Things to do in Hoi An: A journey to discover ancient and modern beauty

Hoi An, a UNESCO – recognized heritage city, nestled by the romantic Thu Bon River, is a captivating destination that enchants visitors with its harmonious blend of ancient charm and modernity. It resembles a multi-colored painting, adorned by moss-covered ancient houses, winding narrow streets, shimmering lanterns casting an enchanting glow, and the vibrant, youthful pace of a dynamic tourist city. In this article, Vietnam Motorcycle Tours Club will suggest 10 things to do in Hoi An that you cannot miss.

Stroll on the ancient streets 

Hoi An, the ancient and romantic city, always welcomes visitors with unique and unforgettable experiences. When visiting Hoi An, Vietnam Motorbike Tour will take you for a stroll along winding narrow streets, admiring ancient houses with mossy tiled roofs, shimmering golden walls, and sparkling lanterns.

stroll on the ancient streets

Hoi An is not only famous for its ancient beauty but also attracts tourists with the harmonious blend of traditional and modern charms. Visitors can explore bustling, modern neighborhoods with elegant restaurants, charming cafes, and eye-catching fashion stores.

On this journey, you can also visit charming small shops selling handicrafts, embroidery, pottery, etc., and chat with local people. Visitors will also have the opportunity to enjoy tempting street foods such as banh mi, cao lau, and mi Quang. Additionally, you can capture souvenir photos with the ancient and picturesque scenery. This will definitely be one of your best things to do in Hoi An.

Releasing flower lanterns for good luck on the Hoai River – Things to do in Hoi An 

In the evening, as night falls, Hoi An organizes the activity of releasing lanterns on the Hoai River to pray for luck. This is a meaningful activity, deeply imbued with the spiritual culture of the Vietnamese people. Visitors can purchase beautiful small lanterns from vendors along the riverbank for $1 each. They write their wishes on the lanterns and release them onto the Hoai River, hoping for good luck and peace for themselves and their families. Watching the shimmering and magical lanterns drift on the river, you will feel an extraordinary sense of peace. 

releasing flower lanterns for good luck on the hoai river

Enjoy local specialties 

When visiting Hoi An, you absolutely cannot miss out on the unique dishes that carry the distinct flavors of Hue cuisine. These dishes are all made from natural, fresh ingredients and prepared on the spot. Some of the famous dishes include:

  • Cao lau: A signature dish of Hoi An featuring shiny yellow noodles, flavorful broth, served with fresh herbs and char siu pork.
  • Mi Quang: Mi Quang noodles with thick noodles, rich broth, served with various herbs, chicken, shrimp, quail eggs, etc.
enjoy local specialties

Best Local Food in Hoi An – Cao Lau Hoi An is a unique Vietnamese noodle dish with pork, herbs, and crispy croutons

  • Phuong bread: Crispy bread with delicious grilled meat filling, creamy pate, fresh herbs, and special sauce.
  • Ba Buoi chicken rice: Fragrant sticky rice, well-cooked chicken, shiny golden chicken skin, served with rich dipping sauce.
  • Crushed rice cake with stir-fried clams: A rustic but incredibly enticing dish with crispy grilled rice paper, soft rice cakes, fragrant stir-fried clams, and sweet and sour fish sauce.

Shop at handicraft stores 

Hoi An is renowned for its centuries-old traditional craft villages, which have preserved their ancient charm and techniques. International visitors can seek unique souvenirs such as lanterns, pottery, and silk paintings to gift to their loved ones. Moreover, you can engage in conversations with talented artisans and learn about the meticulous process of crafting these exquisite handmade products.  

shop at handicraft stores

Visit traditional craft villages 

The traditional craft villages in Hoi An are a unique feature of this ancient town. These craft villages have existed for centuries and have contributed to the unique cultural identity of Hoi An. Visitors to Hoi An can explore these craft villages to learn about the history, culture, and traditional arts of the region.

visit traditional craft villages

Here are some famous traditional craft villages in Hoi An:

– Kim Bong Village: Kim Bong Village is renowned for its traditional carpentry. Artisans here can create exquisite wood carvings, ranging from simple furniture to complex architectural structures.

– Thanh Ha Village: Thanh Ha Village is famous for its pottery craft. Artisans here utilize traditional pottery firing techniques to produce beautiful and unique ceramic products.

– Tra Que Village: Tra Que Village is famous for vegetable farming. Households here use traditional farming methods to grow delicious and safe vegetables.

– Cam Thanh Village: Cam Thanh Village is famous for boat making. Artisans here use traditional boat building techniques to create beautiful and sturdy wooden boats.

