What to Do in Hoi An Vietnam – Best Things to Do in Hoi An with Kids or Without

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Delicious food, lovely beaches, and one of the most beautiful towns in Southeast Asia: there are lots of things to do in Hoi An. Here are a few of our recommendations for what to do in Hoi An Vietnam.

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What to Do in Hoi An Vietnam

We love traveling in Vietnam — central Vietnam in particular. Cities like Hue and Hoi An offer lots of opportunities to learn, to eat and to relax. Here are a few tips on things to do in Hoi An — with kids, with a significant other, or on your own.

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Why Visit Hoi An?

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Southeast Asia is full of amazing destinations, so why should you visit Hoi An Vietnam? There are a number of reasons. First of all, there is its historical impact: Hoi An Vietnam is home to many UNESCO-recognized locations. Most people know that Hoi An’s downtown area (often called “Ancient town”) is a UNESCO heritage site. However, the ruins of My Son outside Hoi An are also recognized by UNESCO, and the reef and waters of the Cham Island off Hoi An’s coast are also a UNESCO-recognized reserve.

Now let’s just talk about the aesthetic beauty of the area. Filled with old French colonial buildings, Hoi An wears its influences everywhere. There are Chinese temples. There is a Japanese bridge. And there are cafes old and new, festooned with colorful lanterns. In fact, one of the best things to do in Hoi An is to spend a day wandering around with no agenda but to take pictures and soak up the atmosphere.

Then there is the cultural and educational aspect of Hoi An. Like most of Vietnam, it’s very kid-friendly, and there are loads of tours, classes, and other fun things to do in Hoi An.

Is Hoi An Too Crowded Now?

The city certainly has changed a lot since I first visited in 1997. More and more people are discovering how beautiful the town is, and development continues today. The streets can get pretty crowded at certain times of the year, and many old-school backpacker types mourn for the time before Hoi An became the tourist hotspot it is today. But is Hoi An still worth visiting? Should you visit Hoi An Vietnam? We certainly think so.

It’s just another beautiful place that’s being discovered by more and more people. It reminds us of San Miguel de Allende in Central Mexico. And a lot like Ubud on the island of Bali. All three places are beautiful and special.  They draw creative types and “free spirits,” if that’s the right term. And soon after, they draw the bigger crowds. For better or worse, more people know about Hoi An and other beautiful places. So they’re going too.

Yes, it can get crowded in Hoi An. And yes, it’s getting more commercialized. But if you choose your timing and your accommodation wisely, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Hoi An. We would definitely recommend visiting Hoi An in the Dry Season, which surprisingly also overlaps with the low season. That way you get fewer people and better weather in Hoi An. There is a lot to be said about the ancient town, but much of what to do in Hoi An goes beyond the tourist center.

Hoi An Weather & Best Time to Visit Hoi An

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Hoi An’s dry season usually lasts from March to mid-September. The highest temperatures are from early May to August. This also coincides with the best conditions for snorkeling and diving at Cham Island. This is the best time to visit Hoi An. It has the best Hoi An weather and the crowds are smaller.

The wet season in Hoi An usually falls between October and February. Typhoons and flooded roads are common, but not particularly dangerous. That said, if you visit during this time, then consider staying on a higher floor or several blocks north of the river.

A full moon is one of the best times to visit Hoi An Vietnam. There are local parties and the town has even more lanterns than usual. Full moons occur on the 14th day of the lunar month.

Getting To Hoi An

Hoi An does not have a major airport or train station, so most people arrive via the road. The city of Da Nang is considered the gateway to central Vietnam and is a large city with an international airport. Most people heading directly to Hoi An fly into Da Nang and then take a taxi or bus half an hour south to Hoi An.

That said, if you are traveling in Vietnam and visiting nearby Hue, we recommend hiring a motorcycle to take you to Hoi An. It’s a beautiful drive, that often involves stopping for food, coffee and possibly a swim along the way. It’s not for everyone, but we loved it. We did it when the kids were younger and I think it’d even be more fun now.

Book Now: Hue to Hoi An Motorbike Tour

Getting Around Hoi An

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Downtown Hoi An is extremely walkable. In fact, much of the old town becomes a pedestrian area which makes it easy to walk or push a stroller. Rental cars are an option, but I’ve never driven a car in Vietnam and therefore can’t recommend it from experience. You really don’t need it in Hoi An but as part of a larger road trip, I’d consider it.

That said, we’ve rented bicycles and motorcycles many times and love riding around Hoi An and the neighboring districts. In fact, riding around on bikes or scooters is what to do in Hoi An — especially outside of town.

