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What to see and do in Hoi An, the most romantic city in Vietnam

Hoi An is the most beautiful city to visit in Vietnam. Its old town full of yellow houses full of flowers and illuminated lanterns provide a very special atmosphere. It is a fairly small city, although with many places to visit.

It is advisable to dedicate 3 days to get to know the historic center, the riverbank, the beach, nearby places such as My Son... In addition, to visit Hoi An you must take into account when to visit it! There is a very special day every month to visit the city!

In this post I talk about the 25 essential things to see and do in Hoi An, tips on where to stay, how to get around the city and when it is best to visit it.


To visit the old town of Hoy An you must pay an entrance fee. There are several types of tickets depending on the places you want to access. The standard ticket will give you access to the city's monuments, museums, house museums and temples. They will give you a ticket that you must show in each of the places you want to enter and they will stamp you. The ticket booth is at the entrance to the historic center. The cost of the standard ticket is about 6 euros per person. There are several entrances depending on the total number of places you want to visit inside.

The historic center of HoI An is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is a must on any trip to Vietnam. You can take a guided tour of the most romantic city in Vietnam with transfers, a guide in English, tickets and water for less than 15 euros per person.

1. Start getting to know Hoi An by crossing the Japanese bridge

The best way to enter the historic part of the city is through the Japanese Bridge. To cross the bridge you must show the ticket that you purchased at the beginning of the tour.

The Hoi An Japanese Bridge was built in the 18th century by the Japanese who lived in Hoi An to reach Chinatown, which was on the other side of the river.

Thanks to its proximity to the South China Sea, the city was a commercial port for merchants from several countries. And the Japanese were the dominant ones in that period. For this reason, many Japanese lived in the city and implemented their architecture that you will see represented by its streets in many buildings.

The Bridge was inaugurated in 1719 and stands out for the sculptures of two dogs and two monkeys on it. Legend has it that the bridge began to be built in the year of the dog and finished in the year of the monkey and that is why they are represented in this way. Additionally, there are more animals on the bridge, chosen to protect the city.

During French colonization the bridge was remodeled so that motorized vehicles could pass through. However, in 1986 it was modified again and became a pedestrian bridge and national monument.

2. Visit the Quang Trieu Cantonese Assembly

Very close to the Japanese Bridge is Tran Phu Street, and there you can visit the Quang Trieu Cantonese Assembly, one of the most beautiful buildings to see in Hoi An. You can visit it and inside you will find several statues of colorful dragons and a beautiful altar dedicated to Quan Cong, a general of the Three Kingdoms period.

The courtyard of the building will also amaze you. There are several fountains and bridges filled with lanterns. The thousand-headed dragons in blue and yellow that are in one of the fountains draw a lot of attention.

3. Ba Mu temple Gate

The Ba Mu temple gate is impressive. It is presided over by a pond full of water lilies that open at dawn. The front of the temple is incredible, the shame is that once you approach the wooden door you will realize that you cannot enter. Although if you push the door you can see what is behind; nothing. There is nothing left of the old temple that was here, and it is a shame, because taking into account that the door is spectacular, we imagine that the temple would be too.

4. The Tan Ky House

This beautiful house was built by a Chinese merchant, Tan Ky in the 19th century. It is beautiful and in it we can see a combination of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese architectural styles.

The house has a double entrance from Nguyen Thai Hoc Street and the river. Inside you will find wooden details and incredible lamps. There are also Chinese and Japanese style vases, various paintings, hand-carved furniture, sculptures...

5. The Quan Tang House

Another of the houses in the historic center of Hoi An that is worth visiting is located at 77 Tran Phu Street. It is one of the oldest in the city, built in the early 18th century. The house is very similar to the previous one, Tan Ky.

6. The Museum of traditional medicine

This house museum to visit in Hoi An recreates a small traditional medicinal shop. Recipe books, old jars, medical utensils, and medical books are displayed there.

7. Phung Hung House

As you may be realizing, in the Historic Center of Hoi An, there are many houses that have been converted into small museums. Phung Hung House is also part of this complex. This house was built in 1780, during a period of prosperity in the city. The house is practically built of wood and mixes different architectural styles between Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese.

8. Lose yourself in the colorful streets of the historic center

The historic center of Hoi An is a real beauty. In fact, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. In the center you will find precious Chinese temples, pagodas, the Japanese footprint in its architecture, French colonial houses full of lanterns, markets...

You don't need to enter each of the house museums or temples, just walk around... enjoy every corner and every street.

9 and 10. The Chinese Hoa Van Assembly and the Fuhian Assembly

Near the Quan Tang House you will find the Hoa Van Chinese Assembly. Although it is not one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, it is worth visiting. Also right next door, you will find the Fujian assembly that stands out for having a beautiful pink cover.

11. Quan Cong Temple

The Quan Cong Temple is another must-see during your tour of the historic center of Hoi An. This temple is very small, with a beautiful façade that dates back to the 17th century. It was used in ancient times as a meeting point by priests and important figures to dictate laws and important matters of the city.

12. The Full Moon Party in Hoi An

If you are going to travel to Vietnam and want to make a stop in Hoi An (something essential) you should take into account organizing your trip so that your stop in Hoi An is on the day of the full moon. No kidding… DO IT!

In my case, my first trip to Vietnam was for several weeks and I had everything organized and suddenly I found out about this famous party. And of course, my visit to the city did not fall on a full moon. So I rearranged my entire circuit so that I could be present on a full moon.

Every full moon the city of Hoi An fills with people wanting to witness this phenomenon. The river is filled with boats where you can stroll and turn on a floating light to make your wishes. This tradition is so popular that people come from all over the world just to see it.

