Hoi An is a place where the bold march of progress peters into a leisurely amble. In this one-time trading port, the Thu Bon River meanders past crumbling shop houses and weathered pagodas, while sampans come and go from the old ferry quay. Outside the Old Town, two-lane roads slice through waving rice fields and emerge at a frothy coastline. Stay a couple of days, and Hoi An’s easygoing beauty and lantern-lit nights may leave you hopelessly beguiled.
Get lost in the Old Town
Merchants from China, Japan and later Europe settled in Hoi An from the 15th to 19th centuries, creating a unique architectural fusion. Bring your camera as you tread the Japanese Bridge, Tan Ky ancestral house, and Phuc Kien Assembly Hall.
Treat your taste buds
Dining in Hoi An is pure pleasure. Farms and fishing boats contribute just-picked vegetables, seafood, herbs and fruit to the markets daily. Three quintessential Hoi An dishes are Cao Lau, Hoanh Thanh, and white rose dumplings.
Cycle in the countryside
Sunrise in Hoi An is a prime time to grab your hat and hop on a bike. With any luck, you’ll find yourself in a sea of green, with water buffalo flicking their tails. In Cam Thanh and Tra Que, you’ll pass vegetable farms and frond-fringed ponds.
Hit the beach
An Bang Beach, just a 10-minute drive from the Ancient Town, promises seafood lunches, sandy stretches and cool waves. Bring your books, beach blankets, and bikinis; or board a boat to the pristine shores of the Cham Islands.
Marvel at My Son
My Son Sanctuary is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site 40 kilometres from Hoi An. Tucked into a valley near a shaded stream, these temples were built by the Cham people. The surviving structures date from the 7th to the 13th century.
Expect rainy days and several storms from October to January. If you arrive at the start of the year, bring a few extra layers to stay warm. March to May are the best months to visit, but you can also see Hoi An from June to August if you don’t mind the heat.
The international airport in Da Nang is a 50-minute drive from the Ancient Town. There are domestic flights from Vietnam’s major cities to Da Nang, as well as direct flights from regional hubs. Hoi An can also be reached by bus or shuttle vans from nearby destinations, such as Nha Trang, Da Nang or Hue. Walking and cycling is ideal for sightseeing in the Ancient Town and the countryside. Taxis and ride-hailing apps can also take you around. Ask your hotel about a private car for trips further afield.
From November 2021, Hoi An will open to an unlimited number of vaccinated tourists, who will be able to travel without quarantine requirements. Please check the current travel advisory for updates and application details.