Last Updated on 3 years by Tam Le Van
Nobody misses out the Ancient town of Hoi An in their first time. It’s a must-see, the heart and soul of one of the most beautiful destination all over Vietnam. In deed, without any memories about it, you never travel to Hoi An!
Compare to other historic towns in South-east Asia, it is one of the most exceptionally well-preserved trading settlements. Although Europeans stayed here in the past, it still keeps a traditional Asian appearance with tiled-roof timber houses, religious buildings, living open-air market and a quay where goods loaded and offloaded between merchants worldwide. Nowadays, Hoi An has been thriving as a leading tourist attraction. Its heritages turns into restaurants, shops and cafes as well as the space for exciting activities.
In this article, we outline the best things to do in Hoi An Ancient Town to help you design your holiday easier and smarter.
Bach Dang riverside street @Backside of Tan Ky Old House Folk games in Hoi An ancient town by night
Hoi An Ancient Town designated area and best times to visit
Where is Hoi An Ancient Town?
Hoi An Ancient Town covers Tran Phu, Nguyen Thai Hoc, Bach Dang, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Cong Nu Ngoc Hoa streets coupled with momentous buildings and atmospheric restaurants and filled by beautiful lanterns as well as tailor shops. Everyday from 9 to 11 a.m and 3 to 9:30 p.m in the rainy season or 10 p.m in the dry season. Futhermore, an entrance ticket required when enter this unmissable zone and its historical sites. To know where to buy, see our article http://hoianlife.net/hoi-an-ancient-town-ticket-and-included-sitess-complete-guide/ to find out the most convenient booths.
Grand riverfront houses of French architecture imprint in Hoi An Ancient Town @Bach Dang street
The best times to visit
In the year, February to April and around September are best times to visit Hoi An Ancient Town. If come to the city in these times, people are likely to avoid the hottest months or tropical storms from the Pacific ocean.
During the day, morning or after late afternoon will be good time to start your exploration into Hoi An Ancient Town. However, if have only one day, you should begin in the morning to enjoy everything. Keep in mind that the last ticketed sites close at 5:30 p.m. Make sure you come earlier. In addition to, Bach Dang street is one of the best sunset-watching spots in Hoi An so the sundown is another fantastic time to visit this ‘yellow town’. After that, think of getting on boat ride or venturing into the night market on Nguyen Hoang street nearby.
Morever, the lantern festival on each 14th date of every lunar month also should take note of. You can expect for sparkling scene of thousand lanterns in the evening. If would like to see this special event, check online its exact day before make a plan to travel Hoi An.
Morning is great time to cycle around Hoi An ancient town
@Nguyen Thai Hoc street
Sparkling sunset in Hoai river bordering Hoi An Ancient Town
@An Hoi Bridge
Sparkling lanterns during the night in town
@Hoi An Night Market
How to get Hoi An Ancient Town
From Hoi An’s beaches
There are plenty accommodations locating near Hoi An’s beaches due to their quality in sand, wave and scene. Two best stretch of sands according to local people are Cua Dai and An Bang beaches where nearly all high-rating hotels, resorts plus hostels stand.
From An Bang beach area, you need to move over four kilometers (15 minutes) along Hai Ba Trung street to get Hoi An Ancient Town. Before spend time for awesome things to do inside that area, you will cross windy rice paddies.
From Cua Bai beach area, five kilometer long Cua Dai street is major road leading to Hoi An Ancient Town (about 20 minutes to move) and different from way to An Bang beach, only houses line it.
Lounges on An Bang beach and distant Cham islands @Cua Dai beach
From Da Nang
You will travel on a distance of around twenty five kilometer (45 mins drive) from Da Nang to Hoi An Ancient Town, including from Da Nang airport. Car, public bus, bicycle and motorcycle are all fitted because of good traffic connection between two cities. Many holiday makers combine the Marble Mountains for convenience in reason of its halfway location. Someone like to make full use of their opportunities in Hoi An also do the same. See our full travel guide about this “little Ha Long Bay” via http://hoianlife.net/the-marble-mountains-in-da-nang/.
