Hoi An

9 great things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An is a dreamy and colorful town that stole our hearts. With its vibrant streets lined with yellow facades and lanterns that come alive at night, the town transforms into a magical wonderland. During our three-night stay, we fell in love with its charm and endless activities. In fact, Hoi An ranks as our top spot in Vietnam, alongside Ninh Binh! Join us as we explore 9 great things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam’s most charming town.

9 great things to do in Hoi An

1. Get some tailored clothes made
2. Stroll through the Ancient Town
3. Visit the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum
4. Get dizzy on a basket boat ride
5. Take a lantern boat ride at night
6. Explore Hoi An Night Market
7. Take a Vietnamese cooking class
8. Or go for a lantern making class
9. Day trip to Da Nang

1. Get some tailored clothes made

Milan Linen Clothings & Custom Tailoring

Hoi An is known for its tailor shops, which makes it the perfect place if you’re looking for custom-made clothes. We recommend planning at least 2-3 days here to allow enough time for fitting and possible adjustments. Most tailors in Hoi An are super busy, so you can’t expect them to make all these bespoke clothes in less than 24 hours.

Milan Linen Clothings & Custom Tailoring

We checked out Milan Linen Clothings & Custom Tailoring and loved it! Our first visit was around 6 PM, where we discussed our clothing preferences and chose fabrics and colors. We also showed them colors of what we liked and wanted, and they were very happy to assist. They then took our measurements, the next evening at 6 PM we returned for the first fitting. A few adjustments later, and by 2 PM the following day, our clothes were ready! We were so happy with the end result, and the team at Milan Linen were exceptionally friendly and helpful throughout our experience. Our total came to around € 230 for a suit, shirt, and three dresses.

Good to know
Since we’re on a world trip and only have so much space in our backpacks, carrying an extra suit, shirt, and 3 dresses isn’t ideal. Fear not! You can opt to send your clothes home (or wherever you want), and the process is really simple. Just let the tailor know that you plan on sending stuff home, and they’ll phone the mailman for you. He or she will then come to the tailor shop and ask you to fill in a few forms. Prices depend on the destination, and are based on the total weight of your parcel. We also had the option of express or standard shipping.

2. Stroll through the Ancient Town

9 great things to do in Hoi An: Ancient Town

The beating heart of Hoi An is its Ancient Town, where you’ll likely spend most of your time. We had a blast wandering around here, admiring the charming yellow facades, browsing through numerous shops, and visiting cute cafes. The town has a magical vibe at night when the lanterns light up, so we definitely recommend visiting both during the day and at night to fully experience its charm.

It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site with well-preserved buildings, pagodas, and historic houses. Don’t miss Quan Cong Temple, Hoi Quan Phuoc Kien (our personal favorite), and Ba Mu Temple Gate. We’ve heard great things about the Japanese Bridge too, but unfortunately it was under construction during our visit. If you want to see what the bridge is supposed to look like, we can highly recommend watching the Netflix movie “A Tourist’s Guide to Love”!

Good to know
To explore any of the buildings, pagodas, or historic houses, you’ll need to purchase the Hoi An Old Town ticket, which costs 120,000 VND (approximately € 4,40). This ticket grants you entry to 5 different locations, free to choose. Most tourists don’t do this (or don’t know about this), but there’s a chance that an officer of the law asks you to show your ticket. The chances of this happening are especially high if they see you walking with a tour guide or local.

Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum

The Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum displays the Precious Heritage Collection by the French photographer Réhahn. It offers insights into the daily lives of various Vietnamese ethnic groups through photos, traditional clothing, and artifacts. It’s a fascinating visit that gives you a broader perspective. You can wander around here for hours, you can even watch a full documentary if you want! But, if you’re here for the amazing stories and authentic clothing or just to buy some amazing souvenirs, that’s great too. Best of all, admission is free, so there’s no excuse to miss out on this interesting place!

