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Hoi An Travel Guide from A to Z

Highlighted in the tourist route of Central Vietnam, Hoi An Ancient Town is like a rustic, simple and poetic painting. Whether it’s in the day or at night, Hoi An tourism still has its own charms. In addition to cultural values through diverse architecture, Hoi An still preserves a rather large intangible cultural background. The daily life of the residents with the customs, belief activities, folk art, cultural festivals together with the romantic natural scenery and special dishes… make Hoi An increasingly attractive to all travelers.

The best time to visit Hoi An

The best time to visit Hoi An is from February to April every year with little rain and pleasant climate. You should avoid coming here in the summer because of high temperatures and very sultry. The rainy season from October to November also has the disadvantage is wet space due to long and heavy rains.

The beauty of Hoi An. image Andreaanastasiou
The beauty of Hoi An. image Andreaanastasiou

Let’s visit Hoi An on the 14th monthly (lunar calendar) to attend the sparkling night of the old town. On this occasion, you will have a chance to see the red lanterns flashing across the street, a unique scene of Hoi An on festival occasion.

Hoi An sparkles in the night. Travelingalice
Hoi An sparkles in the night. Travelingalice

How to go to Hoi An

Planes

Hoi An in Quang Nam province but the nearest airport is Da Nang (Hoi An is 30 km from Da Nang). Airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar, Vietjetair are operating flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Da Nang. If you want to buy a cheap ticket, you should book air ticket in advance about 3 to 6 months.

Other means: bus and train

From Hanoi or Saigon, there are train routes to Da Nang (north – south route), fares range from VND 400,000 to VND 1,200,000 depending on type of train and type of seats. It takes from 14 to 20 hours to travel from these two cities to Da Nang by train.

Bus: Tickets are about 400,000 – 500,000 VND: Hoang Long bus, Hlink, Mai Linh, ThuanThao. It is about 18 to 20 hours from Hanoi / Sai Gon to Da Nang.

Since the transfer point near Hoi An is mainly train station or bus station in Da Nang. Therefore, from here, you can take the bus or taxi to Hoi An which is very convenient.

From Hanoi, you can stop at Tam Ky train Station (Quang Nam), where you take taxi or bus to Hoi An.

If departure from Ho Chi Minh City, you can take the bus to the North or Da Nang, you will ask them stop in Hoi An.

Note: From Da Nang to Hoi An there are two ways: You can follow National Highway 1 down to the south about 27 km to VinhDien street and turn left 10 km to Hoi An. The second route is closer and much more quiet; from Da Nang center, you cross Han river bridge, getting in Da Nang – Hoi An provincial road, to Hoi An about 30 km.

Transportation inside Hoi An

Hoi An have all traffic means such as: bus, taxi, motorbike taxi andcyclo….

Motorcycle for rent ranges from 120,000 VND – 150,000 VND / day

But the most interesting thing in Hoi An is still walking or renting bicycles to go around the ancient town to feel the special of this place. The renting bicycle price is 30.000 VND / day.

Bicycles are the main means of transportation in the old town
Bicycles are the main means of transportation in the old town

Contact numbers to know:

Hoi An City Police: 0235 3861204

Hoi An Post Office: 0235 3861635

Hoi An Hospital: 0235 3864750

Hoi An Taxi: 0235 3919919

Travel information center: 0235 3910919

Famous tourist attractions

Tourist attractions inside Hoi An ancient town

Japanese Covered Bridge

Japanese Covered Bridge is a pearl in the heart of Hoi An. The bridge was built in the late 16th century and it is called the Japanese Bridge. In the middle of the bridge, there is a small shrine worshiping the northern God Tran Vo Bac De. The bridge is unique with the structure and decorative motifs show the harmonious combination between Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and Western architectural styles.

Location: The Bridge across the creek flows into the Thu Bon River bordering Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street and Tran Phu Street.

Japanese Covered Bridge. Photo Worldheritage.routes.travel
Japanese Covered Bridge. Photo Worldheritage.routes.travel

Fujian Assembly Hall

Legend tell that the forerunner of the Assembly Hall is a small shrine worshiping the statue of ThienHauThanh Mau, the goddess of the sea and caretaker of sailors that was picked up on the coast of Hoi An in 1697. Through many restorations, with the main contribution of Chinese overseas from Fujian province, the Assembly Hall is more beautiful, contributing to the beauty of the ancient architecture in Hoi An.

