UPDATED NOVEMBER 2021
NOTE: VIETNAM IS CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING FOREIGN TOURIST ARRIVALS AND THE COUNTRY PLANS TO RESUME SELECT INTERNATIONAL TOURISM FROM 2022 ONWARDS. TO KEEP YPURSELF UPDATED ON THE TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS, CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL TOURISM SITE.
If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, make sure to include Hoi An in your itinerary. Hoi An is often overlooked by tourists who travel directly from Hanoi to Ho chi minh city without making a stop here. But this cultural capital of Vietnam deserves your attention. With this Hoi An itinerary, get all the information you need about this charming town. Hopefully this Hoi An itinerary can inspire you to plan a visit here.
This blog was born out of my love for travel and writing. None of the posts are sponsored in any way. All opinions and recommendations are my own.
With that said, lets begin!
Lonely Planet has described Hoi An as one of the top 5 cities to visit in South-East Asia and after our visit in 2018, we understood why. This picturesque little town is filled with pretty streets, world heritage sites, an amazing riverside with a vibrant night market, delicious food and beaches. In addition, it also boasts of some of the best boutique accomodation in Asia. No wonder we fell in love with it at first sight!
Hoi An was the last stop in our (pretty exhausting!) Vietnam trip and was one of the highlights along with cruising in Halong bay and experiencing the crazy chaos of Hanoi. We could not have chosen a better place to end the holiday.
If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, make sure to check out all our posts on Vietnam.
HOI AN ITINERARY : ALL THE ESSENTIALS
5 REASONS TO VISIT HOI AN
- Hoi An is the cultural capital of Vietnam. It boasts of UNESCO heritage sites along with a confluence of three different cultures: Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese.
- Beach lovers will love to know that Hoi An offers some of the best beaches of Vietnam !
- The local cuisine is one of the best in all of Vietnam and all that delicious food reason enough to visit.
- Hoi An is a photographer/instagrammer’s delight with pretty and picturesque spots everywhere.
- Hoi An is also pretty budget friendly and boasts great value for money with some of the best boutique hotels in Asia.
HOW MUCH TO BUDGET FOR HOI AN
FOR BUDGET TRAVELLERS: 25-30 $/DAY is the average budget. Expect a dorm room in a hostel, local street food, free activities and bike rentals in that budget.
FOR MID RANGE TRAVELLERS: 50-60$/DAY will get you a private room in a 3* hotel, a few restaurant meals (and plenty of street food), some paid activities and a few taxi rides.
WHEN TO GO
Hoi An has 2 seasons: a wet and a dry season. The best time to visit is February to April. Summer months are hot but offer low prices due to the off season. AVOID August to October when the town gets flooded from the rains and the sea is rough with little to no swimming possible.
The nearest airport is Danang. There are plenty of international as well as domestic flights. Domestic flights from HANOI and Ho Chi Minh City are via Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Airlines. Our return flight to Kolkata was via Singapore Airlines.
Take a taxi from Danang airport, or better yet arrange a pick up with your hotel. The ride takes around an hour and costs approximately 20-30 USD for a 4 seater.
Budget option: Take the Hoi An express bus which costs around 6$ per ticket.
VISA ON ARRIVAL is available for 25 USD per person but an approval letter is required. This letter has to be arranged before you enter the country. Many travel agencies or hotels provide this service at a cost of 10-20 USD per person.
Booking.com is the best place to look for accomodation options. From homestays to Five star resorts, Hoi An boasts of some of the best accommodation in South east Asia. If you want to relax and splurge at the end of a long and tiring vacation, this is the best place for that.
We stayed in The Hoi An Travel Lodge, a three star boutique hotel with wonderful staff,excellent service and perfectly located within walking distance of all the attractions. Our stay cost us 50 USD per night with breakfast included.
