🏮 Hoi An Travel Guide: 8 Great Things To Do, 3-Day Itinerary and Cost Breakdown

A river with many boats on it carrying round lanterns.

Of all the places I’ve visited in Vietnam in 2022, Hoi An in Central Vietnam was one of my favorite places. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An is a cute, small town known as the food capital of Vietnam and the tailoring capital of the world.

Here, I share practical tips on getting around Hoi An and what to do and eat there based on hours of research and actual experience. I also share a 3-day itinerary, a map with all recommended places and my trip’s $358 cost breakdown.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Quick Travel Facts for Hoi An

👗 Known for: Hoi An is known as the place to get custom-made clothes, eat excellent Vietnamese food, and the place where lanterns light up the river and town at night.

🏮 Vibe: Hoi An has a small, touristy, and relaxed vibe, resembling a beach town without the beach.

📍 Location: Located in Central Vietnam, Hoi An is 500 miles south of Hanoi city and 530 miles north of Ho Chi Minh city.

✈️ How to visit: You can get to Hoi An by bus, train, car or plane. I flew into Da Nang International Airport and took a 40-minute taxi ride to Hoi An that was arranged by my Airbnb host (see below on to get around Hoi An).

☀️ When to visit: The most popular time to visit Hoi An is during the dry season, which is from February to August (average highs of 85°F). September to January is the wet season (average highs of 80°F). I went in November and didn’t personally experience any rain.

⏳ How long to visit: It’s recommended to spend 3-5 days in Hoi An. You’ll need 2-3 days to get a custom-made clothing piece and to explore the town. I stayed for 4 days, which gave me enough time to do a lot of things with some downtime.

This Vietnam travel guide has more general tips and basics on the country

Getting Around Hoi An

From Da Nang International Airport, you can call a Grab, the Uber of Southeast Asia, or have a pre-arranged taxi take you into Hoi An (a ~40-minute drive that cost $12 for me).

Once you’re in Hoi An, there are several ways to get around:

  • Walk. Hoi An is a small, very walkable town. In fact, the main town area is pedestrian-only.
A sign on a street that says "Walking and Cycling Town" in English and Vietnamese.
A pedestrian and cycling sign in Hoi An’s Old Town area.
  • Bike. Many accommodations provide bikes for free or you can rent one around town.

Given how pedestrian-heavy Hoi An is, biking there makes the most sense to get to Tra Que Vegetable Village and An Bang beach (a ~15 min bike ride).

  • Hire a driver. Hoi An has an informal market for drivers. Many locals (e.g., your Airbnb host, tour guide, tailor) are happy to arrange a ride for you. These rides are usually more affordable than calling a Grab.
  • Call a Grab (iOS, Android). Grab is the Uber of 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.
  • Hire a tuk-tuk. Similar to other tourist areas, you can hire a tuk-tuk. A handful of them are usually waiting around the town looking for riders.

Grab generally has competitive pricing; a pro tip is to use Grab as a baseline for negotiations with tuk-tuks since the latter tend to charge more.

8 Great Things To Do in Hoi An

After spending 4 activity-packed days in Hoi An, here is what I recommend doing in approximate order of priority.

This Google Map has all the Hoi An places mentioned in this list.

A map of Hoi An with red pins highlighting certain locations mostly in Old Town.
Map of Hoi An, Vietnam.

1. Get tailor-made clothes

Why: Hoi An is the tailoring capital of the world. With over 500 tailor stores, you can find a tailor for any type of clothing no matter your budget. It’s a popular place for both men (getting a nice suit) and women (getting a nice dress, power suit or jump suit).

A woman fixing the waist of the blog author's dress.
Getting adjustments done at Tuong Tailor.

What to do: Walk around, find a tailor shop that serves your style, needs and budget, and work with them to create custom-made pieces.

Duration: Getting a tailored piece will typically require you to be in Hoi An for 2-3 full days.

Cost: The cost of your tailored clothes will depend on what you want made (casual vs. a suit) and which tailor shop you work with (budget, middle or high-end).

My 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 taking the opportunity to get a piece of clothing specifically designed and fitted for you.

