Discovering Hoi An: A Historic Gem of Vietnam

Hoi An, Vietnam: A small ancient town rich in history and culture.

Hoi An is a destination where life slows down to a more relaxed pace, making it an ideal stop on your trip to Vietnam. This heritage city was once a bustling trading port. Today, visitors can see the Thu Bon River flowing past ancient houses and pagodas, with sampan boats docked at the ferry landing. Beyond the ancient town, narrow roads weave through lush green rice fields leading to a beautiful coastline. Spending a few days here, you might find yourself captivated by the charm of Hoi An, especially at night when the town is lit up by lanterns. 

1. Hoi An Weather

Hoi An’s climate blends the weather patterns of both the south and north of Vietnam, with distinct rainy and dry seasons. Each season in the ancient town has its own unique beauty.

  • First three months of the year: The best time to visit Hoi An when the sun isn’t too harsh, and the weather is cool with occasional light rains.
  • From April to June: Peak of the dry season (also the high tourist season), but the weather remains pleasant thanks to its location in the southern part of the Truong Son Range.
  • During the rainy season: Many tourists still visit Hoi An for a unique experience. July is still part of the dry season. August and September mark the transition period with slightly sunny weather and cool, light rain at night.

2. How to Get to Hoi An

From Da Nang Airport, travelers can take a taxi, private car, or shuttle bus to Hoi An. The journey takes about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic. Another option is to take a train to Da Nang and then continue the journey to Hoi An by taxi or shuttle bus. The train ride is longer but offers scenic views of the Vietnamese countryside 

3. Getting Around Hoi An

Upon arrival at Da Nang Airport, travelers can choose to take a shuttle bus, taxi, private car, or even rent a private vehicle to get to Hoi An. For those who prefer flexibility in their travel, renting a motorbike from Da Nang city is an option to enjoy Hoi An, with rental prices around 150,000 VND per day. To get around Hoi An, visitors can use bicycles or motorbikes rented from hotels or homestays. Bicycle rentals cost about 30,000 VND per day, while motorbike rentals cost about 120,000 VND per day. 

4. Accommodation

Summer is the most popular season for tourists in Hoi An, so it’s best to book accommodations early. There are many new resorts in beautiful locations like Cam Chau, An Bang Beach, and Cua Dai. Homestays are also popular, offering unique architecture, beautiful gardens, and affordable prices starting at about 200,000 VND per night. Some well-known homestays include Maison de Tau, Under The Coconut Tree, An Bang Beach Hideaway, Heron House, and Le Bleu. 

5. Top Activities in Hoi An

Explore the Ancient Town: Discover the unique architectural blend of Hoi An Ancient Town, with influences from China, Japan, and Europe. Visit famous landmarks like the Japanese Covered Bridge, Tan Ky Old House, and Phuc Kien Assembly Hall.

  • Enjoy the Cuisine: Experience Hoi An’s incredible food scene, with fresh ingredients sourced from local farms and fishing boats. Savor dishes like cao lau, wontons, and white rose dumplings.
  • Cycling: Rent a bike and explore the countryside during the peaceful hours of dawn. Enjoy the scenery of lush green rice fields, lotus ponds, and water buffaloes in Cam Thanh and Tra Que.
  • Relax at the Beach: Unwind on the white sands of An Bang Beach, just a 10-minute drive from the Ancient Town. Enjoy fresh seafood lunches and cool waves, or explore the pristine shores of Cham Island.

  • Visit My Son Sanctuary: Explore My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 40 km from Hoi An. These temples, built by the Cham people, date from the 7th to the 13th centuries, nestled in a valley near a cool stream.
  • Tailor-Made Clothing: Hoi An is ideal for custom tailoring. Tailored clothes in Hoi An are not only cheaper but also of high quality. There’s a good balance between high-end and budget tailor shops perfect for creating basic outfits.

6. Local Food Highlights

When visiting Hoi An, you won’t worry about a lack of food options. From early morning to late at night, Hoi An’s streets are bustling with stalls and restaurants. Prices are very reasonable, with street desserts like che costing 5,000 to 10,000 VND per cup, banh mi costing 15,000 to 25,000 VND each, and specialties like cao lau and mi Quang costing just 25,000 VND.

Some famous eateries that both locals and tourists frequent include Ba Buoi Chicken Rice, Phuong Banh Mi, Madam Khanh Banh Mi, Giếng Bá Lễ Banh Xeo, vegetarian food at Hoi An Market, Mot Hoi An herbal drink, and Thanh Cao Lau. Hoi An street food is also renowned for its sweets, including rolled ice cream, various types of che, lotus seed che, mung bean che, tofu pudding, mango cake, and pigskin cake. 

7. Souvenirs to Buy

  • Lanterns: Popular souvenirs in Hoi An. Look for large stores that produce and sell lanterns to get a variety of designs, sizes, and materials.
  • Bronze statues: Sold throughout the ancient town, prices range from 130,000 to 350,000 VND depending on size. These are products of the famous Phuoc Kieu bronze casting village in Hoi An.
  • Terracotta figurines: Souvenirs from Thanh Ha pottery village in Hoi An. Though not diverse in design, they are popular due to their low cost, around 5,000 VND.
  • Woodwork: Renowned products from Kim Bong carpentry village. The artisans are from this village, and some have opened their own workshops in the ancient town. Prices for a wooden item range from 120,000 to 300,000 VND.
  • Hoi An silk: Known for its cool, light, and soft texture. Besides ready-made clothes, bags, and scarves, you can also order custom designs and receive them within a day. The average price of a silk scarf is 150,000 VND.
  • Food souvenirs: For edible gifts from Hoi An, consider green bean cakes, banh thuan, banh phu the, and chili sauce.