This is the most charming and cute city in Vietnam! Although it has become an extremely touristy place, it seems that Hoi An has been able to preserve its style and origins very well - and visiting this place seems like a journey back in time.
Hoi An is right in the middle of Vietnam and almost always enters the itinerary of those who intend to travel the country from north to south. When you step in Vietnam, you will immediately feel the chaos: the pace is very frenetic in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, the two largest cities in the country. Then Hoi An appears in the middle of its path, with a slower pace. It's really an invitation to relax, enjoy the calm and stay there for a few days.
Things to do in Hoian - Vietnam
Explore the Old Town
Walking around the Ancient City of Hoi An Charming place, to walk the whole day and without haste. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, the Old City of Hoi An (also called the Historic Center, Ancient Town or Old Town) is full of yellow mansions where restaurants, cafes, galleries, souvenir shops and tailors work. There are several colourful lanterns scattered around the houses, gracing the cobblestone streets. In the afternoon, it is only allowed to walk or cycle. As the area is small, I suggest doing everything walking even to go and observe the details of the place, the people, the lanterns.
Main Attractions of the Ancient City of Hoi An Most attractions in Hoi An are concentrated in the Old City and are very close to each other.
Japanese Covered Bridge
One of the most visited and photographed places in Hoi An. They are said to have been built in the 18th century by the Japanese who lived in the city and wanted to connect to the Chinese neighbourhood on the other side.
On the outside they look like Chinese Buddhist temples, but the Assembly Halls are large complexes where the Chinese population met in the old days. The main Assembly Halls are: Quang Trieu, Trieu Chau and Phuc Kien.
I have not visited the museums so I cannot comment on them. But from what we have researched and heard, none of them stands out so much. If you want to include a museum in your script, these are included: Museum of Trade Ceramics, Museum of Sa Huynh Culture, Museum of Folk Culture and Museum of Hoi An.
FUJIAN ASSEMBLY HALL
Originally a traditional assembly hall, this structure was later transformed into a temple for the worship of Thien Hau, a deity from Fujian province.
The Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum - Rehan Gallery
Whether you are into photography or not, you should definitely check out the Rehan Gallery.
For those of you who do not know Réhahn. Réhahn is a french photographer based in Hoi An and one of the best travel portrait photographer in the world. Réhahn has the ability to capture the soul of the people which makes his portraits so unique.
The Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum in Hoi An bring together portraits of individuals from some of Vietnam's many tribes and also containing traditional clothing and art-facts as each of these tribe in Vietnam has its specific style of dress and various culture beliefs and ritual. Many of the traditional clothing and artfacts were donated by the tribe to Réhahn.
Réhahn portraits collection features portraits of 49 out of Vietnam’s 54 officially recognised ethnic groups. Those portraits were collected by the french photographer over the years. He is aiming to photograph all the 54 of Vietnam's tribal groups and currently working on gaining access to the remaining five tribes. Réhahn Art Gallery Museum not only features portraits of ethnic tribes of Vietnam but also the collection features portrait Cuba and India.
Find out more about Rehahn Photographer work.
Vietnamese Lanterns Handicraft
At night you must visit Vietnamese handicraft shops or the famous lantern shops. Looks so pretty at night. The streets of the Ancient Town are also filled with local shops selling handicrafts, jewellery, traditional apparels, and shoes that are worth to be brought back home for personal use, souvenirs or giveaways. You can definitely satisfy your shopping urge and go home happy from Hoi An.
Don’t forget it’s one of the most touristy places in Vietnam, so people will offer you a lot. You must bargain.
Get Lost: Strolling Around Hoi An by Bike or Motorcycle
The city is beautiful and goes beyond the lanterns and old houses of the center. Then enjoy the tour to know more remote villages, rice fields and other beautiful landscapes of Hoi An.
Bike can be good for those who have free time, but for those who have little time and better rent a motorcycle.
Relax at the Hoi An beach
Hoi An has some great beaches. But if you're crazy about the beach or have that time left, check out the beaches of Cua Dai and An Bang. And preferably, go by motorcycle or bike, to enjoy the path between the city and the beach.
Get a tailor-made suit or dress
There a lot of tailors in the old town that can make custom clothes. If you are not backpacking or traveling for an extended period of time, maybe worth considering. Plus, getting a tailor-made suit in Hoi An will be a lot cheaper than in the Europe or North America. Hoi An has a load of tailors to choose from that can make everything for you, from suits, dresses, shoes and bags.
Visit the Temples of ‘MY SON’
My Son is a set of Hindu Temples dating to the end of the 4th century and which were being built and developed until the 13th century, UNESCO World Heritage.
The place is beautiful, but it gets a lot more interesting when you get to understand some of the history, symbolism and architecture of the place.
Where to Stay in Hoi An
My recommendation is to stay around the Old City. Because it is where all the tourist attractions of Hoi An are. There is a wide variety of accommodation there, from hotels to hostels.
You will notice that hotel prices in Hoi An are a little more expensive than in the rest of the country, and the value tends to get even higher if you are right in the middle of the Historic Centre.
Enjoy these Hanoi tips and have good trip!
If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, check out the other posts full of tips for your trip.