Hoi An (Vietnamese: Hội An) is a beautiful city in Vietnam about 30 km to the south of Da Nang. The Old Town of Hoi An is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hoi An is also commonly used as the base for half-day trips to a cluster of abandoned and partially ruins of My Son, another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the west of the Central Highlands.
Hoi An, once known as Faifo, with more than 2,000 years of history, was the principal port of the Cham Kingdom, which controlled the strategic spice trade with Indonesia from the 7th-10th centuries and was a major international port in the 16th and 17th centuries. The foreign influences are discernible to this day.
The culture and heritage is mostly from the Cham people whose kingdom originally stretched from Hue south to Phan Thiet (south of Nha Trang). The Champas were most likely originally from Java. The original Cham political capital was Tra Kieu, the commercial capital was Hoi An and the spiritual capital was My Son (Hindu). The Cham people were Hindu, and by the 10th century the influence of Arab traders to Hoi An resulted in the conversion of some to Islam.
The second major influence was Chinese, first by traders, then by escaping Ming Dynasty armies, who after settling in Hoi An for some years, moved further south and created Saigon as a major trading port.
The third and last major influence of culture and heritage was from the Vietnamese and is fairly recent and only came after the Cham lost control of this area. For a tourist wanting Vietnamese culture and heritage, Hue is a much better destination than Hoi An.
While the serious shipping business has long since moved to Da Nang, the heart of the city is still the Old Town, full of winding lanes and Chinese-styled shophouses, which is particularly atmospheric in the evening as the sun goes down. While almost all shops now cater to the tourist trade, the area has been largely preserved as is, which is unusual in Vietnam, and renovation has proceeded slowly and carefully. It's mercifully absent of towering concrete blocks and karaoke parlours.
Alas, since 1999, when UNESCO status was awarded, there has been a massive increase in mass tourism, with the result that most houses have been sold to speculators and shop owners to be used for commercial purposes. So while the shell of the town remains (and a pretty shell it is), the community that created it is long gone and in their place are shops, restaurants, art galleries, etc. Domestic Vietnamese tourists have also discovered Hoi An, with the result that particularly on holidays and weekend evenings the Old Town gets packed with standing-room-only crowds.
The main thoroughfare in the Old Town is Tran Phu. Just south of the Old Town, across the Thu Bon River, are the islands of An Hoi to the west, reached via Hai Ba Trung, and Cam Nam to the east, reached via Hoang Dieu.
The nearest airport is in Da Nang (DAD IATA) which has domestic connections to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Can Tho, and Da Lat and some international flights to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Singapore, Siem Reap (for Angkor Wat), Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong and charter flights to China.
A taxi from Da Nang airport to Hoi An costs about USD22 using a taxi with a meter. This is one occasion where haggling to set a fixed price is cheaper than going by the meter. Air conditioned minibus taxis cost USD5 per person to the airport (there are no minibuses from the airport, you must first go to the city). The journey takes about 45 min.
There is no railway station in Hoi An. The nearest is in Da Nang (+84 511 3750666), which receives several trains a day from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Nha Trang, etc. Train tickets can be booked online or bought from most travel agents and hotels.
From Da Nang
There is a public bus #01 from Da Nang's bus station to Hoi An's bus station. The bus runs roughly every 20 minutes from around 05:30 to 17:50, and the trip takes slightly less than an hour. The fare is 18,000 đong, see DanangBus website. While many of Vietnam's bus ticket collectors/conductors are honest, this route is not generally blessed with them, and foreigners will get ripped off if you give them a chance.
Know the correct fare and don't get bamboozled. The official fare is posted on signs on the left outside the front entrance door, and above the driver. Try to board through the front door (even if the collector invites you to board through the back) and look at the prices (take a photo or use the above posted photo to drive the point home). The collector might try to tell you baggage is extra, but it is not, unless you have a suitcase that literally takes up a whole seat. The collector might show you a 50,000-đong bill handed to them by one of old ladies taking the bus: this is a scam, the ladies get a bundle of money back later to confuse tourists. If you give a larger bill expecting the correct amount of change, you instead be charged 30,000 or 50,000 đong per person and the collector will pretend to not understand when you complain. The best technique appears to be ignoring the collector's claims and having each passenger hand him 18,000 đong in exact change (or 20,000 đong if you don't have smaller change and are willing to take the loss). He will tell you it's wrong and ask for more. Ignore him and keep holding the money out. After a few minutes he'll come back and take it.
The bus makes a loop through northern Da Nang and passes through downtown Da Nang. See the route on https://www.danangbus.vn/roadmap.html and live bus positions at http://ecobus.danang.gov.vn/web/guest/homepublish. If you're staying in Da Nang, your accommodation should be able to point you to the nearest stop.
