10 Best Things To Do In Hoi An, Vietnam And Much More

     

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Hoi An Ancient Town is incredibly pretty, especially at night.

Head out to the Bridge of Lights (Cau An Hoi) at around 8PM lớn see what I mean. True khổng lồ its name, the bridge & surrounding areas are illuminated with paper lanterns of every color. They hang from the bridge, from storefronts, between houses, and float down the Thu Bon River.

Hordes of tourists congregate on this pedestrian bridge khổng lồ take pictures of the magical scene that manifests itself every night in the Old Town.

Admittedly, the crowds can get a bit overwhelming. But as touristy as it can sometimes be, it’s still one of the most memorable things to do in Hoi An.

If it’s your first time visiting central Vietnam, then this guide will show you ten of the best things you can bởi vì in this magical fairy tale town called Hoi An.


HOI AN ATTRACTIONS QUICK LINKS

To help you plan your trip to Hoi An, I’ve compiled links to hotels, tours, and other services here.

HOTELS

Top-rated hotels in Hoi An Ancient Town, the most convenient area khổng lồ stay for people on their first trip to lớn Hoi An.

TOURS

OTHER SERVICES

HOI AN TRAVEL GUIDE

Before you visit Hoi An, be sure to kiểm tra out our detailed Hoi An travel guide. It’ll tell you all you need lớn know – lượt thích how lớn get lớn Hoi An from da Nang Airport, where to stay, where to lớn eat, etc. – khổng lồ help you plan your trip.


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THINGS TO vị IN HOI AN

1. Explore Hoi An Ancient Town (Old Town)

Getting lost in the Ancient Town (Old Town) is one of the most fun things to vì in Hoi An. It refers to a thirty hectare area near the mouth of the Thu Bon River that was one of the busiest trading ports in Southeast Asia between the 16th và 18th centuries.

At one point, it was the exclusive trade conduit between Europe, China, India, và Japan, leading to lớn a quality fusion of cultures that can’t be seen anywhere else in Vietnam.

Today, Hoi An Ancient Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to an exceptionally well-preserved complex of timber frame buildings, pagodas, and heritage houses. The old Japanese bridge is particularly impressive. Collectively, the Old Town is the đứng đầu attraction in Hoi An và a big reason why people enjoy this city.

The Old Town is the heart of Hoi An and its hub of commercial activity so you’ll be spending most of your time there. It’s a fascinating area lớn explore with its lanyrinthine network of restaurants, cafes, shops, & museums.

Hoi An Ancient Town is at its most dramatic at night, but if you’re into photography, then you may want lớn explore it early in the morning as well. It looks incredible bathed in the golden glow of sunrise. Plus, you’ll have the town all khổng lồ yourself. You can kiểm tra out my article on Hoi An Ancient Town for more pictures and information.

The Old Town is fun lớn explore on your own but if you’d like to learn more about it on a guided tour, then there are several you can choose from on Klook or Get Your Guide.


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Hoi An Ancient Town Ticket: VND 120,000


2. Eat Cao Lau

If you travel for food like we do và want to lớn learn more about Vietnamese culture, then digging into the local Vietnamese cuisine is something that you absolutely must bởi vì in Hoi An.

There are three delicious dishes that 3d the holy trinity of Hoi An food – cao lau, banh mi, and com ga. Of the three, cao vệ sinh may be the most important.

Cao vệ sinh is a rice noodle dish made with cha siu pork, rice crackers, bean sprouts, fresh herbs, & deep-fried squares of pork skin. What makes it special are the noodles. Authentic cao vệ sinh noodles are made with water drawn from the ancient cha Le Well.

The well’s alkaline water mixed with wood ash from the Cham Islands gives cao lau noodles its distinctive yellow tinge & chewier texture.

With cao vệ sinh being such an important Hoi An dish, I’ve tried it many times but my favorites so far are from Cao vệ sinh Khong Gian Xanh and Cao vệ sinh Thanh. Both are local favorites known for serving some of the best cao vệ sinh in Hoi An. Many food stalls at the Hoi An local market offer cao lau as well.

