Hoi An at a glance
About 30 km south of Da Nang, the ancient town of Hoi An (Quang Nam) with the serene beauty and ancient millennium, has become an attractive destination, fascinating many domestic and international tourists.
Passing Tokyo (Japan), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Hoi An was voted the best city in the world by the famous travel magazine Travel and Leisure in July 2019.
Are you ready to explore the ancient town?
Where is Hoi An?
Hoi An is known as the heart of Quang Nam – a province in the central region of Vietnam, which is 860 km from Hanoi to the north and 865 km from Ho Chi Minh City to the south. Because of the location in the central area along the North-South axis, Hoi An is the intersection of cultures between the two regions which makes Hoi An become a rich cultural town. From the 1980s, the architectural and cultural values of the ancient town of Hoi An have gradually been paid attention to by scholars and tourists. In 1999, Hoi An was recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage. And since then, Hoi An has become an indispensable destination for international tourists coming to Vietnam.
When you should travel to Hoi An?
Quang Nam, as well as Hoi An, is located in a tropical climate, in which there are only two seasons, the dry season from February to August and the rainy season from September to January next year. Although located deep in the central region and near the South Central Coast, Hoi An weather is still affected by the cold winter in the North. The best time to visit Hoi An is from February to April when the weather is quite pleasant.
How to go to Hoi An?
As a popular tourist destination, it is very easy to go to the UNESCO Heritage Site no matter where you are.
1. From Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An
Quang Nam has no airport, so if you travel by plane, you can land at Da Nang airport, which is 30 km from Hoi An. To save time and travel cost, you should book in advance for over 2 weeks. Currently, the airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar, Vietjetair operate routes from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Da Nang.
Another option to go to Da Nang from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city is by train with ticket prices ranging from 400.000 VND to 1.200.000 VND. However, the travel time is quite long, taking up to 14 to 20 hours. Bus is also an option, the ticket price ranges from 400.000 VND to 500.000 VND.
2. From Da Nang to Hoi An
Hoi An is only 30 km from Da Nang to the South. So there are many options to get Hoi An from Da Nang:
Travel by bus
The advantage of travelling by bus (route 01) is saving cost, 30.000 VND/ ticker/ person for one way, which takes about 70-80 minutes of moving. The buses operates from 5:30 am to 6 pm, there is a bus every 20 minutes.
Travel by Taxi
Taxi is the most convenient, comfortable, and fast way to travel from Da Nang, which takes about 45-55 minutes (depending on traffic conditions). You can easily take a taxi to Hoi An everywhere in Da Nang city, it costs 350.000 – 450.000 VND/ way or 550.000 – 650.000 VND/ round trip.
Travel by Motorbike
Motorcycle is also a good choice if you know how to drive; technically you need a motorbike license.
The road from Da Nang to Hoi An is quite easy, clear, which takes about 45-50 minutes to drive. The cost of renting a motorbike ranges from 80.000 – 100.000 VND/ day.
Where to stay in Hoi An?
As one of the most prominent tourism cities in Vietnam, it is not difficult to find a place to stay in Hoi An. Depending on your budget and needs, there are many accommodation options.
1. Hotels in Hoi An
There are two main areas that tourists often prefer when choosing a place to stay in Hoi An that is the ancient town area and the beach area. However, the closer to the central area or the sea, the more expensive it will be.
2. Homestay in Hoi An
Hoi An is a perfect place for those who want to find a hostel or homestay to have local experience. The homestays here are often meticulously decorated, which brings a nostalgic and peaceful atmosphere in the style of the ancient town.
3. Villa in Hoi An
What is more wonderful than just relaxing, and watching the peaceful space filled with the countryside. Whether in the old town centre or a quiet area away from the centre, a villa gives you a sense of peace and comfort.
4. Resort in Hoi An
For travelers who have conditions; do not hesitate to choose a Hoi An resort in the famous beach areas such as An Bang or Cua Dai. What could be more wonderful than enjoying the sea breeze, but still immersing yourself in the nostalgic look of the UNESCO Heritage Site?
Here are some recommendations for accommodation in Hoi An, which are excerpted from the Vietnam travel guide book.
Must-visit attractions in Hoi An
Whether it is day or night, the ancient town of Hoi An still carries with itself various fascinating charms. Here are the must-see places when visiting Hoi An. We divide the list of destinations into two parts: the ancient town area and outside the ancient town area.
