There are a number of reasons I consider Hoi An to be the best city in Vietnam.
It’s centrally located and accessible to some of the great cities in the south and the north. Furthermore, it’s situated in such a way that you can experience a vast range of pleasures. You have the beaches and the coast. There’s the beautiful countryside with its rice fields. And, best of all, there’s the Ancient Town.
In this article, I’ll tell you about the best things to do in Hoi An. I’ll also give you a brief overview of the best places to stay at in Hoi An.
Side note: You can read more about traveling through Vietnam in my blog Comprehensive Vietnam Travel Guide for First Timers. If you’re concerned about Visa, you can use the services of Vietnam-Visa to apply for Vietnam Visa on Arrival.
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Exploring Hoi An Ancient Town isn’t just one of the most important things to do in Hoi An, but in all of Vietnam.
Hoi An’s ancient town used to be the imperial center of Vietnam at one point. And now, it has been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In order to get in, you have to pay an entrance fee of ₫ 120,000 (Approx. $5.25 | ₹340).
However, it’s totally worth it. There are a number of great cafes and restaurants by the waterways. The streets are lined with glowing dragons and lanterns. And you can also take a romantic ride down the waterways on gondolas.
But no words can do justice to how special Hoi An’s Ancient Town really is. Only pictures can come close to doing its beauty justice.
Hoi An is home to some of the most stunning lantern markets I’ve ever seen. Imagine shops after shops lit up with thousands of intricately designed and colored lanterns.
Take some time to simply walk amongst these lanes of lanterns. If you enjoy aesthetic photography, exploring lantern markets is one of the most important things to do in Hoi An.
You won’t be disappointed.
One of the major tourist attractions in Hoi An are the tailors in the city center. Whenever tourists visit Vietnam, they’re always drawn to the tailors in this city.
They have a reputation for tailoring fine clothing for you within 24 to 48 hours. Furthermore, they’re insanely cheap and they offer free fittings and adjustments. I can’t personally vouch for this because I didn’t get any suits made.
But a lot of friends I was traveling with got bags, suits, dresses, and even shoes made. They were pretty happy with the purchase.
However, I’ve also heard about some pretty sketchy practices used on tourists. To avoid a bad experience, read this guide to buying couture clothing in Hoi An.
Hoi An is surrounded by vast fields of rice paddies, hills, and valleys. Everything here looks bright green and fresh, almost as if it were painted on canvas.
You can rent yourself a bike or a cycle and go riding around the countryside.
If you venture forth a little further still from the city, you’ll find a number of great beaches. Hoi An is a coastal town after all.
I got myself a hostel that was right on one of the beaches. That gave me the opportunity to dig my toes in the sand during the days and still be able to explore Hoi An and its nightly wonders.
The beaches in Hoi An are some of the quietest and most isolated I’ve seen. They’re completely empty most of the times. And at other times, you’d only find a handful of people there.
Okay, so the marble mountains aren’t exactly located in Hoi An. They’re closer to the city of DaNang. However, if you rent a bike, a short 45-minute ride will get you there.
The Marble Mountains are a series of five marble and limestone hills on the outskirts of the city. They’re quite easy to climb up if that’s something you’re interested in. You can either climb up using the stairs carved on the outside of the hills. Or you can even boulder your way up from the inside via a series of tunnels and caves.
The view from the top is pretty stunning. You can see the entire city, countryside, and the beaches on all sides, sprawled out before you.
BaNa Hills is a beautiful French medieval-esque town located high up in the mountains. It boasts a year-round celebration, which includes beer drinking, street performances, rides, etc.
This is certainly the most picturesque part of Vietnam. And it doesn’t much feel like Vietnam at all. In fact, it doesn’t even feel like Asia! Not kidding.
The architecture is designed in a French colonial style, which is understandable considering Vietnam used to be a French colony. However, all the performers and waiters here are all unanimously white. Which is pretty strange.
You should ideally go to BaNa Hills during the “Bestival” Festival. It goes on from the 1st of August to the 3rd of September.
However, getting to BaNa Hills is quite a chore. From Hoi An, you’ll have to take a mini-bus to DaNang, either early morning or the night before. At DaNang, you’ll have to arrange for a Private BaNa Hills Full Day Tour, which costs $75 (Approx. ₹4,806).
I know, it’s pretty expensive. However, it includes the transportation cost, the cost of the cable cars, and the lavish buffet you get to enjoy.
Vy’s Seaside Homestay was a really chill backpacker hostel in Hoi An. As the name suggests, it’s located on the beach. It’s a pretty quiet beach so you can enjoy it in isolation.
As far as the aesthetics are concerned, Vy’s Seaside Homestay wasn’t anything special. It had dorms with adequate beds and mosquito netting. The bathrooms were okay, and so was the dining room.
However, what it lacked in aesthetic capital, it more than made up for with a great vibe. I met some really cool people here, with whom I could explore some of the wonders of Hoi An.
The beach was quiet and solitary and was only ever used by other guests of the hostel. Vy, the hostess, also let you rent bikes with which you could go to the city. It was a short 15 minutes ride to the city center. She also gave us a map of all the important attractions in the vicinity.
Furthermore, at night, she would take us to a nearby beach club that played lovely live music. However, the beach club was in the neighboring beach, a 30-minute walk away,. But we didn’t mind the long walk down the beach at night. It was pretty special.
A bed in a dorm room for a night costs approx. ₫ 160,000 ($7 | ₹450). However, you can check out the latest rates at the Vy’s Seaside Homestay Agoda page.
Anantara Hoi An Resort is located on the banks of the Thu Bon River. It’s widely considered to be the most luxurious resort in Hoi An. It has the waterways running past it, and some stunning beaches a short boat ride away.
It’s located in Hoi An Ancient Town, which is any way the most aesthetically stunning location in Vietnam.
Furthermore, the resort also has all luxury amenities including pools, spa, cocktail bars, etc.
You can check out the latest rates at the Anantara Hoi An Resort Agoda page.
You can also find other suitable Hoi An hotels and accommodations in Agoda.
Well, that’s it for my rundown of the best things to do in Hoi An. As you can see, my list included things that you can also see and do around Hoi An.
I hope this proved helpful for you to plan out your travels. Feel free to comment below and let me know about your journey.
If I missed out on some vital things to do in Hoi An, please let me know in the comments!
I can be quite socially awkward occasionally. Sometimes, during these intermittent periods of social waywardness…