The best way to explore Hoi An is by walking. You can easily walk all around Ancient Town and the riverside by foot. For going to the beach or the town outskirts, rent a bike or grab a metered taxi. Bike rentals ususally cost 1$. Most hotels also offer free bikes for guests. Cyclos offer hourly tours of the Ancient Town (at around 5-6 USD for an hour).
Lantern town, as it’s popularly called, is one those places where you can simply relax and There’s nothing better than wandering around the town, amidst colorful lanterns hung everywhere, cocktail in hand, getting massages and watching the sunset.
However, there’s plenty of activities to fill up your days, should you wish for that.
HOI AN ITINERARY: THE BEST THINGS TO DO
1. TAKE A TOUR OF THE PERFECTLY PRESERVED ANCIENT TOWN
Walk through the lovely little streets which are filled with restored old houses, town halls and museums. Lying on one side of the riverbank, this UNESCO Heritage site is usually crammed with tourists and that can be a little disconcerting. However, do not let this put you off and explore the quaint (and very pretty) alleys. The place is very charming, i assure you! Lanterns hang all over town and when lit up at night, the town comes alive and you will feel as if you just stepped into a fairy tale.
You don’t need a very high budget for adding Hoi An to your Vietnam itinerary. Read our detailed Vietnam travel budget for one week to find out all the expenses for your trip.
2. STROLL THROUGH THE RIVERSIDE PROMENADE AT NIGHT
The brightly lit up riverside lies just across the Ancient town, separated by a bridge and is the best spot for dinner because it’s filled with lots of restaurants, bars, musicians and spas to while your time! Additionally, Sunset boat rides on the river are extremely popular, though I found it a bit lame.
3. ENJOY THE VIBRANT NIGHT MARKET
It’s situated amidst the riverside itself and is the place to hit for souvenirs and street snacks. You can easily spend a couple of hours here browsing through the stalls and picking up a lantern or two while snacking on some Hoi An specialities like Mango cake and Banana pancake!
4. VISIT A TAILOR FOR SOME CUSTOMISED CLOTHES
Tailoring shops are one of Hoi an’s specialities and are present all over town. many tourists come here solely to take advantage of these shops! These shops can rustle up a dress or suit within a day or two at very cheap prices.
5. HIT THE BEACH FOR A DAY
6. TRY THE DELICIOUS FOOD
Hoi An offers some of the best Vietnamese cuisine like Cao Lau rice noodles and White Rose dumplings. So eat to your heart’s content. Some of the best restaurants include Madame Khanh’s and Morning Glory.
7. DAY TRIP TO MY SON RUINS
While nothing like the temples of Angkor, My Son is well worth a visit. This is another UNESCO site, ruins of a group of ancient Hindu temples of the Cham dynasty, which lies around an hour’s car ride from Hoi an and can easily be visited on a half day trip.
Alternately, a day trip to the nearby Cham islands is another option for beach lovers with a number of boat operators offering diving trips, just off the coast of the islands
8. Day TRIP TO CHAM ISLANDS
Alternately, if you want some sea, a day trip to the nearby Cham islands is an option for beach lovers with a number of boat operators offering diving trips, just off the coast of the islands
9. CYCLING TOURS THROUGH THE COUNTRYSIDE
This Hoi An travel guide would not be complete without this delightful way of discovering the nearby villages and rice fields, while getting away from the tourist trail.
BUDGET TIPS TO SAVE MONEY IN HOI AN
- Stay in a hostel with free breakfast or a shared kitchen where you can cook.
- Rent bikes cheaply for nearby explorations. Many hostels also offer free bikes to guests.
- Bargain a lot while shopping for anything.
- Eat local food and drink local beer instead of Western brands.
Hopefully, this Hoi An itinerary and travel guide will inspire you to plan your own trip. We loved Hoi an and will surely be visiting again in the future. If you have any additional questions, please ask and i will try my best to answer. Have you been to Hoi an before ? Share your stories ! If you like this post, make sure to Subscribe below.