Hoi An Vietnam - Things to know

Last updated - June 4, 2023
Hoi An Vietnam - Things to know

Once a bustling trading port, Hoi Anancient town has transformed into a rustic and captivating cultural haven that attracts visitors from all corners of the world. This enchanting town appears to have been untouched by the passage of time, proudly preserving its rich traditional heritage from the glorious bygone era.

Hoi An stands as a remarkable crossroads where Eastern and Western cultures converge, serving as a vibrant testament to the fusion of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and European influences evident in its cuisine, architecture, and local customs.

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Location of Hoi An

Situated in the center of Vietnam, the coastal plain of Quang Nam Province, Hoi An is a provincial town spanning approximately 64 square kilometers.

Nestled in the downstream region of the Thu Bon River, it finds itself 30 kilometers southeast of Da Nang City and approximately 50 kilometers northeast of Tam Ky City. Hoi An's strategic positioning endows it with a wealth of ecological and geographical diversity, making it a remarkable destination to explore.

Location of Hoi An Vietnam

Hoi An is characterized by its division into two distinct parts: the captivating Old Quarter, also known as Hoi An Ancient Town, and the remaining areas.

The Old Quarter, which falls under the jurisdiction of Minh An Ward, is home to vibrant streets such as Phan Chu Trinh, Tran Hung Dao, Tran Phu, Hai Ba Trung, Le Loi, and Nguyen Hue.

These bustling thoroughfares exude an irresistible charm, drawing visitors into their lively atmosphere. On the other hand, the other part of Hoi An boasts tranquil villages, picturesque beaches, and captivating ecotourism areas that demand your attention.

History of Hoi An

Hoi An's remarkable history spans several centuries, yet it has managed to preserve the essence of its earliest days. The city's historical significance is primarily associated with two pivotal periods: the influence of the Japanese and Chinese during the 16th and 17th centuries, and the arrival of Western powers, namely the Dutch and Spanish.

The charming beauty of Hoi An town

In its early years, during the era of maritime trade with China, the town was referred to as Hai Pho, meaning "Sea Town" in Vietnamese. At that time, Hai Pho was divided, with the Japanese settlement situated across the iconic "Japanese Bridge." As the town flourished, it garnered recognition as Faifo by the French and Spanish, establishing itself as a prominent international port city.

These historical chapters in Hoi An's past have left an indelible imprint on its present-day character. The diverse and enriching interactions with foreign cultures have profoundly influenced the city's vibrant traditions, pastimes, and unique cultural fabric.

How to get to Hoi An

If you are from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city, you have to take a flight to Danang airport. There are many flights per day for your options.
Or another way is by train to Danang railway station.

From Danang airport/ Danang railway station, there are some ways to get to Hoi An town:

By taxi
Traveling by taxi offers a faster alternative, with the journey typically taking between 30 to 45 minutes. To ensure a reliable and reputable service, consider selecting taxis from well-established companies such as Mai Linh, VinaSun, or Faifoo. These trusted taxi providers will ensure a comfortable and efficient transfer to Hoi An.
The fare is from $18 for the transfer from Danang ( airport or train station) to Hoi An ancient town.

By public bus
A mode of transportation between Danang and Hoi An is the public bus, commonly known as the "yellow bus" or bus number 1. Operating throughout the day, it departs every 20 minutes from 5:30 am to 6:00 pm. Passengers can purchase a one-way ticket directly on the bus, with each ticket priced at 18,000 VND ( $ 0.8). It is worth noting that the journey may take a bit longer, typically around 70-80 minutes, due to multiple stops along the route.

The yellow bus commences its journey from the Danang Center Bus Station, conveniently located 5 kilometers away from both the Danang International Airport and Danang Railway Station. It then concludes its route at the Hoi An Bus Station, situated approximately 2 kilometers from the Hoi An Ancient Town.

By Hoi An Express shuttle bus
With a reasonable price from Danang Airport to Hoi An, about $ 6. It is a good choice. Upon your arrival at the airport, a designated representative will be present to assist and guide you, making them easily identifiable.

The shuttle bus service, while convenient, may have multiple stops to accommodate other passengers. As a result, the journey duration is slightly extended, taking approximately 60 minutes to reach the destination. The shuttle bus operates hourly, starting from 5:00 am and running until 11:00 pm, providing flexible options for travelers throughout the day.

By private car
For the fastest, most comfortable, however it is a more expensive option, traveling by a private car is highly recommended. A private car provides you with complete control over your schedule and allows you to depart at your preferred time and location within the Danang to Hoi An.

Even if you arrive at Danang Airport or Danang Railway Station during the late hours of the night. The journey time from Danang to Hoi An by private car is approximately 45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions and the specific location of your hotel.

