First, to make this easy, an introductory video on why you should visit Hoi An:
Did that convince you to visit Hoi An? The city is more than just the Ancient Town – it has gorgeous beaches, historical sites, and greenery. So literally, everything you could ask for! Da Nang is only 40 minutes away as well, so how can you not visit?! You can EASILY spend a week there, exploring everything while also having a lazy getaway.
Hoi An – A Quick Introduction
Hoi An is downstream of the Thu Bon River in Quang Nam Province. It is about 30 km away from Da Nang City. The city used to be the busiest international trading port in Southeast Asia and is one of Vietnam’s most attractive tourism destinations. It is now a UNESCO protected site, and has retained its ancient beauty. The alleyways light up in traditional lanterns, lined by faded yellow ancient tea houses. The town is really a magical place to explore, especially at night. However, we know that sometimes you can not spend more than a day in a place due to limited time or money. So we have come up with this itinerary for you. It will cover everything you should do if you only have one day in Hoi An.
One Day In Hoi An – What To Do
Here is a quick overview of the itinerary. More details are provided below.
PS: You should rent a motorbike so you don’t have to rely on taxis and public transport. It’s cheap for a day, just 6USD approximately and very convenient!
|Time of the day||Activities||Venue|
|Morning||Enjoy the sunrise||An Bang beach|
|Enter a cooking course||Tra Que village|
|Visit Japanese Covered Bridge||Japanese Covered Bridge|
|Visit the ancient houses||Phung Hung, Tan Ky, Quan Thang, Duc An,|
|Drink a cup of good coffee||Coffee shops in Hoi An|
|Visit Kim Bong Carpenter Village||
Kim Bong Carpenter Village
|Chill in the beach||Cua Dai beach|
|Evening||Stroll around the old town at night||The old town|
An idyllic morning
Hoi An is famous for colorful lanterns lighting up the alleyways every night, but not many people know the appeal of the town in the morning.
Admiring the breathtaking Hoi An sunrise
If you have just one day in Hoi An, then make sure to wake up early because you don’t want to miss the fantastic sunrise here. In the morning, Hoi An locals usually go to the beach at 5AM for swimming or for exercise and many tourists also head over to catch the sunrise. Besides the popular Cua Dai Beach, An Bang Beach in Hoi An was listed as one of the “top 50 most beautiful beaches in the world”. And once you witness the spectacle of the sunrise behind the mountains as you sit on the sandy beach with the waves behind you, the ranking will come as no surprise.
Read more: An Introduction to An Bang Beach
Banh mi and coffee for breakfast
Get as early as possible back to town to see women vendors in their conical hats preparing their street specialty – before the vehicles begin appearing on the streets. Then, after wandering around and getting a glimpse into local life, you will probably need to recharge your energy. A sandwich from “banh mi Phuong” at 2B Phan Chu Trinh Phuong or “banh mi Madame Khanh” at 135 Tran Cao Van Khanh is a good choice for feeding your morning growl. With only 20,000 VND, you will have a delectable baguette full of meat, vegetables, and delicious sauces.
To fulfill the morning meal, bring your banh mi and find a random sidewalk cafe next to the Hoai River. There are many! The locals here often have their cup of coffee on the sidewalk every morning. Joining them will be a great way to spend the rest of your morning before the rest of the day begins.
Where to find banh mi in Hoi An
Banh mi Madame Khanh
Address: 135 Tran Cao Van Khanh, Son Phong Ward, Hoi An
Business hours: 6AM – 10PM
Price: 15,000 – 20,000 VND
Banh mi Phuong
Address: 2B Phan Chau Trinh, Minh An Ward, Hoi An
Business hours: 6AM – 10PM
Price: 15,000 – 20,000 VND
Tra Que – The Greenest Vegetable Village
You can also have a look at Tra Que vegetable garden. Here you will see locals planting and harvesting various vegetables and herbs on vast green fields. Tra Que is located off the main road (Hai Ba Trung) from An Bang beach to the Ancient Town Center. The vegetables harvested here usually go into dishes produced by restaurants and stalls around town. What makes this place special is that there is are no chemicals used in growing the plants in order to guarantee the best quality of vegetables. With a short visit to Tra Que, visitors can see firsthand how the farmers grow vegetables in their own ways. You can even try a cooking course that allows you to pick your own vegetables here.
