Discover the Best of Hoi An’s Old Town, Beaches, and Cuisine with These Must-Do Activities
Hoi An, located in central Vietnam, is a charming and historic town that offers visitors a unique and memorable experience. This ancient port city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its well-preserved Old Town, beautiful beaches, and delicious cuisine.
Whether you’re interested in exploring its cultural heritage, relaxing on the beach, or indulging in retail therapy, Hoi An is spectaculor.
Here are things to see and do:
- Explore the Old Town: Hoi An’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its charming streets, colorful lanterns, and ancient buildings. Stroll along the narrow alleys and discover hidden gems like Japanese bridges, old houses, and Chinese temples.
- Visit the Night Market: Hoi An’s Night Market is a vibrant and bustling place where you can shop for souvenirs, clothes, and handicrafts. Enjoy street food, watch performances, and soak up the lively atmosphere.
- Take a Cooking Class: Hoi An is known for its delicious food, which blends Vietnamese, Chinese, and French influences. Join a cooking class and learn how to prepare local specialties, such as Cao Lau noodles, Banh Mi sandwiches, and fresh spring rolls.
- Cycle to the Beach: Hoi An’s beaches are a short cycle from the town center. Rent a bike and pedal through rice fields and coconut groves to reach An Bang Beach or Cua Dai Beach. Relax on the sandy shore, swim in the turquoise water, and admire the views.
- Visit the Cham Islands: The Cham Islands are a group of eight small islands located off the coast of Hoi An. Take a boat tour and explore the pristine beaches, coral reefs, and lush forests. Snorkel or dive to discover marine life and enjoy a seafood lunch on the beach.
- Get Tailored Clothes: Hoi An is famous for its skilled tailors who can create custom-made clothes in hours. Choose your favorite fabrics, styles, and designs, and get a suit, dress, or shirt that fits you perfectly.
- Attend a Lantern Festival: Hoi An celebrates many festivals throughout the year, but the most enchanting one is the Lantern Festival, held on the 14th day of each lunar month. Watch the town’s streets light up with colorful lanterns, join in the traditional games and music, and make a wish with a candlelit paper boat.
- Take a Boat Trip on the Thu Bon River: The Thu Bon River flows through Hoi An, offering a scenic backdrop for a relaxing boat ride. Take a private or group tour and cruise along the river, passing by fishing villages, rice paddies, and water coconut forests. Enjoy a sunset drink and watch the town’s skyline from a different perspective.
Did you know?
Hoi An is famous for its well-preserved Ancient Town and its unique and rare craft of making colorful lanterns. The lanterns are made of silk or bamboo and are available in many sizes and shapes, ranging from small candle holders to large lanterns.
During the Full Moon Festival, the town’s streets are lit with thousands of colorful lanterns, creating a magical and romantic atmosphere. Moreover, making lanterns in Hoi An is considered an intangible cultural heritage of Vietnam. The Hoi An Lantern Museum is a museum dedicated to this craft.
A little history:
Hoi An is a coastal city in central Vietnam with a long and rich history dating back over a thousand years. The town was founded in the 2nd century by the Cham, who established a busy port on the Thu Bon River.
Hoi An was a thriving trading center for centuries, connecting Vietnam with other Asian countries, such as China, Japan, and India. The city was especially famous for its silk, porcelain, spices, and precious metals. The town’s multicultural heritage is reflected in its architecture, which blends Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and European styles.
In the 1500s, the town fell under the Vietnamese Nguyen dynasty’s control, making it a central commercial hub for exporting goods to Europe. In the late 1700s, the river silted up, making it difficult for ships to navigate, and it lost its prominence as a trading port.
Despite its decline, the city remained intact, preserving its unique architectural and cultural heritage.
In 1999, Hoi An’s Ancient Town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognizing its value as a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port of the 15th to 19th centuries.