You’ll also find taxis and cyclos a decent way of getting around Hoi An but always agree on the price and location before you climb aboard. Make sure to have ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grab on your phone as well.

Where to Stay in Hoi An

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We’ve covered where to stay in Hoi An in another post, but in general, there are countless great places to stay in Hoi An, and for just about every budget. It depends on what kind of experience you want, really. For example, a beach day is one of the best things to do in Hoi An, but staying out near the beach would be a different trip than staying in the most crowded part of Hoi An’s ancient down district. Which would you enjoy more?

Where to Stay in Hoi An – Best Hotels in Hoi An

Things to See in Hoi An Vietnam

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Below I’ve listed up some of the best things to see in Hoi An. I’ve put them here before the main list of what to do in Hoi An, simply because they are often used as landmarks as much as activities to in the city.

The Japanese Bridge

This Hoi An landmark dates back to the 16th century and is one of the most famous and popular things to see in Hoi An. Built to connect the Japanese and Chinese communities in Hoi An, the bridge houses its own temple and is part of many walking tours in Hoi An. It’s also one of the most picturesque things to see in Hoi An — especially at night.

Hoi An Morning Market

Food is always a great window into a culture and a country, and markets are one of the best places to see how the local people eat. We love both the Hoi An Market as well as some of the food stalls that surround it. Arrive early in the morning (6 or 6:30) when it first fires up and you’ll get the best experience. If you enjoy local markets, then this is what to do in Hoi An.

Hoi An Beaches: An Bang Beach & Cua Dai Beach

A short ride from Hoi An ancient town is the coast, and An Bang Beach is what to do in Hoi An for at least one afternoon. Cua Dai Beach is still recovering from erosion damage in 2014, so many people prefer An Bang Beach nowadays. That said, they are both worth a visit and make for great things to do in Hoi An.

Fujian Assembly Hall

Part of Hoi An’s World Cultural Heritage sites, this compound dates back to the 17th century as a place for worship and social functions for Fujian Chinese living in the area. The temple inside is for worshiping the goddess of the sea, and the entire structure is covered in intricate designs and carvings.

Tan Ky House

Faded and rustic, the Tan Ky house is one of the best things to see in Hoi An for anyone interested in history and architecture. It was once the home to an 18th-century merchant and show the confluence of Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese design influences. It reminds me of places like the Blue Mansion and the Peranakan Mansion on the island of Penang in Malaysia. Like them, the Tan Ky house is an excellent window into the past. It’s also one of the most interesting things to do in Hoi An Vietnam.

Quan Kong Hoi An Temple

Built in the 17th Century, this temple honors a Chinese General. The lush green of the courtyard plants is a nice contrast against the start red and gold Chinese-style ornamentation inside.

Nguyen Hoang Street Night Market

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Easily one of the best things to see in Hoi An. Once the sun goes down, the lanterns light up and make Hoi An look almost magical. Check out the night market on Nguyen Hoang Street for a little taste of that magic. Also what to do in Hoi An for photographers, as this is one of the most snap-worthy spots in town at night.

See More of Hoi An with a Tour

Private Half-Day Tour of Hoi An Ancient Town

Half-Day Hidden Hoi An Walking Tour

Luxury Half-Day Tour of Hoi An Ancient Town

Top Things to Do in Hoi An Vietnam

What to Do in Hoi An Vietnam Things to Do in Hoi An 4 collage

There are so many things to do in Hoi An that I had to break it down into smaller categories. First, we’ll start with our top recommendations. These are our favorite things to do in Vietnam. Then we’ll get into more of what to do in Hoi An, including things to do in Hoi An when it’s raining.

Cook and Eat Vietnamese Food

We have made our love of Vietnamese food known. For us, it’s some of the most delicious on earth. That’s why any Vietnamese food-related activities are the best things to do in Hoi An. On top of that, central Vietnam has it’s own specialty dishes which are fantastic.

When it comes to food-related things to do in Hoi An, we’re thinking tours and cooking classes, but you can do a lot of culinary exploration on your own, as well. That said, if you do plan to take a food tour or cooking class in Hoi An, we recommend doing it early. If you take your Hoi An Cooking class or food tour early enough, then you’ll have a chance to go back for more now that you know what (and where) you like.

There are several types of Vietnamese cooking classes and food tours in Hoi An. Some include boats, bicycles or motorcycles, while others are on foot or all in one place. Which would you choose?