Location: 46 Tran Phu Street, Hoi An

Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation

The Assembly Hall was built in 1845 by the Chinese overseas from Chaozhou province to worship the god General Phuc Ba. It is considered that he is a god with the power to calm the oceans and protects sailors from the rough sea. The most outstanding features of the house are a sophisticated carved wooden frame, decorative designs, beautiful wooden patterns, embossed patterns made of porcelain pieces and beautiful terracotta reliefs.

Location: 92B Nguyen DuyHieu, Hoi An.

Cantonese Assembly Hall

It was built in 1885 by the Cantonese Chinese oversea. On the early days, the house was dedicated to ThienHau Holy Mother; in 1911 it was converted to Quan Cong, and then to the sages who came from Guangdong Formerly. It was a place for Chinese fishermen and traders to rest temporarily and to exchange goods. In those days, there was a wharf at the front of the house. The rational use of wood materials and stone in the bearing structure, decorative details make the Assembly Hall having a monumental beauty. Every year on 24th of June in lunar calendar, there is a very popular festival attracting many participants.

Location: 176 Tran Phu, Hoi An

Cantonese Assembly Hall is looked from the outside
Cantonese Assembly Hall is looked from the outside

The Tran Family Home and Chapel

The Tran Family Home and Chapel was built in 1802 by a Tran official (a large family from China who immigrated to Hoi An in the 1700s) following the traditional Chinese and Vietnamese principles of Feng Shui. It is located on an area of ​​about 1500 m2; there are many items: the chapel worship grandparents and display relics related to the family, the house…. The house of Tran family Hoi An was built in ancient Vietnamese architecture style.

Location: 21 Le Loi Street, Hoi An

Museum of History – Culture

Founded in 1989, the museum displays 212 valuable materials and original artifacts and which made of pottery, porcelain, bronze, paper, wood…. They reflect the stages of urban development – the commercial port of Hoi An from the period of Sa Huynh culture (from the second century AD) to the Cham culture (from the 2nd to 15th centuries), the Dai Viet and Dai Nam culture (from the 15th to the 19th centuries).

Location: 13 Nguyen Hue Street, Hoi An

Old House of Tan Ky

Built nearly 200 years ago, Tan Ky House has the typical architecture of Hoi An town with space divided into many rooms with its own function. The front of the house is the space to open the shop; the backside faces to the river as a place to import goods.

The house is built by local carpenters and traditional materials, so it has a unique appearance, elegance and shows the interaction between architectural styles in this area. On February 17, 1990, Tan Ky was granted a Certificate of National Historical-Cultural Relics.

Tan Ky ancient house
Tan Ky ancient house

Hoi An handicraft workshop

The workshop brings together almost traditional handicrafts of Hoi An and Quang Nam, such as weaving mats, weaving fabrics, pottery, lacquer picture…. Visit the workshop, visitors will find a peaceful space of a rural village in Vietnam. You can see skillful hands and excellent skills of artisans to create fine art and ingenious handmade products. Tourists can take part in the production process and buy some souvenir items.

Location: No. 9 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hoi An.

Tourist attractions around Hoi An

Cua Dai Beach

Cua Dai is a beautiful beach with fine white sand, clear blue water, small waves and fresh seafood available at low prices. Cua Dai beach in the evening is also great because the beach is immense and sparkling with the romantic oil lamps.

Location: 5 km to the east of Hoi An Ancient Town.

The beauty of Cua Dai beach
The beauty of Cua Dai beach

An Bang beach

In the An Bang beach, you will feel the wonderful freshness while walking along the sandbank; enjoy the sunlight of the beautiful sunrise on the sea.

Location: Cam An ward, located about 3 km east of Hoi An ancient town.

Boat trip on Thu Bon River

You can join a boat tour along the Thu Bon River. The two sides of the river have beautiful sand dunes, rice fields and picturesque mountains. Especially, the sunset on the Thu Bon River can make all visitors to be relax.

Location: Depart from the wharf on Bach Dang Street, going to Hoai River and Thu Bon River.

Sunset on Thu Bon River. Photo Yourhoian.info
Sunset on Thu Bon River

Kim Bong Carpentry Village

Artisans of Kim Bong Carpentry Village proudly claimed that their ancestor had been invited by the Nguyen Kings to build and embellish palaces or mausoleums. Coming to this village, visitors have a chance to admire the process of making many fine art handicraft products.

Location: Located in Cam Kim commune, opposite Hoi An Ancient Town, other side of Thu Bon River. From the old town, you only take 10 minutes there by boat.

Thanh Ha Pottery Village

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Thanh Ha was a very prosperous village, famous for pottery and earthenware that were exchanged throughout the central provinces of Vietnam. The pottery village origin from ThanhHoa, after acquiring technique and capital, it formed the pottery village as today. The products are mainly used for daily life such as cups, bowls, jars, flower vases, shapes of animals… with many styles and colors and they especially lighter than other local products of the same type.