We stayed 5 nights in Hoi An and we were hardly without people, we arrived tonight, and the historic center and the river were full. And although there were many people, it was something very nice and special to see. Do not miss it!

13. Stroll along the riverside of Hoi An's Old Town

Running parallel to the main street in the historic center of Hoi An is the Thu Bon River. The entire shore is dotted with yellow houses, lanterns, boats and many restaurants. It is the perfect place for lunch and dinner. In addition, it is a perfect place to take a leisurely walk or even take a riskshow and go for a walk.

14. Hoi An Night Market

The Hoi An night market starts to wake up around 7:00 p.m. It is a fairly large market, full of stalls selling souvenirs, lanterns, handicrafts and local cuisine.

You can try food at the stalls for 1 euro and have a really cheap dinner. Also, if you dare to buy a souvenir, you can buy one of their lanterns, they are precious.

15. The local market

Get up early and get to know the bustle of the local market. An area full of fresh products; Freshly caught fish, meat, fruit, vegetables… I personally love fresh produce markets and I never miss one. It is advisable to go between 6 and 7am.

16. Hoi An Basket Boat

On the outskirts of the historic center of Hoi An, about 6km away is the coconut boat pier. These bowl-shaped or half-coconut boats are used for fishing, and even today they are still used for weighing (in our case we saw them in full swing in the south of the country, in Phan Thiet). In Hoi An it has become a tourist activity and if you feel like taking a ride on a very original boat, you can't miss it. They will even teach you how to row in this type of boat and you can do it yourself.

17. Get a tailored suit

Hoi An thanks to its location and the river was for a long time a trading place in the past. Silk was widely traded here and merchants settled in the area began to weave and sew custom-made dresses and suits.

The area is very popular for its high quality and therefore, it is a highly sought after place for tailored suits. They make them for you in one night with the fabric that you choose, your measurements and the design that you like the most.

You can choose between traditional Vietnamese costumes or something more contemporary. The cost is very variable, depending on the quality. But a complete 3-piece suit of average quality is usually around 300 euros. If you take into account that a tailored suit in a Western country can cost around 2 thousand euros, it's not bad at all.

There are also many shops in Hoi An that sell ready-made clothes, handmade and with the same quality. It is much cheaper and they follow the standard size.

18. Bathe in the beaches of Hoi An

Hoi An's beaches are long and have calm waters. They are perfect to unwind and relax after a day visiting the city. In addition, you will appreciate a nice cool bath after being hot in Hoi An. The center of Vietnam is very hot and humid.

The beach is the best option if you like sunsets. They are incredible!

19. Get to know the outskirts of Hoi An

Outside the historic center you will find a city with temples, streets full of life, rice fields and crops...

We stayed far from the center. We were looking for something quiet and we decided on an accommodation 5km from the historic center. In less than 5 minutes we arrived by taxi and often used a rental motorcycle or went by bicycle.

On our bike routes we take a route along the banks of the river full of houses and farming areas. Nothing touristy and with a very authentic atmosphere.

Take the opportunity to get out of the most touristic areas and learn a little more about the authentic Hoi An.

20. Meet Da Nang

The city of Da Nang is very touristy. Personally, I think it is much more charming to stay in Hoi An. Hoi An is 1 hour by car and you can visit the city center in a day trip. The cost of the round trip taxi is around 30 euros.

If you are interested in knowing the city, here I tell you what to see in Da Nang in 1 day

Many choose to stay in Da Nang. It has a much larger number of "big hotels" and many are well-known hotel chains. The city does not have much charm, but it would still be an interesting alternative where to stay if you are looking for a resort.

21. Take a trip to My son

Taking an excursion to the My son sanctuary is one of the essential activities to do if you visit Hoi An. It is an archaeological site of the ancient sanctuary built between the fourth and fourteenth centuries. During the Champa reign, the My Son Sanctuary came to house more than 70 temples and a huge cemetery. The sanctuary was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

You have the possibility to visit the site with an excursion from Hoi An that includes hotel pick-up, transportation, guide in English and entrance to the sanctuary.

22. Take a hike to Ba Na Hill and the Golden Bridge

This is a somewhat long but interesting excursion to do from Hoy An. Once you reach the Ba Na complex you will visit the golden bridge (the famous bridge of hands), the Linh Ung Pagoda, the Garden of Love and the French vineyards. In addition, they have recreated a French villa. It is a totally tourist complex, but it is worth knowing it to be able to observe the incredible bridge of the hands.

23. Excursion to the Marble Mountains

The Marble Mountains are amazing. Full of pagodas, caves, grottoes... among an incredible natural landscape. I tell you more about what to see in The Marble Mountains here.

The best way to visit them is with an excursion. They are very close to Hoi An and it is only a mid-morning excursion. This type of organized excursions includes pick up at the hotel, transfer, guide in English and tickets. Its cost is very affordable, for less than 10 euros.

24. Excursion to Duy Vinh village

If you have more time in the area and would like to visit a traditional Vietnamese village, this excursion suggests you to visit Duy Vinh. During the excursion you will walk through rice fields, you will learn about local crafts, you will be able to practice kayaking on the river and you will eat the local cuisine with the locals.

25. Excursion to Tam Thanh

Tam Thanh is a town full of art in its streets. There are several artistic murals on its streets, even on its boats. It is a dynamic and fun mid-morning excursion.

During the tour you will also visit the Ky Anh guerrilla tunnels, a series of underground galleries that were used to fight against US troops in the Vietnam War.



I hope you enjoy your trip to Vietnam very much and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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