Nguyen Hoang Night Market in Hoi An features more than 50 stalls selling a wide variety of street food, souvenirs, clothes, arts and crafts, and other items. Be sure to come here with an empty stomach, as you will love to try all the yummy-looking street food on offer here.
Some street food I’d highly recommend:
- Bánh tráng nướng – Fried Rice Paper
- Chè – Sweet porridges
- Nem lụi – Chargrilled pork rolls
If the wide variety of street food choices here overwhelms you, I’d recommend booking a Hoi An night market street food tour.
7. Explore the best beaches Hoi An has to offer
In addition to its historic significance, Hoi An is also known for its 6 beautiful award-winning beaches. Some popular beaches in Hoi An include An Bang Beach, Cua Dai Beach, and Ha My Beach, all of which are perfect for relaxing, swimming, and enjoying views of the East Sea.
8. Visit Hoi An’s best museums
If you’re a culture and history enthusiast, don’t forget to pay a visit to these 3 museums in Hoi An.
The Museum of Trade Ceramics provides a fascinating glimpse into the city’s maritime trade history. It features a collection of over 10,000 artifacts that include ceramics from all over Asia.
The Museum of Folk Culture is a must-see for anyone interested in the traditional arts and crafts of Vietnam.
At Silk Village Hoi An, you can watch artisans hand-weave silk fabrics using techniques that have been passed down for generations.
9. Try Cao Lau – a quintessential Hoi An dish
Cao Lau is a traditional dish from Hoi An that is made with rice noodles, pork, and vegetables. The dish is usually served with a side of pickled vegetables and a dipping sauce.
The flavors of Cao Lau are unique and distinct from other Vietnamese dishes. The noodles are thick and chewy, while the pork is tender and flavorful. The vegetables add a crunchy contrast to the noodles and pork, and the pickled vegetables provide a tart and vinegary taste. The dipping sauce is usually made with fish sauce, lime juice, and chili peppers, which gives it a salty, sour, and spicy flavor.
10. Cycle around Hoi An Ancient Town or take a bike tour
One of the best ways to explore Hoi An Ancient Town is by bicycle. There are many rental shops in town, and you can easily find a bike that suits your needs.
Cycling around Hoi An is a great way to see the town’s sights and get a feel for its history. You can also take a bike tour to the outskirts of town and commune with nature. Either way, cycling is a great way to see Hoi An and get some exercise at the same time!
11. Buy a pair of leather shoes
Since our very first trip to Hoi An nearly 10 years ago, I have always remained impressed with Hoi An’s leather shoes. At a very affordable price, you can easily have a custom-made pair of leather shoes in Hoi An that look just like any other pair from a famous high-end fashion brand!
12. Savor the famous Hoi An Chicken Rice
Hoi An chicken rice is one of the must-try dishes when visiting this town. The rice is cooked with chicken broth following a secret recipe that has been passed down for generations, then eaten with shredded boiled chicken, onions, herbs, and a savory sauce.
The most famous chicken rice eatery is perhaps Ba Buoi, followed by Ba Nga, both of which are conveniently located in the heart of Hoi An Ancient Town.
13. Take a day tour to Cu Lao Cham
Located just off the coast of Hoi An, Cham Island or Cu Lao Cham is home to several temples and pagodas, as well as stunning beaches.
A day tour to Cham Island will take you on a boat ride out to the island. Then you can spend the day exploring the temples, relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, and swimming in the crystal-clear waters. There are also plenty of opportunities to try local food and souvenir shopping.
13. Take an evening boat ride and make a wish with your paper lantern
Every evening, the Hoai river in Hoi An is illuminated by hundreds of lanterns, creating a magical scene. Each lantern is made by hand and represents a wish for the future. As you float down the river, you can watch the lanterns drift away and make a wish of your own.
A 20-minute boat ride for up to 3 people costs only VND 150,000. It’s an unforgettable experience that you won’t want to miss.
14. Chill out at a cafe with beautiful views of rice fields
Roving Chillhouse is the place to be if you’re looking to briefly escape the touristy old town.
Located around 3.5 km from Hoi An Ancient Town, this lovely cafe offers a wide range of Western and Vietnamese food as well as creative beverages such as matcha coconut and banana juice.
Most importantly, the cafe features an outdoor area where you can sit comfortably on one of its cushions and admire the refreshing view of rice paddle fields right before your eyes.
