Your Guide to Hoi An | the hidden gem of Southeast Asia

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If you haven’t heard of Hoi An, you’re not the only one. This is one of Southeast Asia’s best kept sort-of-secrets. Those who have had the pleasure of visiting are bound to brag about this little gem, with its’ exceptionally well-preserved Old Town and streets lined with colourful lanterns. If you find yourself on a tiki tour of S. E. Asia, you’re gonna want to put this little gem on your trip itinerary. With that said, here’s your guide to Hoi An, Vietnam…


Overview: Why Hoi An?

Hoi An is located on the central coast of Vietnam, meaning a visit here is likely to be a little out of your way, no matter which direction you’re coming from. If you’re eager to see more of Vietnam beyond the capital, Hanoi, or busy Ho Chi Minh City, then a trip to the quaint and charming city of Hoi An is the right choice for you.

Many leisure travellers also choose Hoi An for its’ many beach resorts, just a short drive from the city centre itself. The coastline of Vietnam has only become a hotspot in recent years so you can expect much more development, as it is occurring at a rapid pace.

Getting Here & Around

Getting here is reasonably seamless once you’re in Vietnam, though there are a few rare flights available from nearby Bangkok, Singapore, and Siem Reap. If you’re flying in from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh you can score a deal with VietJet (budget airline) or opt for Vietnam Airlines, should you prefer.

The nearest airport is Da Nang – just North of Hoi An, around a $22 USD cab ride away on the meter.

Another option is to travel via land – a popular choice among budget travellers coming by train or bus.

Getting around is easy as the city is compact and best explored on-foot. Alternatively, bike rentals are available and a cheap option should you wish to explore further beyond the Old Town itself.

Taxis can only be found in Le Loi Street or on the other side of the river and are reasonably priced.


Where to Go & What to Do

Hoi An Ancient Town

The centre of Hoi An is known to locals as the “Ancient Town” and offers an insightful look into the coastal village’s historical past. Be sure to allow yourself a full day to wander the streets of the ancient town, meandering in an out of alleyways and cafe hopping as the day passes you by. There are some great local designer boutiques to be discovered among the many suit tailors, so be sure to go off in search of hidden gems. Or perhaps you fancy making your own? If so, check out the cloth market at 01 Tran Phu Street (opens 6:00-22:00 daily).

Japanese Covered Bridge

This iconic Hoi An landmark is certainly worth a visit to see what all the fuss is about, if only for a short walk over and moment to admire from afar. There is no fee to cross the bridge, but there is a small fee to visit the small temple inside (which can actually be seen from the bridge without paying the fee).

Suit Tailors

Hoi An is a mecca for suit tailors, all ready to sell you one or twelve perfectly tailored garments that you might never need. See here for a full guide to help you make the right decision to find the best suit tailors in Hoi An.


Jack Tran’s Eco Tours

If you’re looking for authenticity, experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime, and divulging into Vietnamese culture, then look no further than an Eco Tour. These tours give you insight into local life and culture, such as riding buffalo, fishing and cooking your own lunch, or riding in a Vietnamese bamboo basket boat. See the website to view more Hoi An Eco Tours available.

A Bike or Motorcycle Tour

If you want to experience the town of Hoi An and beyond a different way, why not consider a two-wheel day tour around the area? There are a number of different tours available, ranging from half – whole day. For cycling in the countryside, check out Heaven & Earth Tours. For motorcycle tours, Mr Son Tours are quite popular.

Vietnamese Cooking Classes

Another popular day activity is to join a cooking class for the day to learn the tastes and techniques of Vietnamese cooking. One of the most popular cooking classes in Hoi An is the Thuan Tinh Island cooking class, though there are a number of other operators offering similar day classes.


Where to Stay

There are oodles of accommodations on offer in and around Hoi An. But first you must choose whether you wish to stay on dry land in the Ancient Town, or by the beach a short 15 minute drive away. Nearby Da Nang also has some great accommodation offerings, particularly if you’re looking for something a little more luxurious.

Sunrise Hoi An Resort

This is without a doubt the most popular resort in Hoi An – and there is little question as to why! Sunrise Resort offers guests modern accommodations on the beach, and an infinity pool that is hard to ever leave. The food is also great and fresh, and will leave you with little reason to leave the resort.

Palm Garden Beach Resort & Spa

Palm Garden is an older resort with a more traditional tropical vibe, but is equally enjoyable with an even better beach than the Sunrise Resort.  If you have kids and are looking for a more traditional resort, this may be a better option for you.

The Nam Hai

Finally, the uber luxe accommodations known as “The Nam Hai” on offer just North of Hoi An in Da Nang will leave you in awe and likely coming back for more. This resort is like something out of a James Bond film, only better… it has a beach! Da Nang is a great area to couple with a stay in Hoi An, so why not consider visiting both!?

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    madan tamang
    February 8, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Me and My daughter aged 16 years r going to Vietnam n Laos for 2 weeks. kindly guide pl. we love adventure, history, culture , nature n water sports.