The ancient town area
1. Japanese Covered Bridge
Chua Cau (Japanese Covered Bridge) is a national cultural and historical relic that is the symbol of the ancient town. The temple is located on a small bridge, across the poetic Hoai River. This was built by Japanese merchants since the 17th century, which was made of lacquered wood, the roof was covered with yin and yang tile, so it is also known as the Japanese Bridge.
Address: Nguyen Thi Minh Khai – Tran Phu.
2. Lantern Street
Street light has become a familiar image for anyone who has visited Hoi An. On every occasion of the lantern festival, usually in the spring, the whole neighborhood will show off its brilliant colors. Every porch, shop, and public place is decorated with lanterns of all colors and sizes. Coming to Hoi An these days, tourists seem to be lost in a fairy country, a kingdom of magical with many sparkling lanterns.
Address: Nguyen Hoang Street, near Hoai River
3. The old houses
Phung Hung Old House
The old house of Phung Hung witnessed the birth of eight generations of the Phung Hung family. It has been built for over 200 years, which is one of the most beautiful old houses in Hoi An.
This house was ranked first in Vietnam as a model of traditional architecture with high cultural value in 1985. It is considered a model because it retains intact architectural elements thanks to the excellent quality of materials and the care of the whole family.
Address: 04 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street
Tan Ky Old House
Tan Ky Old House was built over 200 years ago. Located in the heart of Hoi An city (Quang Nam), this old house has the typical tubular architecture of the ancient city that has been recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage.
The house is a place to display many ancient artifacts and ancient architecture. Many of them are evidence of the cultural exchange between the Chinese – Japanese – Vietnamese peoples, which are very popular in the period after the 17th century. This is also the first ancient house to be recognized by the Ministry of Culture with two other relics in Hoi An since 1985.
Address: 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street
Phuoc Kien Temple
Phuoc Kien is a place of worship of Gods and Sage of Fujian people. When visiting Phuoc Kien Temple, visitors will admire the magnificent architectural works which are exquisitely carved.
The temple has a “Tam” architecture in the order of gate – yard – lake – bonsai – two rows of east and west houses – front – backyard – and electricity. The main shrine is to worship Thien Thanh Mother, Quan The Am Bodhisattva, God of Fortune, 3 Gods who give birth, and 12 midwives. In the temple, there are many statues of worship, bronze drums, bronze bells, large incense burner, 14 galleries, and many other valuable objects.
Address: 46 Tran Phu Street
Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation
Chaozhou Assembly Hall is one of the impressive attractions of Hoi An because of its extraordinary architecture and colour scheme. The Chinese community built it in the 19th century, which was to worship the Three Shogun Generals, and Phuc Ba – means conquering the storm.
Address: 157 Nguyen Duy Hieu Street
Cotic art exhibition space
Cotic Exhibition is a place to display Vietnamese art, especially Tuong – classical drama. It was born with the desire to spread the beauty of the country’s culture.
Address: 56 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street
Precious Heritage Museum
French photographer Réhahn used this museum to show off his discoveries on Vietnam, each image is a story of trips and people.
Address: 26 Phan Boi Chau Street
Outside ancient town area
Outside the Hoi An Ancient Town, there are many beautiful places to visit.
An Bang Beach is located in the area of Cam An Ward, which is 3km from the ancient town, has been voted as one of the 50 most beautiful beaches in the world by CNNGO. In contrast to the vibrant and bustling Cua Dai Beach, An Bang Beach brings a peaceful and tranquil beauty.
Leaving the town, coming to An Bang beach, you will walk on the smooth white sand, or unleash the struggle in the fresh blue water. You can also rent canoes or water motorbikes for cruises on the beach.
Address: Cam An ward (5 km from the ancient town to the east)
2. My Son Sanctuary
Along with the ancient town of Hoi An, My Son Sanctuary is one of two world cultural heritages recognized by Unesco in 1999. Owning many old temples with a unique architectural style that containing values of the cultural history of the ancient Kingdom of Champa helped My Son Sanctuary became famous and attracted tourists.
My Son Sanctuary is located in Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district, Quang Nam province, about 70 km southwest of Da Nang city and 45 km west of Hoi An. It includes many ancient temples of the Kingdom of Champa, which is located in a valley with a diameter of 2km. This was the place to organized the sacrifices of the Champa dynasty as well as the tombs of the kings and princes.
