Hoi An is an ancient town known as the food capital of Vietnam and the tailoring capital of the world.
Three days is enough time to get custom clothes at affordable prices, go on a bamboo basket boat ride, and learn to cook local Vietnamese dishes.
I spent four amazing days in Hoi An, and here, I share great things to do and tips to optimize your itinerary. This post covers:
- ⭐️ Top things to do in Hoi An
- 🗓️ 3-day optimized itinerary
- 📍 Hoi An map with key places
- 🚙 How to get around
- 🏠 Where to stay
Planning a trip? Here’s what to know about Vietnam.
- Hoi An at a Glance
- Getting Around
- Itinerary Map
- 3-Day Itinerary
- Great Things To Do
- Where To Stay
- Vietnam Trip Planner
Disclosure: Lists By Lukiih is readers-supported. If you buy through an affiliate link on this post, I may earn a small commission. Thanks!
Hoi An at a Glance
Before getting into the itinerary, here’s some general information on Hoi An to help you plan your trip.
👗 What Is Hoi An Known For?
The town of Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for:
- Historical atmosphere – The center is called “Old Town,” as it’s known for its well-preserved historical buildings and heritage sites.
- Tailor shops – Nicknamed the “City of Tailors,” Hoi An boasts over 500 tailor shops ranging from high-end to budget.
- Unique cuisine – Hoi An has several food specialties not found in other places in Vietnam.
- Canals and lanterns – Also called the “Venice of the East,” the town has an atmospheric network of canals and lanterns that light up the streets at night.
🗓️ How Long To Spend in Hoi An?
Three to five days in Hoi An is sufficient to enjoy the town and see its top attractions.
You’ll need at least two to three days to get a custom-made clothing piece in Hoi An.
I stayed in Hoi An for four days, which was enough time to also visit nearby Da Nang. I could have stayed a day longer and not gotten tired of the small town.
📍 Where Is Hoi An Located?
Hoi An is in the Quang Nam Province in Central Vietnam. Here’s how far the town is in relation to the major cities:
|Where is Hoi An?
|500 miles south
|Ho Chi Minh City
|560 miles north
☀️ Best Time To Visit Hoi An
The old town of Hoi An has a tropical climate. The best and most popular time to visit it is during Vietnam’s dry season.
- Dry season – runs from February to August with average temperature highs of 85 °F.
- Rainy season – runs from September to January with average temperature highs of 80 °F.
I visited Hoi An in November and didn’t experience any rain. The weather was sunny, and I wore summer clothes every day.
💰 Is Hoi An Expensive To Visit?
Like the rest of Vietnam, Hoi An is a very affordable and budget-friendly destination. It is a tourist town, so you’ll find prices comparable to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
What drives Hoi An average costs up is that many visitors get tailored outfits here. The tailored clothes are very cheap (and high quality) compared to other country’s prices, but they’re high for Vietnam.
- Mid-range budget travelers can expect to spend about $120 a day in Hoi An. (This assumes you’ll get tailored clothes.)
- Budget travelers can expect to spend about $30 a day in Hoi An. (This assumes you won’t get tailored clothes.)
Getting Around Hoi An
Here’s how to get to Hoi An and get around once you’re there.
✈️ How To Get to Hoi An
Hoi An is a 40-minute drive from the nearest airport, Da Nang International Airport (DAD). Da Nang’s airport is one of Vietnam’s three international airports and the only one in Central Vietnam.
From the airport, you can have a pre-arranged taxi ready or call a Grab, the Uber of Southeast Asia, to get to Hoi An.
My hotel arranged a driver for me, which cost $12 USD one-way.
👟 How To Get Around Hoi An
Once you’re in Hoi An, the best ways to get around are by walking, biking, hiring a driver, calling a Grab, or hiring a tuk-tuk.
- Walking – Due to its small size, the best way to get around Hoi An is on foot. The city center, called Old Town, is pedestrian-only. You can walk from one end of Old Town to the other end in about 10 minutes.
- Biking – Many accommodations in Hoi An provide rental bikes for free. You can easily rent one around town if your accommodation doesn’t provide them.
Given how pedestrian-friendly Hoi An is, biking is mainly necessary to get out of the town. For example, An Bang Beach is a popular destination that’s only a 15-minute bike ride from Old Town.
- Hire a Driver – Hoi An has an informal market for hiring drivers. These rides are usually more affordable than calling a Grab. My Hoi An tailor arranged for a local to drive me around Da Nang for several hours for a total of $28 USD.
