Quick Travel Guide  •  Vietnam, Southeast Asia

All You Need To Know About Hoi An To Plan A Perfect Itinerary

Last Updated On: June 17, 2020


This picture-perfect fishing village is just like described in all the travel guides. However, there are no words that can describe the beauty of this ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site by night. No pictures can truly capture the creative energy and magical atmosphere that Hoi An withholds. While the old city is fun to explore any time of the day, the evenings are out of a picture book and a real treat for the senses. All streets in the heart of the city and along the Thu Bon River are decorated with colorful lanterns. You will find them hanging from trees, balconies, rooftops, and around the beautiful French colonial houses. The cute low-rise houses which you can find all over Hoi An are original Chinese shophouses. The lower level was originally used to run the family's shop and on the upper level is where the family would live. Nowadays most of the traditional wooden shophouses serve as restaurants, hotels, or cafes. The main attraction in Hoi An is the ancient town. To enter you are expected to pay an entry fee of $5 (120.000 dongs) for the duration of your stay. The money goes to the preservation of the town and temples. The admission fee comes with 5 small coupons that you can use to visit 5 different sights and a map to help you navigate through the Old Town. The enforcement is rather inconsistent, and it is pretty unlikely that you will be asked for your ticket while walking through the town. With this post, we want to share with you all our insights and provide you with all the tools you need to curate your Perfect Itinerary to Hoi An.


Currency:

Language:

Vietnamese

Best Time to visit:

February - April , October - November

Capital:

Hanoi. HAN – Noi Bai International Airport


table of contents







Some of the links on this website are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This directly supports Bare Escape, by offsetting the cost of running this site so we can continue to provide you with free content to help you plan your next escape!

Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape
A woman at the central market in Hoi An selling food

HOW TO GET TO HOI AN

As mentioned in our Quick Travel Guide “Everything You Need To Know About Traveling Vietnam”, there are many ways to explore Vietnam. Choose between train, bus or air travel. The nearest city to Hoi An is Da Nang which has an international and domestic terminal as well as a railway connection. The Da Nang International Airport is actually the third biggest airport in Vietnam and therefore pretty easy to get connection flights to. Hoi An is a 45minute drive away from Da Nang. You can rent a private car, hop in a taxi, catch a bus, rent a motorbike, or simply have your hotel arrange your pick up. Another easy way is to get “Grab”, which is pretty much like Uber from the USA but for Asia. Expect to pay around $10 for a ride from Da Nang to Hoi An.

Should you arrive in Da Nang by train, then we recommend taking the public bus. The government launched a direct bus line between Da Nang and Hoi An – Bus #1 – for just 30,000 VND ($1.30 USD). While this is the cheapest option it will also take up to 60minutes for you to reach Hoi An. The bus runs every 20minutes starting from 5:30 am until 6 pm. You can use Google Maps to find the closest bus stop near your stay and the arrival time of the bus. The ticket can be easily purchased on the bus but make sure to bring cash, preferred exact. For the most hassle-free experience we recommend Müvv Private Car Airport Transfer, a truly reliable private shuttle service. From 11 PM to 6 AM, the cost will be anywhere between 25 USD, 30 USD, and 35 USD for 4, 7, and 16-seaters. They also offer many other services such as transfers between bigger towns. If you are traveling around Vietnam via Open Bus Ticket then you will be dropped off in Hoi An and might even be able to walk to your hotel/ hostel from the bus station.

Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape
Local kids biking through the Old Town of Hoi An

Best time to travel to Hoi An

Hoi An only really has two seasons, the rain season and the dry season. The rainy season usually starts in September and lasts until January or even February. While the showers don’t last long, they have led to flooding in the past. However, way fewer tourists are to be expected and the prices will be way cheaper. With average temperatures between 86°F (30°C) and 60°F (16°C) Hoi An is a great place to visit year-round. February - May are the best months to visit since the temperatures are mild with endless blue skies. June through August can get quite hot and humid but are great months if you are looking for some beach vacation at the nearby beaches such as An Bang or Cua Dai beach.

Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape
Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape

What to do in Hoi An

Hoi An is by far one of our favorite places in Vietnam. If there is any place you should be adding to your Vietnam Itinerary then it is Hoi An. The town might be small but don’t let the size fool you, from wooden footbridges, architectural infusion, romantic nightlife, waving rice fields to a stunning coastline this town might just steal your heart.  1. Get something tailor-made:The Old Town of Hoi An is supposed to be one of the best places in the world to get tailor-made everything. The streets are packed with tailors eager to tailor-make you an outfit in 24hours and less if they have to. Choose between leather goods, cotton, linen, and even silk threads. A Dong Silk is one of the best Tailors in Hoi An, while possibly not the cheapest, the shop offers a great selection of fabrics and their quality is outstanding. Ask for Van as your consultant, she is truly passionate about what she does. For a more detailed post about finding the best tailor for you click here.  2. Visit local museums & other popular sights:Museum of Folklore: This is a great way to get some insight into the rich history of the region and to admire some artifacts. Placed within a historic two-story house, it focuses on a multitude of artifacts from the traditional folk art. The ticket also includes a live performance of traditional folk dance and music. Japanese Covered Bridge: This bridge is one of the most popular attractions in Hoi An and is also known as Cau Chua Pagoda. Originally constructed in the 1590s, the bridge is a lovely example of traditional Japanese architecture. Built to connect the Japanese and Chinese quarters of the city. The roof on the bridge was added so the structure could also be used as a shield from both sun and rain. There’s also a shrine inside the bridge dedicated to the god of weather, Tran Bo Bac De, where sailors, merchants, and locals, came to worship against inclement weather and natural disasters. The Quan Cong Temple: The temple is located in the center of the Old Town of Hoi An. Enjoy the ancient architectural construction built by Chinese immigrants. The visit will cost you one of the 5 small coupons that you receive when paying for the admission fee to enter the Old Town of Hoian.

