Hoi An is one of the most favorite destinations in Vietnam. Ancient and peaceful, Hoi An town caters to visitors of all tastes and across through continents. This little town is just the perfect candidate of what Vietnam tourism ministry aims to bring for visitors all over the world. Warm-hearted, welcoming and traditional, however, never out of touch with the outside world are special tours in Hoi An.
In addition, Hoi An people are trying to catch up to their opportunities to find their fame recently. It is a great place for spending time by the river, watching the sunset over the river and sea. Strolling through the old town, and drinking inexpensive beer as well as local traditional cuisines will be great experience.
Hoi An History
Take a slow wander around the old town reveals its gems. Hoi An has its well preservation for its most sacred treasure and the centuries-old architecture. Since the 17th and 18th century, the town used to harbor foreign traders. And it became an important frequented trading port in Southeast Asia. The foreigners came from all over the world, but mostly were Chinese and Japanese. Some came and went; however, many of them settled in permanently and etched their marks into the history of Hoi An.
Mixing together with Vietnamese architecture, Chinese and Japanese accents melt and created a perfect picture for Hoi An of the late 19th century. It has somehow remained mostly since then. As a result, we can see the sight of an old Hoian which remains today nowhere else in the world. Although there are no descendants of these foreign traders here, however, its architectural setting still survive whether the damage of time.
In 1999, UNESCO formally recognized Hoi An as a World Heritage Site because there are many things that make up its reputation. Hoi An is the home to many temples, pagodas and the ancient houses and make its very unique mark.
What make Hoi An special?
The ancient town impresses by picturesque historical houses, pagodas and street-side cafes colorfully with diversity cultures. It’s really popular for buying hand-made clothing. Visitors can get anything made here. It is from custom-made suits to gowns to sundresses to leather boots to sneakers.
In addition, when you don’t want to shop, Hoi An also makes for a relaxing destination with peaceful countryside and nice sandy beaches. Just 15 minutes on bicycle visitors can get outskirt to favourite sites such as organic villages, palm forest, etc.
Top 5 things to do in Hoian
- My Son Sanctuary
My Son Sancturay is 50km from Hoi An centre. It is one of the most important sites relating to the ancient Kingdom of Champa. Although it is now the ruined state, the remaining structures are impressive. It was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Entrance fee is 150,000 VND per person.
- Relax on beach
An Bang and Ha My beaches are both within close proximity to Hoi An. An Bang beach is 5km away from Hoian centre while Ha My beach next to and travel to way of Danang city. It is wonderful to combine shopping and relaxing on beach especially luxury resorts are along the beach.
- Cooking class
There is no doubt that Hoi An is famous for cooking class in Vietnam. It will be a miss if you travel to Hoi An without join a cooking class. Many restaurants offer lessons. First you’ll start off picking the raw ingredients then learn how to prepare the food. If you want a more full-day experience, you can even tack on a 5am fishing trip in a bowl-shaped fishing boat. Cost is between 670,000-1,150,000 VND per person. For the budget you can choose dinner cooking with price around 410,000 VND
- Take bicycle around countryside
Hoi An is also famous for the rural life with many traditional handicraft villages. Take a tour around the city by a local guide who will answer any of your questions. Guide also teaches you about history, the local economy, and takes you out for some Vietnamese coffee. You’ll go through the rice paddy fields to touch the real local life. Some villages you should visit are Tra Que organic vegetable village, Thanh Ha ceramic village, Kim Bong Capenter village, An My vegetable village, Cam Thanh palm forest village, etc. Bicycle renting around 200,000 VND per day or some hotels have free bicycle.
- Shops at central local market
Hoi An’s Central Market is probably one of the best in Vietnam. The market sits on the riverside and is packed full of excellent food at rock-bottom prices. This is the place to pick up spices, souvenirs, try local food and have your tailoring done. There is also a great fish market worth visiting!
Some Money Saving Tips while traveling in Hoi An
- Camp on Cham Island – If you’re heading to Cham Island on a diving trip. It will give you more wild adventure when camping on beach. And it’s possible to save money on accommodation instead of hotel.
- Shopping and make tailor – There are hundreds of tailors in Hoi An. If you would like to have a make tailor, it is better you check prices with a few places before settling on one. In addition, making a local friend and asking them to help and bring you to a tailor they trust for better.
- Free WiFi – Hoi An is highly connected to WiFi. Hoi An is a tourism destination. So you can get WiFi everywhere in city centre. You can hook into WiFi in just about every hotel, shop, restaurant, and convenience store for free. When you walk with your phone automatically hooks into their WiFi.
