For many, visiting Hoi An is a fly-by-night, must-see chance to marvel at the beautifully persevered architecture of the Old Town interspersed with tailors, shopping, spas and restaurants. But Hoi An has so much more to offer and is bursting with activities, attractions and sightseeing opportunities. Its beaches are some of the best in the world and wonders like the World Heritage Cham archaeological site of My Son and the National Park at Monkey Mountain are under an hour away. Ba Na Hills Fantasy Park is also a comfortable day trip. Tours abound by bicycle, motorcycle and jeep – eco-tours, cooking tours, adventure tours, craft tours, kayaking, bamboo boating … even water buffalo riding.
Escape Room | Ba Na Hills Resort | Basket Boat Riding | Bicycling Hoi An | Cham Islands | Full Moon Lantern Festival | Kayaking and Paddle Boarding
Night Market | Marble Mountain | My Son | Play Zone For Kids | Taboo Bamboo | Thanh Ha Pottery Village
Timing Mask Workshop | Tra Que Waterwheel Organic Farm and Cooking Class | Water Puppets | VinKE
Vinpearl Ice Skating Rink
VINPEARL LAND NAM HOI AN
Disneyland has come to Hoi An! Vinpearl Land Nam Hoi An will thrill all ages. Grab a riverboat up the ‘Zambezi’ to see lions, elephants and rhino or dust off in the fabulous Waterworld before hitting the Bird Park, Handicraft Village or the spine-tingling rides of Adventure Land. There’s shops, cafes, entertainment and much, much more. This is not to be missed!
BEST HOI AN ATTRACTIONS
Trying to relax or looking for culture, art or theater, attractions in Hoi An abound. Beaches and culinary adventures are also on the horizon as are plenty of day trips
BEST HOI AN ART GALLERIES
Hoi An has a reputation as a center for culture and the arts in Vietnam and it is true that a number of artists and writers have been drawn to this beautiful town because of the gentle pace of life, the light, the variety of landscape, the architecture and the vibrant culture.
QUICK GUIDE TO AN BANG BEACH
Voted one of the top 100 beaches in the world by CNN it’s remarkable how uncrowded and undeveloped An Bang Beach has remained. Both the north and south sides are lined with bar/restaurants with some especially geared for English speaking and European expats and tourists like Soul Kitchen (north) and Soul Beach (south).
CHINESE ASSEMBLY HALLS IN HOI AN’S ANCIENT TOWN
As Chinese merchants and traders morphed into settlers in the 1700s, they began constructing Chinese Assembly Halls and temples where they could congregate, worship and preserve age-old traditions. A prominent trading hub from the 1500s to the 1800s, Hoi An still hosts 5 Chinese Assembly Halls, all constructed on Tran Phu (or its extension, Nguyen Duy Hieu), facing the water.
HOI AN MEMORIES SHOW
Hoi An Memories Show, an open-air theatrical extravaganza involving a cast of 500 in an arena that can seat 3000, is the centerpiece of Hoi An Impression Theme Park. It’s comfortably the largest and most ambitious show anywhere in Vietnam and an enthralling experience that brings one closer to Vietnam’s unique spirit and time-honoured traditions. Both a must-see cultural spectacle and a mind-blowing entertainment.
THEATER SHOWS BY LUNE PRODUCTION
Whatever you do, if you have the opportunity to attend a Lune Production – Lune Cirque – do not miss it. For an hour or so you will be be totally absorbed by the drama and poignancy of traditional Vietnamese life in a unique way that will live with you long after the lights are turned up. The shows are genuinely world class in music and energetic, dramatic performance.
HAI VAN PASS; THE HISTORIC MISTY MOUNTAIN TOP
As soon as I’d heard about the Hai Van Pass I knew I wanted to go and see it for myself; it had become so famous at home in England after Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson had described it as “a deserted ribbon of perfection – one of the best coast roads in the world.” So when the opportunity arose, I jumped at the offer.
MY SON: CHARIOTS OF THE GODS OR THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES
How were the ancient buildings of the Hindu sanctuary at My Son put together apparently without mortar yet they have lasted millennia? How can it be that the bricks used in the restoration have already weathered more quickly than the originals?
THAI PHIEN: ONE OF MY FAVORITE STREETS
Think you are finished with the ancient town? Head away and a short walk of just a couple of blocks brings you to Thai Phien. This is a real picture, not of ancient but of traditional Hoi An. The block between Nguyen Truong To and Tran Cao Van is the most fascinating. Thai Phien is on the maps and you can’t miss it because the Nguyen Truong To intersection has the Travelodge on one corner and a large church is on the other.
