What to Do in Hoi An

Wandering the ancient town at night, enjoying “cao lầu” (Hoian noodle), sewing clothes and taking immediately, taking a boat cruise on Hoai river at the evening ... all are unforgettable experiences when visiting the trading port of Hoian.

If one day you visit the "the world cultural heritage" Hoi An and struggling not to know what should do. Let refer to the following tips to feel more deeply about life and people of this full of dreamy and romantic city.

1. Walking Around Hoi An Ancient Town at Night

Let try a simple experience, you just step out onto the street and see the old houses, the multicolored lantern streets at night. You will be seemingly lost in a light gala dinner, a fairy-tale world combined between the serenity of ancient architecture and the excitement of modern life. Perhaps the most beautiful is the segment road along Hoai River with many twinkle streaks on the surface. Hoi An is more beautiful when having no tourists and shops, at that time the old town truly comes back to the old and most taciturn appearance.
Wandering around Hoian Old Town at night
Hoian is recognized as one of the cities with the world's most beautiful canals by Tourpia

2. Dropping the Candle Lanterns

Still in that evening, besides just watching, you can enjoy yourself in decorations for light party on the river bank. A pleasant experience that many tourists like to do is to drop candle lanterns on Hoai River. You will release small twinkling lights by your hands down on the river with hope of lucky for your family and relatives.

3. Enjoying “Cao Lầu” (Hoian Noodles)

Cao Lau is a specialty dish that anyone arriving in Hoi An should try. Origin of this dish’s name is very interesting, in  the past when traders come to Hoi An to do business they must eat this dish on the "high floor" target to look up goods at the same time, so name “Cao Lau” (high floor) was formed. A full-flavor bowl of “Cao Lau” makes you feel crunchy taste of noodle; sour, spicy, bitter, sweet taste of fresh herbs; aroma of fish, fragrant powder, soy sauce, gravy ... and pieces of crispy greaves in your mouth.
Hoian noodle - that you can only find here
Hoian noodle - that you can only find here

4. Eating Banh Mi

David Farley - BBC reporter who writes about tourism and gastronomy commented "Vietnam’s bread is the most miraculous over the world" in article "Is Vietnam’s bread the best sandwich in the world?" after eating total of 15 loaves of bread at many different stores across Vietnam. One of them is Hoi An bread. Indeed, Hoian bread with slices of pork, pate, cucumber, herbs and featured meat sauces is incredibly delicious and attractive.

5. Boating on Hoai River at Night

Taking a boat tour to contemplate the Old Town at night and dropping flower lights are very favorite by couples, especially those who take wedding photos in Hoi An. However if you have no partner, you can go with family, friends even alone.
Hoian Ancient Town is seen from a boat on Hoai River
Hoian Ancient Town is seen from a boat on Hoai River 

6. Drinking Coffee in Hoi An

Hoian has two very crowded cafes for you to drink in the morning. The first one is Ms Thao café which is located right on the way from Nhat bridge to Bach Dang street, guests here are mostly young people. Across the other side of Nhat bridge is the second cafe for middle-aged people. Sitting at both this two cafes you can see Hoai river bank, trawling scene and one block of An Hoi street. In the fresh morning before banning motor vehicles, drinking a cup of coffee after eating bread of Phuong shop is a gentle way to start your new day in Old City.
Drink coffee at Faifo and look at Hoian from high
The Tran Phu Street by an overview, taken from the 3rd floor of Faifo Coffee

7. Cutting and Tailoring Clothes 

One of the interesting things of Hoi An is the tailoring stores where cut and tailor clothing, footwear, handbags ... taken on the day. Forbes magazine had honored one of the “hot tailoring store” (hot is meant fast) in Hoian by unique service and professional serving way. Only after about 4 hours, you can get the clothing that you order. Fashion style in Hoi An is extremely unique, fashionable and price is only range from 15 to100 dollars.