I got 3 dresses tailored in Hoi An for $35, $80 and $90. This Hoi An tailor guide walks through the process of getting custom clothes and provides tips along the way.

2. Eat Hoi An-specific food

Why: Hoi An is known as the food capital of Vietnam, offering dishes that are unique to this town.

What and where to eat: Below are some Hoi An food classics and great places to eat them.

  • White Rose Restaurant. “White rose” dumplings are a Hoi An specialty and this is the restaurant that created them (the recipe has been kept secret for 3 generations). They only have 2 items on the menu. A serving of the dumplings cost ~$3.
Shrimp and vegetable dumplings with golden shallots on a plate.
The well-known white rose dumplings.
  • Quán Cao Lầu Thanh. Cao lầu is another Hoi An specialty compromised of a chewy noodle topped with pork and vegetables. They say a real cao lầu must be made in Hoi An because the noodle is soaked in a specific water from the town. I ate cao lầu at 3 different restaurants and this was by far the best tasting one. My meal cost ~$2 with a soy milk drink.
A noodle dish with yellow-tinted noodles, pork and vegetables.
The best tasting cao lầu I had.
  • Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen. Bánh mì, a baguette sandwich filled with savory ingredients, is not specific to Hoi An, but this was the best-tasting bánh mì I’ve ever had. It’s popular with tourists and locals, and they ran out of the popular pork belly version by 2pm. My meal cost ~$2 with a juice.
A baquette stuffed with egg and pork with watermelon juice on the side.
Bánh mì at Madam Khanh.
  • Nhỏ ơi Cafe. Salted coffee originated from a nearby town, Hue, and this place is known for it. I generally don’t drink that much caffeine, but I liked their salted coffee so much that I ended up drinking two for less than $1.
The blog author standing in front of a coffee shop with many plants.
Standing in front of Nhỏ ơi Cafe.
  • Mót Hội An. This Instagram-friendly place is popular for an herbal tea made of ginger, lemongrass and monk fruit and is considered healthy. I didn’t find the tea to be exceptional, but I came back twice for it’s silky “sweet tofu” that cost ~$1.
A shop decorated with different plants and lanterns.
The Instagram-friendly Mót Hoi An.
  • 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 exactly 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).

My take: If you don’t care too much about food, I would at least try to eat cao lầu in Hoi An given its uniqueness.

3. Take a day trip to Da Nang

Why: Da Nang is easily accessible from Hoi An and offers a different, more chill experience than Hoi An. I went to two tourist areas, but most of Da Nang is not for tourists.

What to do:

  • Hike around Marble Mountains and admire the various statues, temples, caves, pagodas and viewpoints.
Many statues of dragon carved in marble.
Statues near the entrance of Marble Mountains.
  • Visit Lady Buddha, the tallest statue in Vietnam, and enjoy the best view of the town.
Gates with decorated archways and a giant statue in the background.
Walking through the gates of Lady Buddha.

Getting there: Call a Grab or arrange a driver through a local (more affordable). My tailor shop lady arranged a driver to take me to and from Marble Mountains (a ~35-minute drive) and Lady Buddha (an additional ~25-minute drive) for $28. You can also hire a guide to show you around, and these tours usually include transportation as well.

Duration: Expect at least a half-day trip with the drive time. Marble Mountains takes 2-3 hours to visit if you want to see all or most of it. The area around Lady Buddha can be walked in 30-60 minutes.

Cost: Marble Mountains has a ~$1.60 entrance fee. Lady Buddha doesn’t have an entrance fee.

My take: Marble Mountains is a great stop if you’re looking for something more active in Central Vietnam that’s less than an hour away. It offered enough different things (e.g. caves, temples, statues) that it didn’t get repetitive or boring.

4. Take a cooking class

Why: Being the food capital of Vietnam, Hoi An offers many cooking classes that are paired with other activities.

What to do: Book a cooking class through your preferred tour operator. Things to consider when booking:

  • Menu. Some classes have a set menu whereas others are more improvised.
  • Activity. Common activities offered with the classes include farming, market shopping, boat basket riding and crabbing.
  • Environment. Some classes are offered indoors at the chef’s home while others are an in an open area.
The blog author wearing a chef's hat and apron while stirring noodles in a wok.
Making cao lầu at my cooking class.