    Todd @ Visit50
    July 21, 2015 at 3:18 am

    Nice post! Did you make it to Halong Bay during that trip? It’s so beautiful

    July 2, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    I am backpacking SE Asia in sept/October and was deciding whether or not to stop in Hoi An.. You just convinced me!!

    alfredo ciano
    June 24, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I Love Vietnam ( for Many Reasons…)

    June 23, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    A hidden gem!

    June 21, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I hope it stays a hidden gem for a bit longer!

    June 20, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    My husband and our 2 young children are heading to Vietnam and Cambodia in a couple of months! We are spending 3 nights in Hoi An and I think it’s possibly the place I am looking forward to visiting the most!

    Minh Nguyen
    June 20, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Hi, i’m Vietnamese, so really happy to see this post. I’ve been to Hoi An twice and I prefer my first time as Hoi An at that time was more natural and quiet. It has become touristy for the last several years. I love early morning in Hoi An when you can see the most refreshing side of this lovely old town. And the one I love most in Hoi An is the food. Can’t resist eating them as they are so appealing. Anyway, it’s a lovely place. IF you guys can go further, I recommend Hue, which is a food and history capital.

    June 20, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Hoi An is beautiful! Although I found it was getting a bit touristy about eight years ago, so I can’t imagine what it’s like now. I’m not sure you can call a place that’s aiming to receive 2 million tourists (including 1 million international visitors) this year a “hidden gem”.

    • Brooke Saward
      June 20, 2015 at 9:19 am

      I agree that it has changed a lot with all the tourists visiting but I still think it is certainly a town worth visiting!! And lots of travellers don’t know about it hence the ‘hidden gem’ – I still really love it 🙂

    June 20, 2015 at 9:01 am

    wow, great post! I am heading to Vietnam on assignment in September and traveling from Ho Chi Minh up to Hanoi so am looking forward to experiencing this first hand!


    Claire @ TallGirlBigWorld
    June 19, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    The only country in Southeast Asia that I’ve visited was Cambodia, but I’d love to visit Vietnam. I hadn’t heard of this city, so it was lovely to read your thought on it!

    • Brooke Saward
      June 20, 2015 at 9:19 am

      Ohhh I’m going to Cambodia and Laos next month – cannot wait!!! x

        Minh Nguyen
        June 20, 2015 at 6:44 pm

        Ohhh, lovely to hear. I’m heading to Cambodia in August! let’s share the thoughts!

          Todd @ Visit50
          July 21, 2015 at 3:20 am

          Cambodia was one of my favorite countries to visit in SE Asia – you’re both going to love it! Let me know if you have any questions about either that I can help with from my trips. For Laos I only made it to Veng Vieng, which was tons of fun, but didn’t get to explore the rest.

    Ivy Kriste
    June 19, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    This is very fresh information. Thank you

    June 19, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    This is such an exciting corner of the world and offers so many exhilarating experiences!

    June 19, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    My family and I visited Hoi An in 2012 and it was our favorite town in Vietnam. It must be the food capital of Vietnam with wonderful restaurants offering the most amazing food. We also had some shoes and clothing tailor made for us. A truly wonderful experience and we hope to return soon for an extended stay.

    June 19, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Im going to vietnam in august and i wish i had more time so that i can visit Hoi An!
    Its such a lovely quaint place!!

    x Carina | Running White Horses

    June 19, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    This is a very thorough guide – Thank you.
    I remember when I visited Hoin An I had no intention of getting any clothes made

    — I left with 2 lovely dresses & I regretted not ordering more clothes!!!

    The tailors are great, but you need to check out a few before making a decision.
    Some of those located by the river or in the heart of the old city ask for ridiculously high prices.

    It’s a good idea to come to Hoi An with a plan of what clothes you would like to get made- because you will end up getting clothes made!

    Hope this helps,

    June 19, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Ah I loved Hoi An – the tailors were so good! I got my favourite vintage dresses recreated in different materials for about £70. Not sure if I got the best deal but it seemed worth it to me! 🙂

    June 19, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Ah I loved Hoi An! God those tailors were fab. I had four dresses made- I have them two of my fave vintage dresses and they made them in different fabrics for about £70! Not sure if I got a good deal but it definitely seemed worth it to me 🙂

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn
    June 19, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Looks amazing, these photos are so vibrant and colourful!


    Ally @ Edibles and Travels
    June 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I was in Hoi An earlier this year with my boyfriend and it truly is magical. We splurged and stayed at the Fusion Maia Resort (all spa treatments included!) but spent most days wandering through Hoi An. Ms Vys Kitchen is one of the best places to eat and Yaly Couture is your go-to for everything and anything you wanted tailored!

    Wanderlust Storytellers
    June 19, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    We are off to Vietnam in September and Hoi An is one of my must-see cities. Can’t wait as we will be there for the lantern festival!! Will spend most of our time in North and Central Vietnam! Bring on September yay!!!

    June 19, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Vietnam has long since been on my list of must visit countries, can’t wait to get there and check out this little place!

    Susan the Farm Quilter
    June 19, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Looks like a fun place to explore! Brooke, just an FYI – the ads on your page have started covering up your beautiful pictures…anything you can do? I really hate to miss out on any of the wonderful pictures you post!!