You should visit My Son Sanctuary from February to April when the weather is still cool and less rain. From Hoi An you can ride a motorbike or hire a taxi to get to My Son Sanctuary.
For foreign visitors, the entrance ticket price is 150.000 VND/ticket/pax, while for Vietnamese visitors, the ticket is 100.000 VND/ ticket/pax. The opening time of My Son Sanctuary is from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm, everyday.
Besides visiting the unique temples and structures in My Son Sanctuary, you can also enjoy traditional Siva dances perform by Cham artisans.
Cua Dai Beach is about 5 km from the center of the ancient town of Hoi An. It’s known as the most famous tourist attractions of Hoi An, which is the convergence of three rivers Thu Bon, Truong Giang, and De Vong, before pouring into the East Sea. The white sand stretches endlessly, the rows of soaring green coconut trees will make you fall in love at first sight.
In recent years, Cua Dai beach has been strongly eroded, the coastline is not as beautiful as before, however, with the intervention of local authorities, it is gradually regaining its inherent beauty.
Address: Cam An ward
4. Thanh Ha Pottery Village
Thanh Ha Pottery Village is an old and famous craft village. Six hundred years of existence of this place was marked by the appearance of Thanh Ha Terracotta Park – the largest formidable park in Vietnam. This is where the miniature world wonder patterns of sophisticated ceramics are concentrated.
Address: Pham Phan, Thanh Ha ward
Opening: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Price: 35.000 VND
5. Bay Mau Coconut Forest
Not everyone knows that Hoi An has an extremely interesting nipa forest. The coconut forest is seven acres wide. Come here, you can snorkel to see the coral, and enjoy the freshest seafood.
Address: Cam Thanh ward (just 3 km from the city centre)
Entrance fee: 30.000 VND
Basket boat: 150.000 VND
6. Cham Island
Cu Lao Cham (Cham Island) is one of the places where Champa relics such as ancient wells, Hai Tibet pagodas remain. With eight islands, large and small, Cu Lao Cham deserves to be an ideal destination for tourists who love the pristine seascape. Come here, you can snorkel to see the coral, and enjoy the freshest seafood.
Address: Tan Hiep Commune
There are two options to get Cham Island from the ancient town:
By canoe: 350.000 VND (round trip), depart from Cua Dai port.
By wooden boat: 100.000 VND/trip, depart from Bach Dang wharf.
7. Tra Que vegetable village
Tra Que Vegetable Village is a suitable place for those who are passionate about ecotourism. This place is only a few kilometers from the old town centre. Visiting Tra Que Vegetable Village, visitors have the opportunity to practice being a true farmer.
Address: Cam Ha ward
Price: 10.000 VND
Must-try dishes in Hoi An
Hoi An not only famous by the ancient poetic beauty but also makes visitors admired by the rich cuisine. Here are some must-try dishes in Hoi An.
1. Mi Quang
Mi Quang (Quang noodle) has long been famous as a must-try cuisine when visiting Hoi An. Quang noodle has a unique flavour, this is a combination of popular ingredients such as rice noodle, shrimp, pork, chicken, and some vegetables. The aroma is emanating from meat, shrimp, eggs, rice paper, peanuts, which stimulates the olfactory senses of the diners, making the dish even more perfect.
Recommended addresses to eat Mi Quang:
- Mr Hai’s Noodles – 6A Truong Minh Luong Street
- Quang Aunt’s Noodles – 4 Phan Chau Trinh Street
2. Cao Lau
Cao Lau is the pride of the culinary culture of the Ancient Town. The dish will awaken all your senses, the sensation of the noodles, the fragrance of fish sauce, the greasy smell of pork rind, which blends with the sweet fragrance of shrimp and char siu meat.
Recommended addresses to eat Cao Lau:
- Mrs Be’s Cao Lau – At the beginning of Hoi An market
- Thanh Cao’s Cao Lau – 26 Thai Phien Street
- Hoi An’s Cao Lau – 274 Cua Dai Street
3. Banh Mi Hoi An
Banh Mi is called the best sandwich in the world by foreign tourists. It has a unique flavor thanks to the combination of many ingredients together: pork liver pate, sauce, grilled pork, Vietnamese sausage, pickled radish, long sliced cucumber, sliced tomato and cilantro, and spring onion.