You can check out our food guide for a các mục of the best local restaurants in Hoi An. If you’d lượt thích to experience cao lau & other traditional Vietnamese dishes with a local guide, then there are plenty of food tours khổng lồ choose from on Get Your Guide.


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Where to Try It: Cao vệ sinh Khong Gian Xanh, Cao lau ThanhExpect to lớn Spend: About VND 35,000 per bowl


3. Take a Cooking Class

If you want khổng lồ learn more about Vietnamese cuisine, then taking a cooking class is one of the best things you can bởi vì in Hoi An. In fact, the class we took at Thuan Tinh Island Cooking School was the very first cooking class we had ever taken on a trip. We had so much fun that we’ve been doing it ever since.

Many restaurants và hotels offer cooking classes but one of the most recommended is Thuan Tinh Island Cooking School. They’re a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence awardee with a perfect 5-star rating, even after over 3,200 reviews.

If you don’t think Thuan Tinh Island Cooking School is the right place for you, then you can kiểm tra out Cookly for a danh sách of cooking classes in Hoi An. They have dozens to lớn choose from.

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4. Ride a Basket Boat

Riding one of these round basket boats has to be one of the most fun things to vị in Hoi An. They’re popular in southern và central Vietnam và have become an iconic symbol of the country.

When I booked our cooking class at Thuan Tinh Island Cooking School, included on the itinerary was a short boat ride to lớn Thuan Tinh Island. I assumed it would be on one of these round boats but we wound up riding wooden canoes instead.

The origin of these round boats is unclear, though some people speculate they may have been born from a similar reason as the narrow houses in Hanoi – French taxation.

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When the French levied taxes on boats like they did on houses, fishermen found an ingenious way of circumventing taxation by creating large “baskets” that doubled as boats. They quickly became popular because of their tax-free status and clever design.

You can hire wooden canoes to take you up & down the Thu Bon River but I suggest riding one of these basket boats instead. These basket boat trips offer a more unique và authentic way of experiencing the waterways of Hoi An. You can book a basket boat tour on Klook or Get Your Guide.


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Photo by Pinglabel via Shutterstock


5. Eat Banh Mi

Banh mày is a Vietnamese national dish. You can have it anywhere in Vietnam but many people, including the late great Anthony Bourdain và CNN, say that the best banh ngươi can be found in Hoi An, & much of that can be attributed lớn the bread.

Strictly speaking, the term “banh mi” refers khổng lồ bread but it’s often used to describe the sandwich made with a small French baguette. It can be filled with any number of ingredients but the most common fillings include liver pate, cold cuts, pickled vegetables, cucumber slices, và cilantro.

Ask locals for the best banh mi in Hoi An & most will point you to lớn the Banh My Queen or Banh mi Phuong. Both were outstanding và two of the best banh mis I’ve had anywhere in Vietnam.


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Where to lớn Try It: Madam Khanh – The Banh My Queen, Banh mi PhuongExpect lớn Spend: About VND 20,000-30,000 per banh mi


6. Have Coffee or Tea at the Reaching Out Tea House

There are many cute cafes serving good Vietnamese coffee in Hoi An, but this has khổng lồ be one of the most interesting. At Reaching Out Tea House in the Ancient Town, you’re meant to lớn enjoy your coffee or tea in silence.

Reaching Out Tea House is managed by the speech or hearing impaired. Instead of communicating verbally, you’re encouraged khổng lồ correspond through handwritten notes or by using blocks with messages like “Bill”, “Ice”, or “Thank you”.

Reaching Out is a lovely initiative that serves good coffee. They offer just three coffee blends và four types of tea. You can get them separately or try them all in these coffee or tea tasting sets.

As of this writing, Reaching Out Tea House maintains a perfect 5-star rating on TripAdvisor even after over 2,600 reviews. You can kiểm tra out our coffee guide for more of the best cafes in Hoi An.