With this option, you don't need to worry about finding a taxi, negotiating fares, exchanging local currency, or explaining your hotel address for a taxi driver. This is an ideal choice for families with young children, small groups, or individuals seeking privacy and convenience during their transfer.

Best time to visit Hoi An

Located in the central region of Vietnam, Hoi An experiences a climate characterized by two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

The rainy season typically spans from September to the end of January.

The dry season in Hoi An lasts from February to August, with minimal rainfall and higher temperatures. Despite the dry season, the city benefits from its proximity to the ocean, which helps moderate the heat, making the weather in Hoi An more pleasant compared to other parts of Vietnam.

Great weather in Hoi An ancient town in early summer

In recent years, Hoi An ancient town has experienced occasional heavy flooding during the rainy season, primarily attributed to climate change. As a result, it is advisable for visitors to plan their trip during the dry season to avoid potential disruptions caused by flooding.

In summary, the ideal time to explore Hoi An is from February to July, encompassing the spring and early summer seasons. During this period, the climate offers comfortable, cool weather with endless blue skies, providing an optimal setting for your Hoi An adventure.

What to eat in Hoi An

Banh Mi Hoi An

Also called Hoi An bread in English. Bread holds a distinguished status as a renowned and beloved street food in Vietnam, but it undergoes unique preparations and variations across different regions, offering a delightful array of flavors. Within Hoi An's culinary scene, both domestic and international tourists are drawn to two prominent bread brands: Phuong bread and Madame Khanh bread. These establishments craft their bread using familiar ingredients but with their distinct recipes, resulting in Hoi An's extraordinary rendition of this dish.

Hoi An chicken rice

No Hoi An trip would be complete without savoring the delightful chicken rice prepared by the skilled hands of Hoi An's locals. This iconic dish features perfectly cooked and sticky rice accompanied by tender chicken, complemented with a medley of onions, papaya, and fragrant herbs.

A delicious Hoi An chicken rice

To enhance the flavors further, it is served alongside a refreshing salad. The combination of these elements creates a unique and delectable culinary masterpiece known as Hoi An chicken rice—an absolute must-try dish in Hoi An. Don't miss the opportunity to indulge in this local specialty and experience the exquisite blend of flavors that will leave you craving for more.

Cao Lau Hoi An

Cao Lau, a beloved dish in Hoi An, traces its origins back to the early 17th century, a time when the port of Hoi An flourished as a bustling trading hub. Contrary to popular belief, Cao Lau is not exclusively a Chinese or Japanese dish. Instead, it represents a beautiful amalgamation of diverse culinary influences from both Vietnam and international cultures.

This unique dish features a harmonious combination of elements—a flavorful broth, chewy noodles, and a variety of side ingredients such as minced meat and fresh vegetables. The addition of zesty lemon and spicy chili adds a delightful sour-spicy twist to the flavor profile.

Hoi An Sweet Soup

Hoi An sweet soup

Hoi An is renowned for its diverse range of Che, a popular Vietnamese dessert soup. Among the numerous variations available, three types of Che stand out as Hoi An's specialties: sweet corn soup, lotus seed sweet soup, and black sesame sweet soup.

Things to see in Hoi An

Chua Cau (Japanese bridge) that allows the Japanese quarter to access the Chinese quarter of the town. This temple bridge was well preserved in its original style for mostly 400 years.

Quan Thang ancient house, which is more than 150 years old. The house is still quite intact in terms of architectural design and interior decoration. The entire architecture and wood carvings

Phuc Kien or Fujian Assembly Hall built from the 17th century. This is the religious site to honor deity Thien Hau. Admiring its ornate gates surrounding. And beautiful carved dragons in the main room.

An amazing beauty of Jujian Assembly Hall in Hoi An ancient town

Precious Heritage museum - located in Hoi An Old Town, is home to the permanent exhibition of Réhahn’s Precious Heritage Collection. will bring to you a discovery of striking portraits, stories, and heirlooms that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Both a celebration and a call for conservation.

Hoi An center market, this is the best way to see the local life. The market is on the bank of the river, with a lot of stalls where you can easily find a variety of foods, fresh fruits, vegetables, fishes, meats…

My son sanctuary temples, located 40 kilometers from Hoi An ancient town in central Vietnam, lies a mesmerizing ensemble of Shaiva Hindu temples. These temples, constructed between the 4th and 14th centuries, stand as a testament to the rich heritage of the Cham people—an Indianized kingdom that once flourished in the region.

Things to do in Hoi An

Take a Hoi An biking tour

Hoi An is widely recognized as one of the most breathtaking cycling destinations worldwide, making it a missed opportunity if you don't explore the serene and picturesque beauty of the town through an eco-friendly mode of transportation.
To preserve the pristine and unpolluted environment of Hoi An, the local government actively promotes the use of bicycles for sightseeing within the town. Renting a bicycle comes at an affordable price, typically around 50,000 VND ($2), or you may even find that some hotels offer complimentary bike rental services.