4. Get dizzy on a basket boat ride

9 great things to do in Hoi An: basket boat ride

If you’re up for a good time, don’t miss out on a basket boat ride. It’s a must-do in Hoi An, and for good reason! We had so much fun during this activity. You’ll hop onto a round bamboo boat on the Thu Bon River, gliding through the Bay Mau Coconut Forest. The Hoi An basket boat dance was quite entertaining, especially with their Gangnam Style moves. We also watched locals expertly cast their nets and even tried our hand at crab fishing (don’t worry, we released them afterward). Some people asked their guide to spin the boat around for extra thrills, but we skipped that part due to motion sickness. It looked like a ton of fun, though! And don’t forget that there’s a second floor, too. 😉

5. Take a lantern boat ride at night

9 great things to do in Hoi An: lantern boat ride at night

One of the most romantic experiences we had was taking a lantern boat ride at night. Sure, it’s a popular tourist activity with crowds, but trust us, it’s still truly magical! The sight of the entire river lit up by lanterns is enchanting. We made our own special moment out of it, just us two on the water with all these beautiful lights around us. Plus, you can release your own lantern on the Hoai River and make a wish for that special added touch to the experience. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Hoi An!

Good to know
We paid 150,000 VND for the boat ride and an extra 50,000 VND for two lanterns. Also, there are tons of operators along the river that organize boat trips. If you find there’s too many people waiting in line at one stall, just walk along the river for a few seconds until you see another one!

6. Explore Hoi An Night Market

Hoi An Night Market

Our frequent readers know we love exploring markets. When we discovered Hoi An’s night market, we couldn’t resist returning multiple times. It’s truly one of the most charming markets we’ve explored, especially with its enchanting glowing lanterns. From delicious street food to charming lantern shops and souvenir stalls, this market has it all! The street where you can find this market is 300m long, and illuminated with hundreds of lanterns. So even if you don’t buy anything, this night market still makes for a great place if you’re into photography. To reach the market you’ll have to cross the An Hoi Bridge, a fun spot for a quick photo or two with amazing views over the river.

Good to know
If you’re thinking of capturing some pictures inside a lantern shop, keep in mind there’s usually a small fee ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 VND (per person).

7. Take a Vietnamese cooking class

If you love Vietnamese food, consider joining a Vietnamese cooking class to master the art of cooking your favorite dishes! It’s the best way to learn all about Vietnamese cuisine, and you can cook dishes such as Bánh cuốn (Vietnamese steamed rice rolls), Bánh Xèo (Hoian rice pancakes), or Phở (pho noodles with beef). These classes typically last 3 to 5 hours, and some even include a fun basket boat ride experience. Check out the widget below to see availability for a fun Hoi An cooking class!

8. Or go for a lantern making class

If cooking isn’t your thing, consider trying a lantern making class in Hoi An. It’s a fun experience, and you get to bring home your own handmade lantern as a lovely souvenir. Check here to see availability for the best lantern making class in Hoi An.

9. Day trip to Da Nang

If you have some extra time, we highly recommend a day trip to Da Nang, just a half-hour drive from Hoi An. Don’t miss the beautiful pink Da Nang Cathedral, the iconic Dragon Bridge, and the relaxing beaches. We discovered some amazing food spots like Diner 66 Da Nang and byC. café and brunch. And if your schedule allows, exploring Marble Mountains and My Son Sanctuary in Da Nang is well worth it!

Where to stay in Hoi An

The Nam An Villa in Hoi An

We spent 3 wonderful nights at The Nam An Villa in Hoi An, and it became one of our favorite stays during our 26-day journey in Vietnam. Our room was lovely, with a spacious bathroom, air conditioning, and a minibar (though not complimentary). The location was just perfect: away from the city’s noise yet close to the Ancient Town. They offer free bikes, which we used daily and found incredibly convenient. Within less than 5 minutes we were right in the middle of the city center!

We paid around € 20 per night for both of us, including breakfast. Such a steal! And speaking of breakfast, it was fantastic! They had a small buffet with pastries and fresh fruit, and every evening they took breakfast orders for the next day. These menu items could be anything, from pancakes to omelets and everything in between. We tried a bit of everything, and it was all delicious and cooked to order! Oh, and did we already mention they’ve got a pretty nice pool, too?

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