For many Hoi An is a one- to three-day stopover. With so much to do and such limited time, how do you decide what’s worth seeing? To take the work out of combing through copious brochures, Hoi An Now has put together a ‘Hoi An Now Travel Guide to Hoi An’ in one convenient bundle .
Below are some of our favorite things to see. To read more about our other must-see tours and attractions visit our full list.
But in addition to tours and attractions this travel guide is also a key introduction to Hoi An’s bars, shopping , restaurants, entertainment, spas, transport, basic Vietnamese and much more. In many ways this travel guide is a gateway to the entire Hoi An Now site as it showcases the most essential information along with lots of tips and multiple links to specific and more detailed pages and posts.
It’s a great place to start and the best ready-reckoner on Hoi An going around.
Boat Race Feature Photo: Nguyen Manh Tuan
What to See in Hoi An
Nestled along the banks of the Thu Bon River, Hoi An’s Old Town is one of Vietnam’s most charming tourist destinations. Today visitors are attracted by the yellowed walls and the unique architecture of the Old Town. To learn more about the history of Hoi An, check out our About Hoi An page!
A bike ride through the rice paddies and other fields offers a different view from the tourist center. The paddies offer lush green fields speckled with water buffalo and ducks; definitely worth a visit. There are tours that will take you, or you can rent a bike and wander at your own pace. New cement pathways are developing almost daily making access for all ages and cycling levels relatively easy. Indeed, never before has Hoi An rural life been so accessible. Get off the beaten track and explore, you won’t regret it!
Whether you want to boogie the night away to live tunes at a beach bar or simply relax and enjoy the rhythm of the waves, Hoi An’s beaches have it all. There are two major beaches: Cua Dai and An Bang. In recent days Cua Dai Beach has suffered significant erosion but there are still some wonderful spots. In between the ‘Big Two’ is Hidden Beach; popular with Hoi An locals as one of the few remaining unspoiled beaches in Hoi An. Further afield are some equally beautiful beaches. For more information check out our comprehensive guide to all things beach as well as our Quick Guide to An Bang.
Only 20 minutes from Hoi An by bus, Marble Mountain’s religious significance and amazing views make it one of Hoi An’s most famous and popular destinations. Below the surface, a complicated system of caves and tunnels interlaced with pagodas, shrines and gigantic statues make this an unforgettable experience. Nearly every tour company in town has a day trip to Marble Mountain offered, however, if you’d rather go at your own pace you can hire a car to take you for about 350,000 VND return.
Want a fast track to the best activities, attractions, restaurants, bars, beaches and away-from-it-all places? There’s no-one who knows a town like the people who live in it. Hoi An has a thriving expat community who know this town inside out. Check out the Insider’s Top Ten to see some of the Hoi An community’s unanimous favorites. For a wider variety of opinions, we have individual Top 10s in Hoi An Local’s Favorites.
What to Do in Hoi An
As they say here in Hoi An, “No Massage, No Vacation”! A visit to the spa is a great way to unwind after a morning of shopping, and with the inexpensive costs of services- you can visit the spa daily! No need to worry about where to go, just check out the reviews of some of our favorite spas in Hoi An!
With literally hundreds of options, picking the right cooking class can be overwhelming. Lucky for you, we’ve sacrificed our waistlines to find the best cooking classes in Hoi An! Many also include market or countryside tours and are a great way to see the town.
The best way to see Hoi An is from a bicycle, but navigating the busy streets can be intimidating. There is, as they say, safety in numbers, so we recommend booking a tour to get a lay of the land and to see some of the lesser visited areas of Hoi An. Check out our list of some of the best bicycle tours in Hoi An.
What to Eat and Drink
Apart from Vietnamese food, Hoi An has cuisine from many corners of the Globe – and it’s cheap! You will find Greek, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, hamburger joints and so much more. For a complete guide see our Restaurant Section. We also have a Hoi An Now Travel Guide to Vegetarian Restaurants, Hoi An Now Travel Guide to Vietnamese Restaurants, and for those who hunger for the taste of ‘home’ check out our Hoi An Now Travel Guide to International Restaurants.
