QUICK GUIDE TO HOI AN TOURS
So you’ve drank enough coffee to quadruple your heartbeat, you’ve transformed your wardrobe thanks to several tailors and you’ve filled 3 memory cards with images of yellow walls, red lanterns and multi-colored market stalls. What next? Maybe this travel guide to tours with its fund of ideas is just what you need.
Time to get out of town – and luckily, there’s a heap of tours to guide your journey.
Dip into the serene (ish) waters among the Nipa Palm Forest with Hoi An Kayak Tours. Fuel your inner adrenaline junkie with a Grasshopper Adventures (cycling). Track down the best local eats with Hoi An Food Safari. We’ve highlighted tours with a difference; experiences that you’ll remember long after you leave Vietnam behind.
If you prefer DIY tours, more power to you! Lose a day making rice paper on Cam Kim island. Explore the photogenic Painted Village on the road to Tam Ky. Soak up marine and local life with a homestay visit on Cham Island.
What are you waiting for? Of course, to read our reviews before you go anywhere. Smart move.
Bicycling In Hoi An
The flat roads and relatively small area of Hoi An make bicycling both a great way to get around and a fun way to explore. Most hotels offer free or inexpensive bikes. And while the local traffic may be intimidating for many Westerners, there is a wealth of structured, expertly-guided tours (see below) to put you at ease as you discover Hoi An.
It’s also easy to get off the beaten track if you want to explore on your own. Whether it be across the rice fields, to the coconut (Nipa) palms or to and from the beach Hoi An is a natural treasure trove at your doorstep. See or DIY ideas – Cycling to An Bang Beach: Scenic Route, Cam Kim Cycle Tour, Alternative Hoi An Cycle Tour to get you started.
Grasshopper Adventures: off the beaten track by bicycle
Don’t let the meticulous attention to the care and comfort of riders and the brand new equipment fool you, cycling with Grasshopper Adventures is truly an adventure. With well-planned routes that include scenic fields being worked by local farmers, a quiet market away from the trinkets of more touristy areas, and the historic ruins of My Son, the tours are loaded with sights to excite people of all interests.
As you traverse these less-traveled lanes your only regret in the end may be how to find the time to do all the tours on offer. See website for more.
Add: 621 Hai Ba Trung (20m down the lane)
Tel: +84 (0)93 203 4286
Hoi An Free Tours
Staffed by energetic student volunteers, Hoi An Free Tours packs a lot into a short period of time. With two free tours to choose from and enthusiastic students wishing to practice their English skills, Hoi An Free Tours offers plenty of behind-the-scenes cultural insight. Trips include the boat building yard at Kim Bong Village, Tra Que Vegetable Village, and numerous local industries. Our pick is the Cam Kim Island Tour where you can witness old-style boat building first hand, rice paper making, mat weaving and soak up some of the best and most diverse scenery anywhere in the Hoin An area.
Check out Hoi An Free Tours’ website for complete tour details.
Meeting Point: 567 Hai Ba Trung; Tel: +84 (0)1206 030 551
Heaven and Earth Bicycle Tours
M. Pascal’s Heaven and Earth Countryside Bicycle Tour is an adventure for the whole family. You’ll wind your way down small lanes, back alleyways, and even have the chance to pilot one of the area’s unique bamboo basket boats through Cam Kim Island’s impressive palm tree strands.
Other tantalizing excursions include: ‘Real Vietnam Tour’ where you cycle back in time to centuries-old peasant life; the mountain bike tour – ‘Just for the Ride’; the Adventure Tour – a full day’s cycling and the 2-day Homestay Tour – stay overnight with a Vietnamese family. For Price Guide and times see website
Add: 61 Ngo Quyen; Tel: +84 (0)126 842 2260
Hoi An Photo Walks
Engaging photography is about more than finding the correct settings on a camera, which is why Hoi An Photo Walks teaches you these essentials and much much more. During Pieter Janssen’s photo tours, beginners and advanced photographers alike gain an understanding of everything from the fundamentals of aperture and shutter speed to respectful strategies for approaching subjects – all this in a stress-free environment with an emphasis on one-on-one attention.