8. Sunbathing

Hoi An has famous beaches in the world by white sand, blue sea and yellow sun. Cua Dai Beach with white- stretched sand beach, coconut trees and crystal-clear sea, but unfortunately Cua Dai beach has been just eroded by sea water in mid-October 2014 and being restored. However, An Bang beach of Hoi An is one of the top 50 most beautiful beaches on the planet. An Bang beach is suitable for those who are finding free and quiet space. You can take some hour to lie lazily, read a book, or enjoy the music (through a headphone) here.
Make the most of private feeling in An Bang beach
Make the most of private feeling in An Bang beach

9. Ancient houses in Hoi An

Ancient houses is the priceless heritage that preserved in Hoi An after many wars, urbanization and the destruction of nature. In every rainy season, Hoi An is flooded especially in history the first floor of these houses were submerged in water. But through many events, the old houses has been completely original as the early, both architecture and spirit. The best known house is Tan Ky ancient house, the first house was recognized as national relic in Hoian and this house has been honorably welcomed many national and international leaders.

10. Snorkeling to See Coral in Cu Lao Cham (Cham Island)

Cham Island is far 15 km from the ancient town, one of not to miss places when arriving Hoi An. Though travel services in Cu Lao Cham are not developed, for that reason Cu Lao Cham still retain its wild character. Visiting Cham Island you can experience diving services to see coral, campfire, sleeping in local residents (homestay) and enjoying fresh - delicious - nutritional - cheap seafood.

11. Play traditional games

A very happy experience in Hoi An is participating in traditional games. At night, after wandering and need taking a break, you can stop at the beginning of Nguyen Thai Hoc street or Kazik park to enjoy yourself in the fun, excitement atmosphere of game “bài Chòi” (listen folk songs and guess the answer for the puzzle) and “đập bùng binh” (beat roundabout), etc.

12. Taking a memorial picture in Hoian

BuzzFeed Travel Website ranked Hoi An at No. 3 in the list of the world best places for taking selfie. Coming to Hoian, do not forget to capture selfie with landmarks such as: Nhat Bridge, An Hoi Bridge, “legend” wall on Hoang Van Thu street, alleys, lanes, wells, Hoai river bank, etc.

13. Taking the ferry across Cam Kim

Again you can experience the feeling of floating on the water, with only 2,000 VND/turn, you'll be sat on a local boat to go through Cam Kim town, where used to be very famous for carpentry village in Hoian. The family still do carpentry now is not many, but sitting on a boat to Cam Kim will help you take an afar view to ancient town. Floating on water surface and breathing the cool breeze on Thu Bon River are also special experiences.

14. Buying lantern for souvenir

The most common and characteristic souvenir in Hoian is perhaps lanterns. Choosing a lantern as a gift to relatives or bringing back to hang in your house is also a fun thing to remember about Hoian.
You can buy some colorful lantern to present for your friend
You can buy some colorful lantern to present for your friend

15. Traveling to Hoi An on the 14th day 

If you come to Hoi An on mid-month day (14th according to lunar calendar), you really are a lucky people. On this day,  Hoi An ancient town will turn off all the lights and hang up brilliant lanterns, drop flower illumination lights on river. It really is a great space for those who love the quiet beauty of Hoi An ancient town. In addition to the mid-month day, you can get to Hoi An on other special days such as Thien Hau Worship Day, Vu Lan Ceremony, Moon Festival, Lantern Festival ... to be enjoyed yourself in the extremely unique beauty of culture in this land. Though Hoi An ancient town is small, you will need a lot of time to understand it.
Many people like to take a flower lantern then dropping into Hoai River
Many people like to take a flower lantern then dropping into Hoai River


Travelling tips in Hoi An

  • When you want to visit the heritage, buy tickets at the ticket counter, customer service counter. With this ticket, you are entitled to visit 5 locations here.
  • If you are traveling in groups (8 people or more), you will be guided by Hoi An tour guide to guide you within 2 hours.
  • Do not litter, maintain general hygiene to keep the dignified beauty inherent here.
  • Before you go, you should be equipped with personal items such as hats, coats, swimwear, drinks, sunscreen, cameras...

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