What do you get when you mix Chinese, Japanese and French influences in Vietnam? Thanks to its rich history, there are so many cool things to do in Hoi An. It’s my favourite place in the country and I know a lot of other travellers to Vietnam feel the same.
The UNESCO heritage site has been well-preserved so a walk around the ancient town really does feels like nowhere else. Even just looking at the buildings you get a mini history lesson because of all the different cultures reflected in the buildings.
Hoi An is all based around the Thu Bon River, making it a magical city to see at night. In fact, setting a lotus flower off in the river at night definitely ranks as one of the coolest things to do in Hoi An.
52 Cool Things to Do in Hoi An
Just outside the coastal city of Hoi An, you’ve got rice paddies, beaches and lots of villages known for their crafts. Like all Vietnamese cities, there’s also amazing food, loads of spas and extremely friendly locals on hand to help you out with all the area’s must-dos.
1. Commit to the life of a beach bum on An Bang, Cua Dai or Mui Ne beaches.
2. Take a bike ride out to the paddy fields.
3. Get crafty with a workshop at Taboo Bamboo, which is a whole building made of bamboo.
4. Stock up on veggies at the Tiger Market.
5. Bring home the ultimate souvenir in the form of a new swanky, tailor-made outfit from Bao Khanh Silk.
6. Get your caffeine fix at Faifo Coffee.
7. Experience a little slice of rural Vietnam life with a farming and fishing tour.
8. Walk across the ornate Japanese Bridge.
9. Get rid of the backpack pains with a Vietnamese massage at Heaven Garden. Massages are absolutely, definitely one of the coolest things to do in Hoi An – they’re such good value.
10. Feel all the luck at the fancy Fujian Assembly Hall where couples go when they need some good vibes to help them conceive.
11. Paddle board through the peaceful Nipa Palms.
12. Do a walking tour through the ancient town.
13. Make like Demi Moore in the movie Ghost at the Thanh Ha Pottery Village.
14. Unwind with a cup of tea and tranquility at Reaching Out Tea House.
15. See Hoi An from the inside of a basket boat.
16. Dance the night away at Tiger Tiger bar.
17. Feel like a celebrity with a trip to the private beaches of Cham Island.
18. Explore the lively riverside district at night.
More of the coolest things to do in Hoi An
19. Get the brushes out with a painting session of traditional Vietnamese theatre masks at Timing Masks.
20. Spend an afternoon seeing Hoi An from above at one of the ancient town’s many coffee shop rooftops.
21. Go see the Van Duc Pagoda.
22. Feel good about filling up at non-profit Streets Restaurant Cafe, which trains disadvantaged young people.
23. Make the 45 minute journey for a day trip in Danang.
24. Explore the spiritual site of My Son Ruins which date back to the fourth century.
25. Visit the White Roses restaurant to eat white roses, aka shrimp dumplings shaped into roses.
26. Travel to Cam Kim Island to see the woodcarvers at work.
27. Learn how to weave your own silk at the Hoi An Silk Village in Quang Nam Province.
28. Try one of the best sandwiches at Banh Mi Phuong.
29. Stay in a homestay like Thanh Luan Homestay.
30. Fill up the recipe book with a cooking class.
31. Enjoy a cocktail at Mango Mango.
32. Come nightfall head to Lantern Market where hundreds of coloured lanterns light up the night market.
33. Then learn how to make your own with a lantern making tour.
34. Feel the next day burn with some rock climbing at Marble Mountain.
35. Go crazy for cao lau, traditional tasty noodles, at the Central Market.
36. Explore the back streets by the Hoai River to feel like you’re seeing a little more of local life.
37. Feel all cultured with a trip to the Museum of History & Culture.
READ MORE: The Ultimate Two-Week Itinerary for Vietnam
38. Pay your respects at the Quan Cong Temple.
39. Get the phone at the ready for loads of lovely photos on a sunset river cruise.
40. Feel those blood sugar levels rise with a glass of traditional sugar cane juice.
What to do in Hoi An
41. Admire the travel photography at the Rehan Gallery.
42. Get more than your five a day with a visit to the Tra Que Vegetable Village.
43. Pack and repack your backpack as you try to fit in all the handicrafts you’ve bought.
44. See if you can extend your love of coffee to that of locally-loved egg coffee.
45. Drop a flower garland onto the Hoai River as part of a ceremony to bring you and your family luck.
46. See the mix of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture at Tan Ky House.
47. Go looking for Nemo with a snorkel session.
48. Stifle your competitive side with a game of bai choi, aka a piñata, that you’ll find locals playing most nights on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.
49. Do some good by cooking up a storm for homeless and the elderly with this monthly initiative by the Hoi An Food Tour.
50. Continue your crafts immersion with a visit to the Museum of Trading Ceramics.
51. Ride off into the sunset on a buffalo with a Jack Tran Tour.
52. Be surprised at how big barbecue is here with a visit to the Thu Bon River and the dozens of riverside BBQs.