What to do in Hội An? 10 Things You Must Do!

Hoi An cycling

Hội An, is a delightful old town situated on a river in on the Vietnamese central coast. With Vietnamese, French, Chinese and Japanese influences, Hội An is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Wander quaint streets during the day, and enjoy the town as it comes to life at night. Located about an hour south of Da Nang, this small community is vibrant, colourful and far exceeded our expectations when we visited in 2018. Continue reading a few of our favourite “must do” things in Hội An.


Hoi An Bridge

1. Wander the old town

Hoi An walk Tess

Hội An is stunningly beautiful, with bright yellow houses lining the old town. Wander the streets, explore alleyways, sample shops and stop for a drink or bite to eat at the many restaurants and cafes. You can easily spend a few days just exploring the town if you choose. This unplanned wandering was one of our favourite parts of our stay!

2. Walk the town and river at night

Hoi An Bidge Light

Hội An comes alive at night glowing with colour and buzzing atmosphere. The old town is covered in small lanterns and hanging lights which provide a stunning glow as you wander the streets. The river comes to life with boat rides along the main promenade. Additionally, small candles suspended in paper lanterns can be bought and set to float along the river, giving the river a kaleidoscope of floating colour. The market across the river from old town is buzzing and has many cheap food options. Wander the town, sample the food, and enjoy the romantic ambiance that Hội An provides at night.

3. Explore the coconut forest with a guide

Coconut forest boat ride

Exploring the nearby coconut forest was a particular highlight of our time in Hội An. We arranged a tour with a local, being treated to a river trip in a traditional basket boat. The joy and welcoming nature of our basket boat captain was something we will remember for a long time. You will need to find a local or tour of the forest, as the river area is not accessible without a boat.

4. Sample the food: Hội An is a foodies paradise

Hoi An Pho at MOT

The food in this town is exceptional! We are huge Asian food fans, and particularly enjoy Vietnamese food. We sampled a variety of seafood, soups, slow cooked stews, dumplings and much more! Our favourites included Bahn Mi and Pho. Read more here about our favourite dish in Hoi An!

5. Have some clothes tailored

Hoi An Tailors

The Hội An locals are well known tailors, and it would be rude to visit here without sampling some of their high quality work. The markets are lined with dresses, shirts, suits, ties and more, but we recommend going one step further. Visit one of the tailor shops and get some custom-made garments that will impress without breaking the bank. Ky had a suit and a few blazers tailored, with the results personalized, high-quality and as good or better than any western purchase.

6. Take a boat ride down the river at night

Hoi An Boat Ride 2

As mentioned above, the town and river comes to life at night! A boat ride down the river was a highlight. Step into a small wooden boat, and have a friendly local guide you up and down the promenade where you can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells from the water. It is a very romantic activity for couples. Pro tip – if you’re savvy, try bartering with the locals to negotiate a cheaper price.

7. Grab a coffee and watch the locals

Tessa hoi an bar

Those that know us and follow our channel will have seen our love of coffee. We think one of the great pleasures of travel is sitting in a foreign coffee shot or outdoor square and people watching whilst sipping on a coffee. Traditional Vietnamese coffee is an an acquired taste, mixing strong coffee and condensed milk, however most of the cafe’s had more traditional options as well.

8. Cycle through the rice fields

Hoi An cycling

If you have a bit of extra time to spend in Hội An, consider hiring a bike and cycling through the rice fields. Our hotel, Lasenta Boutique Hotel, was situated at the fringe of the Hội An old town and right adjacent to some of the rice fields. We spent a few hours cycling through the fields where you can see farmers working, and observe wild animals including water buffalo’s going about their day. We also cycled down to the local beach, and through some of the outskirts of the town.

9. Have a cocktail and watch the sunset overlooking Hội An:

Hoi An sunset view

Watching a sunset is one of our favourite ways to end a day on holiday, and in Hội An this is no different. The Deck in Hội An, located at the top of the Hotel Royal, provides a stunning location to view the town and a fancy bar for a drink or something to eat. Check out directions here.

10. Check out the local markets

Hoi An markets

There’s something about immersing yourself in the local markets. Whilst the “tourist markets” are often good fun, and can have a good bargain, the local produce markets can be a great time. The local produce market at the edge of the old town, along with one on the outskirts of town, provided an insight into how the locals lived, and allowed us to sample some of the local produce. Additionally, we also went to the central “tourist market” and supported the locals with a few purchases.

Finally, the night market on the opposite side of the river is a must. Check out the lamp stalls and try some of the street food!

This is only a small sample of some of the great moments we had in Hội An. Other activities like lantern making, visiting the beach, Vietnamese cooking classes, moped rides, day trips to the marble mountains and so much more.



Check out our People of Hội An post here!

people of hoi an

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