Many locals (e.g., your Airbnb host, tour guide, tailor) are happy to arrange a ride for you. If you trust a local, simply ask them.
- Grab (iOS, Android) – Grab is the main ridesharing app in Southeast Asia and is available in Hoi An. While I used Grab in other parts of Vietnam, I never used it in Hoi An since the other modes of transportation were more convenient.
- Tuk-Tuk – A handful of tuk-tuks usually wait around the town looking for riders.
The app has competitive pricing, so use Grab as a baseline for negotiations with tuk-tuks.
Hoi An Itinerary Map
This map has all the recommended places in the Hoi An travel itinerary below.
3-Day Itinerary for Hoi An
This Hoi An itinerary efficiently sequences attractions and activities the town is famous for.
I’ve also included suggested times for each activity based on my firsthand experience.
|Day 1 in Hoi An
|Arrive in Hoi An
|Have lunch at White Rose Restaurant
|Select and visit a tailor shop
|Explore Old Town; see the Japanese Covered Bridge
|Catch a show at Bamboo Circus
|Have dinner in Hoi An Night Market
|Day 2 in Hoi An
|Take a Hoi An cooking class and go on a basket boat ride
|9 am–2 pm
|Tailor shop fitting round 1
|Visit an assembly hall
|Bike to Tra Que Vegetable Village and An Bang Beach
|Have dinner at Quán Cao Lầu Thanh
|Day 3 in Hoi An
|Try salted coffee
|Tailor shop fitting round 2
|Have lunch at Madam Khanh
|Take a day trip to Da Nang
|Final tailor fitting and pick-up clothes
|Have dinner in Hoi An Night Market
With More Time in Hoi An
Given its proximity, Da Nang is the most convenient day trip from Hoi An. It’s a place worth visiting and spending extra time in.
If you have extra days in Hoi An, you can travel further and do other popular day trips from Hoi An:
- My Son Sanctuary – This ancient ruin is about an hour west of Hoi An. It’s better to visit the sanctuary as part of a guided tour to learn about its history and significance.
- Ba Na Hills – The Ba Na Hills is about two hours northwest of Hoi An. Its two most famous attractions are the Ba Na Hills cable car systems, which give you amazing views of the mountains, and the Golden Bridge, which has become world-renowned for its beauty.
This well-rated Ba Na Hills tour takes you to both attractions and provides transportation.
- Cham Island – This small island near Hoi An can be reached in 20 minutes by speedboat. It doesn’t have many accommodations, but it’s a great place to get away, go snorkeling, and enjoy the white sand and natural beauty.
11 Great Things To Do in Hoi An
Having spent four packed days in Hoi An, I share my recommendations and honest opinions on the top attractions and activities below, listed in rough order of priority.
All prices mentioned in this post are in USD 💵 .
1. Get Tailor-Made Clothes
🤔 Why: Known as the tailoring capital of the world, Hoi An is the perfect place to get custom-made clothes. It’s a popular place to get a tailor-made suit or a formal dress.
Hoi An has over 500 tailor shops, so you can find a tailor for any type of clothing, no matter your budget.
💰 Expected Cost: Budget anywhere from $5 to $500, depending on what you want made (e.g., casual vs. a suit) and which tailor shop you work with (e.g., budget, middle, or high-end).
Generally, high-quality custom-made clothes in Hoi An will be significantly cheaper than those made in the United States.
⏰ Suggested Duration: Requires you to be in Hoi An for 2 to 3 days.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: It’s difficult to find the quality-to-price ratio offered by tailors in Hoi An, so if you have the time, I recommend getting a piece of clothing specifically designed and fitted for you.
Learn about the Hoi An tailor shop process and typical prices.
2. Eat Hoi An Specialty Food
🤔 Why: Known as the food capital of Vietnam, Hoi An has local cuisine unique to this town. One of the best things to do in Hoi An is to eat at a local restaurant serving Hoi An specialty foods.
🥟 Where To Eat: Below are Hoi An local food specialties and some of the best restaurants to eat them. I tried all of these places and share my honest opinion.
- White Rose Restaurant created the famous “white rose” dumplings, a Hoi An specialty. The recipe has been kept secret for three generations, and the restaurant has only two items on the menu. A serving of the dumplings will cost about $3.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: The white rose dumplings were unique and aesthetic but not the most phenomenal dumplings I’ve ever had. For the cheap price, they’re definitely worth trying.