Janssen offers a variety of tours, including the afternoon Rural Hoi An Tour and Hoi An By Night, ensuring that there is something to cater to your specific interests and schedule. You may even book a private tour for a one on one experience.
For bookings and more information visit the website.
Tel: +84 (0)988 705 755
Hoi An Photo Tour and Workshop
Join Etienne Bossot for his Hoi An Photo Tour and Workshop and experience dazzling views of Hoi An while gaining personal attention and tips that will improve your photographs for a lifetime. Etienne leads you into authentic, un-staged Vietnamese life as you wander past verdant fields of farmers at work and small local industries. Whether you are an experienced amateur or a curious beginner, Etienne’s tours offer something for you, with hands on lessons on composition, night photography, and so much more.
Using a team of expert guides Etienne offers photo tours in the northern mountains of Vietnam, central Vietnam, Myanmar, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India as well. Experiences of a lifetime.
For more about the range of tours and contact details, check out Etienne’s website, Hoi An Photo Tour and Workshop.
Add: 42 Phan Boi Chau; Tel: +84 (0) 905 671 898
Motorbiking In Hoi An
Motorbiking in Hoi An is a great way to see the city and its more rural environs. While the rules of the road differ in Vietnam and can be a bit harrowing for Western drivers, there are plenty of guided tours that can give you a more relaxing and enjoyable experience. Some of the more popular options are listed here, but there is also no shortage of drivers claiming to be part of the original Easyriders, willing to pop you on the back of their bikes and take you for an adventure.
Hoi An Motorbike Adventures
Don’t be fooled by the many companies with similar names –Hoi An Motorbike Adventures, affectionately known as HAMA, is Hoi An’s premier motorbike tour operator. With a mix of local and expat staff, HAMA provides English-speaking guides while immersing you in local culture and scenery. A variety of half, full, and multi-day options are available, with prices starting at 50 USD for the popular Village Adventure Tracks half-day tour. All tours include International Safety Standard helmets, saddle bags, gloves, and rain ponchos. Optional GoPro rental offers a unique opportunity to capture all the excitement of the road.
There are short tours in the Hoi An area, longer tours along the Chi Minh trail, a fantastic 14-day adventure from Hanoi to Saigon and an incredible 11-day saga in Sri Lanka. See our review of their new sidecar tours.
Add: 54 Hung Vuong St; Tel: +84 (0)235 3911 930
Captivating Cham Island
With historical sites, beautiful seaside villages, and beaches of white sand and turquoise waters, Cham Island has something for everyone. Settled hundreds of years ago by the Cham, Hindu traders of unknown origin, the island boasts ancient pagodas, a secluded beach at Bai Chuong, and the perfect natural settings for numerous water sports, including snorkeling and parasailing/ gliding. Daytrips, with pickup from your hotel, are available from 1,000,000-1,100,000 VND.
General tours to Cham Island abound all over town like this one or you can simply take the ferry or the power boat yourself.
Blue Coral Diving
Blue Coral Diving is a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) center that runs a variety of tours for people with all levels of experience. The dive team conveniently speaks several languages as well. You can choose simple snorkeling or full dives accompanied by licensed divers. PADI classes are also available for those looking to improve their diving skills. Blue Coral Diving employs an international team of instructors and divemasters who will provide you with a memorable dive and snorkel experience at the beautiful Cham Islands. The ten dive sites feature countless species of fish, coral, shellfish, and many other under-the-sea creatures.
All tour prices include transfers, equipment, dive guide, instructor, lunch, and government taxes. For price guide and more details see website.
Add: 33 Tran Hung Dao Street; Tel: +84 (0) 935 857 578
Cham Island Diving
With Cham Island Diving you can choose from a multitude of pre-arranged tours or create a private, customized tour to suit your needs, including overnight and multi-day trips. Their website is offered in seven languages and dive team members speak English, French, Italian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Cham Island Diving is a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) center that offers a range of classes for those looking to improve their diving skills. Tour prices include transfers, beverages and snacks, professional-grade equipment, lunch, and all taxes and fees. See the website for prices on trips – from snorkeling to beginner to certified diver – PADI courses and more.