Duration: Most classes will be half-day (4-6 hours). Some are full-day classes.

Cost: Classes will range from $30-$60. The Hoi An cooking class I took ~$30, and included a market stop, boat basket ride, crabbing and making 4+ dishes.

My take: A cooking class offers a glimpse into how some of your favorite Vietnamese food is made. How much of the cooking class you’ll actually be able to replicate at home depends on the individual (for me, it’s likely very little, so it was more of an experience than a class).

5. Visit Hoi An’s night market

Why: Hoi An’s traditional lantern crafting has been around for 400+ years and the night market next to the Thu Bồn river lights up with them at night.

What to do: Shop for souvenirs, pay a lantern shop $0.50 to take a photo, watch the river light up with lanterns, and try a street food snack (heads up: there’s not a lot of food diversity at this market, but there are plenty of restaurants nearby).

The blog author sitting down while being surrounded by more than a dozen lanterns.
Taking a lantern picture at Hoi An’s night market.

Getting there: Located in the heart of Hoi An near the Thu Bon river, the night market is easily reached by foot from most places in town.

Duration: 1-2 hours is sufficient to explore this area at night.

Cost: There’s no entrance fee for the night market.

My take: Because of the lanterns everywhere, the night 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 walk around at night.

6. Ride a lantern boat or basket boat

Why: Riding a basket or lantern boat is a quintessential Hoi An activity.

  • With lantern boats, which are wooden boats with lanterns on them, you can release a candled lantern into the river for a wish (but it pollutes the river, so I didn’t do this).
  • Basket boats are iconic in Vietnam. According to a widely accepted origin story, Vietnamese fisherman created the unique, round vessels to successfully circumvent boat taxes imposed by the French.
A couple with Vietnamese straw hats sitting on a bowl-shaped boat.
Riding a basket boat at the Coconut Village.

Lantern Boats:

  • How to ride: There are dozens of lantern boats waiting for riders along Thu Bồn in Hoi An’s Old Town area. Riding around sunset is popular.
  • Duration: A 15-minute ride is likely sufficient, but you can go for longer.
  • Cost: A 15-minute ride costs ~$2/person. The rate increases for 30-minutes and longer.

Basket Boats:

  • How to ride: Cam Thanh Coconut Village is where most 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 tours (e.g., the cooking class I did, fishing classes, bike tours) offer basket boat rides as part of the tour.
  • Duration: A basket boat ride is usually ~1 hour.
  • Cost: Vehicle parking at Coconut Village is ~$0.80; motorcycles and bikes are free. A basket boat ride is typically $4-8/person.

My take: Basket boat riding is neither exciting nor tranquil (there are a lot of tourists and the water isn’t clear), but going crabbing in a basket boat is surprisingly entertaining.

7. Bike to Tra Que Vegetable Village and An Bang Beach

Why: Get outside of Hoi An by taking a short bike ride to Tra Que Vegetable Village and/or An Bang Beach. Tra Que Vegetable Village is a small farm area and An Bang Beach is a relaxing beach.

What to do:

  • For a peaceful few hours, bike around Tra Que Vegetable Village and look at the farms and farming equipment. You can also take an organized tour if you are more interested in learning about the local crops and farming techniques.
The blog's author holding a bike next to a field of farm vegetables.
Biking to and around Tra Que Vegetable Village.
  • Relax on or walk around An Bang Beach. There are several food, drinks and rental chair vendors available by the beach.

Getting there: The main road, Hai Bà Trưng, has a bike lane that will take you from Hoi An to Tra Que Vegetable Village and An Bang Beach within 15 minutes.

Duration: You can spend a half or full day at the vegetable village with a tour or by relaxing on the beach.

Cost: There’s no biking allowed on An Bang Beach so if you visit by bike, you’ll need to pay $0.50 for bike parking.

My take: I spent a 2-3 hours biking and visiting the village and beach. I didn’t find either destination particularly compelling on its own, but getting to bike outside of the town and visiting two different areas is a nice option to have.

