Hoi An

(Last updated on 6 September 2022)

Located in Central Vietnam by the estuary of Thu Bon River, this charming Old Town of Hoi An is a perfect example of a historic district with a well-preserved trading port in Southeast Asia.

From ancient temples, crumbling shop houses, beautiful pagodas and shrines, old bridges, and lively local market, the wonderful Old Quarter of Hoi An were designed under the influence of Vietnamese, Japanese, and Chinese architectural styles. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

Getting There

The nearest airport to Hoi An is Danang International Airport (Airport Code: DAD) which is about an hour drive to the ancient city. You can take a minivan (recommend Hoi An Express which departs hourly from Danang Airport into Danang city before heading to Hoi An), or a private car if you are comfortable driving in Vietnam.

If you are opting for a budget option, hop on the local yellow bus No. 1: Danang – Hoi An route which only costs 30,000 Dong per person. The journey will take 45 minutes to an hour. Do bear in mind that you will be taking a local bus and space may be a problem if you are carrying big luggage. The bus driver may charge extra if the size of the baggage is big.

Getting Around

Hoi An is less congested with cars than Saigon and is safe to ride a bicycle. You can hire them from your hotel or hostel for free or with a small fee. Otherwise, there are a few bike rental stores in town. Riding a bicycle will help to ease traffic flow and is environment-friendly because it doesn’t cause any air pollution. You can park your bicycle at the bike parking station, which can be found around the ancient town. The parking fee costs only 5,000- 10,000 Dong and will be guarded from 7 am to 10 pm.

The Old Quarter of Hoi An is a pedestrian-friendly street and you can roam the ancient town on foot that is home to 23 old temples and museums. It is a car-free zone and only bicycles are allowed to enter.

Hoi An Old Town Ticket

The price of a Hoi An Old Town costs 80.000 VND for locals and 150,000 VND for foreign visitors. It is free for children below 5 and a discounted rate for children 6 to 18. The ticket is valid for your entire stay in Hoi An, so make sure to bring it along when visiting the Old Town.

The ticket booths are easily spotted along the entrances of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and open from 7 am to 9 pm. The ticket allows you to visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, Hoi An Traditional Art Performance House, Vietnamese Old Houses, Chinese Assembly Halls, museums, temples and pagodas, and family chapels.

Best Things to do for 3 Days in Hoi An

My Son Sanctuary

Take a half-day morning tour to My Son (pronounced as ‘mi sen’), a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 10 km from Hoi An town. This sanctuary is a cluster of abandoned Hindu temples built between the 4th  and 14th centuries by the kings of Champa to worship God Shiva. These sites were used for religious ceremonies and burial places for Cham royalty and national heroes.

The majority of the Hindu temples were destroyed by US carpet bombing during the Vietnam War. It was believed to be a hideout and military base operation for Viet Cong troops. The restoration was made after the end of the war to maintain the site and prevent further degradation.

Japanese Bridge

This Japanese Bridge was built over the stream by the Japanese who established their own quarter for permanent habitation in the early 17th century to cross into the Chinese quarter and do business. The two entrances of the bridge are guarded by a pair of Monkey Gods (Than Hau) and Dog Gods (Thien Cau) at both ends of the bridge.

The Chinese and Vietnamese continued to restore the bridge in the later centuries and built a small temple dedicated to the Taoist God of weather, Tran Vo Bac De. Today, it remains a sanctuary for worshipping by the locals over the past four hundred years and become famous for having supernatural power.

Old House of Phung Hung

This Old House of Phung Hung was a typical house constructed with high wooden logs and broad corridors. This over 200-years-old building was owned by a Vietnamese merchant to use as a shop for selling forest products such as cinnamon, pepper, salt, silk, chinaware, and glassware. The present house owner is the eighth descendant f the family who lives and preserves the ancient house.

Address: 4 Nguyen Thi Minh Street near the Japanese Bridge

Opening hours: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm

Entrance fee: Free

Old House of Tan Ky

Built in 1741, the Old House of Tan Ky was used for trading agricultural goods with merchants from Southeast Asia and Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. The name Tan Ky meaning “Progress Shop” was given to the house by the second generation to express the owner’s wish for a prosperous business. With the decline of the town’s business and heavy floods each year, the 7th generation of the family still made great efforts to upkeep the house.

Many of the house’s details were very impressive and remain unchanged until today, including the storage area, the outside structure made of bricks and tiles, and the floor covered with Bat Trang bricks. Interestingly, the house, furniture, thick roofs, and wooden walls were made with jack-fruit trees, ironwood, and peck-wood to keep the house cool in summer and warm during winter.

Address: 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street

Opening hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

Museum of Folk Culture

This heritage building is one of the most interesting attractions in Hoi An. With the collection of 500 original items dated over 100 years ago, you will get to learn and understand the local daily life: Vietnamese family customs, Chinese family customs, songs and dances.

Address: 33 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street

Opening hours: Daily from 7 am to 9 pm, except 20th of every month for maintenance

Old House of Quan Trang

The Old House of Quan Trang is one of the oldest and beautiful houses in the Old Town. This single story house was built by a Chinese merchant in the late 17th century with many architectural characteristics.