Da Nang center from the aircraft
The best roads from Da Nang to Hoi An Ancient Town
City or coastal roads? Which one is better to move on from Da Nang to Hoi An Ancient Town? In fact that both are smooth to drive and popular choice of local people. But you need to notice something once make up your mind. If stay in a beachfront hotel/resort, coastal road named Truong Sa (Spratly island, “five star road”) will be the most proper, because of the shortest distance. In case of city center, pick any in the daytime and eight-lane Le Van Hien road (DT607) when return by night, for safety (this is in quite high traffic with “peak times” around 7-8 a.m and 4-6 p.m because many schools and markets line it). You’re easy to access the Marble Mountains, whichever.
Weather also influences on your selection. Within the dry season, coastal road becomes the favourite route, a muse of drivers. Travelers can breath deeply in sea breezes accompanied with more pleasant feelings than the inner city road. You should bring your swimsuits and stop at Da Nang shoreline during the time, like Non Nuoc or My Khe beaches. By contrast, very windy in the wet season and even risky when typhoons come occasionally. It’s not a good choice for that reason. Lastly, just in case, mechanic shops in city road are more than coastal one making it better when needed.
Fact: Locals call the pair of roads leading to Hoi An as “inner road” and “outer road”, Le Van Hien and Truong Sa roads respectively.
The coastal road runs along beautiful Da Nang-Hoi An beach
@Muong Thanh Luxury Da Nang Hotel
What are the best things to do in Hoi An Ancient Town area?
Visit cultural buildings
Hoi An Ancient Town ticket and its included sites
To access Hoi An Ancient Town’s designated area and its sightseeing places, every tourist has to buy an ‘entrance ticket’ with a price-150.000 VND (6.5 USD). For Vietnamese ID/passport holders, it’s 80.000 VND (3.4 USD). This covers five over 21 sites (see them all in our article via http://hoianlife.net/hoi-an-ancient-town-ticket-and-included-sitess-complete-guide/) including ancient bridge, old houses, Chinese assembly halls, temples, pagodas, museums and show of Vietnamese traditional art performances in the No.66 house on Bach Dang street at 10:15, 3:15 and 4:15 a.m daily.
Validity of Hoi An ancient town ticket is in whole time of your holiday here or until you visited all five places it covers, not really one day as regulated.
The main three-arch gate of Fukian Assembly Hall (aka Hoi quan Phuc Kien) Symbolic Japanese Covered Bridge in the daytime
@Cong Nu Ngoc Hoa wooden bridge
Must-see places: Hoi An Life choices
Hoi An Life thinks that selecting the best member of each type of historical building will be most proper. You have the chance to visualize overall picture about formation and development of the town. There are 200 years-old Old house of Tan Ky (free-of-charge guided tour run by owner family offered to its guests and features an ornate architecture), Fukian Assembly Hall (the most impressive one among all five Chinese assembly halls in town) and Hoi An Museum of Trading Ceramics where visitors can deepen understanding about trading history between Vietnam and other countries, especially ceramics. Additionally, 17th Japanese Covered Bridge (Hoi An’s official emblem) and a traditional art performance (only of its kind in all inclusions) should be in the list of must-sees. See detailed information about these in our article through http://hoianlife.net/hoi-an-ancient-town-ticket-and-included-sitess-complete-guide/.
Almost all organised tours to Hoi An Ancient Town cover an entrance ticket to come in this well-known destination. Check out inclusions and exclusions of your packaged trip to make sure you do not pay extra for it.
The outward appearance of Old House of Duc An (aka Cao Hong Lanh Memorial House) The facade of Chua Ong (Confucius Temple) on Tran Phu street
Tailoring in Hoi An
Taking some custom-made garments is another best thing to do in Hoi An Ancient Town. This fashion service is available at most tailor shops but not a lot giving awesome experiences from the beginning to the end. Top stars like A Dong Silk, Bebe, Kimmy or Yaly Couture bring the difference in quality, definitely in a better manner. Within 24 hours complete guarantee is always a part of Hoi An tailor’s customer policy, including fitting times. That’s perfect for who travels only within few days. Ask for fitting in your hotel in case at your convenience. Additionally, you have selection for shipping home if think no more space in your lugguage. Generally, its cost depends on each company and destination. For further details about tailoring in Hoi An, browse our article via http://hoianlife.net/tailoring-in-hoi-an-history-prices-tips-and-best-tailors/.
Tailoring in Hoi An is well-known across the country
The best tailors in Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An tailor shops have a variety in quality as well as price and often divided into three main groups: top tailors (Yaly, Bebe, Kimmy and A Dong), mid-priced tailors and tailors inside the Cloth market (Mrs. An and 45 Tailor). The second one owns the largest number, in comparison to others else.