3. Explore the backcountry or head to one of the nearby beaches: Grab your hat and hop on a bike, get lost in the evergreen landscape that surrounds Hoi An. Cycle through the backcountry patty fields, past vegetable gardens, spot the occasional water buffalo flicking its tail along the way and learn how to plant rice from the friendly locals (February is a great time for that). It only takes 10 - 15 minutes by bike to reach An Bang Beach at the South China Sea. Here you will find a long stretch of amazing coastline dotted with cafes and restaurants overlooking the beach. Make sure to get lunch or dinner at The Fisherman Vegan Restaurant & Cafe & Bar. Other beaches worth checking out are Cua Dia and Hidden Beach

Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape
Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape
Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape

4. Stroll through the Central MarketThe Central Market in Hoi An is a real buzz and so much fun to stroll through. The market opens at around 7 am, this is when you can see locals start to set up their stalls.  There is no better place in Hoi An to watch locals go about their day and get an insight into their daily lives. At the food court, you will find a multitude of small stalls, each serving almost the same thing at better prices than the local restaurants in town. However, while I love to visit these markets, I could never eat there. If you are into photography like us, then get ready for picture-perfect scenes of local women carrying goods in baskets, and selling them on the side of the street.  5. Explore the ancient town by night:At Night is when Hoi An comes alive. Imagine lanterns strung across the street, decorating restaurants and houses giving this place the magical and romantic atmosphere it's known for. The river is probably where you should be once the sun sets behind the horizon. You can either hire a boat to release a lantern and glide along the river or simply buy one of the floating lanterns from the kids on the side of the river. Don’t forget to make a wish before you release the boat into the water. They are supposed to bring one luck and fortune. Don’t miss out on the Night Market, this was probably one of my favorite markets in all of Asia thanks to all the breathtaking lantern shops. It is almost impossible to leave this place without buying a souvenir or two. Souvenir shopping has never been easier. These lanterns come in all colors, shapes, and sizes.

Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape
Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape
Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape

6. Visit a show at the Lune Performing Center:See a mix of contemporary dance, athletic acrobats, and bamboo work accompanied by Vietnamese music played on tribal instruments. Enjoy an impressive show at the Lune Performing Center in Hoi An and experience a unique blend of traditional and modern Vietnamese culture.  A definite 1h must-see. For more information click here.  7. Take a day trip to visit The Golden Bride:The Golden Bridge is a 150-meter-long pedestrian bridge located in the Ba Na Hills mountain and roughly 1-hour drive away from Hoi An. The bridge was designed to connect the cable car station with the gardens and has quickly turned into a major tourist attraction. The views are amazing, and the whole experience is worth the trip especially when you get there early when the fog is still covering the land. For the best images, we recommend to arrive as early as 7 am, this is when the first cable car leaves from the Hoi An Station at Sun world Ba Na Hills. If you are coming from Hoi An we can highly recommend using Hoi An Cars. They are known to arrive on time and even provided us with cold towels and drinks when we returned. Expect to pay around 900k dong ($40) roundtrip.

8. Take a cooking class:If you haven’t already taken a cooking class in Hanoi then this is your chance to take some authentic Vietnamese cooking skills home with you. We recommend Herbs and Spices Cooking School since they only work with small groups to provide hands-on experiences. For a more authentic experience book your cooking class here.  Get picked up at your hotel and visit the morning fresh market in Hoi An, learn about the seasonal fruits, vegetables and meats before cruising down Thu Bon River. In a Bamboo basket boat, you will learn how to fish with a fishing net before mastering the cooking skills of the Vietnamese kitchen from spring rolls, papaya salad to pork clay pots. If you want to learn how to make Vietnamese food in a more peaceful and romantic setting away from the crowds. You will be picked up at your hotels and make your way via rowing boat to a nearby Island. Once you reach the Bay Mau Coconut forest you will learn how to prepare 4 Vietnamese dishes from fresh ingredients. For more info click here.

Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape
Quang Trieu Cantonese Assembly Hall Hoi Vietnam

travel in style

8 of the best restaurants in hoi an

Usually, we like to just wander around, get lost in the maze of the city, and try whatever looks, sounds, and smells good at the time. However, sometimes it is helpful to have a few places in the back of your mind that are known for a nice ambiance, good rooftop views, and outstanding food. Check out our recommendations below and let us know which one you liked the best. In our post "How To Explore Hanoi Like An Insider", we go in great detail about the most famous dishes in Vietnam and how to order Vegetarian meals.