The bus stop closest to the train station is in front of 155 Lê Duẩn road (GPS 16.0704,108.2147), marked with a bus stop sign (leaving the train station cross the square and walk down Hoàng Hoa Thám road and turn left at the next intersection with Lê Duẩn). As of January 2018, the bus stop at 355 Lê Duẩn road still says the 01 bus stops there, but it doesn't anymore. Keep walking 500 meters more and you will get to the correct one at 155 Lê Duẩn road. There is no longer a particularly convenient bus stop coming from Da Nang airport; the nearest appears to be near the Museum of Cham Sculpture (270 Trần Phú; GPS 16.0620, 108.2232; about 35 minute walk or 3 km taxi).
In Hoi An, the bus ends at 1 Bus station, 67 Nguyễn Tất Thành, Hoi An. This is about 1.5 km northwest of the old town centre, about 15 minutes walk (though the first couple of minutes are not very pretty). The return buses leave from there as well. A xe om from Hoi An bus station to the old town should be around 10-15,000 đong.
On the return trip, the #01 bus passes within 700 metres of the Da Nang train station. Nearest stops are at 166 Lê Duẩn and 79 Ông Ích Khiêm.
There is a shuttle bus direct to Danang airport (120,000 đong, 1 hour).
There is no shortage of travel agencies and private buses travelling to and from Hoi An to destinations such as Hue, Hanoi, Saigon, Dalat and Nha Trang. Guesthouses can arrange tickets for a surcharge, although they may not release the ticket to you until after you check out.
Those arriving by bus not on an open ticket should be aware you may not be dropped off at the Hoi An bus station, but at a guesthouse about a 10-min walk from the station. The motorbike taxis or tuk-tuk waiting for your bus there will take you to your lodging for USD1–2.
Buses from Buon Ma Thuot or other cities in central Highlands going to Da Nang will drop you off just outside of Hoi An, at a stop along the highway if asked. From there it is a 15-minute motorbike ride to anywhere in town.
Fixed price for taxi from Da Nang is 500,000 đong (2022), passing one of the stone handicraft shops on the way. If you're coming from Hue, prepare to pay at least 1,200,000 đong.
The old Champa way was to travel by the river system. The rivers of Hoi An cover hundreds of kilometres and offer an interesting and adventurous alternative to travelling by road. Get on a boat and you'll begin to see a whole lot more of Hoi An and the delta. You can charter boats for about USD1/hour.
The centre of Hoi An is very small and pedestrian-friendly, so you will be walking around most of the time. Motorbikes are banned from the centre of town during certain times of day (08:00 to 11:00, 13:30 to 16:30), but you should keep an eye out for motorized kamikazes, even in the most narrow alleys. The city government does not allow motorbikes to enter Old Town on the 14th and 15th of each lunar month. On those evenings, a lot of activities, including traditional games such as bai choi, trong quan, and dap nieu are held in all over the town.
Taxis can be found in the middle of Le Loi St, over the river in An Hoi or summoned by phone. When busy, taxis may refuse your fare back to your hotel from town if it is too close, opting for larger fares. Arranging a shuttle from your hotel may be a better option although prices may be higher. Grab rideshare cars can also be summoned to any of the ticket booths at the entrances to the Old City.
Motorbike taxis, of course, are always an option.
Pedal bicycles can be rented quickly and easily for as low as 20,000 đong per day, and is one of the best ways to get around town. If you are not staying directly in Old Town, this is an outstanding option for traveling back and forth and to the beach.
Near the river, especially in the evening, Western faces will be besieged by touts offering boat rides. Unless you opt for a longer charter, this is not a practical means of transportation, and while pretty enough, the view from the river doesn't really look any different from what you can see from the banks. From 200,000 dong for 15 minutes on a 4-person boat, including lighting your own little lantern so you can make a wish. Expect to haggle, and on busy nights the river gets jammed, so insist on life vests.
- See also: Vietnam by motorcycle
Traffic in Hoi An is minimal, so if you've been avoiding getting on a bike in the big cities, Hoi An and the surrounding countryside like is ideal to get used to the road rules.
There are plenty of places in Hoi An offering motorbike rentals. Take a short ride down to the beach and enjoy the water, explore the island community of Cam Thanh, or travel toward Da Nang to visit the stunning Marble Mountains.
The most common rental motorbike or scooter is a Honda Nouvo which is fully automatic, comfortable for two people and has storage space under the seat for helmets or other similarly-sized gear. It's standard practice for a rental bike to have only enough fuel to make it to the next filling station. Make sure you get a helmet for everyone on the bike.
You can get a bike for 125,000 dong without haggling (2018). Petrol costs around 22,000 đong/litre and 2-3L is enough for a good day of sightseeing, going to the beach and zipping around town. In addition to filling stations, there are also little hand-operated roadside pumps everywhere; these can be convenient, but they're more expensive (30,000 đong/litre) and the quality of the fuel is questionable.