Add: 88 Nguyen Thai Hoc; Tel: +84 (0) 235 3910 782
Sea TREK says if you can walk and breathe you can Sea TREK.
What happens if you are an amateur snorkeler? You spend most of your time on the surface of the ocean. That’s why divers have the advantage at the Cham Islands, they can get down to the sea floor where all the fish are. Sea TREK has developed a method for non-divers to do the same. If you can handle their heavy helmets (and most can) you can Sea TREK. Not only non-divers but even non-swimmers aged 8 to 80 can be fitted out and lowered on a platform to see the wonders below without any prior training.
Sea TREK is a fantastic option for non-divers and is a truly wondorus experience at very reasonable prices. See their website for more details and up-to-the-minute tours and costs.
Add: 160A Nguyen Duy Hieu; Tel: +84 (0) 902 333 010
Escape to the Mystical Coconut Palms
The Coconut (Nipa) Palms of Cam Thanh Island offer a uniquely tranquil escape from the bustle of Hoi An. Here you can explore a vast forest on a guided tour in bamboo basket boats. Long periods of peaceful silence in the shade of towering palms, punctuated by the occasional row of colorful houses and waterside restaurants ensure that your tour will have the perfect blend of relaxing silence and interesting sights to view along the way. Try your hand piloting your basket boat yourself using a figure-eight pattern which miraculously propels you forward. After the novelty wears off just lie back and soak up the Jurassic Park feel in the maze of Nipa Palm channels.
Moving to the river proper you’ll saw fishermen launching bright nets and basket boats that were scattered about the channel in front of you. The tour is inexpensive and great value but now busloads of tourists have discovered the area it’s best to avoid peak times when ghetto blasters are likely to disturb the serenity as they spew out ‘Oppa Gangnam Style’.
Hoi An Kayak Tours
The name Hoi An Kayak Tours is a bit of a misnomer, as this operator also offers tours on stand up paddleboards and motorized long-tail boats. Kayak tours run the gamut of settings and difficulty levels, with everything from the Easy Paddle tour for beginners to a 24km Full Day Cam Island tour for more experienced paddlers. Some tours even include a mix of cycling and time on the water.
You can explore relatively unexplored channels through narrow keyholes of foliage in what seems to be primeval waters. If you want a less structured trip on the river, then kayaks, paddle boards, and long-tail boats are available for rental. Hotel pickup. Kids: under 5 free; 5-9 half price. See website for prices, hours and more details.
Add: pick up from your address
Tel: +84 (0) 979 437 338; +84(0)916 645 858
The Road to Tam Ky
Take the road to Tam Ky to see the wonderful attractions it has on offer and enjoy the picturesque scenery along the way. Until recently an unassuming village, Tam Ky has been transformed by government planners and now reflects a distinct and impressive Russian influence. After exploring Tam Ky, head to the nearby Painted Village (Tam Thanh) to enjoy its vivid tapestry of pastel-colored homes as well as its murals and ceramic fences depicting village life.
With marvels new and old, from the imposing Cua Dai Bridge and Heroic Mother statue to the ornately decorated graves that dot the landscape, the sights along the way ensure that the journey to Tam Ky is its own reward. Also on the road to Tam Ky closer to Hoi An is Vinpearl Land Amusement Park – the first major amusement park in the Hoi An area. In addition to a state-of-the-art water park there are thrilling rides, shopping and Vinpearl River Safari – the first and only river-themed zoo in Vietnam.
Vintage Sidecar to Son Tra (Monkey Mountain)
This adventure to Son Tra involves many aspects including a visit to the Lady Buddha or Bodhisattva of Mercy at Pham Lam Pagoda and the 1,000 year old banyan tree. Of course the mountain peak offers spectacular 360 degree views and on a clear day you can see all the way to Hue. It is truly breathtaking. If you are extremely lucky, you may even spot the very rare red-shanked duoc langur monkeys. Indeed, the experience of riding in a vintage Ural sidecar is a magnificent event in itself and, when combined with the natural beauty of the Son Tra peninsula, it’s an experience that will live with you long after it’s over.