8. 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.

A couple sitting in front of a group of performers wearing show costumes.
The performers at Bamboo Circus.

Getting there: Bamboo Circus is performed at the Lune Center for Performing Arts in Hoi An.

Duration: The show lasts 1 hour.

Cost: The show costs $25/person and you can purchase tickets in person at the last minute.

My take: Bamboo Circus is not a “must-see” if you’ve seen other acrobatic shows, but it’s an entertaining and impressive show if you’re in the mood for one.

After Hoi An, head up to Northern Vietnam for a beautiful mountain motorbike adventure through the Ha Giang loop or to rock climb over the emerald water of Lan Ha Bay. To experience one of Vietnam’s more chaotic city, visit Hanoi.

3-day Itinerary for Hoi an

Below is how to spend 3 days in Hoi An while doing all the activities and eating all the food mentioned above. For more downtime, you can do everything in 4-5 days.

This itinerary resembles how I spent my 4 days in Hoi An while incorporating improvements. I’ve included some of my actual timestamps to give you an idea of how long you might need for each activity and how to efficiently sequence things.

Day 1Arrive in Hoi An. I flew in from Northern Vietnam (morning).
Lunch at White Rose Restaurant (1:30pm-2:15pm)
Visit and select a tailor (2:30pm-4pm)
Walk around Old Town, Hoi An’s main area (4pm-6pm)
Show at Bamboo Circus (6pm-7pm)
Dinner near Hoi An night market (7:30pm-8:30pm)
Day 2Take a Hoi An cooking class, including a basket boat ride (9am-2pm)
Tailor shop fitting round 1 (2:30pm-3pm)
Bike to Tra Que Vegetable Village and An Bang Beach (4pm-6:30pm)
Dinner at Quán Cao Lầu Thanh (7pm-7:30pm)
Day 3Salted coffee at Nhỏ ơi Cafe (9:30am-10am)
Tailor shop fitting round 2 (10am-10:30am)
Lunch at Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen (12pm-1pm)
Da Nang day trip (1:30pm-6pm)
Final tailor fitting and clothes pick-up (6:30-7pm)
Dinner near Hoi An night market (7:30-8:30pm)

Where I Stayed In Hoi An

Here’s where I stayed in Hoi An and my thoughts on the place.

Factors I considered:

  • Proximity to Old Town. I wanted to be within walking distance of Old Town, Hoi An’s main area, but not be in the middle of it, so I could go back to a more quiet and local place.
  • Not a flood zone. I looked south on the little island connected to Old Town by a bridge, but avoided it since I’ve heard it can sometimes flood. It’s not common, but why take the risk if there are other equally good options?
  • Well-rated. I skimmed the Airbnb and Google ratings and picked one that had 4.5+ stars.
  • Not overpriced. Usually price is a factor, but given how affordable most accommodations were in Hoi An, the first 3 factors were more important.

Where I stayed:

Airbnb: Vinci Villa just north of Old Town in Hoi An and paid ~$10/night/person.

  • Pros: The staff is nice and helpful, the breakfast is amazing (their banana pancake was the best I had after trying over four others), the pool is clean, and it’s tucked away in a more residential and quiet area.
  • Cons: The rooms were relatively small. My first room was close to a rooster that woke up at 5am (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., jumps and barks at visitors).
A clear pool with a row of sun chairs and umbrella.
The pool outside my Vinci Villa room.

My Hoi An Trip’s Cost Breakdown

I stayed in Hoi An for 4 days and spent $358 ($90/day).

I split expenses with one other person on most things. All expenses are in USD, converted from Vietnamese Dong ($1 USD = 24,867 VND at the time of writing).

Cost Breakdown

🏠 Lodging: $52 ($13/night)

🚗 Transportation: $13 ($3/day)

🐠 Food: $21 ($5/day)

⭐ Activities and tours: $56 ($14/day)

  • Hoi An Bamboo Circus: $25
  • Hoi An cooking class with basket boat ride: $31

👗 Custom-made clothes: $215 ($54/day)

All my Vietnam travel expenses are broken down by category in this Vietnam cost breakdown.

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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