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Hoi An

Things to see and do

  • Souvenirs
    4 stars

    A stroll around the faded facade of Hoi An's old town casts a magical spell on even the tightest of purse strings; baggage allowance may be forgotten and bags soon crammed with iconic Hoi An kitsch. If what you are after is tourist tat, then let Hoi An be your guide; we won’t be held responsible ... read more

  • Things to do with kids
    4 stars

    With Hoi An’s close proximity to some of Vietnam’s best beaches and countryside plus its mostly traffic-free centre, the central coastal town is a deservedly popular choice for family vacations. Of all the beaches around Hoi An, An Bang is the easiest with kids. From the old town, it’s a ... read more

  • Do-it-yourself photo tour
    3.5 stars

    For the snap-happy traveller, Hoi An can make for a memory card-sapping experience. To help you make the most of the town's photographic charms, we’ve come up with a finger-clicking bicycle route filled with year-round action and vistas. The start and end points have been fashioned around beach ... read more

  • Getting a hair cut in Hoi An
    3.5 stars

    Hoi An is well ahead of the hot toc (barber) phenomenon curve, offering in addition to trimming that handlebar moustache or highlight refresher extras such as nasal hair burning and technical ear cleaning. Women are well served too. Here's a rundown on where to get a buzzcut or wash and blow dry ... read more

  • Gourmet Adventures Hoi An
    4 stars

    We checked out the Ocean, Field and Town tour by Gourmet Adventures Hoi An, led by Australian chef Sarah and her wise-cracking husband Pete. Inspired by the organic cooking in local kitchens, rather than the wild mix of cultures served on the street, the result was a two-wheeled gastronomic ... read more

  • Castaway fishing tour
    3.5 stars

    Tempted to try your hand at cornering a coracle? Casting a line like a local? Castaway is run by an enterprising local family, headed up by smooth talking ex-tailor Ms Lan and her brothers Truong and Dung. The fishing lessons on offer start at 50,000 VND for beach line and net fishing, where either ... read more

  • The Hoi An culture tour
    4 stars

    One ticket costs 120,000 VND, and allows access to five of the 21 attractions which include: a) Three communal houses; b) Four museums; c) Five old houses; d) Three assembly halls; e) The handicraft workshop and traditional music concert; and f) Either the Japanese Bridge or the Quan Cong ... read more

  • Shopping
    4.5 stars

    An absolutely ridiculous number of shops are scattered throughout town, with most of them concentrated in the area between Hai Ba Trung, Phan Chu Trinh, Hoang Dieu and the riverside. Competition keeps the prices down, but also means that tourists are subjected to the constant badgering of touts and ... read more

  • Full Moon Lantern Festival
    4.5 stars

    Totally unrelated to Thailand's rave party full moon events, the Hoi An lantern festival is an age-old tradition that sees the entire old town shut off electricity, close to traffic and transform into a magical melange of flickering candles, multi-coloured lanterns and lively gatherings. Locals ... read more

  • My Son
    3.5 stars

    Those who make the trip to My Son expecting to see a well preserved city on par with the one across the border will likely be disappointed to see only a few crumbling towers of stone. My Son is, however, an interesting site worth a daytrip to see. It's unique due both to its size and for its ... read more

  • Cooking classes
    3.5 stars

    And if they don't offer classes try asking for a lesson as it's sometimes possible to arrange one -- outside of peak dining hours -- for the cost of the meal and $5 or $10 extra. There is also a whole new wave of 'family' cooking classes to choose from, where you can bring the kids along. Two of ... read more

  • Photography tour
    3.5 stars

    Budding photographers overwhelmed by the myriad photo opportunities and magical light in Hoi An will be pleased to know French expat Ettiene offers various tours to take you to the best locations, with lessons in camera handling, settings and angles offered too. Ettiene has built up a good ... read more

  • Motorbike tours
    4 stars

    It's also where Top Gear did the most famous stretch of their Vietnam special, which makes it very popular. The Hai Van Pass, Son Tra peninsula, Central Highlands are all within a day's trip, and to get there you'll pass through some beautiful local countryside. Although some routes are fairly ... read more