There are many other vintage sidecar tours available from the Victoria Hoi An Beach resort including: Hai Van Pass and Lang Co; the Laos Border and Ba Na Hills. See website for prices and booking details.
Add: Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa
Hoi An Express Tours
If you want to check out a large range of established tours from a seasoned provider check out the options at Hoi An Express. Foodie tours, Cham Island, My Son, craft villages, cycling adventures, Ba Na Hills, Marble Mountain, Da Nang, electric scooter and jeep adventures, Old Town, lantern-making, sunrise and sunset photo opportunities and much more.
Let Hoi An Express make it easy for you. They’ll pick you up from you hotel and look after you every inch of the way. Their English-speaking guides also add an expert dimension, making the experience much more profound and memorable – a dimension that DIY tours generally sorely lack. Special discounts of 30% off apply on core tours on different days. Home Cooking Class (Mon); My Son (Tues); Da Nang (Wed); Foodie by Electric Scooter (Thur); Hue (Fri); Tra Que Vegetable and Herb Market Garden (Sat); My Son and Marble Mountain (Sun). For more information see Tours. To book click here.
A sunset boat ride with Cinnamon Cruises is the perfect end to any day. Enjoy a fine dining atmosphere with numerous courses, colorful cocktails, and a charmingly romantic vibe as you make your way down the alternately peaceful and lively Thu Bon River.
Cinnamon Cruises has several options including a Finger Food and Cocktail Sunset cruise, as well as Sightseeing and Cooking cruises. Especially good for romantic couples Cinnamon Cruises offers a fascinating glimpse of local river life – fisherman putting their prawn nets out; residents returning home to Kim Bong Village on ferries chokka block with motorbikes. Meanwhile massive new hotel developments also usher in the new Vietnam.
Hours: see website
Add: 76 Bach Dang, Cinnamon Cruises Pier: 21 Bach Dang (opposite 82 Bach Dang)
Street Food Tour: Safari Barney
Hoi An Food Safari takes you on a whirlwind adventure of foods and flavors to excite all palettes. Always arranged in small groups there’s plenty of individual attention as you sample ten of Hoi An’s signature dishes. You’ll learn plenty too about Vietnamese culture along the way. Dishes include: sinh to thap cam (fruit drink), cao lau (special noodles), banh xeo (pancake), banh mi (sandwich), fried wonton, xi ma (sesame paste), banh dap (rice paper), dau hu (tofu), banh cuon (fresh spring roll), bun cha (pork & noodle) and fried spring rolls. Joining Hoi An Food Safari guarantees a personalized experience where you dine just as the locals dine.
Other tours include the ‘Hoi An Food and Life Safari,’ with a visit to a fishing village, and the ‘Herb Village Cooking Class Safari,’ which includes a visit to Tra Que herb and vegetable village. For Hoi An Food Safari’s Street Food Guide click here. For more information or to book a tour see website.
Tel: +84 (0)937 271 192
Sabirama Tour and Cooking Class
There are lots of cooking classes in Hoi An these days. How to choose? If your time in Hoi An is short Sabirama Cooking Class is one that packs a lot into a half day: a visit to the market, a 45-minute river cruise, a paddle in a traditional basket boat, a water buffalo cart ride, a foot massage, the preparation of four traditional Vietnamese food dishes (including decorative touches) and, last but not least, consuming the scrumptious food with relish. Phew!
When it’s time to cook you make your own sauces and seasonings and even steam your own rice paper for the fresh spring rolls. The stove-top cooking is all yours too and plenty of time is also spent learning decorative touches with tomatoes and cucumbers fashioning rose and butterfly garnishes. Not just chopping for the master chef you learn plenty and have a ton of fun too!
Tel: +84 (0)510 391 4456 or +84 (0) 905 607 463
To Book: Click here