When you travel to Hoi An, don't forget to try these 9 activities to make your trip even more memorable, from culinary getaways to exploring nature.
Some of the joys of travelling around the world are experiencing new things and becoming fond of something we have tried. So, we have collected a list of top activities you should try when you visit Hoi An, a small, beautiful city with a perfect mix of traditional and modern life. The traditional part of Hoi An is maintained well by the community, and it received the “World Heritage” title from UNESCO in 1999. The touch of modern city life is also there too, with various hotels, restaurants, and activities available.
However, before you start planning the itinerary of your next adventure, you need to consider your accommodation options. Hoi An hotels can be booked easily through various online hotel booking sites such as WorldRoamer. To find top hotels in Hoi An, you can read the reviews, compare prices, and compare facilities before booking.
With all the accommodation options sorted, let’s get through the list of activities you can try in Hoi An!
1. Walk or bike around Ancient Town
The heart of Hoi An is decidedly the Ancient Town. Several congregation places, historical sites, and museums are located here. With a small entrance fee, you can even gain access to museums and old houses. The small roads and serene traffic in the Ancient Town will make you feel calmer. So, we recommend exploring the town on foot or by bike. The scenery will be particularly pretty after sunset until around 9 PM when citizens light up lanterns to ward off the darkness.
If you want to know more about Vietnam’s history, consider visiting all the museums there as the ticket will allow you to do so. Some museums host ceramic and dress collections that reflect the culture of rural Vietnam, monochrome photos of 20th century Vietnam, and old potteries.
Are you feeling more adventurous? Visit the three ancient house and congregation places. One of the houses has been inhabited for 100 years, another house has Japanese and Chinese influence, and the last one also has a unique history. Tours to ancient houses are available, and you can give a tip to the guide to respect them.
2. Take a motorbike taxi, or rent your own bike
In contrast to Singapore which has cars and a mature public transportation system, the motorcycle is the preferred (and often the most viable) transportation option in Vietnam. So, if you have never ridden on one (or prefer a motorbike due to its “slick” nature), the perfect time to try is in Hoi An. The Vietnamese version of Grab has a motorcycle option called Grab Bike, and you can even rent your own motorbike provided you have a valid international driving license.
However, keep in mind that Hoi An’s small streets may be a bit hard for you to navigate if you rent your own bike. Most likely, you need to know the rules of Vietnamese streets before you start navigating around the city on your own. For convenience and safety, we strongly suggest you order bikes via ride-sharing apps, or order “motorcycle tour” packages that include a driver.
3. Learn how to cook Vietnamese dish in cooking classes
Loved that banh mi or com ga you just had for breakfast? Learn how to make various Vietnamese cuisines from countless culinary courses in the city. Some hotels even have cooking classes as their advertised activity. If your taste buds are adventurous, you are in for some of the best cuisines in the world. However, some courses only allow you to pick ingredients, chop things, and mix it with premade spices, so it will be better for you if you know the “curriculum” beforehand.
4. Visit the picturesque beach
Hoi An has no shortage of picturesque beaches, each with different stories and activities to enjoy. Head to the An Bang beach in the morning for a laid-back beach experience, and continue the night by partying in various restaurants and bars that are open at night. Live music is also available on certain days to make your visit more memorable.
Want some other challenges? Cross over to one of the beaches in Cham Islands to do more, from fishing for your lunch in Bai Lang beach, snorkelling in one of the world’s greatest spots, to taking perfect shots that will make your Instagram followers green with envy in Bai Bim beach.
5. Shop in Central Market
The central market is the place to go if you want to hone your haggling skills. Best-quality, fresh produce can be found here, and some cooking classes even offer this as part of the “experience” they sell. But the fun doesn’t end just there, as you can also buy Vietnamese crafts from a separate building inside the market.
If you want to make your visit more memorable, come with an empty stomach in the morning and order Vietnamese street food at the food stall. The menu on the stall comes in English and Vietnamese, so it will be easier for you to order. It also doesn’t skimp on the few most important factors: price and taste. Most foods at the stalls are affordable, and the taste is great. It is no wonder that everyone who has been to Hoi An testifies that Hoi An has the best street food in Vietnam, and possibly even in the whole world.
6. Visit the Silk Village
Curious about how the silk in your clothing is made, or want to know more about Vietnam’s ethnic groups? Visit the Silk Village. When you visit the village, you will be greeted by mulberry trees and families using a manual tool to make top-quality silk. The tool itself is probably passed down from generation to generation and guarantees solid silk. After visiting, you can buy the product at the store.
If you want to explore further, you can visit the Silk Museum, which houses clothes of 54 Vietnamese ethnic groups. The museum is one of the proofs that Vietnam is a culturally rich country and they are proud of their culture.
7. Experience the Night Market
Like most night markets in the world, the night market is a melting pot of all cultures in a city. Located in Nguyen Hoang Street, the night market has around 50 merchants selling various things, from snacks to accessories. The place is illuminated by lanterns, so you can also take picturesque photos and upload it to your Instagram profile.
Also, if you visit the market, don’t get shocked if the items you want are too pricey. Merchants sell items at inflated prices, and it is a custom in this market to haggle. If you haggle with the merchant and s/he doesn’t budge, try another merchant. Ideally, aim for 50 to 75-percent lower than the advertised price.
8. Try pottery at Thang Ha Pottery Village
Want to get your hands dirty? Try making your own pottery in Thang Ha. After paying for a small entrance fee, you will see the locals exercising their skill in making Vietnam-best potteries, and more often than not, you will be invited to one of their houses to learn pottery. You can then buy your creation at another small fee.
If you want to bring back a souvenir, you can also buy high-quality pottery from the locals. They will appreciate it! The pottery will also be a good memento of your visit to Vietnam.
9. Nourish your body by trying spa packages
Southeast Asia is known for its spas that provide the best service at very affordable prices, and Vietnam is not an exception to that rule. In Hoi An, you can visit Ginger Spa, which combines all-natural, Vietnamese herbal treatment with traditional massages. Once you leave the spa, you will feel fully refreshed and content.
You can also visit Na Spa Villa that has a stunning scenery. Therefore, not only will your body be rejuvenated, your mind will also be refreshed.
And that’s it for the itineraries! Now, read some tips from a frequent traveller that will make your travel easier:
- Before booking a flight ticket, ensure that everyone has the same holiday. It would suck if someone misses the flight because of work, right?
- Call your hotel beforehand to confirm the check-in and check-out times. Nothing feels more frustrating than needing to wait for check-in.
- Visit the local tourism office to know the hidden spots in the town. The staff there may even point you to free activities and give you access to special events.
- Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. Prepare another bank card or easily accessible cash in case you lose access to your primary card/cash source.
- Take only what you’ll need when going out.
- Learn basic phrases in the native language of your destination. Not everyone speaks English, so having a very basic command of their native language will go a long way.
With all these tips, your trip should be enjoyable and fun. See you in the next article!