Book a Cooking Class in Hoi An

Market Tour, Basket Boat Ride and Cooking Class

Sabirama Cooking Tour and Restaurant

Grandma’s Vietnamese Home Cooking Class

Book a Food Tour in Hoi An

Bike and Bite in Hoi An

Hoi An Street Food Walking Tour with Tastings

Hoi An Old Town Food Tour by Night

Tour the Coconut Forest

For most Vietnamese people, much of life happens on or in the water. That’s why this tour through village life is what to do in Hoi An. First, you’ll pedal out to the village. Then you’ll try fishing and paddling in traditional basket-style boats. Some tours also include a cooking class.

Book a Tour for the Coconut Forest

Half-Day Eco Tour and Basket Boat Ride

Coconut Forest Tour by Bicycle and Basket Boat

Pedal Around Town

In general, Vietnam is a great place to ride bicycles, and Hoi An is especially good for 2-wheelers. The roads between Hoi An old town, An Bang Beach and Cua Dai Beach are also quite bike-friendly. Bike rentals are everywhere. Most hotels and homestays will have them available for guests, and then there are plenty of sightseeing tours worth taking as well.

Morning Countryside Tour by Bike

Real Vietnam Bicycle Tour from Hoi An

Learn Traditional Farming & Fishing Techniques

One of the best things to do in Hoi An is to learn how people live today. It may surprise you or your kids just how many people in Vietnam still live as their ancestors did. Take a farming and fishing tour to find out yourself. Most of these tours involve riding in traditional boats and possibly a ride on the back of a water buffalo.

Book Now: Fishing & Rice Paddy Fields Tour from Hoi An

See a Water Puppet Show

Sure, water puppets are more popular in the north. But Vietnamese water puppet shows can be found around the country and can be great things to do in Hoi An as well. If you’ve never seen this, it’s what to do in Vietnam. The puppets are controlled from behind a screen and seem to float over the surface of the water. It’s a little bewildering: the narration is in Vietnamese, of course, and the musical accompaniment is can be loud and often cacophonous. Yet this is what can make it so engaging, as well.

Make Vietnamese Lanterns

One of the most beautiful and ubiquitous symbols of Hoi An is the silk lantern. They’re bright, colorful and fun to make with some guidance. That’s why we think a lantern making class is one of the best things to do in Hoi An Vietnam. Classes usually last between 2 to 3 hours and are open to people of all ages. A great Hoi An activity for couples and families to do together, and one of the best Hoi An souvenirs to leave with.

Book Now: Lantern Making Class

Lantern Making Class

Hoi An Half Day City Tour with Lantern-Making Class

See a Spectacle

The Lune Production company puts on some amazing live shows filled with dance, music, and acrobatics. Not only that but in their own way they add elements of traditional Vietnamese culture into each show. We saw their AO Show in Ho Chi Minh City and loved every minute of it. This and a schedule of other shows play in a beautiful theater built just for them. Highly recommended thing to do in Hoi An.

Book Now: Hoi An: Ticket to Palao, A O Show, or Teh Dar

Have a Tailor Make You Something Fabulous

One of the most popular things to do in Hoi An is to visit one of the town’s many talented tailors and have some clothes made to order. From suits to sundresses, from wedding dresses to onesies, Hoi An tailors can do it all. And for a fraction of the price you’d find back home.

However, you must take an active role in the process. First, do your research and find a reputable tailor. Then make sure you go over all the details and measurements. Make sure that you and the tailor both understand each other…or you could end up with an inferior product. Believe me, I know. Years ago I had two things made at Hoi An tailors: a suit and a pair of travel pants. With the travel pants, I designed them myself and worked with the tailor through the process. They were awesome. A year later I had someone measure me for a suit and then left them to it. It was unwearable.

Another way to handle Hoi An tailors and tailoring is to handle it like a friend of mine does. He knows what he wants and what cut looks good on him. So he brings in a shirt/pants/sportcoat that fits the way he likes it. Then he tells them to reverse-engineer that garment in fabrics of his choice. Works like a charm for him every time, and can make a day at the tailors one of the most enjoyable things to do in Hoi An.

What to Do in Hoi An on a Rainy Day

Visit Hoi An between October and late January and there’s a good chance you’ll have at least a few days of rain to contend with. If that happens to you, then here’s what to do in Hoi An when it rains.

Take a Class

We’ve already covered many of the classes available in Hoi An. Whether you’re crafting a lantern or a 4-course meal, one of the best things to do in Hoi An on a Rainy day is to learn a new skill.

Get a Massage

This is what do in Hoi An on any day, really. There are plenty of spas and treatment centers to take help work out the kinks in your back and shoulders. It’s what to do in Hoi An when you don’t want to do anything but relax.