  • Bicycle tours
    4 stars

    Maps are readily available and roads easy to negotiate; if you stick to the areas between the old town and beaches you will be rewarded by some beautiful countryside, vast paddy, rivers, temples and pagodas. The islands are also easily accessible – Cam Thanh off Cua Dai Road is a sleepy ... read more

  • Cua Dai and An Bang Beaches
    4 stars

    Hoi An's main beach is Cua Dai, located at the end of predictably named Cua Dai Road. Some of the beach is given over to high-end resorts, but the public section is the first part you see where the road meets the beach. Coastal erosion has become a huge problem along the Cua Dai coast and many ... read more

  • Van Duc Pagoda
    4.5 stars

    The best time to visit is in the evening when the whole thing including the gates and gardens are lit up with candles and lanterns -- it's quite breath-taking. On full moons and auspicious Buddhist celebrations like Buddha's birthday, monks travel for miles to come and pray at the pagoda. If you ... read more

  • Chuc Thanh Pagoda
    3 stars

    The original ancient gateway is still standing, but a large modern gate has been built in front of it and on the left you'll see three newer pagodas. There's also an extensive cemetery plot to the right that you can wander through. To get here, take Hai Ba Trung north and turn left (west) on ... read more

  • Phuoc Lam Pagoda
    3.5 stars

    There's plenty to wander around and look at here, but if you really want to understand it all, we recommend going with a good guide. If you're going on your own, we found it's best to visit just before 11:00 when the monks are finishing up their lunch (they've been up since 04:00 and this is ... read more

  • Japanese Tombs
    2.5 stars

    The tombs (there are three of them) are located in the rice fields at signposted intervals along Hai Ba Trung Street, 1.5 kilometre north of the intersection with Nguyen Tat Thanh (the name of the road changes to Ly Thuong Kiet on the west side of Hai Ba Trung). Coming from Hoi An you will spot ... read more

  • Thanh Ha Pottery Village
    4 stars

    Head west out of town on Tran Hung Dao and then turn right onto Hung Vuong. The road forks after three kilometres. For Da Nang (and My Son) take the right fork and for the pottery village take the left fork along the water. Several pottery outfits operate in the area, but we found the easiest to ... read more

  • Tra Que Vegetable Farm
    3 stars

    There's a ticket booth just after the rice fields end as you go out of town on Hai Ba Trung, on the right hand side. It is rarely manned and if it is you can cycle straight past without raising an eyebrow. We just wandered in for a look around. The best time for a visit is after 14:00 when all ... read more

  • Ong Vang charity bike ride
    4 stars

    Cycling around Hoi An is the one activity we’d usually suggest you don't need a guide for -- that is, unless you happen to be in Hoi An on a Saturday afternoon, when local charity organisation Ong Vang teams up with Hoi An Cycling for a three-hour countryside cruise. Ong Vang is a group of Hoi An ... read more

  • Cham Island
    4.5 stars

    Tours of Cham Island can be over-hyped if you are looking for anything more than stunning white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and some great snorkelling. Some tours talk about visiting pagodas and this and that, but here's the real deal: most of the island is controlled by the army and is still ... read more

  • Cam Kim Island
    4.5 stars

    Locals pay 3,000 VND, but foreigners get charged more — be sure to ask the price and haggle down to no more than 10,000 VND. You can take a bicycle or motorbike with you (for which you pay more) and this is highly recommended if you plan to do anything more on the island than visit the ... read more

  • Boat trips on the Thu Bon river
    4 stars

    You could do this the posh way by jumping aboard one of many tourist boats, but we recommend hopping in one of the small sampans rowed by elderly locals. Don't expect them to speak fluent English by any stretch, but these hearty souls know how to make a foreigner smile, and they are incredibly ... read more

  • The Pink Flamingo
    4 stars

    Hoi An's Pink Flamingo river boat is a brilliant and cheap floating dining experience that is quite a long way from your typical Southeast Asian dinner river cruise. For starters, you don't go anywhere -- you'll just eat on board the moored boat. The Flamingo is moored on the Bach Dang side of ... read more

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