TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN HOI AN – HOI AN NOW FAVORITES
As Chosen by the Hoi An Now Team
We often publish the ‘most popular lists’ or the ‘best things to do in Hoi An’ according to our informal polls. But after almost 6 years in Hoi An many have asked us: ‘What are your personal top 10s?’ So here they are in ‘Top 10 Things to Do in Hoi An – Hoi An Now Favorites’
Needless to say there was hot debate when discussing our top 10. The Marble Mountains narrowly missed out to Monkey Mountain as the best local wonder and if the Nipa Palm basket boat excursions weren’t so overrun they might have had a look in as well. There was strong support for Lune Production – the spectacular cirque-like theater – too, but ultimately it couldn’t quite scrape in.
We were unanimous about cycling through the countryside and the bigger-than-Ben-Hur Hoi An Memories Show. Simply cycle anywhere at all and you’ll unearth traditional Vietnamese life in the raw as long as you get off the beaten track.
And, regarding the Hoi An Memories Show, as well as being bowled over by its sheer scale and ambition, you’ll gather some cultural and historical insights along the way leaving you bedazzled, enlightened and delightfully entertained.
The new cab off the rank re Things to Do in Hoi An is Sea Trek’s amazing Underwater Walking Tour at Cham Island. Everyone who’s done it simply raves about it and incredibly you don’t even have to be able to swim to take it on!
Speaking of the ocean, sometimes the most obvious things are among the best but end up neglected because they are so obvious. The beaches are for many Hoi An’s greatest attraction. There are few places in the world where you can relax under ample beach umbrellas on comfortable deck chairs with table service for the price of a bottle of water enjoying a superb beach every which way. And it’s not only by day the beach lures us. It’s the best spot for a sundowner or two in Hoi An as well and some of the best live music can be found at bar restaurants like Soul Kitchen and Soul Beach.
Then there are the hundreds of spas and tailors in town. Are the massages in Hoi An and the Hoi An tailors world-class as the hype would have us believe? Probably not but they’re often outrageously cheap and with our helping hand you can navigate the mire and maybe get some great results. But it’s smart not to be too serious about these things. Whatever happens you will still have a bit of fun and a laugh along the way if you keep your sense of humor. Belt up and enjoy the ride!
Every visitor to Hoi An must experience the Old Town. At night it’s at its most festive with its party dress on. Don’t miss it and while you’re there explore some of the many cafes in Old Town and nearby. Vietnam is very much a cafe society and it’s impossible to get a handle on Vietnamese culture without exploring the local cafes – rich, poor, old and new.
If our choices are not to your taste or you want more options check out Top 10 Things to Do in Hoi An – Attractions and Top 10 Things to Do in Hoi An – Tours that reflect the most popular Top 10 selections. There are also plenty of individual reviews in Best Hoi An Attractions and Best Hoi An Tours.
Top 10 Things to Do in Hoi An - Hoi An Now Favorites
Just over the river from the Old Town, Hoi An Memories Show exists in a magical world on its very own island (by Cam Nam Island). Through music and dance, the Hoi An Memories Show takes the viewer through the city’s colorful history. Across a beautiful outdoor setting that replicates medieval Hoi An Old Town and its rivers, a cast of hundreds of actors and performers bedazzle the audience.
Bicycling in Hoi An is a great way to explore the river delta and its traditional lifestyle. Rice fields, duck farms, fishing villages and glorious beaches are just minutes away. Structured bicycle tours are also available or you can explore by yourself. See Cycling to An Bang Beach: Scenic Route, Cam Kim Cycle Tour or Alternative Hoi An Cycle Tour in tours to get you started on your own discovery tours.
Higher than Hai Van Pass and home to the rare Red-shanked Duoc, Monkey Mountain is a great day out. Abundant wildlife, massive ancient trees and Lady Buddha’s marble statue by the Ling Ung – Bai But Pagoda provide plenty of interest. But it’s the view from the top that will take your breath away so make sure you have fairly clear day for best results.
Blow your mind with Sea Trek Vietnam, the underwater experience of a lifetime! By a reef near Cham Island, Sea Trek is a walk on the ocean floor (yes, really), while hand-feeding tropical fish by the hundreds. The tour also includes sailing on a traditional Vietnamese boat, snorkeling and lunch. It’s an unforgettable day in a magical marine paradise.
Hoi An’s beaches remarkably still have plenty of elbow room although they deserve just as much attention as the popular shores of Phuket and Bali. At the two main beaches – Cua Dai and An Bang – away from the resorts, you can grab a deckchair under a thatched umbrella for the day if you simply buy a drink. As the local beach stretches all the way to Da Nang why not sniff out your own private paradise?
At An Bang Beach you can sip on a cocktail or two resort-style for a fraction of the ‘resort’ price at any number of bar restaurants that are right on the beach. Try Soul Kitchen or Soul Beach, especially if you’re interested in live music or Salt Pub for its amazing beer garden overlooking the ocean. For more high-end try H’mong Sisters and backpackers will be at home at Kahuna’s.
On every corner of Hoi An you’ll find a ‘spa’. To be honest massage in Hoi An varies greatly in quality but on the other hand a massage in Hoi An is very cheap. You can barter and sometimes, just sometimes, a natural born masseur comes your way. Check out our recommendations on the best spas in town below. If you get lucky it’ll be one of the highlights of your visit.
The art of coffee is not taken lightly here, nor is the strength of each cup. So although it may be tempting to skip around multiple cafés, remember the punch that Vietnamese coffee packs and limit your intake to one or two a day…or at the very least, do as the kids do here and order “ca phe sua da”, or “iced milk coffee”. Your heart will thank you for it. See below for the best Vietnamese and Western coffee options.
With over 400 tailor stores competing for your attention, it can get somewhat confusing knowing which to trust or deciding which one best suits your taste, but with some key tips and pointers under your belt, the process of choosing your own fabrics and walking away with your own unique garment can be an exciting and satisfying experience.
If you want an extra special night in Hoi An Old Town, try and visit during the Hoi An Full Moon Lantern Festival which occurs every month on the 14th day of the Lunar calendar. But Hoi An Old Town is festive every night – a treat of lanterns, street food and shops. Try the Night Market for one of the gayest spots.