The usual disclaimers apply to motorbikes in Vietnam: foreign driving licences are not valid. In the event of an accident, foreigners driving a motorcycle without a valid licence are considered to be at fault and therefore liable for damages and may face a citation. Check your travel insurance exclusions, as generally you will not be covered for accidents when riding a motorcycle here. That means no reimbursement for hospital treatment or, worst case, the repatriation of your body. Drink-related motorbike collisions are a major issue in Vietnam. Traffic accident statistics for the region are frightful. As well, emergency services are not up to international standards.
The Old Town, with its historical architecture and very walkable streets filled with shops and restaurants, is arguably at its best at night, when the activity along the river front is lit by the soft light of silk lanterns.
Entry to Old Town is free, however entry to all historical sites is handled via a coupon system, where 120,000 đong (2016) gets a ticket that can be used to enter any five attractions. Tickets are sold at various entry points into the Old Town, including Hai Ba Trung St, and also at some of the attractions, including the Cantonese Assembly Hall.
- 1 Japanese Covered Bridge (Chua Cau or Lai Vien Kieu) (At the west end of Tran Phu St). The bridge was constructed in the early 1600s by the Japanese community, roughly 40 years before they left the city to return to Japan under the strict policy of sakoku enforced by the Tokugawa Shogunate, and renovated in 1986. Today, it's the symbol of Hoi An. Entry is one coupon, but it's possible to cross back and forth several times without meeting a ticket-checker. If your scruples bother you, leave a tribute for the pig statue or the dog statue standing guard at opposite ends of the bridge.
- 2 Quan Cong Temple, 24 Tran Phu St (near corner of Tran Phu and Tran Quy Cap). Founded in the 15th century, this temple is dedicated to Quan Cong, a Chinese general who is remembered and worshipped for his qualities of loyalty, integrity and justice. Statues of him and several others are inside the temple.
- 3 Museum of Hoi An History and Culture, 7 Nguyen Hue St. The museum contains some old black and white photos of Hoi An taken in the early 20th century. It also houses an old cannon, some two-thousand year old pots from the Sa Huynh period, and a case full of 9th century bricks and tiles from the Champa period.
- 4 Museum of Folk Culture, 33 Nguyen Thai Hoc St. Some may be put off by the bizarre-looking plaster sculptures of Vietnamese peasants, but this museum documents the dress and culture of rural Vietnam.
- 5 Museum of Sa Huynh Culture, 149 Bach Dang St. The museum's main collection consists of pottery and urns from the 1st and 2nd centuries. Upstairs is another museum, the Museum of the Revolution. Its main collection consists of pictures from war heroes and a collection of weapons such as grenade launchers, machine guns and AK 47s.
- 6 Museum of Trade Ceramics, 80 Tran Phu St. The dusty, unlabeled displays of broken pottery are eminently forgettable, but the house itself is nice enough, and it provides a good opportunity to explore the shape and layout of an old Hoi An home.
Traditional old houses
There are four old houses that exist in an awkward halfway state between museum showpiece and somewhat shabby residence for the family that lives there.
- 7 Old house of Phung Hung, 4 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St (Just west of the Japanese Bridge). Traditional two-story wooden house, inhabited over 100 years by eight generations; and the current one guides you around in hope of a tip.
- 8 Old house of Quan Thang, 77 Nguyen Thai Hoc St.
- 9 Old house of Duc An, Nguyen Thai Hoc St.
- 10 Old house of Tan Ky, 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc St. As above, a younger member of the family will provide a cup of tea and a "tour" that doesn't stray from the front room of the house, as you'd need to step over sleeping members of the older generation to go anywhere else. The design of the house shows how local architecture incorporated Japanese and Chinese influences. Japanese elements include the crab shell-shaped ceiling supported by three beams in the living room. Chinese poems written in mother-of-pearl are hanging from a number of the columns that hold up the roof.
Numerous congregation halls, where Chinese expatriate residents socialized and held meetings, are dotted about the town. They are typically named after the home region of their members, such as Fujian and Canton. Some attractions do not have ticket-takers.
- 11 Cam Pho Communal House (Dinh Cam Pho), 52 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai, Phường Minh An.
- 12 Chinese Assembly Hall, 64 Tran Phu St. Pan-Chinese assembly hall jointly built by the Cantonese, Teochew, Hokkien (Fujian), Hainanese and Hakka communities.
- 13 Quang Trieu Assembly Hall, 176 Tran Phu St. Built in 1885 for the Cantonese community, it has a calm courtyard with ornate statuary. Take a peek at the half-hidden back yard and its kitschy pastel dragon statues.
- 14 Phuc Kien Meeting Hall, 46 Tran Phu St. Hokien (Fujian) meeting hall built in 1757.
