One of the most sought after destinations for travelling in Vietnam is the city of Hội An. Located on the south of Vietnam and near the coast, it’s a pleasant place I’d recommend you taking a few days to visit. Hội An was my favourite destination when visiting in Vietnam and one I’ve daydreamed continuously about ever since.
This ancient town has a range of influences from the French, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese with magnificent architecture reflecting those cultures. Given that, the destination of Hoi An has become a place with a splash of colour. The yellow, red, brown, orange buildings and gorgeous oriental lanterns hanging between them, guide travellers down each alley. The beautiful colours contribute to Hội An’s charming atmosphere and the reason why so many people flock here.
Now, I’ve given you a brief insight into the gorgeous town, let me share with you 15 things to see and do in Hội An:
1.Take a walk on the Japanese Bridge
Dating back to the 15th century is the gorgeous Japanese Bridge locally referred to as the Cau Chua Pagoda. There is a lot of meticulous detail on this wooden bridge with Chinese characters ingrained on there. The carvings represent dogs and monkeys showcasing the Chinese years of which many emperors were born in. The Cau Chua Pagoda has become a local landmark for Hội An and has featured on the 20,000 VND note. Take a photo with the note next to the bridge!
2.Have one of the best Banh Mi’s at Banh Mi Phuong
During my whole time in Vietnam, this place was the best Banh Mi I’d ever had. I ate there twice, once I dined there, and each Banh Mi was filling accounting for $1-$2. Another I took two Banh Mi’s for the sleeper train onwards to Nha Trang. I wasn’t the only person who backed this up, the reason it’s become so popular is that Anthony Bourdain has also visited. If you dine inside, I love sitting at the tables as there are photos and polaroids of lots of travellers under the glass cover of the table. Showing you previous travellers who visited, I wish I left one. Therefore if you go, leave your mark and slide in your headshot.
3.Get a tailored suit or dress from the local tailors
One of the traditional crafts to Hội An is tailors; there are around 100 tailors in this city. It was a former trading port and still serves occasionally as a trading port on the silk route. A lot of tailors are family owned and have been passed down through generations. To be honest, you’ll be mesmerised at how many tailors there are, and there are lots of options to fit everyone’s budget. What I would recommend is to visit the tailors yourself and not be referred to by anyone. If you visit upon recommendation from a taxi driver, a tour guide, hotel staff or anyone else is that they’re on commission with local tailors. Take your time to peruse the plentiful tailors and don’t be surcharged.
4.Have Tea at a Silent Teahouse
Number 4 Things to see and do in Hội An of Reaching out Teahouse in Hoi An is a non-profit teahouse catering to those with physical impairments. I remember visiting here, sipping many types of tea in a tranquil oasis. You order your drink using signs, the waitresses sign to you or you right your order down. This place is definitely one to practice the here and now. I love it.
5.Feast at Ba Le Well
Ba Le Well is such a delight; I also dined here twice when visiting Hội An. It’s a restaurant for you carnivores and boy do they know their portion sizes! The meal is also such great value. Charming locals bring out platters of pork and chicken skewers, rice paper wrappers, pancakes, kimchi and vegetables. It’s so popular even locals dine here! When you arrive, you don’t order anything apart from your drinks, and they bring their set menu out.
6.Visit My Son
My sixth on my list for things to see and do in Hội An is My son. Just over an hours car journey from Hội An is My Son. My Son is a UNESCO World Heritage site and Hindu temples constructed between the 4th and 14th century. Many kings ruled here, and Cham royals were buried here. Unfortunately due to the US Vietnam war, many were destroyed. Originally there were 70 temples here! It’s often compared to a smaller version of Angkor Wat. I recall spending a good 4-5 hours there, and it was not enough! My advice, get there early and put some sun cream on, get exploring
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7.Party at Tiger Tiger Bar
Are you looking for somewhere to have a bit of fun and booze? Tiger Tiger is a bar I visited a few times with amazing deals and a popular place for backpackers. Before you even reach the bar you may bump into a few promoters wearing T-Shirts saying “Don’t be a pussy, be a tiger.” I remember getting some many cheap drink options that came along with a hookah, great for groups. Tiger Tiger also has many activities where you can win free drinks all night! What I recommend though is to arrive for the happy hour between 5:30-9:30 pm as there are a lot of buy one get one free deals.
8.Hike up Marble Mountains
Ok, so this is technically not in Hội An but Da Nang around 20km in the car. The Marble Mountains is a popular pilgrimage destination and a beautiful one to visit. The hills and mountains are limestones named after five elements. Climb up many stairs to the top and see the gorgeous views of the country. Likewise, go inside the caves and see the beautiful sculptures around! Unfortunately, when I visited, I couldn’t get many photos due to the time of day. If you visit, you’ll have to pay an entry fee, however, if you go around 5/6/7 pm after closing you can climb for free to the top!
9.Bask in the Sun on An Bang Beach
When I was in Hội An last, I spent a few hours sunbathing on this beach. After many days getting sleeper trains and buses, this was nice to chill here. It provides a relaxed vibe and a favourite beach amongst the locals. It’s not an overcrowded beach either, and there’s plenty of seafood in restaurants on the coastal line.
10.Hire a bike and cycle around the peaceful countryside
What I love about Vietnam, in particular, Hội An is the gorgeous countryside. There are so many rice fields, hills, and quaint villages to explore. The rush you get peddling, while you surround the breeze and the natural life is fantastic.
11.Take a Boat Trip to Cham Islands
A UNESCO Biosphere reserve known as Cham Island is worth taking a day trip from Hội An. This tranquil paradise is built of eight small islands and has some gorgeous marine life surrounding it. Here you can undergo kayaking, watersports, snorkelling, diving and underwater sea treks.
12.Pay Respects At The Tan Ky Family Home
I recall visiting many historical sites here, and one particular memory which comes to my mind is visiting the Tan Ky Family Home in the old town. This house was built in the 18th century and used to belong to a family of merchants. What’s unique about this place, is that the architecture has Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese influences. Some family members still live there, and a lot of original memorabilia is left in the home.
13.Get your cup of Joe from The Espresso Station
I absolutely adore coffee wherever I travel to and love trying the local variations of coffee. Even if you don’t like to try new things, the happening and hip espresso station serves good coffee. It’s a great place to go and have brunch. Likewise, if you’re a digital nomad, it’s an excellent place to unwind and work from. It also has its roastery!
14.Grab Some bargains at Central Market
Visiting a destination wouldn’t be right without some market steals! Central Market in Hội An is somewhere you must visit. It’s located in the old town right next to the water’s edge. Here there are so many scrumptious street food stalls and place it’s worth the early morning visit. It opens around 6:30 am, so to beat the tourist rush I’d say get there early if you can!
15.Make a Wish on The River
The last of 15 things to see and do in Hội An is visiting To sign off your time in Hội An or acknowledge your time there, light a candle at night on the lake. Yes, I know this may sound so touristic and a trap. However, the candles are in little paper lanterns floating on the lake and on a good night, the more that are lit. The more it adds to the charming ambience of Hội An. Whether you’re in a relationship, with friends or on your own, this just makes the vibe of the place way better.
Well, there you have it 15 things to see and do in Hội An! There are many more out there, but these are just a few I’d recommend. For me, Hội An is one of the most gorgeous destinations I’ve travelled to in the whole world and one I WILL return to in the future. If you have any more recommendations for things to see and do in Hội An, comment below.