Book Now: Ylang Ylang Spa Massage Experience in Hoi An

Hang out in a Cafe

There’s a strong coffee culture in Vietnam, and so one of the best things to do in Hoi An on a rainy day is to visit some of the city’s amazing cafes. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Reaching Out
  • Dingo Deli
  • Phin Coffee
  • Rosie’s Cafe
  • The Espresso Station
  • Mia Cafe
  • Hoi An Roastery

Visit a Gallery or Museum

There are several galleries and museums Hoi An that are worth your time. The Rehanh Heritage Gallery has some amazing photographs, and Cotic is another good spot to escape the rain for a moment. Others may enjoy Ha Ha Gallery by the Japanese bridge.

More Things to Do in Hoi An Vietnam

What to Do in Hoi An Vietnam at night. Things to Do in Hoi An

The list goes on. I’ve covered what to do in Hoi An that we can talk about from experience (and then some), but there are even more things to do in Hoi An that we have yet to do. Here are a few that are on our list.

Drink in a Sunrise or Sunset

Experience “Golden Hour” on the water or in the Vietnamese countryside. There are sunrise tours that take you to the fish market or simply put you in the best place for photographs. As for sunset tours in Hoi An, these can be of the photographic kind or simply to enjoy a drink at the end of a long day.

See How Silk is Made

Ever thought about how silk is made? Cotton comes from a plant. Wool comes from a sheep. Silk comes from…a worm?? Visit one of the villages that produce silk and see silkworms in action. See how they’re cared for, how they work, and how their cocoons turn into beautiful fabrics.

Book Now: Half-Day Hoi An Silk Tour with Lunch

Day Trips From Hoi An

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Once you’ve had your fill of what to do in Hoi An, here are a few nearby Vietnam destinations to venture out to.

Visit the My Son Ruins

Like the more famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia, these 4th-century Hindu temples were once covered in jungle and nearly forgotten. Now they make one of the best day trips from Hoi An. There are tours to see them at sunrise as well as later in the day. It’s hotter in the afternoon, but most tour groups have left by then which makes it a more enjoyable time to visit. Your call. All make for one of the best things to do in Hoi An.

Book a Tour to My Son

Hoi An: Half-Day My Son Temples Tour

My Son Sanctuary Early Morning Tour

Private Tour: Half-Day at My Son Sanctuary

Vinpearl Land Nam

This is one of the largest amusement parks in Vietnam. Along with your typical amusement park rides, it also has a large waterpark. This should be great for cooling off during your typical hot and humid Hoi An weather.

Book Now: Vinpearl Land Nam Hoi An Ticket

Cham Island

Hop a ferry from Hoi An to Cham Island for the chance to escape the crowds and possibly get up close to some sea life. Part of the Cu Lao Cham Marine Park, the water surrounding Cham Island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with coral reefs and lagoons.

Da Nang

Beaches, mountains, rainforests and more. Da Nang is one of Vietnam’s fastest growing cities and is a great day trip from Hoi An. In fact, many would argue that it deserves more than a day, especially if you’re interested in exploring local culinary scenes.

Book Now: Da Nang Day Trip from Hoi An

Marble Mountain

Located just outside Danang, these limestone hills are surrounded by charm and mystery. Climb steps carved out of the mountain to a Buddhist Temple and get an amazing view of the sea and the surrounding area.

Book Now

Da Nang Day Trip: Marble Mountains and Cham Museum

Marble Mountains and Linh Ung Pagoda Half-Day Tour

Next Destinations

HCMC 4 on a scooter — An Epic Education

So you’ve completed all the things to do in Hoi An and are ready to move on. Where to next? Hoi An may be one of the most popular Vietnam destinations, but it’s not the only great place for Vietnam travel. If you’re thinking where else to put on your Vietnam travel itinerary, here’s where we’d suggest going before or after you visit Hoi An. Suggested Vietnam destinations are listed in (relatively) North to South order.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

One of the largest cave systems on the planet. You’ve likely seen pictures from this underground world. Over the millennia, water has carved through the limestone mountains above to make massive cave systems, underwater rivers and a subterranean ecosystem that looks straight out of a sci-fi movie.

Ba Na Hills

This might not be for everyone, but for those of you who’d like to see an amusement park utilizing a reconstructed French village, then here’s your spot. Then there are the Guinness world-record-holding cable cars you take to get there, and the “Golden Bridge” being held up by two giant hands. Keep in mind that it’s located at over 4,000 ft (1,400+ m) above sea level. That means it could be foggy depending on the weather.