Location: Located 3 km west of Hoi An (30 minutes by boat from the Old Quarter).

Tourists enjoy the experience of making pottery in Thanh Ha pottery village
Tourists enjoy the experience of making pottery in Thanh Ha pottery village

Visiting Cu Lao Cham Island

Cu Lao Cham Island consists of seven small islands: Hon Lao, Hon Kho Me, Hon Kho Con, Hon Tai, Hon Dai, Hon Mo, Hon La and Hon Ong. Cu Lao Cham is famous for biodiversity with natural forests, beautiful beaches, coral reefs and many valuable aquatic species. You can experience the night in Cu Lao Cham, just rent a tent (50,000 VND) + pay for camping fee is 20,000 VND.

The pristine beauty of Cu Lao Cham Island
The pristine beauty of Cu Lao Cham Island

Location: Located in Tan Hiep commune, Hoi An city, 18 km east of Cua Dai beach, about 30 minutes by speedboat from Cua Dai port or by wooden boat departing at Bach Dang wharf in 2 hours.

Food and Specialties in Hoi An

Pho Hoi chicken rice

With all the ingenuity and diligence in the processing, Hoi An people created a chicken rice that is good enough to give it a special name: Pho Hoi chicken rice. This chicken rice go with the onion, papaya, TraQue herbs, also a cup of soup mixed heart, liver,  and kidney of chicken which is very delicious.

Address: Ba Buoi chicken rice (26 Phan Chau Trinh), Ba Huong – Kiet chicken rice (alley Sica), Ba Minh chicken rice, Ba Nga chicken rice….

Pho Hoi chicken rice
Pho Hoi chicken rice

Cao Lau dish

Many people living in the old town said Cao Lau appeared in Hoi An from the 17th century. Perhaps this dish is influenced quite a lot from the cuisine of the Chinese as well as Udon noodles of the Japanese. However, Hoi An Cao Lau still has its own style and only Hoi An has the proper Cao Lau.

Address: It is easy to find Cao Lau of Hoi An, from the vender to the restaurant on Tran Phu Street, the most famous one is Ba Be shop, TrungBac.

Cao Lau. Picture Ngonnhat.blogspot
Cao Lau. Picture Ngonnhat.blogspot

Dumpling and Vac cake

Dumpling and Vac cake are two kinds of cake with similar ingredients and process; they are usually eaten together on the same plate. Interior of Vac cake is made of shrimp mixed with a little pepper, garlic, onions, lemongrass and esoteric spices. The interior of dumpling is made of pork, mushrooms, and thinly sliced green onions; they are also fried with the esoteric spice. Perhaps this seasoning is also a reason why dumplings – cauldrons in Hoi An have fine taste.

Address: Bong Hong Trang Restaurant on NhiTrung Street. Here, you can see the process of making dumpling and Vac cake

Dumpling and Vac cake. Photo cvw-rtw.blogspot
Dumpling and Vac cake. Photo cvw-rtw.blogspot

Banh Dap – Hen Xao (Rice crackers – Fried Mussels)

Dap cake is a combination of baked coated cake, wet coated cake and some other materials. When reaching a reasonable thickness, the cake will be doubled again and later served with a dish of fried mussels. To eat the dish in style, it should be dotted with the fish sauce that is prepared from sugar, onion, chopped pineapple, garlic and green chili.

Address: Crossing the Cam Nam bridge (45-seat bus can not pass) about 100m, the road suddenly bent to the left, pass this corner you will see a row of shops close together and on each sign written: “Banh Dap – Hen Xao” The most famous shop is Ba Gia.

Rice crackers – Fried Mussels. Photo Tindulich
Rice crackers – Fried Mussels. Photo Tindulich

Corn sweet soup

Corn sweet soup – a popular dish became very famous in Hoi An because it is made from Cam Nam corn. The sweetness of this food comes from the natural and light taste of the corn. Unlike other sweetened porridges of the South, Hoi An corn sweetened porridge doesn’t have coconut milk as the sweet soup, so the only flavor is from the corn. The best time to enjoy Hoi An corn sweetened porridge is between March and September, as the harvest season of Cam Nam corn.

Address: Tran PhuStreet, Le LoiStreet, only about 7,000 VND / bowl.