Its upper beams, upright bars, hidden pillars, and auxiliary arched roof were designed in a very artistic way. The wall was also engraved with Chinese porcelain fragments that makes this old house very unique in a different way.

Address: 77, Tran Phu Street

Opening hours: Daily 9.30 am to 6 pm

Nguyen Hoang Night Market

Enjoy the night atmosphere at Nguyen Hoang Night Market. The best highlight of this market is the display of colorful lanterns in those lantern shops. Paper lanterns are also sold by mostly elderly women and lit every night after sunset along the river of Hoi An. There are many street foods here if you are looking for a budget meal.

Take Cooking Class

Join a cooking lesson and learn how to cook some Vietnamese dishes: Deep Fried Spring Roll, Banh Xeo (served with pork, small shrimp and bean sprouts), and Braised Fish in Claypot. After the end of class, sit back, relax and enjoy self-cook delicious lunch.

Hainan Assembly Hall

The Hainan Assembly Hall was built in 1851 to worship 108 Chinese merchants who were unjustly killed at sea. They were suspected as pirates, although no weapons were found on board the merchant ship. Emperor Tu Duc granted the money to build this assembly hall to honor and worship them forever.

Address: 10 Tran Phu Street

Opening hours: Daily 8 am to 5 pm

Minh Huong Ancestor Worship House

Being one of the largest religious halls in Hoi An, this worship house was built by the Vietnamese Chinese during the late 18th century to worship their ancestors who founded and kept this village prosperous.

This house also formerly served as an administrative office of their village council. During spring and fall every year, 60 families of Minh Huong will perform seasonal worship rituals and celebrations dedicated to their ancestors.

Quan Cong Temple and Quan Am Pagoda

Quan Cong Temple was built by Minh Huong people in 1653. Two 10-feet tall statues standing at the altar feature the idol of the protector of Quan Cong and the adopted son of the protector.

During the old days, merchants from various places will come here to pay respect to their ancestors. The temple symbolizes their bravery, loyalty, and morality. They make offerings to pray for good luck on their trips.

Address: 24, Nguyen Hue Street

Opening hours: Daily from 6 am to 5 pm

Assembly Hall of Fujian Chinese

This assembly hall was re-owned and restored by the rich Fujian traders from China who come to Hoi An in 1759. Inside the temple houses the statute of the sea goddess Thien Hau, protector of the sea along with other animals that signified different meanings, including fish (achievement), dragon (power), turtle (endurance), unicorn (knowledge), and phoenix (nobility).

Address: 46, Tran Phu Street

Opening hours: Daily from 7 am to 6 pm

Museum of Trade Ceramics

This two-story heritage museum houses about 430 ceramic artifacts that evident for the ceramic trade network dating back from the 8th-18th century. Most of the pottery comes from Vietnam (15th century), the Middle East (7th-10th century), the Chinese Tang Dynasty (7-10th century), India, Japan, and Thailand. Some antiques were also found from a shipwreck in 1733 and several evacuations carried out from the sites of Hoi An by archaeologists.

Address: 60, Tran Phu Street

Opening hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

Tran Family’s Chapel

Tran Family Chapel was built by Tran Tu Nhac, a very respectful mandarin under Gia Long reign in the early 19th century. It serves as a place of worship for the family ancestors and as a reminder of the family’s tradition to their next generation. They display and sell many old antiques and coins dated back from 1802 to 1847 during the Nguyen Dynasty period.

This house has been well preserved for almost two centuries and not much has changed since then. Following the old belief, the drawing-room of the chapel separate the entries with the left side for men and the right side for women. The door at the center of the room is used for festivals, which is said to be the door for the souls of their ancestors to enter the house.

Address: 21, Le Loi Street

Opening hours: Daily from 7 am to 9 pm

An Bang Beach

Head to An Bang Beach as early as 7 am and have a morning walk along the beautiful sandy beach. It is very peaceful and quiet at this hour and pretty much nobody here. It is perfect place to lay back, enjoy the morning cool breeze, and listen to the tiled waves rushing toward the shore (Did I not mention that the sun rises before 6 am!)

Tra Que Village

Visit Tra Que Vegetable Village to see the farmers grow a variety of vegetables.

Just a short walk from Tra Que Village is a vast paddy field.

Central Market

The one-and-only place locals will come to buy their groceries and you can witness the market in action starting at 5 am. This is because there are no shopping complexes or supermarkets in this town.

Take breakfast in one of these little cafes and restaurants before exploring both inside and outside the market. This market is a great place to shop and bargain for anything to everything you need such as fabrics, Ao Dai, clothes, shoes, handicrafts, and locally made candies.

Other Things To Do in Hoi An

Wanted to get a tailored-made suit or dress? This Ancient Town has plenty of stores that can get what you needed. The fabrics are of good quality and the clothes can be made that fit you and collected within 3 days.

Going Elsewhere in Vietnam?

If you are planning for a long adventure in Vietnam, you can check out some of my other posts:

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