Discover Hoi An Ancient Town | Your Ultimate Guide 2024

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Tiffany Hoang
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Last Updated: February 5, 2024

Hoi An ancient town, an incredible gem in central Vietnam, is located just downstream from the Thu Bon River in Quang Nam province. This ancient town has gone by various names over the years, including Lam Ap, Faifo, Hoai Pho, and Hoi An. However, what makes Hoi An a truly unique heritage site is its remarkable state of preservation. Despite being a small harbor city, Hoi An has managed to retain much of its original charm and character.

The magnificently maintained antique structures that line the streets will capture you as you travel through the small alleyways and twisting streets. These structures provide witness to Hoi An’s distinctive blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese influences that influenced the town’s history.

We’ll dive into the town’s hidden gems in this article, leaving you with a guide to the greatest spots to visit and activities to indulge in. So, let’s embark on a journey to Hoi An and discover why this ancient town is worth visiting.

Related Article: Best Time To Visit Vietnam 2023

History And Culture Of Hoi An Ancient Town

hoi an ancient town
Hoi An ancient town in the early years of the 20th century.

Historical Overview

Hoi An ancient town, has one of Southeast Asia’s most intriguing histories. It is also a monument to the town’s tenacity and resiliency. Hoi An was a thriving trading port city for centuries that served as a crossroads for trade and commerce between the East and the West.

Multicultural Influences

One of Hoi An’s most notable aspects is its multicultural influence, with architecture, food, and culture reflecting Chinese, Japanese, and European elements!

The traditions and practices brought by Chinese, Japanese, and European traders, who combined with the local culture, developed the town’s particular identity throughout time. Despite its difficulties, Hoi An has remained a dynamic and intriguing destination, thanks to its hardy people and many cultural influences.

Hoi An ancient town
Two unidentified Asian female tourists in traditional Vietnamese conical hats walk on a street in Hoi An. // Photo by Romas / Shutterstock

Cultural Heritage Preservation

Hoi An is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its distinctive fusion of cultures and architectural styles. It is also home to some of Vietnam’s most historically significant sites, including the Japanese Bridge, the Fujian Assembly Hall, and the Hoi An Museum, which have been preserved exceptionally well.

What makes Hoi An unique, however, is the way it celebrates and protects its cultural heritage. The town’s streets are filled with boutiques and street vendors selling handcrafted goods and trinkets. This provides many opportunities for visitors to participate in regional traditions, such as rice farming and lantern-making.

Moreover, the residents of Hoi An are proud of their cultural heritage and are eager to share it with visitors. They offer the finest of their town and its distinctive culture, making visitors feel welcome and appreciated.

In summary, the history and culture of Hoi An are a testament to the strength of the human spirit and resilience. Despite difficulties, the town has maintained its individuality and celebrated its legacy, making it one of the world’s most distinctive and remarkable travel destinations.

hoi an ancient town
The residents of Hoi An are proud of their cultural heritage and are eager to share it with visitors. // Photo by evantravels / Shutterstock

Top Things To Do In Hoi An Ancient Town

With an abundance of historical landmarks, outdoor adventures, and culinary delights, Hoi An ancient town is truly a gem of Southeast Asia. In this part, we will take you through the top unique things to do in Hoi An, so that you can discover the town’s hidden treasures and create unforgettable memories.

1. Walk Around Hoi An’s Atmospheric Old Town

The evocative Old Town of Hoi An is one of the most fascinating spots in Vietnam. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a maze of narrow streets lined with vibrant yellow buildings, stunning temples, and quaint cafes. The colorful buildings with intricate wooden carvings bear witness to the town’s rich history and cultural diversity.

The city boasts a variety of architectural designs that reflect Hoi An’s multicultural influences. As a result, there are many magnificent views, from the prominent Chi temples to ancient houses and elegant French colonial structures.

We strongly recommend taking a stroll through the Old Town in the morning or evening when the lighting is ideal. The atmosphere is charming, and there are fewer people on the streets. Take pictures of the distinctive architecture, explore hidden corners in the alleyways, and sample street food from one of the many vendors.

Explore this bustling town with our 2-hour Hoi An trip!