- Quán Cao Lầu Thanh serves cao lầu, one of Hoi An’s most famous traditional dishes. The dish is comprised of a chewy noodle topped with pork and vegetables. They say a real cao lau must be made in Hoi An because the noodle is soaked in specific water from the town. My one bowl of cao lau and a soy milk drink cost about $2.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: I ate cao lau at three different restaurants, and Quán Cao Lầu Thanh was by far the best place for this noodle dish. If you don’t care too much about food, I would at least try to eat cao lau in Hoi An given its uniqueness.
- Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen is famous for their bánh mì, a baguette sandwich filled with savory ingredients. My bánh mì and watermelon juice cost about $2.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: This was the best-tasting bánh mì I’ve ever had. The restaurant is popular with tourists and locals, and they ran out of the popular pork belly sandwich by 2 pm, so try to get there early.
Another popular place to get bánh mì in Hoi An is at Bánh Mì Phượng, which is about an eight-minute walk from Madam Khanh.
- Nhỏ ơi Cafe serves salted coffee, which originated in the nearby town of Hue. This cafe is known for serving one of the best versions of it. I got two cups of salted coffee for less than $1.
This cafe is sadly permanently closed, but there are many coffee shops in Hoi An. An alternative place to try salted coffee in Hoi An is Thợ Dệt Coffee – Tơ Tằm Đại Sứ.
- Mót Hội An is an Instagram-friendly cafe popular for its herbal tea made of ginger, lemongrass, and monk fruit. A Mót tea costs less than $1.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: I didn’t find Mót tea exceptional, but I returned twice for its silky sweet tofu that cost about $1.
- Street food bites – It’s fun to walk around Hoi An and try whatever snack catches your eye, regardless of whether it’s Hoi An specific or not. I tried banana pancakes (they have a crepe and fried version; the latter is delicious), banana sticky rice (which is what it sounds like–a banana wrapped in sticky rice), ice cream rolls (fun to watch them make and eat) and mango cakes (tasted like mochi with peanut butter, not mango).
- Morning glory – Widely cultivated in Southeast Asia, morning glory is a vegetable not specific to Hoi An or Vietnam, but several restaurants (like Nostalife) prepare it exceptionally well. Morning glory can also be found in many of Hoi An’s local markets.
If you want to eat more local food and take the hassle out of planning your Hoi An meals, you can also go on a highly-rated Hoi An street food tour.
3. Take a Day Trip to Da Nang
🤔 Why: Da Nang is easily accessible from Hoi An and offers a more relaxed experience. While it has some tourist attractions, Da Nang is more local and residential than Hoi An.
✨ Top Things To Do: The following are two great things to check out in Da Nang:
- Hike around the Marble Mountains and admire the various statues, temples, caves, pagodas, and viewpoints.
- Visit Lady Buddha (also called “Chùa Linh Ứng”), the tallest statue in Vietnam. This area also offers the best view of Da Nang.
🚗 Getting There: To get to Da Nang from Hanoi, call a Grab or arrange a driver through a local. My tailor shop lady arranged for a local driver to take me to and from Marble Mountains (a 35-minute drive) and Lady Buddha (an additional 25-minute drive) for $28.
If you don’t want to plan a Da Nang day trip, you can hire a guide to show you around. This usually includes transportation to the various locations.
💰 Admission Fee: Marble Mountains has a $2 entrance fee. Lady Buddha has no entrance fee.
⏰ Suggested Duration: Budget at least a half-day trip to Da Nang. Marble Mountains takes two to three hours to visit if you want to see all or most of it. The area around Lady Buddha can be walked in 30 minutes to one hour.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: Marble Mountains is a great place to check out if you’re looking for something more active in Central Vietnam less than an hour away. Da Nang offered enough different things (e.g., caves, temples, statues) that it didn’t get repetitive or boring.
4. Take a Hoi An Cooking Class
🤔 Why: As Vietnam’s food capital, Hoi An naturally offers many great cooking classes paired with other local activities.
👩🍳 Choosing a Cooking Class: There are many Hoi An cooking classes to choose from. Here are some things to consider when choosing and booking a class:
- The menu – Some classes have a set menu, whereas others are more improvised.
- Activity offered – Most classes offer an activity aside from cooking. Common activities offered by the classes include farming, shopping at a local market for fresh produce, riding a boat basket riding, and crabbing.
- Ambiance – Some classes are offered indoors at the chef’s home, while others are in an open area.
I took this Hoi An cooking class. The food was phenomenal, but the ingredients and techniques were more advanced than I expected.