You should sign-up for a cooking course as it is a fun activity to do in Hoi An. The course allows you to pick your own vegetables from the garden to make various Vietnamese dishes (like banh xeo, spring rolls, grilled fish, etc.,) and you can try your own cooking later. Another reason for you to invest in this experience is that you can show off your newly learned skills to your friends and family back home. Take home some Asian fusion 😉
What makes this place special is that there is are no chemicals used in growing the plants in order to guarantee the best quality of vegetables.
Hoi An cooking class information
Tra Que Water Wheel
Tra Que Water Wheel offers you a bicycle tour to the central market. Of course you will visit the Tra Que vegetable market too. For the cooking class, you will have a choice of two menus – just choose the one that sounds most delicious! You will also learn how to make vegetable flowers and animals 🙂 Check out their website for more details about the tour itinerary.
Adult: $28 USD
Children under 10 years old: $14 USD
Karma Waters Vegan Cooking Classes
If you wish to stay away from all things meat and fish, then the cooking classes offered by Karma Waters Vegan is the way to go. More information about the courses are provided on this link.
1 person: $40 USD – 3 courses
2 person and more: $30 USD – 3 courses.
A leisurely & carefree afternoon
Spend the rest of your morning exploring all the tea houses and museums in the old town so the rest of your afternoon will be at a leisurely pace.
Wandering around the ancient houses of Hoi An
To learn about the life and culture of the locals of Hoi An, visit the old houses In the Ancient Town. These include but are not restricted to Hoi Quan Quang Dong, Phuc Kien, Tan Ky, Phung Hung, Quan Thang, Chua Cau, and Bao Tang Sa Huynh. However, to visit these places, you need to buy tickets. There are two types of tickets: the one for VND 80,000 that allows you to visit 3 places and the one for VND 120,000 for 5 places. Also, do note that the tickets are donation-based and your ticket would be counted as the conservation fee.
Drinking a cup of good Vietnamese coffee at a lovely coffee shop
There are many beautiful coffee shops in Hoi An ancient town which you don’t want to miss. The owners of these coffee shops really pay attention to every little detail to give you a unique experience. If you want some beautiful photos which can draw attention to your Instagram account, you should check out the coffee shops on this list.
Chilling at the beach
In the summer, you can rent a bike or a motorcycle to go to Cua Dai and An Bang beach. What can you do here? Swimming or sunbathing of course! Or eat. Just buy a coconut, find a shady spot, and that’s literally all you need. But bring your most favorite book for a most relaxed evening.
Visiting Kim Bong carpenter village
You can spend around 30 minutes to take a boat to the famous Kim Bong carpentry village. Kim Bong carpentry village has become a trademark of Hoi An. This is not only the village carpenter specializing in producing pure products, but also the attraction alluring numerous of tourists.
Trying com ga Hoi An for dinner
After a long day hanging around, it is now time to eat again. Your stomach would feel happy to be treated with com ga Hoi An. Besides the well-known dishes such as cao lau, and mi quang, Hoi An’s cuisine is also famous for chicken rice. A chicken rice dish consists of rice and boiled chicken, served with vegetables. According to the locals, the chicken must be free rangers that have only spawned one time because they are believed to give a stronger and firmer taste. The rice used has to also have been stored for at least one year or more. And more interestingly, people bring vegetables directly from Tra Que vegetable village nearby. Such a sophisticated preparation creates a flavorful dish that is hard to duplicate anywhere else.
Where to find the best Hoi An chicken rice
Com Ga Ba Buoi
Among a hundred of shops selling chicken rice in Hoi An, Com Ga Ba Buoi stands out as a super star. The business has been around for more than 6 decades. The shop has a secret family recipe for their sauces that make people keep coming back for more.
Address: 22 Phan Chau Trinh, Quang Nam province
Business hours: 11AM – 9PM
Price: 30,000 – 55,000 VND
Com Ga Xi
In a small alley in the old town, there is a small shop that’s always full of hungry foodies waiting for their plate of fantastic chicken rice. One interesting thing is not many westerners know this place but it is given the highest rating from the locals according to foody.vn. What you should know is that the shop is quite small and hot, so you (maybe) want to bring a hand fan with you. However, the quality of food there is really worth a try and the price is also very “local” – only 20,000 VND for a dish of rice chicken.
Address: 47/2 Tran Hung Dao, Quang Nam province
Business hours: 9AM – 9:30PM
Price: 20,000 – 50,000 VND
A magical evening
Hoi An by night is very calm and magnificent. The whole town will be lit up by a thousand lanterns. The ancient architecture and the nice antique atmosphere will make you feel as if you are getting lost in a fairy tale!
