Exploring the Timeless Charms of Beautiful Hoi An: A Vietnamese Gem

Nestled along the picturesque Thu Bon River, the enchanting town of Hoi An in Vietnam exudes a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Its well-preserved ancient town, adorned with colorful lanterns and graceful architecture, transports visitors to a bygone era. In this travel blog, we will delve into the top 10 must-do activities, must-see sites, the best hotels to stay, and the finest restaurants to indulge your taste buds in Hoi An. Additionally, we will explore the various transportation options available to reach this destination from Hanoi, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Hoi An

Must-Do Activities in Hoi An

  1. Stroll through the Ancient Town: Lose yourself in the narrow streets of the UNESCO-listed Ancient Town, a pedestrian-friendly area where time seems to stand still. Explore the vibrant markets, art galleries, and tailor shops that dot the lanes.
  2. Take a Boat Ride on the Thu Bon River: Embark on a scenic boat ride along the Thu Bon River, offering breathtaking views of Hoi An’s waterfront. Marvel at the idyllic countryside and witness the mesmerizing sunset over the river.
  3. Join a Cooking Class: Discover the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine by enrolling in a cooking class. Learn to prepare traditional dishes like pho, banh mi, and fresh spring rolls. Enjoy a hands-on experience and savor your culinary creations.
  4. Cycle to the Countryside: Rent a bicycle and pedal through the picturesque countryside surrounding Hoi An. Encounter lush rice paddies, charming villages, and witness the daily lives of locals. This is an excellent way to experience the rural beauty of Vietnam.
  5. Attend a Lantern-Making Workshop: Immerse yourself in Hoi An’s renowned lantern-making tradition. Participate in a workshop and craft your very own lantern, intricately designed with vibrant silk and bamboo. Witness the magical glow of lanterns during the town’s monthly Full Moon Festival.
  6. Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge: Step back in time as you cross the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge, an architectural masterpiece dating back to the 16th century. Admire the intricate carvings and ornate decorations while enjoying panoramic views of the town.
  7. Explore the Central Market: Engage in a sensory feast at the bustling Central Market. Sample local street food, browse an array of fresh produce, and pick up unique souvenirs such as silk garments, lacquerware, and handicrafts.
  8. Relax on An Bang Beach: Escape the bustle of the town and unwind on the tranquil shores of An Bang Beach. Bask in the sun, take a refreshing dip in the azure waters, and relish delicious seafood at one of the beachfront restaurants.
  9. Discover My Son Sanctuary: Embark on a day trip from Hoi An to the ancient Cham ruins of My Son Sanctuary. Marvel at the well-preserved temples and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
  10. Experience a Traditional Vietnamese Tea Ceremony: Delve into Vietnamese tea culture by attending a traditional tea ceremony. Learn about the art of tea preparation, its significance in Vietnamese customs, and savor the delicate flavors.
Hoi An

Where to stay in Hoi An

  1. Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai: A luxurious beachfront retreat featuring stunning villas, a tranquil spa, and exceptional dining options.
  2. Anantara Hoi An Resort: Nestled on the banks of the Thu Bon River, this elegant resort offers spacious rooms, a riverside pool, and a relaxing spa.
  3. Boutique Hoi An Resort: Situated near An Bang Beach, this charming boutique resort boasts comfortable rooms, lush gardens, and a delightful swimming pool.
  4. Lantana Hoi An Boutique Hotel & Spa: A boutique hotel with tastefully decorated rooms, a rooftop pool, and a spa, offering a peaceful stay in the heart of Hoi An.
  5. Golden Holiday Hotel & Spa: Comfortable family hotel with easy acces to both Hoi An as well as An Bang Beach. Free bicycles included in the stay.
Hoi An

Where to eat in Hoi An

  1. Morning Glory (also called Morning Glory Original): Indulge in authentic Vietnamese cuisine at this renowned restaurant, known for its extensive menu of traditional dishes from various regions of Vietnam. 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An Ancient Town, Hoi An,
  2. Cargo Club: Enjoy a delectable range of international and Vietnamese dishes in a relaxed atmosphere while overlooking the Thu Bon River. 107-109 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An Ancient Town, Hoi An.
  3. Restaurant Cafe Tuan: Restaurant Cafe Tuan is a popular spot in Hoi A that offers a mix of Vietnamese and international dishes. It’s a cozy and relaxed cafe where you can enjoy a variety of food options and beverages while taking in the charming atmosphere of Hoi An’s ancient town. 70, Trần Nhân Tông, Hoi An Ancient Town, Hoi An.
  4. Red Bean Restaurant: Red Bean Restaurant is a renowned dining establishment in Hoi A that offers a delightful culinary experience. With a focus on Vietnamese and Asian fusion cuisine, the restaurant combines traditional flavors with contemporary presentation. Located in the heart of Hoi An’s ancient town, Red Bean Restaurant provides a charming ambiance for guests to enjoy their meal. 132 Hung Vuong, Thanh Ha, Hoi An.
Hoi An

Getting to Hoi An

From Hanoi

  1. By Air: Hoi An can be reached by taking a flight from Hanoi to Da Nang, followed by a 45-minute drive to Hoi An.
  2. By Bus: Alternatively, overnight sleeper buses are available, taking around 15-17 hours to reach Hoi An from Hanoi.
  3. By Train: You can take a scenic train journey from Hanoi to Da Nang and then continue to Hoi An by road. The train ride takes approximately 14-16 hours, offering beautiful landscapes along the way. From Da Nang, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Hoi An, which is around 30 kilometers away.

You can check 12GO to compare the alternatives.

From Hue

  1. By Private Car: Hire a private car for a comfortable and convenient journey from Hoi An to Hue. The scenic drive takes approximately 3-4 hours, allowing you to enjoy the coastal views along the way.
  2. By Bus or Minivan: Travel by bus or minivan from Hue to Hoi An, with multiple operators offering daily services. The journey takes around 3-4 hours, and overnight buses are available

From Ho Chi Minh City

  1. By Air: Catch a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang, once you arrive in Da Nang, you can take a taxi or a bus for a 45-minute ride to Hoi An. The flight takes around 1.5 hours.
  2. By Bus: Alternatively, sleeper buses are available, taking approximately 17-18 hours.
  3. By Train: Alternatively, you can take an overnight train from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang, which takes approximately 17-20 hours. From Da Nang, continue to Hoi An by taxi or bus.

You can check 12GO to compare the alternatives.

Hoi An is a destination that effortlessly weaves history, culture, and natural beauty into a remarkable tapestry. From exploring the ancient town’s enchanting streets to indulging in exquisite cuisine and immersing oneself in local traditions, Hoi An offers a plethora of experiences to cherish. With its charming hotels, delightful restaurants, and the ease of access, Hoi An is truly a gem worth discovering in Vietnam’s rich tapestry of destinations.

For other wonderful places to visit around Vietnam check out our Destination pages. For other practical tips for travelers in Vietnam refer to our Practicalities pages where you can find information on Visa Requirements, Weather, Money, Health and Safety and how to Keep Connected.