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-coloured market stalls. What’s next on your list of things to do in Hoi An? Well, it’s time to take a tour of course!
Hoi An’s position between countryside and coast – not to mention the Old Town being a UNESCO World Heritage Site – makes the region ripe for a great range of tours. From adventures on the ground to on the water, photography, food and other cultural highlights, Hoi An has a tour or two for all ages, interests and budgets. Check out our guide to the best Hoi An tours below and dive into a new world of fun and adventure.
Cycling is a great way to get around Hoi An and the surrounding countryside. It’s a wonderful means of seeing the real Hoi An away from the crowds, to see farming and fishing up close, at your own pace. You’ll find tours that give a perfect introduction to the Old Town, its food and culture, adventures into the countryside and longer guided routes to the likes of My Son and beyond.
Of course, if you fancy taking the DIY route, you can rent a bicycle and take off on your own. See our Cycling to An Bang Beach: Scenic Route, Cam Kim Cycle Tour, and the Alternative Hoi An Cycle Tour pages to get you started on your own two-wheeled adventures.
You’re never too far from the water in Hoi An, be it the river, ocean or the occasional tropical downpour. There are countless options for relaxing river tours of all lengths, from brief half-hour jaunts to sunset boat rides with fine dining included. For a more rustic trip you can experience life in a basket boat made from bamboo and even pilot a vessel through a palm-tree lined river. Further options include guided kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding and long-tail boats. Some tours will include a mix of cycling and food as well as time on the water – a veritable biathlon indeed.
From dawn to dusk and from countryside to coast and city, you can chose from a range of great photography tours in Hoi An. Snappers of all experience are encouraged to join in, with some tours even being suitable for mobile phone cameras. Not only can you gain a huge amount of photographic knowledge on these trips, but many tours also offer a great opportunity to see Hoi An ‘off the beaten track’.
Food and Cooking Classes
Food is a huge part of local culture in Hoi An, bringing family and friends together at all times of the day. Vietnam has its own unique cuisine, with several dishes only found locally such as the famous Cao Lao or Mi Quang noodle dishes. A Hoi An food tour will give you a great introduction to local flavours, and there are options to tie in all that eating with some cycling as well as learning about local industries, activities and culture. Many tours will combine city-with-countryside so a food tour is often a great way to see a little more of the area too. Some free tours are available.
Motorbikes are a popular method of transport across Vietnam and Hoi An is no different. A ride on the back of an experienced motorcyclist is quite probably the finest way to see the country up close, these vehicles being able to traverse roads that four-wheelers can only dream of. Experienced motorcyclists can also hire bikes and take their own tours of course, but make sure you’re aware of license laws and insurance before you risk it. Motorbike and sidecar tours are another option, and a great way to see the world!
Hoi An’s Old Town is not only a great place in which to wander, eat, drink and be romantic – you’ll also find a huge choice of tours there too. From guided visits to the area’s cultural buildings and museums to food-based tours, walking or cycling excursions and river trips, it really helps to have some local-expertise on hand for your first visit to Hoi An. Many tours are available by day or by night and many tour guides will offer individual trips as well as those designed for groups.
Art and Craft
Hoi An is a lantern town and many people believe that hanging a lantern outside will bring good fortune. Why not get involved and make your own to take a little good fortune back home with you? You can find various lantern-making classes around the city, where you’ll learn about the whole process and make your own one from scratch, to your own design. There are also options to tie in a lantern-making class with a wider city tour, where you’ll learn about local silk and food too.
Hoi An has options for snorkelling, scuba-diving, scuba-training and ocean floor walking, so there’s plenty to entertain underwater enthusiasts! Just off Hoi An lies the Cham Islands, which have their own coral reef, so many diving-related Hoi An tours are based there. Underwater tours often form part of a wider day tour, which might include a boat trip, beach time and food.
The following attractions can all be visited and explored by yourself of course, but it’s handy to know that guided tours are also available. With the cultural and historical sites some local expertise goes a long way to heightening your overall experience and with attractions that involve transport, it really pays to have a local driver do the hard work so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
Thanh Ha Terracotta & Pottery Village
Pot-making, history, souvenir theater masks, a museum and a beautiful riverside setting are some of the highlights of Thanh Ha Terracotta & Pottery Village, which sits just outside Hoi An’s Old Town but feels like another world!
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Awesome Monkey Mountain
A ride up Monkey Mountain is best done on the back of someone else’s motorbike so you can sit tight, enjoy the glorious views for miles around and see if you can spot any monkeys! You’ll experience some of the steepest roads in SE Asia and many tours will take in a visit to Lady Buddha and the impressive Ling Ung Pagoda.
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Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort
European architecture, much of it medieval, on top of a 1,487-metre high Vietnamese mountain… Wow! For this alone, Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort is worth a visit. With a cable car, fun park, restaurants, garden labyrinths and a beautiful pagoda, Ba Na Hills has something for all of the family. A few miles west of Da Nang, it’s a big drawcard for visitors to Central Vietnam and you can take in the resort plus many activities that are found en route, with day tours available from Hoi An.
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Hai Van Pass by Motorbike
One of the greatest coast roads in the world – let alone in SE Asia – the Hai Van Pass is not to be missed if you’re traveling in Central Vietnam. The most exciting route between Hue and Da Nang/Hoi An cuts across the mountainside until you reach the famous summit. Tours are available on the back of a motorbike or motorcar, and you can often tie these in with other highlights in Da Nang, Hue, or even Ba Na Hills.
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Marble Mountain Marvel
Only 20 minutes from Hoi An by bus or hired car, the Marble Mountains are a complicated system of tunnels and caves interlaced with statues and pagodas, places to sit and reflect and wonderful views around every corner. History lovers will enjoy adding a tour to their visit – alongside the fascinating Buddhist history, Marble Mountain played an interesting part in the American War, being used by the Viet Cong as a military hospital.
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Best done with a local guide to pick up the complex story, My Son is a popular day trip for tourists in Hoi An who want to learn more about SE Asian history. Tours usually begin in Hoi An and take just under an hour from Hoi An’s centre. The final days of French influence and the American War left the site in ruins but My Son remains a fascinating Hoi An tour for all those interested in local history and culture.
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Tam Thanh Mural Village
Once a traditional Vietnamese fishing village, Tam Thanh has undergone a remarkable revolution in recent times. The fishing continues as before but the village now works as an open-air art gallery, with murals lining the properties on the main street and beyond. All the artists are volunteers and the conversion has served to boost the local tourism. Hoi An tours often include food stops, Tam Ky and a visit to the magnificent Heroic Mother Statue nearby.
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In this category we have listed our favorite ways of exploring Hoi An’s many wonders. Here’s a taste:
Take a photography tour before the sun’s up and glory in the changing light as Hoi An Old Town comes to life. Walk on the sea floor at the Cham Islands – what an adventure, even non-swimmers can do it! Kayak through the mysterious, primeval Nipa Palms or step back in time to the boat building yards of Cam Kim and so much more.
For some there is no better way to see Hoi An than from a vintage motorbike sidecar. Others however prefer to cycle further afield along fascinating back roads to the ancient Champa heritage site, My Son Sanctuary.