15. Watch the magnificent Hoi An Memories Show at Hoi An Impression Theme Park
There’s no better way to enjoy the beauty of this town than by watching the Hoi An Memories Show. This spectacular performance tells the story of the city through music, dance, and acrobatics. The show is held in an open-air theatre at Hoi An Impression Theme Park, and it’s the perfect way to spend an evening in this magical city.
Watch this video for a 24s timelapse of the show.
In addition to the Hoi An Memories Show, there are plenty of other things to do at Hoi An Impression Theme Park. Visitors can explore the park’s gardens, take part in folk games, or stroll through the Japanese Village replica. There’s also a traditional bazaar where you can purchase handmade arts and crafts.
16. Take a day tour to My Son Sanctuary
A day trip from Hoi An, My Son is a fascinating complex of ancient temples that offer a glimpse into the past.
Built between the 4th and 13th centuries, the temples were once part of the capital of the Champa Kingdom. Today, they stand as a reminder of the kingdom’s power and influence. Visitors to My Son can explore the temples, many of which are in a state of ruin, and see firsthand the intricate carvings and artwork that adorn them.
I’d recommend taking this early morning My Son Sanctuary tour which includes pickup and dropoff at your Hoi An hotel, breakfast, and a wonderful English-speaking guide.
17. Relax and rejuvenate at one of the best beachfront resorts in Hoi An
Instead of booking a hotel near Hoi An Ancient Town, why not opt for a tranquil beachfront resort for a couple of days?
Hoi An boasts many beautiful beachfront resorts with prices starting from only US$55 per night. During our trip, we booked a room at Koi Resort and Spa Hoi An for around US$59 and had a great time!
Situated within 5 minutes walk from Cua Dai Beach and surrounded by luxurious fruit trees, this tranquil resort also offers unbeatable spa services, complimentary kayak activities, a hearty breakfast buffet, free bicycles, a big outdoor swimming pool, as well as a serene view of the river.
18. Visit Tra Que Vegetable Village
This picturesque village is located just outside the city, and it’s well worth the short journey to get there.
Tra Que vegetable village is home to a huge variety of vegetables and herbs, which are all grown using traditional methods. Visitors can explore the village and learn about how the vegetables are grown, or they can even participate in the harvesting process themselves.
After working up an appetite, be sure to try some of the delicious food on offer at one of the village’s eateries. You’ll be able to taste the freshest ingredients in dishes that are packed full of flavor.
19. Explore charming coffee shops with rooftop views of Hoi An Ancient Town
Have you ever wondered what Hoi An Ancient Town looks like from above? It’s easy to find the answer. Simply pay a visit to these lovely coffee shops which offer stunning rooftop views of Hoi An. You can even have the chance to snap some impressive photos for your Instagram!
I’d recommend these 2 coffee shops with amazing rooftop views of Hoi An from above:
- Faifo Coffee: 130 Tran Phu Street
- 92 Station: 92 Tran Phu Street
20. Spend a day exploring historic Hue
The former capital of Vietnam, Hue is well-known for its impressive ancient architecture including the Forbidden Purple City (the emperor’s former home), palaces, tombs, pagodas, and shrines. A day tour to Hue from Hoi An will open your eyes to Vietnam’s rich culture and history while introducing to you a wide variety of delicious Hue cuisine.
21. Join a cooking class in Hoi An
Hoi An is famous for its cuisine, and a cooking class is a great way to learn about the local flavors and ingredients. You’ll also get to meet other foodies and have a lot of fun in the process.
Most cooking classes will start with a visit to the local market, where you’ll learn about all the different vegetables, fruits, and spices used in Vietnamese cuisine. Then it’s off to the kitchen, where you’ll get to cook up some delicious dishes under the guidance of a professional chef. At the end of the class, you’ll sit down and enjoy your own creations – and maybe even share them with your new friends.
While there are plenty of cooking classes in Hoi An to choose from, I’d recommend booking this Sabirama Cooking Class which also comes with a complimentary massage, a boat cruise, and a buffalo cart ride as well!
22. Visit Thanh Ha Pottery Village in Hoi An
Thanh Ha Pottery Village is located just outside of town and is home to a number of pottery studios and shops. You can watch the potters at work, try your hand at making your own pottery, and browse the wares for sale.
23. Indulge yourself in a relaxing massage
Hoi An is a wonderful place to relax and pamper yourself. There are many spas offering a variety of services, from reflexology to facials to body massages. After a busy day of exploring the city, a massage can help you to unwind and feel refreshed.
Whether you’re looking for a luxurious spa experience or a more budget-friendly option, you’ll be sure to find something to suit your needs.
24. Escape to Da Nang for a day or two
A day trip to Da Nang from Hoi An is a great way to see some of the best that central Vietnam has to offer.