There are many bars in Hoi An but which ones to choose? Beachside with your drinks delivered to your deck chair, sport bars for the latest game or cocktails by the river to name a few. To make it easier we have compiled How An Now Travel Guide to Bars. For coffee lovers it’s good news, Hoi An has an explosion of wonderful coffee shops; enjoy finding your favorite and if you’d like to see where the Vietnamese like to go, see our Quick Guide to Cafe Viet.
Quick Cost Guide to Hoi An
Below is a valuable price guide for common items in and around Hoi An. Keep in mind that prices will likely be more expensive at hotels, resorts, and in the heart of Old Town.
There are countless options available for activities and tours- spanning nearly every price point. Cooking classes average about 500,000 VND and local tours vary depending on length and destination, but can certainly be found for less than 1,000,000 VND per person.
Street food is a delicious and authentic way to satiate your hunger, and it’s cheap! Most dishes will set you back between 25,000 and 35,000 VND. Restaurant fare will start at about 40,000 VND and goes up from there. Western dishes will be slightly more expensive, starting at about 90,000 VND.
Come for the culture, stay for the beer prices! Fresh beer, brewed locally will set you back a whopping 4,000 VND per glass. For the bottled local brews you can expect to pay about 20,000 VND. Cocktails start at 90,000 VND and wine at 120,000 VND per glass.
Hoi An is a small and very walkable town, but if you need a ride, fear not, because transportation is hugely affordable. Bicycles are often free with your hotel stay, but can also be rented for about 25,000 VND/day. Motorbikes are available for about 100,000 VND/ day or 1,000,000/ month. Taxis will get you anywhere you need to go in the town for about 50,000 VND or to the beach for 70,000 VND. For more information about transportation in Hoi An, check out our transportation guide.
What’s Cheaper in Hoi An?
There are so many things cheaper in Vietnam. Food and drink, transport, tours and tailors – these are all the obvious ones but there is so much more. For a quick overview of what will save you bagfuls of bucks, have a look at our Cheaper than Chips guide. Dentistry, optical, hair, eye laser surgery, permanent make-up, botox and fillers and even medication, for example, are much cheaper. As foreign residents we use these services and, if they were sub-standard, believe me we would be telling you.
Basic Vietnamese to Use in Hoi An
Vietnamese is a tricky language to master, but it’s a good idea to try and master a few phrases. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be understood (accent is everything!), but you’re sure to get a smile for trying. Also, using a little bit of Vietnamese is one way to save yourself from getting (as) ripped off.
Hello Xin Chao (sin chow)
Goodbye Tam Biet (tap bee-it)
Yes Co (cah)
No Khong (khom)
Thank you Cam On (cam un)
Where is the toilet Nha ve sinh o dau? (nya vi sing uh dow)
How much is it? Bao nhieu? (bao new)
That’s too expensive Dat qua (dat quwa)
Let’s make a deal Giam gia (zam za)
I have one already Co roi (ga roi)
Two beers please Hai bia (hi bee-a)
How To Get Around in Hoi An
Cars for Hire
Taxis are ideal from getting from point A to point B around Hoi An’s Old Town or to the beach. However, if you find yourself wanting to go beyond the city’s limits, we recommend hiring a car. Whether you’d like a lift to the airport in Da Nang or a tour to Marble Mountain a car for hire will be cheaper than any taxi and most likely your hotel’s prices.
If you’re feeling brave, you may wish to rent a motorbike. Make sure you know the rules of the road before you set out, and remember, go slow! And if you can’t be bothered with the rules of the road, read them anyway if you like to laugh!
What to Buy in Hoi An
Always fancied having a leather duffle but couldn’t justify the cost? Look no further! In Hoi An you can have duffles, purses, bum bags, wallets, and more all custom made to your specifications for a fraction of the cost back home.
Not long ago the only art available ‘artwork’ in Hoi An was cheap water paintings depicting rural scenes of girls in ao dai wearing traditional Non hats sold by touts on every corner. But like everything Hoi An the times, they have a-changed. These days, there is a thrilling art scene emerging and for the astute art collector opportunities abound to buy something original and truly beautiful. From stunning paintings to wooden artifacts, and photographs – Hoi An is the place to buy for anyone with a keen eye. For an overview of what’s around see our Quick Guide to Good Galleries.