Hoi An exudes a small and provincial atmosphere unlike Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a captivating glimpse into the vibrant port life of 18th-century Vietnam.
Immerse yourself in the enchanting Ancient Town, a well-preserved labyrinth of shophouses and pagodas adorned with mesmerizing paper lanterns. Whether you explore during the day or witness the magical transformation at night, Hoi An’s Ancient Town is a sight to behold.
For first-time visitors, our comprehensive travel guide provides essential information and insider tips to plan your perfect trip. Uncover hidden gems, top attractions, and practical advice that will enhance your Hoi An experience and create lasting memories.
HOI AN AT A GLANCE
Hoi An, located in central Vietnam’s Quang Nam Province, holds a special place in history as one of Southeast Asia’s bustling trading ports. This vibrant city attracted a diverse array of foreign merchants, primarily Chinese, Japanese, and later Europeans, resulting in a fascinating fusion of cultures that is unparalleled in Vietnam. Translating to a “peaceful meeting place,” Hoi An showcases its rich heritage through its name itself.
Although Hoi An’s prominence as a trading hub declined in the late 18th century due to the silting up of the Thu Bon River and the emergence of Da Nang as the new trade center in Central Vietnam, the city remained untouched by time, fading into obscurity. Today, Hoi An stands as a well-preserved testament to its former glory, featuring beautifully restored merchant houses, ancient temples, and tea warehouses that evoke the atmosphere of its vibrant trading past. Embark on a journey through time as you explore the captivating streets of this historical gem.
Best Time To Visit
Hoi An has two seasons: dry (Feb-Aug) and wet (Sept-Jan). The ideal time to go is from February to April, with pleasant weather and low humidity. During the dry season, temperatures can reach 35°C (95°F) in June-August. The rainy season, from September to January, brings heavy showers and potential flooding. Avoid visiting in October and November. Keep in mind the Tet holiday (Vietnamese New Year) between January and February, when many establishments close and hotel rates are high. Plan your trip accordingly for the best weather and to avoid disruptions.
Traveling To Hoi An
To reach Hoi An, you have multiple transportation options. By plane, you can fly to Da Nang and arrange an airport transfer, as it’s about 30 km away from Hoi An. By taxi, the cost from Da Nang Airport to Hoi An is approximately VND 350,000. Alternatively, you can hire a bike for a more affordable and flexible experience.
Another convenient option is traveling by bus, particularly sleeper buses with reclining seats and amenities like individual TVs and curtains. Unlike planes and trains, buses can take you directly to Hoi An. They provide comfort and convenience, making them a preferred choice for shorter distances in Vietnam.
Where To Exchange Currency
The official currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). For favorable exchange rates, it is recommended to visit banks or gold/jewelry shops in Vietnam. In Hoi An, the gold/jewelry shops near Hoi An Central Market are known to offer favorable rates. Some hotels and restaurants also provide currency exchange services, but the rates may not be as advantageous. At Da Nang International Airport, consider exchanging a small amount of currency for immediate needs and then visit a gold shop near the Central Market for the rest. Another convenient option is to withdraw VND from ATMs, ensuring that you inform your bank beforehand.
Best Place To Stay In Hoi An
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THINGS TO DO IN HOI AN
- Explore Hoi An Ancient Town: Discover the enchanting Hoi An Ancient Town, where preserved shophouses and illuminated lanterns create a captivating atmosphere. With an entrance fee of VND 150,000, you can explore 22 attractions, including the Japanese Bridge and Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall.
- Visit Hoi An Central Market: Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture at Hoi An Central Market. Located in the Ancient Town, this bustling market offers a variety of meat, seafood, noodles, spices, and fresh produce. It’s best experienced in the morning when the lively bartering of fish takes place.
- Ride a Boat: Experience the magic of Hoi An’s illuminated Ancient Town by taking a boat ride along the Thu Bon River. Witness the mesmerizing sight of hundreds of floating lanterns released into the river at sunset. While a Thu Bon River cruise is popular, you can also opt for a unique experience in a traditional basket boat.
- Visit Tra Que Vegetable Village: Discover the eco-friendly Tra Que Village, known for its pesticide-free vegetable farming methods. The village’s produce, grown using natural algae from its lagoon, is renowned for its freshness and purity. Explore this 40-hectare island to witness sustainable farming practices.
- Have a Custom-Tailored Suit or Dress: Embrace Hoi An’s rich tailoring tradition by getting a custom-tailored suit or dress. With numerous tailor shops in Hoi An, you can have your desired outfit replicated to perfection within 24-48 hours, allowing you to take home a unique and personalized garment.
DAY TRIPS FROM HOI AN
- My Son Sanctuary: Embark on a captivating day trip from Hoi An to My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by the Cham people between the 4th and 14th centuries. Discover the impressive structures resembling a “mini Angkor Wat.”
- Golden Bridge: Experience the iconic Golden Bridge, located in Ba Na Hills near Da Nang. This extraordinary pedestrian bridge boasts giant stone hands supporting a 150-meter footbridge, offering breathtaking views. Explore the various attractions at the Sun World Ba Na Hills amusement park during your visit.
- Marble Mountains: Discover the enchanting Marble Mountains, a collection of limestone and marble hills in Da Nang. Each hill represents one of the five elements and is home to caves, tunnels, and Buddhist sanctuaries. Enjoy the coastal area’s renowned stone-cutting and sculpture traditions.
- Cham Islands: Venture to the Cham Islands, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve situated off the coast of Hoi An. Engage in exciting water sports, snorkeling, or scuba diving while basking in the pristine beauty of these eight small islands. Visit between March and September for the best weather and water conditions.
- Bach Ma National Park: Immerse yourself in nature at Bach Ma National Park, a protected area known for its lush jungle, lakes, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. Located about 2.5 hours north of Hoi An, this former French-era hill station is an ideal destination for a day of trekking and exploration.
- Hue: Journey to the imperial city of Hue, just a short distance north of Hoi An. Marvel at the historical significance of this former capital of Vietnam during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). Explore the rich cultural heritage and attractions that make Hue an enticing day trip option from Hoi An.