The city of Da Nang is home to a number of impressive sights, including the Marble Mountains, the Lady Buddha, and the Dragon Bridge. Just outside of the city, visitors can also enjoy the picturesque Hai Van Pass and the Cham ruins at My Son Sanctuary.
25. Watch incredible shows at Hoi An Lune Center
While staying in Hoi An, be sure to catch a performance at the Hoi An Lune Center, which combines elements of martial arts, circus arts, traditional Vietnamese music, and drama to tell stories of daily life in different regions in Vietnam.
All of their 3 current shows, namely Teh Dar Show, The Myst Show, and A O Show, are highly entertaining and provide a great introduction to Vietnamese culture. Watch a trailer of their A O Show below and feel it for yourself.
26. Join a lantern making class in Hoi An
One of the best things to do in Hoi An is joining a lantern making class. This centuries-old Vietnamese craft is a must-do activity in this beautiful city, and it’s a great way to take home a uniquely Hoi An souvenir.
In the class, you’ll learn about the history of lantern making in Hoi An, as well as the different techniques and materials used. You’ll then have the chance to try your hand at making your own lantern while enjoying an aromatic cup of herbal tea. The friendly instructors will be on hand to help you, and you’ll be surprised at what you can create!
At the end of the class, you’ll have your very own handmade foldable lantern to take home with you.
27. Visit Tam Thanh Mural Village
Located about 30 km from Hoi An Ancient Town, Tam Thanh Mural Village is home to a number of beautiful murals created by a group of Vietnamese and Korean artists and depicting a different scene from Vietnamese life.
Besides taking photos with these murals, you can also visit the fisherman’s village nearby, relax on Tam Thanh beach, and try local seafood dishes at its many local eateries.
28. Join a Secret Cocktail Experience tour
Calling all cocktail enthusiasts! This Secret Cocktail Experience tour will take you to 4 different places, some of which are located deep inside hidden alleys and away from the average tourist’s eyes. You will get to enjoy 4 sensational cocktails while hearing about Hoi An’s history and culture. A must-do activity while you’re in town!
29. Visit the Art Craft Manufacturing Workshop
Located in the heart of the city, the Art Craft Manufacturing Workshop offers a unique opportunity to see how traditional Vietnamese art is made.
From lacquerware and ceramics to textiles and wood carving, the workshop showcases the incredible craftsmanship of Hoi An’s artisans. Visitors can watch as skilled workers create beautiful pieces of art, and learn about the history and culture of Vietnamese art.
30. Spend a day at VinWonders Nam Hoi An
A theme park with lots of activities to keep you and your family busy for the whole day, Vinwonders Nam Hoi An should definitely be on your list if you’re looking for a fun and active day out with the kids.
Located around 15 km from Hoi An Ancient Town, the park is open from 9 AM until 10 PM with ticket prices starting from VND 390,000 per child and VND 510,000 per adult.
Things to do and see at VinWonders Nam Hoi An:
- Visit the River Safari
- Have fun at their water park
- Watch traditional performances at the Folk Culture Island
- Visit the VinEco farm
- Savor a variety of Vietnamese cuisine
31. Take your significant other on a romantic dinner cruise on Thu Bon River
For a romantic date in Hoi An, I’d recommend booking a sunset dinner on board the Cinnamon Cruises. Both public and private cruises are available, which take you and your significant other on Thu Bon River to enjoy the serene view of Hoi An by night while sampling some of the best cuisines in town.
32. Enjoy the silence while sipping a cup of tea at Reaching Out Tea House in Hoi An
Reaching Out Tea House in Hoi An is where you are served by hearing-impaired staff in a beautifully serene ambiance. The tea house is set in an old building decorated with antiques and surrounded by a small green garden. It’s a tranquil haven to briefly escape the bustling tourist crowds outside.
33. Visit the Precious Heritage by Réhahn
An award-winning French photographer, Réhahn has made it his life’s work to capture the beauty and diversity of Vietnam. His world-renowned photography exhibition in Hoi An, Precious Heritage, showcases some of his most stunning portraits. The photos provide a rare glimpse into the daily lives of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups, as well as the country’s rich culture and history.
Summary of 30+ Things to do in Hoi An Vietnam
Wow! Congratulations for making it to the end! What do you think about this list? Is there any other must-do activity in Hoi An that you think I should add? Don’t hesitate to let me know by commenting below 🙂
Check out my other post about Hoi An: 6 tips to enjoy Hoi An at its best | From someone who’s been here thrice!
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