Hoi An ancient town
We recommend taking a stroll through the Old Town in the evening when the lighting is ideal. // Photo by Alan Brownbridge / Vietnam Is Awesome

2. Explore Top Must-See Attractions In Hoi An

Hoi An is a town steeped in history and culture, and it’s no wonder that it has become one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist destinations. Visitors from around the world come to see the town’s iconic landmarks and must-see attractions, each more breathtaking than the last. Here are some of the top must-see attractions in Hoi An.

Japanese Covered Bridge

The Japanese Bridge is one of the must-see attractions in Hoi An. This magnificent wooden bridge dates back to the sixteenth century and is a testament to the town’s rich cultural legacy. Its distinctive design blends Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese architectural traditions.

When you walk across the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge and see the breathtaking views of the poetic Thu Bon River, it’s easy to be impressed by the talent and artistry that went into constructing it.

Japanese Covered Bridge
Japanese Covered Bridge

Address: 186, Trần Phú, Thành phố Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam

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Hoi An Silk Village

The Hoi An Silk Village is another must-see destination in Hoi An. Here, visitors can learn about the traditional silk-making process. It’s fascinating to observe the silk weavers at work and watch the cocoons transform into thread. And if you’re looking for a souvenir of your trip, the beautiful silk products are sure to catch your eye.

hoi an silk village
Hoi An Silk Village

Address: 28, Nguyễn Tất Thành, Thành phố Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam

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Assembly Hall Of The Fujian Chinese Congregation

Another iconic structure in the old town is the Fujian Assembly Hall. This magnificent Chinese-style temple is one of the most beautiful in Hoi An. Its intricate carvings, sculptures, and paintings showcase the town’s cultural diversity and tell the stories of the Chinese merchants who once lived in the old houses of Hoi An. If you’re interested in exploring more of Hoi An’s Chinese influences, Quan Cong Temple is a must-visit destination.

Fujian Hall Assembly Hall Hoi An
Assembly Hall Of The Fujian Chinese Congregation

Address: 46, Trần Phú, Thành phố Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam

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An Bang Beach

If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the town, An Bang Beach is the perfect retreat. This beautiful, long stretch of sandy beach is just a short bike ride from Hoi An and the ideal spot to unwind and soak up some sun.

Cua Dai beach is one of the most beautiful beaches near Hoi An, boasting soft sand and warm blue waters. It’s definitely worth checking out as well!

Staying in Da Nang? Discover the best beaches in Da Nang that are worth visiting!

an bang beach
An Bang Beach

Address: Đường Hai Bà Trưng, Thành phố Hội An, Quảng Nam, Vietnam

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Hoi An Museums

No trip to Hoi An is complete without a visit to the group of Hoi An Museums. These exceptional museums are a treasure trove of information about the town’s past and present. With its collection of antiques and displays, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the town’s rich cultural legacy.

In conclusion, Hoi An is a town that will capture your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories. Each must-see site is more stunning and impressive than the last, a testament to the town’s remarkable cultural heritage. So why not plan your trip today and experience the magic of Hoi An for yourself?

hoi an museum
Hoi An Museums

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3. Discover Unforgettable Experiences in Hoi An Ancient Town

Besides the must-see attractions, this old town offers unique experiences you won’t find anywhere else. Here are some of our favorites!

Join Hoi An Lantern Festival

Hoi An Lantern Festival takes place on the fourteenth day of every lunar month. During this festival, the town is filled with thousands of multicolored lanterns, creating a magnificent atmosphere. Visitors can also take part in other traditional customs, such as releasing their own colorful lanterns into the river.

Love this immersive experience? Find out when the charming Hoi An Lantern Festival takes place!

Hoi An lantern festival
Two small kids selling handmade lanterns to tourists in the streets of the old city. Tradition says that wishes come true if you let the lanterns swim // Photo by Jazzmany / Shutterstock

Take A Riverboat Ride

One of the best vantage points for viewing Hoi An is from the boat. Observe the town’s architecture differently by taking a riverboat excursion. Even a sunset cruise can be a wonderful and romantic experience.

hoi an ancient town
Observe the town’s architecture differently by taking a riverboat excursion. // Photo by bestpricetravel

Cycle To Nearby Rice Paddies

Hoi An, the heart of Quang Nam province, is surrounded by lush green rice paddies that offer a peaceful escape from the town’s hustle and bustle. Therefore, you should rent a bike and take a leisurely ride through the countryside, stopping to take pictures and admire the stunning scenery.