Book Now: Discover Ba Na Hill: Full-Day Tour from Hoi An

Hue

Is Hue prettier than Hoi An? No. Is it historically more significant? That’s debatable. Yet there was something about the town and the people I met there: locals, travelers, and expats alike.

I’ve been to Hue four or five times now, and I always have meaningful interactions with locals there. I can’t promise that will happen to you, but I can say that the old imperial buildings, the tombs and the boat rides on the Perfume River are well worth a visit.

Book Now: Retro Jeep Transfer from Hoi An to Hue via the Hai Van Pass

Nha Trang

This resort town has beautiful beaches, scenic cable cars, and a huge amusement park. There are also caves, waterfalls and hot springs to visit. One of the fastest growing areas of the country.

Dalat

Is the heat getting to you? Head to the highlands of Dalat to cool off. Dalat has spring-like temperatures much of the year. Add to this its beautiful natural surroundings and an excellent food and coffee scene, and you have the makings of a great place to visit.

Ho Chi Minh City

we love HCMC! Ho Chi Minh City Hotels in District 1 - Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Dirty, chaotic, frenetic, frenzied and…one of my favorite places in the world. We LOVE Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, we even considered moving there for a while. The food is fantastic, and the cafe scene is fun. There are lots of things to do and the place just seems to crackle with infectious energy. If you’re coming to Vietnam, make sure to spend some time here before heading north to Hoi An or south to the Mekong.

Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City

Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Getting to Hoi An

Before you sort out what to do in Hoi An, here are a few ways to get there, with a few things to more fun in various cities across Asia.

Within Vietnam

  • Hue to Hoi An: This is an easy ride via car, bus or motorcycle. Between 2-5 hours, depending on stops.
  • Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An: a 90-min flight from Tan Son Nhat (SGN) to Danang (DAD) and then 30-minute ride to Hoi An.
  • Hanoi to Hoi An: a 90-min flight from Noi Bai (HAN) to Danang (DAD) then 30-minute ride to Hoi An.

Southeast Asia to Hoi An

  • Bangkok to Hoi An: 90-min Flight from Suvarnabhumi (BKK) to Danang (DAD), then 30-min ride to Hoi An.
  • Chiang Mai to Hoi An: 4-hour flight from Chiang Mai (CNX) to Danang (DAD), then a 30-min ride to Hoi An. Transfer in Bangkok, Hanoi or HCMC required.
  • Singapore to Hoi An: 2.5-hour flight from Changi (SIN) to Danang (DAD), then a 30-min ride to Hoi An.
  • Kuala Lumpur to Hoi An: 2.5-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Danang (DAD) then a 30-min ride to Hoi An.
  • Penang to Hoi An: 4-hour flight from Penang (PEN) to Danang (DAD), then a 30-min ride to Hoi An. Transfer required in Bangkok, HCMC or KL.
  • Bali to Hoi An: 7-hour flight from Ngurah Rai (DPS) to Danang (DAD), then a 30-min ride to Hoi An. Transfer required in Bangkok, Singapore or KL.
  • Lombok to Hoi An: 9-hour flight from Praya (LOP) to Danang (DAD), then a 30-min ride to Hoi An. Transfer required in Denpasar, Bangkok, Singapore or KL.
  • East Asia to Hoi An
  • Taipei to Hoi An: 2.5-hour flight from Taiyuan (TPE) to Danang (DAD), then a 30-min ride to Hoi An.
  • Shanghai to Hoi An: 4-hour flight from Pudong (PVG) to Danang (DAD), then a 30-min ride to Hoi An.
  • Tokyo to Hoi An: 7-hour flight from Haneda (HND) to Danang (DAD), then a 30-min ride to Hoi An.
  • Osaka to Hoi An: 4.5-hour flight from Osaka Kansai (KIX) to Danang (DAD), then a 30-min ride to Hoi An.
  • Seoul to Hoi An: 5-hour flight from Incheon (ICN) to Danang (DAD), then a 30-min ride to Hoi An.

Find Flights: Kiwi.com Flight Search

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Do You Know What to Do in Hoi An Vietnam?

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This list of what to do in Hoi An is far from complete. What’s missing? What things to do in Hoi An would you recommend? And if you’ve never been here, then what things to do in Hoi An are you most interested in?

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for what to do in Hoi An Vietnam. This means, at no extra cost to you, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a Hoi An food tour, a Vietnamese Cooking Class or other things to do in Hoi An using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find what to do in Hoi An Vietnam. If you’ve been to Vietnam and want to tell us more of what to do in Hoi An, let us know. 

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