92 Station Restaurant & Cafe

Located in the heart of Hoi An this restaurant is not only known for divine meals but outstanding views of the ancient town from the rooftop patio.


E Village Food & Bar

An under the radar restaurant serving affordable and healthy meals right at the river. The portions are big, the service outstanding and the bamboo decoration reminds one of the delicious eateries found all over Bali. This is the perfect place for a date night that won’t break the bank.


Reaching Out Teahouse

This unique and boutique tea house serves delicious treats and a great selection of outstanding teas. The whole presentation of plates, trays, and cups, alone is worth a visit. They also have a sister store, selling handmade jewelry and household items, a great place to pick up some souveniers.


Faifo Coffee

There is no better place you could possibly enjoy a cup of coffee after strolling through the Old Town of Hoi An. The design is on point and the rooftop views over the sleepy streets are like no other. Don’t miss out.


Madam Khanh (The Ban Mi Queen)

This place was easily our favorite Bahn Mi place in all of Vietnam. It is just such an easy and quick meal for any time of the day.


Secret Garden

If you are looking for an authentic dining experience and nice ambiance then look no further. Walk down a little alley until you find this gem of a restaurant away from all the hustle and bustle of the Old Town.


Cocobox

The design of this place is quite nostalgic and adds so much to the cozy and inviting atmosphere. Try their coconut coffee and if the hunger strikes there is a great selection of tasty wholesome meals.


White Rose Restaurant

This family-run restaurant makes the best original and famous White Rose dumplings. They are served fresh every day, you can even see the ladies preparing them right in front of you. They come either filled with meat or shrimp.


Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape

Where To Stay In Hoi An

The Old Center of Hoi An is definitely the highlight of any visit to this charming city in the center of the country. While staying in one of the darling hotels along the pedestrian street that runs through the center of the Old Town, this might also be a little bit busier and can get noisy at night.


Affordable Boutique Hotel

Little Riverside Hoi An

Located right on the river this small boutique hotel features a rooftop pool with stunning views and a private beach. The location provides a peaceful and scenic lodging experience, yet it is only a short walk away from the action of this unique city. The rooms are well-appointed with a nice bathtub for the perfect evening soak. Take one of the complimentary bikes and explore the surrounding villages or simply relax.


Affordable Boutique Hotel

Dechiu

A design-savvy boutique hotel only steps from An Bang Beach and 5km from the old town of Hoi An. The hotel's location is super easy to navigate from and great for exploring new areas of Hoi An.  The beautifully designed spaces create a feeling of home and the owner, Theo, personally makes sure every guest is well taken care of. Each of the 12 rooms is uniquely curated and the entire hotel is filled with art, decorated with exquisite fabrics and thoughtful touches. The in house restaurant Gieo Cafe is a treat in itself, don't miss out.


Boutique Hotel

Allegro Hoi An . A Little Luxury Hotel & Spa

Situated in the heart of Hoi An the location is hard to beat. The amenities are luxurious and the rooms feature a clean and beautiful design with just the right amount of Vietnamese influence. The chef is also known to provide the highest freshness & quality so it might be worth staying in one night.


Resort & Spa

La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa

Only a short 10-minute walk outside of Hoi An's Old Quarter one can find this 4 Star luxury hotel. Perfect for families and couples alike this retreat offers both a saltwater pool and freshwater pool plus a lavish spa. The hotel also offers like most places free shuttles and bicycles to reach the beach and the Old Town.


Affordable Boutique Hotel

Anio Boutique Hotel Hoi An

This chic boutique hotel is only 2km outside of the Old Town of Hoi An and also conveniently close to An Bang Beach. Take advantage of the daily free shuttles or grab one of the free bikes. The rooms are spacious and most feature a small balcony, dine at the in-house restaurant, and don't miss out on taking a refreshing dip at the outdoor swimming pool.


Hotel

Hoi An Estuary Villa

To be on a budget doesn't mean you have to stay in a hostel, especially in Vietnam. This 3-star hotel while basic is an ideal choice for anyone traveling on a budget. You’ll be amazed at the value for your money. The hotel is only a short 7min walk from the beach and an easy 20min walk to the Old Town of Hoi An. You can also use the complimentary free shuttles or grab one of the bicycles. The service is outstanding, the rooms are clean and the pool is a nice place to relax.


Hostel/ Homestay

Under The Coconut Tree

This humble accommodation close to An Bang Beach is a real gem for backpackers. It is laid back, has a tropical feel to it, and definitely won't leave you unimpressed. Lodgings are housed under wooden bamboo structures in a classic Vietnamese style. Rent a motorbike or bicycle and explore all that Hoi An has to offer.


Hostel

Tribee Bana Heritage Hostel

This hostel is the perfect home away from home. The staff is friendly, welcoming, and always smiling. With a short walk to the Old Town, this is the perfect place to stay when on a budget.


Like this post? Don't forget to pin it!

Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape
Curate Your Perfect Itinerary for Hoi An, Vietnam, Southeast Asia | Bare Escape
5 1 vote
Article Rating