Experience the authentic daily life of the Vietnamese people with our Hoi An Eco Green Tour!

cycle in hoi an
Rent a bike and take a leisurely ride through the countryside! // Photo by Hidden Hoi An

Shop For Local Handicrafts

Shopping for local handicrafts is a highly recommended activity in Hoi An. The old town is famous for handicrafts, including silk lanterns, pottery, and woodcarvings. The markets and streets there are filled with local vendors selling their wares.

Take some time to browse and find the perfect souvenirs to take home. Hoi An Silk Village is a great place to start. Here, visitors can learn about the traditional silk-making process and purchase silk products, including clothing, scarves, and bags.

Related Article: Vietnamese Markets 2023 – Everything You Need To Know

local handicraft in hoi an
The old town is famous for handicrafts, including silk lanterns, pottery, and woodcarvings. // Photo by Hidden Hoi An

Take A Cooking Class With A Local Chef

Experience the flavors of Vietnam by enrolling in a cooking class with a local chef in the old town of Hoi An. While enjoying the picturesque ambiance of Hoi An, learn how to make traditional cuisine using fresh and locally available ingredients.

This immersive experience is ideal for foodies and visitors alike, and it’s a unique opportunity to engage with the local culture. A cooking lesson in Hoi An is a memorable experience that will leave you with new skills and tasty memories, whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner.

Choose from a selection of cooking workshops ranging from half-day to full-day programs to immerse yourself in Vietnamese culinary traditions.

Learn to cook authentic Vietnamese cuisine in our Hoi An cooking class!

cooking class in hoi an
A cooking lesson in Hoi An is a memorable experience that will leave you with new skills and tasty memories. // Photo by vncarrentals

Check Out The Nightlife

Last but not least, Hoi An offers a vibrant nightlife with various pubs, eateries, and nightclubs. The streets come to life with lively lighting and music, creating a festive atmosphere. You can enjoy a refreshing beer or cocktail with your friends and take in the bustling scene. Many bars also host live music events and performances, adding to the excitement of the night.

hoi an night life
People eat outside in the evening at beautifully decorated restaurants. // Photo by Gunter Nuyts / Shutterstock

4. Savor The Flavors Of Hoi An Ancient Town

Hoi An is well-known not just for its rich culture and history, but also for its delectable culinary offerings. Hoi An has established itself as a gourmet destination with a combination of Vietnamese, Chinese, and French influences, offering a variety of unique and delectable cuisine.

Cao Lau is one of the most well-known meals from Hoi An. Thick noodles, pork, and fresh greens are presented in a delicious broth in this meal. Cao Lau’s distinct flavor is attributed to the local water, which is thought to be the secret ingredient. White Rose Dumplings, constructed of translucent rice paper packed with minced shrimp and herbs, topped with crispy shallots, and served with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce, are another must-order item.

Visitors may discover these regional specialties from street food sellers, family-owned restaurants, and small markets across town. Hoi An Central Market is a must-see for real Vietnamese cuisine including Banh Mi, a Vietnamese-style sandwich, and Mi Quang, a noodle dish with a creamy broth and fresh veggies. Other famous meals include Com Ga, a delicious chicken rice, and Banh Xeo, a crispy rice flour pancake packed with prawns and bean sprouts.

Love street foods in Vietnam? Discover the top 10 must-try street food experiences!

food in hoi an
Hoi An has established itself as a gourmet destination, offering a variety of unique and delectable cuisine. // Photo by Hidden Hoi An

Great Tips For Your Trip To Hoi An Ancient Town

Planning your trip to Hoi An can be an exciting experience, but choosing the right time to go is essential. The best months to visit Hoi An are February to April and August to October.