Learn how to make a lantern in Hoi An

The enchanting tradition of lantern-making in Hoi An dates back to the 16th century when Chinese immigrants settled in the region during the reign of Lord Nguyen. The credit for founding this art form goes to Xa Duong, a talented individual who dedicated himself to crafting unicorn heads and lanterns for traditional performances.

Colorful lantern in Hoi An ancient town

Despite facing challenges and periods of decline, the lantern-making industry has persevered over the centuries and evolved into a captivating tourist attraction.

Learning how to make a lantern in Hoi An will be an interesting experience for tourists, especially for the Vietnam family holiday with children.

Join in a farming activity in Tra Que Vegetable village

Immersing yourself in the authentic farming experience at Tra Que Vegetable Village is an absolute to-do-list when exploring Hoi An. This unique opportunity allows you to embrace the role of a true farmer for a day, gaining invaluable insights into the traditional farming practices of the locals.

With utmost care and patience, the village locals will guide you through the entire farming process, from tilling the soil and sowing seeds to watering the plants and harvesting the vegetables. It may prove physically demanding at times, but the sense of accomplishment and connection to the land will be truly rewarding.

Boat trip along the Thu Bon River in Hoi An

From the captivating Hoi An Old Town, one of the best ways to explore the beauty of the Thu Bon River is by boat. Embarking on a river journey allows you to witness the bustling scenes along the riverbanks. As you glide along the water, your senses will be captivated by the vibrant craft villages that adorn the river's edge.

Boat trip on Thu Bon River by Hoi An ancient town

Alternatively, you can simply unwind and enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the Thu Bon River during sunset. As the sun dips below the horizon, casting a golden glow across the water, you'll be treated to a breathtaking display of colors and tranquility.

Enjoy beach break at An Bang beach

An Bang Beach, nestled in the enchanting coastal town of Hoi An, is widely regarded as one of the most breathtaking beaches in the area.

Despite its increasing popularity, the ongoing efforts in investment and development have been mindful of minimizing the environmental impact of tourism. As a result, An Bang Beach maintains its pristine beauty and exudes an aura of serenity and tranquility that sets it apart from other beaches.

An Bang beach is not far away from Hoi An ancient town

Do not miss your chance to enjoy a beach break at An Bang beach when you are in Hoi An.

Order Tailor - made clothes in Hoi An

Visiting tailor shops is one of the things to do in Hoi An. Renowned for their exceptional skill and craftsmanship, the talented tailors and tailor shops in Hoi An attract visitors from across the globe who seek the perfect custom-made suit or dress. The art of tailoring in Hoi An is deeply ingrained in the local culture, representing an essential and cherished aspect of society.

The tradition of tailoring in Hoi An is rooted in a rich history that dates back centuries. Passed down through generations, the expertise and meticulous attention to detail of Hoi An's tailors have become legendary. The tailoring industry in Hoi An continues to thrive, blending traditional techniques with contemporary fashion trends to create exquisite and personalized garments.

Watching the Hoi An memories show

Memories Hoi An show is a breathtaking, grandiose production, offering an immersive experience on a monumental scale. Set in an expansive outdoor stage that can accommodate up to 3,300 spectators, this remarkable spectacle takes place amidst a captivating fusion of majestic mountains and flowing rivers. With a stage length spanning an impressive 1 kilometer, the show employs the talents of over 500 skilled actors to bring the narrative to life.

The grandiose Hoi An Memories Show

Getting around Hoi An

Transportation options in Hoi An cater to different preferences and needs, providing convenient ways to explore the town and its surroundings:

By bicycle: Riding a bicycle is highly recommended as it allows you to immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the ancient town. Many hotels in Hoi An provide complimentary bicycles for their guests, or you can easily rent one for approximately $ 3 per day or the professional bikes at $ 7 - $10 per day

By motorbike: Renting a motorbike offers greater flexibility and convenience for traveling between various locations in Hoi An. The rental cost typically ranges from $6 to $10 VND per day, not including gasoline.

By cyclo: Cyclos, a traditional mode of transportation in Hoi An, are a unique way to experience the town's charm. To secure the best price, consider taking a cyclo from Phan Chau Trinh Street or Tran Phu Street, with fares usually around $ 7 per trip or per hour.

Cyclo in Hoi An ancient town

By Taxi: Recommended for the transfer to the  outside of the old town and for a group of friends or family who need to save time or need to transfer a long distance such as to Danang city, Ba Na hill, My Son sanctuary temple.
Choose the transportation mode that suits your preferences and needs, allowing you to explore the enchanting attractions of Hoi An with ease and convenience.

For Hoi An exploration in Vietnam Package tours, please reference:

Essential Vietnam Tour
The Allure Vietnam Beauty
Vietnam Heritage Sites Exploration

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