- Eat at the market and street foods – Market stalls are some of the cheapest food you can find. Or walk along streets in ancient town to taste local foods. So a meal will cost you 20,000 – 40,000 VND. There are a variety of dishes to choose from and places to eat.
- Rent a bicycle – Most hotels offer free bicycle for guests. However, the number of bicycle is limited so you can fast hand to have a free bicycle for you. Bikes can be rented for 50,000 VND per day. This is a great way to leisurely explore the quaint city.
Accommodation in Hoi An
Homestay: Hoi An is famous for homestay in Cam Thanh village where there are different villas as well as local typical homestay. Around Hoi An it is also has many homestay with different price to choose. Cost for homestay is also diversity from 300,000 VND to million Vietnam dong. It is a fantastic way to see real life in Hoian.
Budget hotel prices – Accommodation is inexpensive here with a night in a budget hotel costing from 300,000 VND for a double room. Even some have pools. The prices of hotel rooms are low and the hotels are pretty quaint, local, and uniquely charming.
Quality hotels from 3 star to 5 star: Resort 5 star mainly along coastline of Ha My beach, An Bang beach and Cua Dai beach. So it is easy for travelers to choose a relax on beach. Also some 4 and 5 star hotel close river and ancient town for choosing.
As for 3 star hotel you can see everywhere from ancient town to countryside. It is easy for you to choose a reasonable as your wish.
How to travel around Hoi An?
Everywhere in central Hoi An is within walking distance. Therefore, it’s unlikely you’ll spend much on transportation here. For deeply explore this charming area, it is better to have a cycling or motorbike to visit. The town isn’t very traffic so it’s a good place to ride around.
How to get to Hoian?
From Danang International airport. It is the closest airport to Hoi, located in the heart of Da Nang city. It is 30 kilometres from Hoi An.
There are many flights in and out Danang airport daily. So travelers can choose with different options to Danang and then go ahead to Hoian.
Domestic flights: Buon Ma Thuot, Can Tho, Da Lat, Cam Ranh/Nha Trang, Hanoi, HCMC, Pleiku, Vinh, Hai Phong
International flights: Bangkok (Bangkok Airways, Vietnam Airlines), Beijing (China Eastern), Hong Kong (Dragonair; Hong Kong Express), Kunming (China Eastern), Macau (Air Macau), Seoul (Korean Air), Siem Reap (Silkair, Vietnam Airlines), Singapore(Silkair; Jetstar), Tokyo (Vietnam Airlines)
From Chu Lai airport: This airport belongs to Quang Nam Province. It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes (80 km) to reach Hoian ancient town.
There are some airlines have the flights to Chu Lai airport: Airlines, Vietjet Air và Jetstar.
Domestic flights: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh.
International flights: Bangkok, Vientiane, Beijing with Vietnamairlines, Lao airlines, China Eastern airlines, Cathay Pacific Airlines, HongKong Airlines, Singapore Airlines. Some has transit in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
The closest is Da Nang train station. It is 30 kilometers away from Hoi An. It is easy for traveller to take a taxi and motorbike to Hoi An. There are many trains from North to South and vice versa with stop in Da Nang.
Bus service to Hoi An is limited as most long distance buses head to the major hub Da Nang. From Danang traveler can take local bus or taxi to Hoi An
Open bus tour companies have schedule to Hoi An directly. Therefore, it is the best option for travel from Hanoi to Hoi An as well as from Ho Chi Minh to Hoi An. And the bus always stops at big cities like Mui Ne, Da Lat, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hue, Quang Binh, Ha Noi.
Here are bus companies for reference: The Sinh Tourist, Camel, Trekking, Phuong Trang
Things to do around Hoi An with Vietnam eco tours
Another name Cu Lao Cham is about 15 minutes on speedboat from Hoian and 1 hour on traditional wooden boat. It offers travellers a little getaway. It is UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The main island is Hon Lao, the largest and the only one inhabited. There are nice wild sady beach of Bai Ong, Bai Huong for relaxing and swimming. Furthermore, it has Hai Tang pagoda and old well for visitor to discover.
Cham Island is also an ideal for snorkeling and diving in Vietnam. The best time is from March to September.
Bay Mau Palm Forest
Bay Mau nipa palm forest offers visitors an opportunity to discover the kingdom of nipa palm. It is as the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.
This palm wetlands are 5km to the east of Hoi An City in Cam Thanh Commune, the site covers an area of 80ha surrounded by water. Bay Mau Palm forest is the green tourism area and the “lung” of Hoi An. It is the salt-marsh ecological area with poetic scenery for sunset and the abundant flora and fauna. Also it is home to different kinds of marine life such as shrimps, crabs, fishes, snakes and mollusks.