Strolling around the Ancient Town at night
It is not a mere coincidence that the Ancient Town of Hoi An was honored as one of 20 places where you could have the best nightlife on the planet. When the night falls, this place seems to put on a very glamorous outfit. There are many things to do in the town at night. You can stroll through the lantern-lit alleyways, take a boat down Hoai River and release a floating lantern or two, eat random local food, admire the Japanese bridge, or go shopping in the Night Market. There are great restaurants and bars alongside the river as well so you can have a delicious meal with a view.
You can stroll through the lantern-lit alleyways, take a boat down Hoai River and release a floating lantern or two, eat random local food, admire the Japanese bridge, or go shopping in the Night Market.
It is a beautiful place to spend the night – with a mix of the old and new. Things have probably changed over time but there is still a rustic charm of this old town that will capture you and make you want to return time and time again.
So that is what I can tell you about Hoi An. A day in this city may sound a little busy but it will undoubtedly help you create many memories to reminisce about later. Our advice is to really spend about 3-5 days in Hoi An. This is when you can really grasp what the city is all about. Plus Da Nang nearby has so many sites and beaches to see too – the Marble Mountains, Ba Na Hills, My Son Temples, etc. If you do end up being able to spend more than one day in Hoi An, check out this itinerary: Three Perfect Days in Hoi An. It’s a bit more relaxed and at a slower pace.
For more snapshots of Hoi An, check out: A glimpse of Hoi An – Một thoáng Hội An
Wait! This article isn’t over yet. During your adventure, you will definitely get hungry between your meals. Even if you don’t get hungry and are full, you should still eat as much Hoi An food as you can. If you live for food, Hoi An will make you feel like you are living in paradise. It is totally easy to find carts selling all kinds of food everywhere! But your choices are plentiful and it may get overwhelming, so to make it easier for you to decide what to eat, here are my suggestions for the must try food in Hoi An:
No need to wonder what to eat for dinner. There is one more extremely typical dish of Hoi An you must try. And try it for dinner – it is cao lau! This is a yellow noodle dish mixed with fragrant broth, fish sauce, pork meat, herbs, and some fried greaves. Only costing about 25,000 VND per bowl, cao lau is a dish rich in ingredients. To have the delicious golden noodles, we must use the ashes from Cu Lao Cham to soak the rice. The water for the broth must also be taken from Ba Le Well. This well is believed to provide the best quality water. Also to enhance the flavor of the dish, people often add fried pigskin and dried shrimps. Although cao lau is lately becoming more and more popular, only in Hoi An can you taste the true beauty of the dish.
The water for the broth must also be taken from Ba Le Well, which is believed to provide the best quality water.
Where to find the best cao lau in Hoi An
Cao Lau Thai Phien
Address: 26 Thai Phien, Hoi An
Business hours: 7AM – 7PM
Price: 15,000 – 33,000 VND
Cao lau Ba Be
Address: Inside the market on Tran Phu street, Hoi An
Business hours: 14PM – 10PM
Price: 20,000 – 44,000 VND
Quang Noodle (Mi quang)
No one leave Hoi An without having a bowl of mi quang. This noodle could be seen as a signature food of Quang Nam province. The noodle using in mi Quang is thick and has a shiny yellow. It is the broth (nhun) that makes this dish becomes special. Mi quang is usually be eaten with well-seasoning shrimps, pork and quail egg. Mi Quang and Cao Lau can be quite similar to you. But really, it’s not.
Where to find the best mi quang in Hoi An
Mi Quang Ba Minh
Address: Cam Ha, Hoi An
Business hours: 7AM – 9PM
Price: 25,000 – 50,000 VND
Mi Quang 137 – Ba Linh
Address: 137 Phan Chau Trinh, Hoi An
Business hours: 6:30AM – 10PM
Price: 25,000 – 95,000 VND
In the afternoon, activity relaxing activity is to sit roadside to have some snacks. Major streets, such as Tran Phu, and Nguyen Thai Hoc, are undoubtedly street food paradises. They offer a diverse number of delicious dishes. Some common dishes include thit nuong cuon banh trang, cha chien, banh beo, banh da heo, che dau van, etc, with prices ranging from 2,000 – 10, 000 VND each.
Let us know how your day in Hoi An goes!
Enjoyed this article and would like more fun information on what to do, see and eat while in Vietnam? Visit us at the Christina’s blog!