⏰ Suggested Duration: 4 to 6 hours
💰 Expected Cost: Classes range from $30 to $60. I paid about $30, and my class included a local market stop, a boat basket ride, crabbing, and making more than four dishes.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: A Hoi An cooking class offers a glimpse into how some of your favorite Vietnamese food is made. How much of the cooking class you’ll be able to replicate at home depends on you. For me, it was more of an experience than an educational class.
5. Visit Hoi An’s Night Market
🤔 Why: Hoi An’s traditional lantern-making has been around for 400+ years, and the central market next to the Thu Bồn River is lit up with them at night.
Hoi An hosts a lantern festival every month. See 2024 festival dates.
🏮Top Things To Do: While walking around Hoi An’s night market, you can shop for souvenirs, pay a lantern shop $0.50 to take a photo, watch the river light up with colorful lanterns, listen to live music, and try a street food snack.
Many food stalls sell the same snacks in Hoi An’s market, but plenty of local restaurants are nearby if you want to eat something else.
👟 Getting There: Located in the heart of Hoi An near the Thu Bon River, the Hoi An night market is easily reached by foot from most places in town.
💰 Admission Fee: Free
⏰ Suggested Duration: 1 to 2 hours
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: Because of the lanterns everywhere, the central market at Hoi An has a particularly aesthetically pleasing vibe compared to other night markets in Asia. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s nice to just walk around at night.
6. Ride a Lantern or Bamboo Basket Boat
🤔 Why: Riding a bamboo basket or lantern boat is a quintessential Hoi An activity.
- Lantern boats are wooden boats with lanterns. You can release a candled lantern into the river for a wish (but it pollutes the river, so I didn’t do this).
- Bamboo basket boats are iconic in Vietnam. According to a widely accepted origin story, Vietnamese fishermen created these unique, round vessels to successfully circumvent boat taxes imposed by the French.
How to Ride Lantern Boats
There are dozens of lantern boats waiting for riders along Thu Bồn in Hoi An’s Old Town area. Riding a lantern boat is especially popular around sunset.
💰 Expected Cost: A 15-minute ride costs about $2 per person. The rate increases for a ride that’s 30 minutes or longer.
⏰ Suggested Duration: 15- to 30-minute boat ride is sufficient
How to Ride Bamboo Basket Boats
Cam Thanh Coconut Village is where most bamboo basket boats are located. It’s a 20-minute car ride from Hoi An. Once you get there, you can negotiate a ride with a basket boat driver.
Some other tours (e.g., cooking classes, fishing classes, bike tours) offer basket boat rides as part of the package.
💰 Expected Cost: Vehicle parking at Coconut Village is less than $1; motorcycles and bikes are free. A bamboo basket boat ride is typically $4 to $8 per person.
⏰ Suggested Duration: A ride is typically an hour long.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: Basket boat riding is not tranquil (there are many tourists, and the water isn’t clear), but going crabbing in one is surprisingly entertaining and amusing.
7. Bike to Tra Que Vegetable Village
🤔 Why: Get outside Hoi An by taking a short bike ride to Tra Que Vegetable Village. For a peaceful few hours, you can bike around the village, looking at the farms and interesting farming equipment.
You can also take a Tra Que organized tour to learn about the local crops and farming techniques.
🚲 Getting There: The main road, Hai Bà Trưng, has a bike lane that will take you from Hoi An to Tra Que Vegetable Village in about ten minutes.
💰 Admission Fee: Free
⏰ Suggested Duration: 20 minutes if self-guided; half a day with a tour
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: I spent about an hour biking and visiting the village. I didn’t find the destination extremely compelling, but I enjoyed the tranquil atmosphere, rice paddies, and local life outside of Hoi An.
8. Continue to Bike to An Bang Beach
🤔 Why: From Tra Que Vegetable Village, you can continue biking and reach An Bang Beach, a local relaxing beach. Several food, drinks, and rental chair vendors are available by the beach.
An alternative nearby beach you can visit is Cua Dai Beach, about two miles southeast of An Bang Beach. The sand and water are not as nice, but the beach is less crowded.
🚲 Getting There: The main road, Hai Bà Trưng, has a bike lane that will take you from Hoi An to An Bang Beach within 15 minutes.
💰 Admission Fee: Free; you need to pay $1 for bike parking.
⏰ Suggested Duration: Half a day to a full day
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: I spent a bit over an hour biking to and visiting An Bang Beach. The beaches in Da Nang are more popular and beautiful, but this was a nice nearby local alternative.
9. See an Acrobatic Show at Bamboo Circus
🤔 Why: Bamboo Circus is a show featuring acrobatics, singing, and Vietnamese culture. It uses bamboo as props in inventive ways.