Best tailors usually base in or around Hoi An Ancient Town to make the guests adventuous for their travel plan. To find out the what are they, browse our article via http://hoianlife.net/tailoring-in-hoi-an-history-prices-tips-and-best-tailors/.
A staff gives the advices to tailormade seeker
Taking cyclo rides
History of cyclo in Vietnam
Prior to appearance of three-wheeled cyclo, human-powered richshaw had a long history in Vietnam. It was used for upper social classes&kings during feudal times and French in their colonial period from 19th century. Invented by an owner of bike production company, first cyclos moved on streets of Ho Chi Minh (formerly Sai Gon) and then its use quickly wide-spreaded towards the North, consisting of Hanoi capital with Hoi An. After that, became a popular vehicle to urban residents and today better known by the role in taking visitors around tourist cities.
Hoi An cyclo rides around its ancient town
To experience a cyclo ride throughout Hoi An Ancient Town, you are able to get ‘vendor cyclo’ or come to ‘cyclo station’ near Hoi An Museum of Folklore. While first option is available at many corners in town and provides an unstable price (barganing needed at sometimes), booking cyclo at the station will be easier and with a moderate rate given. Note that in tourist seasons, you may wait for a long time because of overbooking. Check the information online about this best thing to do in Hoi An Ancient Town for avoiding over-priced offers.
Many cyclo riders expect for tipping at the end of your trip. Think of that if you enjoy his services. Additionally, discuss with him about sightseeing places you want to stop once start.
A team of cyclo riders in town @Bach Dang street
Try Hoi An street foods and coffee
An abundant collection of delicious street foods and various shops with qualitied coffees&stunning view awaits you in Hoi An. The most ideal time to start a food expedition is late afternoon when almost all of best local dishes dealt in. Check out Hoi An Life’s article about must-try street foods to know each most tasty bites together with where to find and how to try them.
Besides, enjoying a cafeteria and its awesome coffee is another outstanding thing to do throughout Hoi An Ancient Town. With the purpose to introduce Vietnamese coffee to people from different parts of the world, the best cafes provide high-quality beans originating from famed localities all over the country. Many roast this great source of ingredient right by themselves to create their coffee flavour as finest as possible, like Phin Coffee or Hoi An Roastery. Additionally, plentiful cafes offer loveable view that usually present in bucket list of Instagrammers such as Faifoo Coffee.
@Banh beo, water fern cakes @Banh bot loc, Vietnamese clear dumplings
Wander around lantern streets and taste Hoi An specialties by night
While Hoi An Ancient Town’s old-aged features show themselves clearly in daytime, it also is gorgeous in the evening by a bunch of multi-colored lanterns. Roaming around streets during this time totally make anybody impressive, especially in the course of full-moon and monthly lantern festival. Besides, traditional art performances on street together with night markets create the greatness of Hoi An night in which you have so much funs. Do not forget stoping somewhere for your dinner, that would be nice with food specialties.
The best streets to wander: Bach Dang, Tran Phu and Nguyen Thai Hoc streets.
Hoi An food specialty: Mi quang noodles, Cao lau (‘brown noodles’), Thit xien nuong (barbecued pork skewers rolled with raw vegetables and served with a rich peanut sauce), Banh mi, Com ga (chicken rice), Banh bao banh vac (white rose dumplings), Hoanh thanh chien (fried Wonton), Banh xeo pancakes, Banh bot loc (clear dumplings with a content of marinate pork, chopped spring onions and spices), Banh xoai (mango cake), Kem ong (stick ice cream), and more.
Enjoy night boat rides along Hoi An river
Following sunset time, Bach Dang riverside street is filled by local sellers dealing in candle lanterns and boatmans providing the ride along Hoi An river. Two main areas you need to notice: An Hoi bridge vicinity and further part of riverside street. Each one features different type of boat (with and without lanterns) and moving ground. If like to see the most appealing scenery, get a boat somewhere near An Hoi bridge. Another one provides you lantern decorations for lovely photos. We think that the best selection depends on your needs. Keep in mind that candle lantern often is in the price. Check out our article about boat trips in Hoi An for further details.
Cruising on Hoai river by lantern boat is a must do in the Ancient Town @Near Hoi An Central Market