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Expect lớn Spend: About VND 135,000 for the coffee tasting set


7. Explore My Son Sanctuary

A visit to My Son Sanctuary is by far the most popular day trip you can make from Hoi An. It’s a Hindu sanctuary with temples and ancient ruins that’s often referred lớn as a “mini Angkor Wat”.

My Son Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was built by the Cham people between the 4th and 14th centuries. You can kiểm tra out my article on My Son Sanctuary for more pictures and information.

We booked a private tour to My Son Sanctuary with Simply Vietnam Travel but you can book group tours through Klook or Get Your Guide.

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8. Eat Com Ga

Com ga is the third thành viên of Hoi An’s holy trinity of regional Vietnamese food, và it may be my favorite. It’s basically Vietnam’s version of Hainanese chicken rice, which was brought to Quang phái nam Province by Chinese traders from Hainan.

Com ga is made with shredded poached chicken, seasoned pilaf rice, green papaya và carrot strands, fresh herbs, và a tasty bowl of chicken broth that may or may not contain bits of offal và congealed blood. It’s absolutely delicious and one of my favorite things to lớn eat in Hoi An.

I’ve tried com ga at a few places in Hoi An but my favorite was definitely Long Com Ga, a small restaurant tucked away in an alley in the Old Town. Their com ga was the tastiest for me and served with different types of offal.


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Where khổng lồ Try It: Long Com Ga, Com Ga cha BuoiExpect khổng lồ Spend: About VND 35,000 per order of com ga


9. Eat white Rose Dumplings

White Rose dumplings or banh bao banh vac are dumplings made by the white Rose Restaurant. This Hoi An institution has been serving these iconic dumplings for four generations now.

White Rose dumplings are chất lượng to Hoi An. Filled with spiced minced shrimp or pork, their skins are made with the same alkaline water used khổng lồ make cao vệ sinh noodles, giving them a similarly firm & chewy texture.

You’ll find many restaurants and stalls at the central market offering trắng Rose dumplings in Hoi An. These are all sourced from trắng Rose Restaurant but I suggest trying them at the restaurant itself. They have just two items on their menu – white Rose dumplings và fried wontons also known as “Hoi An pizza”.


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Expect to lớn Spend: About VND 70,000 per order of trắng rose dumplings


10. Get a Custom-Tailored Suit or Dress

Getting a custom-tailored suit or dress is one of the most popular things to vị in Hoi An. The town’s tailoring tradition goes back many generations so you’ll find dozens of tailor shops in Hoi An that can skillfully recreate exact replicas of whatever you want in 24-48 hours.

With that said, be careful where you go because I’ve read that not all tailors are honest. You can ask your hotel for help or refer lớn this article for recommendations.


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Photo by Tee11 via Shutterstock


FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST THINGS TO do IN HOI AN

As advised, My Son Sanctuary is the most popular day trip people make from Hoi An. If you’re staying long enough, then there are other places you can visit as well.

If you lượt thích beaches, then Cua dẻo Beach & An Bang Beach are nearby. Thanks to lớn their proximity lớn the city center, they’re popular with both locals và tourists alike. Day trips to lớn the Golden Bridge in da Nang (Get Your Guide) and the Marble Mountains (Klook | Get Your Guide) are popular as well.

After your first trip to lớn Hoi An, you’ll understand why it’s one of our favorite cities to visit in Vietnam. Not khổng lồ live in, but to lớn visit. The đô thị is charming, it’s compact, it’s got great food, and there are plenty of things to vị in Hoi An for first-time visitors.

In my opinion, Hoi An is a little too touristy lớn stay in for a prolonged amount of time (try going khổng lồ the night market), but if it’s your first time visiting, then there are few destinations in Vietnam more impactful than Hoi An.

Personally, I’ll never forget the first time I saw the Ancient Town at night. We were having drinks by the river then walked our bikes through the Old Town lớn get back khổng lồ our hotel.

I didn’t know what to lớn expect so seeing all the lanterns lit up made me feel like I had fallen asleep at the bar and woken up in a fairy tale. It truly was magical.

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I hope you have a similar experience on your first visit to lớn Hoi An.

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