👟 Getting There: Bamboo Circus is performed at the Lune Center for Performing Arts in Hoi An, so it’s within walking distance of the central area.
💰 Expected Cost: Tickets start at $25
⏰ Suggested Duration: 1 hour
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: Bamboo Circus is not a must-see if you’ve seen other acrobatic shows, but it’s entertaining and impressive if you’re in the mood for one.
10. Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge
🤔 Why: Chùa Cầu, also called the “Japanese Covered Bridge,” is a footbridge in Hoi An with a temple atop. Built in the 16th century, the bridge is a historical landmark that once linked the Japanese community to the Chinese quarters.
👟 Getting There: The Japanese Covered Bridge is near the Thu Bon River in Hoi An.
💰 Admission Fee: Free
⏰ Suggested Duration: 10 minutes
🍀 Lukih’s Take: Although an important landmark for Hoi An, I was underwhelmed by the Japanese Covered Bridge. When I visited it, it was swarmed by tourists, and no signs explained the bridge’s significance.
11. Visit Hoi An’s Assembly Halls
🤔 Why: Hoi An is known for its well-preserved architecture, and one thing you’ll see many of are the assembly halls. Assembly halls were communal houses built by the Chinese that act as historical landmarks showing the multicultural influence on Hoi An.
👟 Getting There: There are several assembly halls in Hoi An, including:
💰 Admission Fee: You need to buy a Hoi An Old Town ticket that costs about $5 to enter the assembly halls.
The Hoi An tourist tickets are sold at several ticket stations and will give you access to five preserved buildings around Hoi An.
⏰ Suggested Duration: 30 to 60 minutes. Hoi Quan Phuoc Kien is one of the bigger ones that will take longer.
🍀 Lukiih’s Take: I didn’t go inside any assembly halls and admired the designs from the outside. Visitors interested in traditional architecture and history seem to enjoy visiting them.
After Hoi An, go north to do the stunning Ha Giang Loop.
Where To Stay in Hoi An
Here’s some guidance on where to stay in Hoi An.
🏠 What To Consider
When choosing accommodation in Hoi An, here are some things to consider:
- Proximity to Old Town – You’ll spend a lot of time exploring Old Town, so it’s nice to be within walking distance. At the same time, you might not want to be in the middle of it and prefer a quieter, local location, so somewhere on the edge of Old Town is ideal.
- Non-flood zone – I considered staying south on the little island connected to Old Town by a bridge but avoided it since I’ve heard it can sometimes flood.
Although flooding is uncommon, you might want to avoid taking the risk since other equally good alternatives exist in non-flood zones.
- Ratings – With so many affordable, great accommodations in Hoi An, it’s worth skimming through Airbnb and Google ratings and picking a place with 4.0 or 4.5+ stars.
- Price – Price is usually an important accommodation factor, but given how affordable most accommodations are in Hoi An, consider the first three factors more heavily.
🏠 Where I Stayed
During my trip to Hoi An, I stayed at Vinci Villa just north of Old Town and paid about $10 per night. Here are my honest thoughts on the accommodation:
👍 Pros: The staff is friendly and helpful, the breakfast is amazing (their banana pancake was the best I had after trying over four others), the swimming pool is clean, and it’s tucked away in a more residential and quiet area.
👎 Cons: The rooms at Vinci Villa were relatively small. My first room was close to a rooster that woke me up at 5 am, but luckily, I was able to move to a different room. The owners have a very cute dog, but he’s not the best trained (e.g., he jumps and barks at visitors).
Vietnam Trip Planner
To make your travel planning easier, download the trip planner below and use it as a starting point. The planner has country-specific travel information, an itinerary, a packing list, and a map with key places pinned.
The trip planner is built on Notion, which I use for all my travel planning (I genuinely love this tool). If you don’t have Notion, creating an account is free.
If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below.
Vietnam Travel Guides
- 🇻🇳 Vietnam Travel Tips: 11 Practical Things To Know
- ⛰️ 7-10 Epic Days in North Vietnam: 3 Itinerary Options
- 🏍️ Preparing for the Ha Giang Loop: Safety + Packing List
- 🏮 Hoi An Guide: 11 Great Things To Do + 3-Day Itinerary
- 👗 My Hoi An Tailor Experience: Prices and What To Know
- 🍜 Hanoi Travel Guide: 14 Great Things To Do, Eat and Maybe Skip
- 💰 Trip to Vietnam Cost: 2024 Budget Breakdown
- 💧 How to Deep Water Solo in Vietnam: What to Know + Tips
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