Hoi An, in Quang Nam Province, is one of the prettiest cities in Vietnam. The old town has over 800 historic buildings and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hoi An has Chinese, Japanese, and European influences, colorful markets, laid-back cafes, and incredible food. It boasts ornate temples, historic museums, sandy beaches, and scenic countryside with patchwork rice fields and water buffalo. Check out our guide of the best things to do in Hoi An for inspiration during your stay!
Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge
Visiting the Japanese Covered Bridge is one of the best things to do in Hoi An! During the late 1500s, Japanese residents of Hoi An constructed the bridge to link them to the Chinese quarter across the river. Today, it’s is one of Hoi An’s main attractions, symbolising unity between the two communities. The ornate bridge is 60-feet long, painted a vibrant salmon pink, and covered with a pagoda-style roof. This well-preserved structure has undergone several restorations throughout the years, but still manages to retain the essence of the era in which it was built.
Take a Vietnamese Cooking Class
Enrolling in a Vietnamese cooking class is a delightful way to immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture! A variety of classes offer half or full-day options, which incorporate a tour of Hoi An’s Central Market, a herb garden walk, and a boat trip along the river prior to preparing food and dining on the fruits of your labor. Alternatively, Tra Que Waterwheel Organic Farm, a few kilometers outside Hoi An, offers a more traditional experience in a village setting. You can help to prepare the soil and plant seeds yourself, learn local crafts like making rice paper, prepare traditional dishes, and enjoy a water buffalo ride across lush paddy fields. Don’t leave Vietnam without learning how to cook like the locals – truly one of the best things to do in Hoi An!
Have a Tailored Outfit Made
In Hoi An, a favorite activity is undoubtedly having a unique item of clothing made just for you! This charming city is home to over 300 tailors – most of them family-run businesses. Taking an item of your own clothing that fits well will allow craftsmen to match your measurements to perfection – all you have to do is provide a design or picture of the item you wish to re-create, then choose the fabric and fit! Silk is a high-quality local material, available in a myriad of vivid colors and perfect for shirts, blouses, dresses, and jumpsuits.
Visit Quan Cong Temple
The most sacred temple of Hoi An is the Quan Cong Temple. Set in the heart of the ancient city, decorated with swaying red lanterns, it’s a unique tourist attraction where thousands of visitors flock each year. The ornate temple was built in 1653 and dedicated to the famous general Quan Van Truong. He is said to have been a brave and honorable warrior of the time, with temples in his name erected all across Asia. Beyond the 4 buildings built around a rectangular courtyard, you’ll discover painted frescos, sculptures, and porcelain dragons. This temple is one of the highlights of Hoi An, so even if you have limited time in the city you should definitely add it to your bucket list.
Venture to My Son Sanctuary
Just over an hour’s drive from Hoi An lies My Son Sanctuary. This mesmerizing UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most prominent Hindu temple complexes in Asia. Surrounded by verdant mountain ranges, this was the site of the Champa dynasty between the 4th and 14th centuries, and became the burial site for royals and nobility during that time. Wander among 70 partially ruined temples, admiring the stonemasonry and imagining life in Vietnam during their reign. You can hire a car and driver to take you there, or take a tour with an expert guide. Mid-late afternoon is a great time to visit – most tours arrive early in the morning and depart the site after lunch, so a later visit will be rewarded with a relaxed environment to explore the ancient site.