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TOP Things to do in Hoian

Hoian is a city on Vietnam’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town. It was once an important Southeast Asian trading port, featuring a blend of architectural styles, from wooden Chinese merchant shops and temples to colourful French colonial buildings and traditional Vietnamese houses. One of its iconic landmarks is the Japanese Covered Bridge. Apart from its fascinating history and captivating beauty, Hoian offers numerous other enjoyable activities. In this article, we'll highlight the top 10 fun things to do in Hoian.

How to get to Hoian

Hoian is situated on the coast in central Vietnam. The nearest airport is Danang International Airport, located approximately 45 minutes away from Hoian. Hotels in Hoian provide airport pick-up services for 350,000 VND ($14). The most convenient way to travel locally in Vietnam is by using the Grab app, which is the Southeast Asian version of Uber. You can see the price for your ride beforehand, and after booking transportation, payment can be made in cash, which is very helpful for travellers to Vietnam who have just arrived in the country.

What's the best time to visit Hoian

The best time to visit Hoian is during the dry season in the summer months. When visiting Hoian between March and May, you can expect dry weather and mild temperatures ranging from 20 to 28 degrees Celsius.

The worst time to visit Hoian is undoubtedly during the rainy season, especially in the autumn months of October and November when Hoian experiences flooding.

Where to stay in Hoian

Hoi An is a small city, and most of the tourism infrastructure is centered around the Ancient Town. Serving as the heart of Hoi An, the ancient town is the liveliest place in the city, often bustling with noise and action. A wonderful alternative to this clatter is An Hoi Island, situated on the Thu Bon River. The island sits right in the city center, just across from the Ancient Town. It boasts numerous bars and restaurants, yet a mere few minutes' stroll leads you to hotels in tranquil, less crowded areas.

Top Things to do in Hoian

Nestled between the beach and rice paddies and intersected by canals, with its ancient town filled with iconic yellow buildings, Hoian offers its visitors a chance to step back in time and experience themselves as if in a fairytale. Hoian has lots to offer to its visitors and here are the TOP 10 things to do in Hoian.

Hoian coconut boat ride

This is probably the most touristy thing to do in Hoian, but many tourists seem to really enjoy it. In a place called the Coconut Village, tourists are taken on a scenic ride through the Hoian mangroves in a traditional Vietnamese round boat, called a coracle. Swimming in a round boat is a very unique experience in itself, but what's most interesting is seeing the skills that the boatmen have to navigate it around the narrow paths. At some point, you'll be able to experience a real rodeo when taking a turn on a coracle which spins and bounces as the skilled boatmen spins it around. Even if you aren't a big fan of cliché activities, this one might still be enjoyable!

Explore the Hoian Farmers Market in the morning

One of the most genuine spots in the city is definitely the Hoian Market. You can spot it easily by strolling along the riverside until the street transforms into an open-air market bustling with vendors selling all sorts of goods, from decorations and fresh fruits and veggies to seafood and services. You can drop by the market any time of day, but it's liveliest at sunrise, when locals come to shop for fresh products that later end up on plates in Hoian's restaurants.

Join a cultural event in Hoian

As a tourist destination, Hoian offers visitors a chance to learn about Vietnamese culture and art. With the city pass, you can watch cultural shows and visit temples and landmarks. Although there isn't strict ticket control for tourists, investing in the pass is worthwhile. It grants deeper exploration of Hoi An and contributes to conserving the old town.

Explore the rice plantations around Hoian

Hoi An is surrounded by rice paddies. Once you head west, you'll find yourself in the midst of this stunning green scenery. You can join a guided bicycle tour along the plantations in Hai Bà Trung, right on the way to An Bang Beach or rent a bike to explore that and other rice paddies on your own.

Enjoy Hoian's An Bang Beach

Hoi An is blessed with a long stretch of beautiful beach just outside of town. It takes barely 15 minutes to reach A Bang Beach from the Ancient Town. At the beach, you'll find ample parking and plenty of bars, restaurants, and cafes. Each spot offers beach chairs with umbrellas, making it perfect for relaxation and enjoying your best day in Hoi An.

Have a stroll in the Hoi An Ancient Town

Wandering through the yellow streets of Hoi An might just be the best way to experience the city. Literally, every single building in Hoi An could be featured on a postcard from Vietnam. Most of the old traditional buildings have been converted into cafes and shops. On one hand, it's a bit disappointing that you won't see much local life here in the morning when all the shops are closed. However, once these streets come alive, they remain bustling until late at night. So be sure to try local specialties like Banh Mi, named the top sandwich in the world, or our personal favorite, coconut coffee, and discover your favorite hangout spot in Hoi An.

Stay to see the Hoian light show

Every day, as the last light fades, Hoi A gets illuminated by the glow of thousands of lanterns. They adorn the streets and vendors throughout the ancient town. The lantern shops, in particular, attract more attention as their colourful lights start to emanate, adding to the enchantment. The Hoi An river also becomes lit up with hundreds of boats decorated with beautiful lanterns, inviting tourists for a river tour in an incredible fairytale-like moment.

Hoian Japanese Covered Bridge

Located in the center of the Ancient Town, the Japanese Covered Bridge is the iconic landmark of Hoi An. It's a cultural symbol of significant value, so much so that it was even printed on the 20,000 dong bill. Known locally as Cau Pagoda (Chùa Cầu), the Japanese Bridge in Hoi An was built in the 17th century by Japanese merchants. It follows the typical Japanese style with a stunning curved roof, which gives it its English name. The bridge, 18 meters long, connects Tran Phu Street (the Chinese quarter) on the eastern side and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street (the Japanese quarter) on the western side, spanning the Thu Bon River and creating a serene and nostalgic atmosphere. Unfortunately, since 2023, the bridge has been under renovation, resulting in almost complete disassembly and reconstruction. Tourists can still see its foundations, but Hoi An is surely not the same without its covered bridge.

Our Experience in Hoi An in 2024

We had a wonderful time visiting Hoi An in March 2024. We had waited to immerse ourselves in the enchanting atmosphere of this fairytale town with its yellow walls and colourful lights, and during our stay, we got to experience it all. One of the highlights was a relaxing day on the beach. Despite being based in Danang (just a 45-minute drive from Hoi An), we didn't enjoy much swimming in the sea there due to the waves. However, the sea in Hoi An was much calmer and perfect for swimming.

During our visit, we had hoped to capture the local life in Hoi An through photography. Unfortunately, we were disappointed, even shocked, to find that the yellow streets of the Ancient Town were empty in the morning, with hardly anyone in sight, not even locals. As the traditional houses have been converted into cafes and shops. Fortunately, the Hoi An market was always bustling, providing us with opportunities to take street photographs.

Read our other articles about Vietnam

In the beginning of 2024, we spent over 4 months traveling around Vietnam. By staying longer in Vietnam, we were able to visit places off the beaten path, where regular tourists don't usually go, and create comprehensive guides for you to plan your travels.



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