AWESOME MONKEY MOUNTAIN: DA NANG’S UNTAMED BACKYARD
On an incredible, stock-still, sparkling day the ripple-free East Sea mirrored like a monstrous pane of glass. As I stood at the peak of Monkey Mountain my gaze was drawn to the heat haze on the horizon as it yielded the only movement. Above this, I scanned a glorious gradation of deep cobalt blues smeared with fine white streaks, a heaven on earth, an empyrean descended. From my unsurpassable vantage this panorama loomed roundly and powerfully.
HOI AN’S FULL MOON LANTERN FESTIVAL
Many tourists and visitors flock to Hoi An’s Old Town to see the candle lit river and smell the incense on the breeze for the Lantern Festival. The festival falls on the night of the full moon, a sacred time for the heady Buddhist/Confucian mixture in Vietnam and Ancient Hoi An provides the perfect setting for this monthly celebration.
HOI AN WATER PUPPET SHOW $
A short walk from the Old Town, Hoi An’s Water Puppet Show is an entertaining prelude to dinner and fun for all ages. Set under the stars in amphitheater-styled seating, this energetic and frequently humorous 45-minute show presents a series of fables and stories on Vietnamese village life through colorfully hand carved puppets.
ESCAPE IQ – CERTAINLY NOT FOR THE FAINT-HEARTED!
The Hoi An Now team were put to the test and scared witless at Hoi An’s only escape room, Escape IQ. There won’t be any tips or spoilers because it would be a shame to ruin the fun!
HOI AN KAYAK TOURS
Although the Nipa Palms (Coconut Palms) have been a Hoi An tourist attraction for several years, few experiences can deliver, as they can, the illusion of ‘being the first person ever there’ – an illusion that transports one back millennia.
EXPLORING CAM KIM ISLAND
Part of the allure of Hoi An is its vibrancy. There is a charm to the mixing of its old world history and architecture with its still-lively markets, filled with locals and visitors alike. But step away from the city center by degrees, and by degrees you find a quieter – though no less vibrant – pulse.
THE TIMING MASK WORKSHOP HOI AN: FOR KIDS AND ADULTS $ – $$
Are you after a Hoi An activity that’s …
(1) as much fun for the kids as it is for you
(2) not only creative but educational
(3) results in a rather splendid Hoi An souvenir …
ESCAPE TO THE MYSTICAL COCONUT PALMS
To explore the peaceful escape of the Hoi An’s Coconut Palms (Nipa Palms) you first need to make your way through the quiet, scattered hamlets of Cam Thanh Island.
BA NA HILLS MOUNTAIN RESORT $$ – $$$
The most awe-inspiring aspect of Ba Na Hills for me was its amazing transplantation of European architecture, much of it medieval, to the top of a 1,487-metre high Vietnamese mountain.
TAM THANH MURAL VILLAGE: ‘ART FOR A BETTER COMMUNITY’
Riding about an hour south from Hoi An along the Thanh Niên road, I arrived in Tam Thanh much like Dorothy stepping out of black and white into technicolor Oz.
HOI AN’S NIGHT MARKET
For those wishing to take home a piece of Hoi An’s lanterned charm, the Night Market on An Hoi Islet (across the river from Hoi An Old Town) provides a large array of inexpensive souvenirs and snacks from which to choose.
CAPTIVATING CHAM ISLAND
Most visitors are attracted to a Cham Island trip by the swimming, snorkeling over the extraordinary coral reefs, eating and drinking, karaoke and shopping, parasailing/paragliding and motor bike rides. If you are one of these, you will not be disappointed.
HOI AN’S HIDDEN BEACH
Kept apart by a few kilometres of golden coastline and brought together by the less idyllic Lac Long Quon highway are the two main beaches of Hoi An, Cua Dai to the south, and An Bang to the north. However, in between these two lies another beach, one so well hidden they named it just that – Hidden Beach.
MARBLE MOUNTAIN MARVEL
The Marble Mountains’ religious significance and amazing views make it one of Hoi An’s most famous and popular destinations.
PLAY ZONE FOR KIDS $
Got young, restless children who need to work off some of that boundless energy?
VINPEARL ICE SKATING RINK $ – $$
The heat’s overwhelming, the kids’ energy levels are through the Richter scale and like half the world, you still can’t get that song from Frozen out of your head – well for a cheap, half-day outing, literally ‘Let it Go’ and head straight to Da Nang’s newest chilled venue for kids: Vinpearl Land Ice-Skating Rink.
THANH HA TERRACOTTA AND POTTERY VILLAGE $
Want to do something different? Then head 3 kilometres out of town to Thanh Ha Terracotta Park and Pottery Village
BICYCLING IN HOI AN
To go cycling in Hoi An most hotels offer free access to bicycles or at a nominal charge.
CHAM ISLAND – UNSPOILT PARADISE
If you are one of those selfish types who simply hate sharing your tropical paradise with the general public then get a move on and visit Cham Island, a lovely unspoiled, marine-protected island – one of the least developed islands in Vietnam and for now mostly a secret, but the hordes will descend.