Banh Beo Hoi An – Water fern cake

To make rice cakes, people choose good rice, shrimp and meat. BanhBeo is well known as a special dish in Central Vietnam, so whether you travel to Da Nang, Hue or Hoi An, you can enjoy this cake. The cakes are usually placed in small cups and when guests want to eat, the owner will add a dimple ofchopped, dried or fresh shrimp, scallions, mung bean paste, crispy fried shallots, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and oil above.

Address: Eateries in QuanHoa, Cam Nam…

Banh Beo Hoi An - Water fern cake
Banh Beo Hoi An – Water fern cake

Quang style noodle soup

On the outside, Quang noodle is similar to Cao Lau but once you taste it, you will see these two dishes are completely different. Quang noodle is often eaten with shrimp, meat, quail eggs…. It is served with girdle cake and vegetables. What makes Quang noodle soups unique is the richness of the broth, the lack of it and the crushed peanut toppings on the noodles.

Address: Ba Minh eatery, Cam Ha area, Hoi An market, Tran PhuStreet or vender on the street.

Wonton

There are many kinds of wonton: wonton soup, wonton noodles, and fried wonton; each type is divided into pigs, chickens, and shrimp. Made with rice flour, the wonton is filled with diced pork, shrimp, eggs, and various spices before being deep-fried until golden.  In my opinion, wonton with chickens and pigs are good to try.

Address: Van Loc restaurant on Tran PhuStreet or popular place is 26 eatery on Thai Phien Street.

Hoi An Crispy Pancake

Crispy pancake is the specialty of Hoi An town. The main ingredients for making pancakes are rice, shrimp and meat. Eat like the locals by wrapping the crispy pancake in mustard leaf, lettuce leaves or rice papers together with lemongrass pork skewers, mint leaves, and basil, and then dip it in fermented peanut sauce.

Address: Gieng Ba Le shop (Phan Chu Trinh Alley); Bale Well (Ba Le shop) – 45/51 Tran Hung Dao Street.

Hoi An crispy pancake
Hoi An crispy pancake

Shopping in Hoi An

Hoi An lantern is made quite nice, light and can be neatly folded so it is suitable for tourists to buy as a souvenir. You can buy lanterns on Tran Phu Street of lanterns Tuoi Ngoc shop, Ngoc Thu shop or shops on Le Loi Street. Price is not expensive, from 30.000 VND – 90.000 VND/lantern.

Tourists often buy lovely lanterns as gifts
Tourists often buy lovely lanterns as gifts

Sewing clothes in Hoi An is cheap, beautiful and fast. In just a few hours, the tailors will finish your clothes as require. If you cannot wait, you just leave the measurements and address; the shop will send the clothes to you. Garment shops: Thu Thuy shop (60 Le Loi Street), Yaly (358 Nguyen DuyHieu Street), A Dong silk (40 Le Loi Street), BaoKhanh (101 Tran Hung Dao Street).

Hoi An shoes are also quite rich and beautiful. Many shops accept fast making shoes similar to garment shops.

Types of cakes you can buy as gifts: snow-flaked cake, cakes made of ground green lentils, glutinous rice cake.

Hoi An chili sauce is special one: spicy and aromatic.

Other things: Silk, wood carving, embroidery, souvenir, stone carving…

What you should note in Hoi An

Hoi An is very interesting in the early morning, the street is quiet, the people of Hoi An prepare to start the day, no lights, sellers and buyer are busy.

You can take a walk in Hoi An at night in the quiet alleyways of the old town.

Every night at Bach Dang wharf, there is a cultural boat sailing around the river with ethnic music.

Restaurants and shops always ready to serve you kindly. Therefore, you do not have to listen to the broker or follow them to the shop.

Hoi An - great space to relax. Picture bizlive
Hoi An – great space to relax. Picture bizlive

Where to stay overnight in Hoi An?

Moon’s Homestay: 82 Ngo Quyen Street, Hoi An

Hoi An Hotel 2: 44 Tran Cao Van Street, Hoi An

Kim An Hoi An Hotel & Spa: 461-463 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hoi An

Victoria Resort Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa: Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An Ancient Town

The Palm Garden Beach Resort Hoi An: Lac Long Quan Street, Cua Dai Beach

Red Flower Cottage Homestay

Maison De Tau: Located in Nguyen DinhChieuStreet, Hoi An city

An Bang Garden Homestay: About 3 minutes walk to An Bang beach

Hoi An Hippie House: No.5 – An Bang

Heron House

An Bang Beach Hideaway Homestay

About the author

Hi, I'm Ho Lam! That's me, the boy who wants more experience each day. I'm slowly but surely working my way, travelling and sharing is my taste. The articles of this blog are not only from me, but also from my friends and the travellers mailed to me.

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