Some suggestions for you to enjoy Banh Mi:
- Banh Mi Phuong (6 am – 9 pm) address: 2B Phan Chu Trinh
- Madam Khanh (7 am – 7 pm) address: 115 Tran Cao Van
4. Com Ga
Com Ga is a dish found in many places in Vietnam, however, Com Ga in the ancient town is still better, with special processing methods: rice is cooked with chicken broth; chicken is shredded, mixed with onions, lemons, laksa leaves, and some spices.
There are many chicken rice restaurants in Hoi An, which is equally delicious. But overall, Com Ga Ba Buoi (Mrs. Buoi’s chicken rice) restaurant is the most delicious.
Address to eat Com Ga Ba Buoi:
- 22 Phan Chu Trinh
- 18 Dao Duy Tu
5. Sreet food
In addition to the typical dishes, Hoi An is also known as a street food paradise. Don’t forget to try the following dishes when visiting the ancient town:
Corn sweet soup
A unique street food in Hoi An, which is made from corn, diameter, and tapioca.
Recommended address to eat Corn sweet soup:
- On the corner of Hoang Van Thu and Tran Phu Street
According to the experience of Hoi An travellers, duckweed cake is considered a breakfast dish that many locals. Duckweed cake usually very cheap with only 2.000 VND for a cup. You can come across the delicious burden of duckweed cake in the alleys of Dinh Tien Hoang and Hoang Van Thu.
Dumplings and Cauldron Cakes
Dumplings and Cauldron Cakes are two types of dumplings, but they always together because the ingredients or flavors are quite similar, which are placed on the same plate. You can hardly find them anywhere else in Vietnam.
Recommended address to eat dumplings and cauldron cakes:
- 533 Hai Ba Trung Street
This dish is one of the most popular of Hoi An cuisine and is loved by many travellers. It seems to be wearing a brand that is hard to be confused with any specialty dishes in other regions. The careful selection of ingredients has created a perfect Vietnamese crepe with the deliciously filling inside.
Recommended addresses to eat:
- 160 Ly Thai To Street
- 147 Ly Thai To Street
Mot Hoi An
Mot is a must-try drink in Hoi An using main ingredients such as lemongrass, cinnamon, lemon, arhat fruit, honeysuckle flower. This is a delicious drink only available in the ancient town, helping you fully feel the most quintessential nature.
Address to buy Mot Hoi An:
- 150 Tran Phu Street
Top 5 exciting activities in Hoi An
There are many things to do in Hoi An. To feel Hoi An to the fullest, you definitely have to try all of the following experiences!
1. Watch Hoi An’s Memories Show
The memory of Hoi An is a great outdoor art show that gathering more than 500 professional actors and takes place on a massive stage up to 25.000m2.
The whole show is a fascinating performance about the stories of Hoi An throughout history which is demonstrated through images, sound and light extremely vivid.
2. Release the Flower lanterns
Hoi An still has a mysterious beauty, especially at night. The experience that leaves the most profound impression in the hearts of visitors when coming here is perhaps dropping the lanterns on the poetic Hoai River.
3. Take a rowing boat on the Hoai River in the evening
Hoai River is a branch of Thu Bon River flowing through Hoi An. For Hoi An people, this river is an integral symbolism of the historic ancient town.
Rowing on a corner of the ancient town at night and releasing flower lanterns are favorite activities with young people, especially couples who fall in love. The old houses along the two sides of the river with lots of light emitted from the lanterns add to the poetic beauty here.
4. Join the traditional games
Every night, Hoi An welcomes thousands of tourists for a walk in the heart of the old town. Besides sightseeing, enjoying Hoi An specialties, visitors can also participate in traditional folk games of Vietnamese people.
5. Enjoy the coffee
Sipping a cup of coffee, admiring the peaceful space of the old town is one of the experiences not to be missed when coming to Hoi An. Here are some suggestions:
- Reaching Out Tea House: 131 Tran Phu Street
- Hoi An Roastery: 135 Tran Phu Street
- Cocobana: 16 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street
- Chu Chu: 74 Tran Phu Street
- Cocobox: 94 Le Loi Street
- Mot Hoi An: 150 Tran Phu Street
- The Chef: 166 Tran Phu Street
A detailed travel guide for Hoi An in 2020 is for those who are planning to explore the historic ancient town. We hope you will have a perfect trip with many exciting experiences in this city!
Meet in Vietnam!