Join a cooking class 

Joining a cooking class is a fantastic way to learn about the culture and cuisine of Vietnam. Hoi An offers numerous cooking classes for tourists of all skill levels.

Here are some renowned cooking classes in Hoi An:

Morning Glory Cooking Class is one of the most famous cooking classes in Hoi An. The class is held in a traditional restaurant in the city center of Hoi An. It teaches tourists how to cook traditional Vietnamese dishes such as pho, spring rolls, and fried spring rolls.

Red Bridge Cooking Class is a great choice for those who want to explore the local cuisine of Hoi An. The class is conducted in a vegetable garden on the outskirts of Hoi An. It teaches tourists how to cook traditional dishes of Hoi An such as Cao Lau, Phuong’s banh mi, and Hoi An chicken rice.

join a cooking class

Mrs. Bich’s Cooking Class is a good option for those who want a more intimate cooking experience. The class is held at Mrs. Bich’s house, a local chef. It teaches tourists how to cook traditional Vietnamese family dishes.

Most cooking classes in Hoi An last for 2-3 hours. The classes usually start with a visit to the local market, where tourists can buy cooking ingredients. Then, tourists will be guided on how to cook each dish, followed by enjoying the food.

To participate, tourists can directly register at the cooking class, ask hotel receptionists, or seek guidance from local residents. Don’t hesitate to ask local people!

Cruise on Hoai River – Things to do in Hoi An

Cruising on the Hoai River is an unmissable experience when visiting the ancient town of Hoi An. Sitting on a small boat, tourists can admire the picturesque scenery on both sides of the river, with ancient houses, shimmering lanterns, and bustling crowds passing by.

There are various types of boats for tourists to choose from, ranging from simple small boats to luxurious large ones. Ticket prices for boat rides also vary depending on the type of boat and the duration of the cruise.

cruise on hoai river

Watch traditional art performances 

Hoi An is a centuries-old ancient city with many unique cultural traditions. To promote Vietnam’s traditional art forms, the government organizes performances at restaurants, cafes, museums, theaters, and other venues.

Travelers can purchase tickets to watch these performances at designated venues or through travel agencies. It’s definitely an activity you shouldn’t miss when visiting Hoi An.

Here are some popular traditional art forms in Hoi An:

  • Water puppetry: This is a unique traditional art form of Vietnam, performed on a water stage with puppets controlled by puppeteers hidden behind a screen.
  • Ca Huế: Ca Huế is a traditional art form originating from Huế but also popular in Hoi An. It includes various songs and dances performed by artists wearing traditional costumes.
  • Hát bội (Classical opera): Hát bội is a traditional Vietnamese art form with roots in tuồng (classical drama). It involves singing, dancing, and dialogue performed by artists wearing traditional costumes.

watch traditional art performances

Visit historical sites 

Hoi An is an ancient city located in Central Vietnam. Hoi An’s Old Town was recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1999. This city attracts tourists not only for its delicious cuisine but also for its ancient charm and Vietnamese culture displayed in historical landmarks, which are iconic. Visitors must make sure to explore the following places:

The Japanese Covered Bridge is one of the symbols of Hoi An’s Old Town. Built in the 17th century by Japanese and Chinese craftsmen, it is a unique architectural structure combining Vietnamese, Japanese, and Chinese styles.

visit historical sites

Tan Ky Old House is a traditional house dating back to the 18th century. It represents the typical architectural style of traditional houses in Hoi An. Tan Ky Old House features a structure of five compartments, with curved tiled roofs and thick walls.

The Cantonese Assembly Hall is a gathering place for the Chinese community, built in the 18th century. It serves as a center for activities of the Chinese community in Hoi An. The Cantonese Assembly Hall showcases unique architecture with intricate decorations.

The Quan Cong Temple is a temple dedicated to Quan Cong, built in the 17th century. It reflects the reverence of the people of Hoi An towards Quan Cong. The Quan Cong Temple features solemn architecture with numerous statues of Quan Cong and other deities.

Swimming at Cua Dai beach 

Cua Dai Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam. It is located about 5km from the city of Hoi An. Cua Dai Beach boasts long stretches of fine white sand, clear blue waters, and gentle waves. Visitors can swim, participate in underwater sports activities such as surfing, kayaking, or simply relax on the beach and enjoy the fresh air. This will definitely be one of your best things to do in Hoi An.

swimming at cua dai beach

These are the insights from the Vietnam Motorbike Tour Club on Things to do in Hoi An: A journey to discover ancient and modern beauty. Hopefully, through this article, travelers will gain more useful knowledge for their upcoming trips. 

Contact us for more interesting information​

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