Located on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Hoi An was one of the busiest ports in Southeast Asia during the 17th and 18th centuries. Called Faifo at the time by the French, the place was frequented by Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch and other merchant ships. This makes it an unparalleled multicultural meeting spot that reveals many architectural heritages, religious and culinary customs.
Known as the city of lanterns and a big favorite city of travelers, Hoi An keeps its charm of yesteryear that cannot found anywhere else. The city was classified in 1999 as a cultural heritage by UNESCO for its exceptional material and immaterial heritage.
Hoi An Guide
Found downstream from the Thu Bon River, Hoi An is a small coastal town in the central province of Quang Nam, 28 kilometers from the southern city of Da Nang, 797 kilometers from Hanoi in the north and 849 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City in the south.
Hoi An’s weather
Hoi An has two distinct seasons, the dry season and the rainy season.
– From January to July, it is the dry season so the months between February and April are the best time to visit Hoi An because of perfect weather.
– From August to December, it’s the rainy season and the heaviest rainfall happens between October and November and has a high risks of flooding.
How to get to Hoi An?
There are three types of ways to reach Hoi An from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, they are plane, train and bus.
Normally you take the Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi – Da Nang flight and then go to Hoi An by bus or taxi.
The flight time for Da Nang is approximately one hour. The ticket price varies between 400,000 – 1,600,000 VND/one way.
– Taxi Da Nang – Hoi An: the fee varies between 350,000 – 450,000 VND depending on the company, around 45 – 55 minutes drive.
– Bus Da Nang – Hoi An, bus No 1: 25,000 VND/person.
Journey via Da Nang:
The Saigon/Hanoi – Da Nang train takes between 15 – 20 hours, the price varies between 230,000 – 2,200,000 VND, depending on the class of the seat.
– Alternatively, opt for a direct train from Hanoi to Tra Kieu Station/Tam Ky Station (Quang Nam) which costs between VND 470,000 and 760,000.
– The price for Ho Chi Minh City – Tra Kieu/Tam Ky train is between 360,000 and 800,000 VND.
For the direct journey Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi – Hoi An, the price oscillates between 320 000 – 480 000 VND. For example: Hanh Cafe, Thien An, The Sinh Tourist…
How to go exploring Hoi An?
Many possibilities are available to you, taxi, bus, moto-taxi, rickshaw and bicycle.
Motorbike rental costs between 120,000 – 150,000 VND per day and bike, 30,000 VND per day.
What to visit in Hoi An?
In Hoi An ancient town
Stroll along the timeless alleyways where the houses, which do not exceed two floors, remain intact for four centuries. Mossy houses, common houses, ancestral homes, temples, pagodas, bridges, wells… All highlight an architectural marriage between traditional style and Chinese, Japanese and Western influences.
Soak up the romantic atmosphere of Hoi An by going there on the 14th day of the lunar month. A mysterious night in Hoi An invites you to an unusual walk among thousands of colorful lanterns. A friendly and poetic rendezvous in the heart of the old town, along the banks of the Hoai River is a delight for any trip, whether you’re alone, with family or with friends.
Japanese covered bridge
Dating back to the beginning of the 17th century, this bridge is the largest symbol of the old city, a must-see in Hoi An. The charm of this covered bridge is its original architecture combining traditional Japanese and Chinese styles. Linking Tran Phu Street and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, this old architecture was once both a sacred temple and a meeting place for villagers.
Not to mention other old sanctuaries found on Tran Phu and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, they are Quan Cong Temple, Duong Minh Huong Temple and Cam Pho Temple, all of which are historic sites with remarkable architecture.
Museums of Hoi An
Hoi An Museum of History and Culture (7 Nguyen Hue Street)
More than 400 images and documents described depict a panorama of the historical periods of Hoi An ancient town.
Museum of Trade Ceramics (80 Tran Phu Street)
You can admire nearly 300 ceramic objects from the 9th and 19th centuries representative of cultural and commercial exchanges between Hoi An and other regions of China, India, Japan and Thailand.
Sa Huynh Culture Museum (149 Tran Phu Street)
Its collections of more than a thousand objects present a unique exhibition in Vietnam with the incomparable richness on the culture of Sa Huynh going back to 2.000 years. The trip allows visitors to understand a little about the explorers of Hoi An port city.
Museum of Folk Culture (33 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street)
This museum is a must-see place to discover a wonderful intangible heritage enriched by the folk craftsmen of Hoi An for centuries. With 480 different objects, four subjects are organised – popular arts, traditional crafts, craft villages, cultural mores and traditional customs of Hoi An.
Hoi An’s Ancient Houses: Tan Ky, Duc An, Quan Thang and Phung Hung
Around 200 years old, these yin and yang roof dwellings, which are mainly built of wood, stand out for their remarkable architecture combining traditional Japanese and Chinese styles. The house is both a residence and a commercial area where generations of a family live together.
Other old buildings of a traditional taste are also worth visiting, namely the houses of worship of the ancestors of the families of Tran and Nguyen Tuong.
Assembly halls of Chinese Communities (Hoi quan)
Built between the 17th and 19th century, these religious monuments are closely linked to the spiritual life of the fishermen of the ancient port city. You will be impressed with an architecture rich in refined ornaments of wood and ceramics. As a meeting place for the Chinese community in Hoi An, it gives a condensed impressions of Fujian, Canton and Chaozhou.
Hoi An night market
Located on the banks of the Hoai River, the Hoi An Night Market is open from 6pm to 11pm every day to the delight of residents and visitors alike. This is an opportunity to immerse yourself in an atmosphere both magical and relaxing along the Nguyen Hoang Street, opposite the Japanese covered bridge. In a magical forest of lanterns, there are souvenir stalls, street cooking and popular games intertwine, which will make you live unforgettable moments.
Places around Hoi An
If downtown Hoi An amazes you with a rare architectural gem, its surroundings cannot be left out. Let’s discover the traditional craft villages of Thanh Ha, Kim Bong and Tra Que to enjoy authentic encounters with potters, sculptors and gardeners…
Beaches of Hoi An
If you have in mind long hours of idleness under the sun, the beaches of Hoi An, located not far from the city, will delight you completely. These include An Bang (3km), Cua Dai (5km) and especially Ha My (7km) – one of the most beautiful beaches in Asia, which are among the most popular in the country. A small paradise of seaside holidays in the center.
Cu Lao Cham or the Cham Islands
25 minutes by speed boat from the city, the eight islets of Cu Lao Cham, a world biosphere recognized by UNESCO, will be something to delight fans of water sports.
Recently acclaimed as the new gastronomic capital of Vietnam, Hoi An has everything to make you spend a tireless gourmet stay. Chicken rice, Cao Lau noodles, ravioli stuffed with shrimp and pork, Vietnamese sandwich or banh mi… and many other popular dishes from Hoi An will surely make you hungry.
Where to stay in Hoi An?
Any type of accommodation is available at Hoi An and can be found in three major parts:
- near the old quarter of Hoi An, affordable hotels, dormitories and homestay.
- along Cua Dai Street connecting the area to the sea, cheap hotels and some upmarket overlooking the river.
- by Cua Dai sea, you will find the luxury resort in front of beautiful beaches like An Bang and Ha My, but also number of charming homestays.