The weather is mild and comfortable during these months, making it ideal for exploring this beautiful town. You’ll also encounter fewer tourists during these months, allowing you to enjoy Hoi An’s attractions without the crowds.

Transportation Options To Hoi An Ancient Town

There are various methods to get to Hoi An, whether you are flying into Vietnam or already in the country.

If you’re traveling from Ho Chi Minh City, the quickest and most convenient choice is to fly, which takes only one hour and thirty minutes. In the meantime, Da Nang Airport is about 30 kilometers away from Hoi An. You may simply find a taxi or organize private transportation from there to Hoi An. If you are coming from Hue, you may take a three-hour bus or vehicle excursion to Hoi An. You may also take a train to Da Nang City and then travel to Hoi An by bus, motorcycle, or taxi.

Regardless of your favorite form of transportation, getting to Hoi An is simple and quick.

Related Article: Vietnam Transportation | How To Get Around In 2023

da nang dragon bridge
Da Nang is in close proximity to Hoi An, making it possible for you to visit Hoi An during your stay in Da Nang. // Photo by Hotels.com

How To Get Around Hoi An Ancient Town?

The most recommended way to discover the ancient town of Hoi An is on foot or by renting a bicycle. It is an easy and inexpensive way to navigate the narrow streets and alleys and explore the town’s hidden gems.

Experience the charm of rural life in just one day with our Hoi An Basket Boats and Buffalo Tour!

If you plan to travel further or to destinations outside the town, you can rent a motorbike or take a taxi. However, it’s important to keep in mind that riding a motorbike can be dangerous if you’re inexperienced, so proceed with caution. Additionally, taking a cab can be costly, so consider your budget and transportation needs carefully before making a decision.

hoi an ancient town
Choose an easy and inexpensive way to navigate the narrow streets and alleys and explore the town’s hidden gems. // Photo by VinWonders

Best Places To Stay In Hoi An Ancient Town

Whether you’re a budget traveler or seeking luxurious accommodations, Hoi An ancient town has options to suit your needs. You can opt to stay in the ancient town for close proximity to all the attractions or choose to stay near the beach for a more relaxed atmosphere. Homestays and guesthouses provide affordable options that allow you to experience local life and interact with friendly hosts.

On the other hand, luxury resorts offer breathtaking views and a range of amenities, including swimming pools, spas, and private beaches. With a plethora of options available, you’re sure to find the perfect accommodation to suit your preferences and make your stay in Hoi An unforgettable.

Vin pearl Hoi an
Vinpearl Resort & Spa Hoi An welcomes you with romantic rooms and an outdoor infinity pool of 1,344 square meters – the largest in Hoi An, facing Cua Dai Beach and beautiful Cu Lao Cham island. // Photo courtesy of Vinpearl

Should You Visit Hoi An Ancient Town?

Hoi An is not just a destination; it’s a world of enchantment that will captivate any traveler. Its vibrant streets, exquisite architecture, and bustling markets offer a glimpse into the past while celebrating the present. From the moment you step into the old town, the ancient traditions of Vietnam come to life through the warmth and hospitality of its people.

Whether you’re wandering through the colorful markets, savoring the delectable street food, or lounging on the sandy beaches, Hoi An ancient town is a place that will invigorate and inspire you. Its beauty lies not just in its monuments and buildings but in the richness of its culture and the genuine kindness of its locals.

Explore and learn about traditional fishing techniques with the Hoi An Cam Thanh Eco Village tour!

Hoi An Cam Thanh Eco Village
Hoi An Cam Thanh Eco Village provides the best insights into the social and cultural life of the local people in Hoi An’s rural communities.

Ready To Explore Hoi An?

Take a guided tour of Hoi An to discover the true essence of this enchanting destination. Our experienced guides will lead you through the colorful streets, introduce you to the friendly locals, and reveal the fascinating history and culture of this remarkable town.

Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in Hoi An’s vibrant markets, taste the delicious street food, and relax on the stunning beaches. With our expert guidance, you’ll see the best of Hoi An and create unforgettable memories.

Book your day trips to Hoi An today and let us help you experience the magic of Vietnam.

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Tiffany Hoang
Brand Representative - Vietnam Is Awesome