- 15 Trieu Chau Meeting Hall, 157 Nguyen Duy Hieu. Teochew community meeting hall built in 1887. It's near the Fujian hall, also occupying the block.
- 16 Hai Nam Assembly Hall, 10 Tran Phu St. Hainanese community meeting hall built in 1875.
- 17 Minh Huong Communal House, 14 Tran Phu St. Built by the Minh Huong, Chinese Ming Dynasty loyalists who were given refuge in Vietnam after refusing to submit to the new Manchu Qing rulers of China. Their descendants are today assimilated into the ethnic Vietnamese and no longer identify as ethnic Chinese.
- 18 Hoi An Art Craft Manufacturing Workshop, 9 Bach Dang St. Folk music performances are offered Tu-Su at 10:15 and 15:15.
- 19 Hoi An Traditional Art Performance House, 75 Nguyen Thai Hoc St.
- Bamboo Circus, 01A Nguyen Phuc Chu St. Daily at 18:00. A small-scale Cirque du Soleil-style show of acrobatics and dance with traditional and modern Vietnamese themes in a 300-seat theatre. Excellent visuals and choreography, enthusiastic young performers. Buy tickets online, at the theatre, or at many hotels. It's a small theatre, so the cheap seats still have a good view. Adult 700,000-1.6 million dong, child 5-12 30% less.
There are boat rides on the river, local beaches, diving.
- Cham Island tour. Has been operating from Hoi An since 2002. The dive centre and international team offer daily boat and speedboat tours to Cham Island for scuba diving and snorkelling.
- 1 Hoi An Silk Village, 28 Nguyen Tat Thanh St, ☏ . 09:00-21:00. Revived 300-year-old Champa silk traditions. Half day tours encompassing the entire silk process, from silkworms to dressmaking. Showroom in a converted Quang Nam-style house with 100 different ao dai, representing all of the 54 different minority groups in Vietnam. Also a spacious colonial-style restaurant serving local dishes and a silk showroom where professional tailors custom design and make garments for visitors. USD19.
- Cooking lessons are offered at several restaurants around town. If you enjoyed your meal there, it can't hurt to enquire. There are also several established cooking schools with good reputations including Gioan Riverside, Morning Glory, and Red Bridge who offer a variety of courses ranging in price from USD16-55. In these schools you will learn only the mechanics of Vietnamese cooking: how to chop the vegetables and roll the spring roll, etc. All the rest are closely-guarded secrets: the making of the sauce, the techniques of frying the spring roll and the grilling the beef. The instructors are locals, and some are not used to English pronunciations and speak fast.
- Hội An Eco Tour. Is a unique cultural tourist attraction. Learn how to catch fish, row a basket boat with local fisherman in the coconut palm paradise. Rather than focusing on historical artifacts of Vietnam, the eco tour focuses on the historical, and living culture of the people of Hội An. Very friendly tour guide and staff. All drinks and a great dinner included (Fisherman to Coconut palm paradise tour). A bit more expensive than other tours but a very nice experience (doing rather than seeing).
- Hội An Food Tour (Street food tour). 15:30-20:00. Discover the best of Hoi An street foods. Your tour guide will show you best places to eat Hoi An-style foods cheaply and knowledgeably. 4 hours. 5 tasting locations, 8 delicious samples (enough for dinner). Pickup from your hotel. USD45.
- Lifestart Foundation Tour & Craft Lessons, 77 Phan Chu Trinh. Lifestart Foundation, a charity founded in Australia, offers a half day tour to find out more about the Lifestart Foundation Workshop and take part in lantern making and art classes. The morning includes the opportunity to make Hoi An lanterns, one-on-one dialogue with workshop members and a traditional painting class. At the end of your experience you’ll have two miniature Hoi An lanterns. All of the money raised goes towards helping local people in difficulty. USD33.
- Water puppet show, traditional show. 80.000 dong/ 3 euro. Weekends at 18.30h.
- Cam Kim Island Bicycle Tour. 08:30-12:00. Cam Kim is a scenic rural island which is almost entirely free of tourists. Stunning rural scenes, rice paddies, villages, fields of water buffalo and quiet roads are the big draws of Cam Kim. With your bike, you will be able to explore numerous picturesque pathways along with some bamboo bridged. There will be plenty of opportunities for taking photos and just taking in the wonderful scenery. You are led by a student volunteer keen on improving her English. Free except for ferry.
- 2 Heaven and Earth Bicycle Tours, 57 Ngo Quyen (An Hoi Islet), ☏ . Owned by Pascal, a French expat, and his wife, Thu, who is a native of Hoi An. If you take this tour, they will guide you to destinations that are not accessible to large tour groups. From USD17.
- Hoi An Love of Life Bicycle Tours, 66 Phan Chu Trinh St, ☏ . 5 hours. Organised by local professional tour guides. Places visited include the Buddhist pagoda and a picturesque fishing village while cycling through luscious green rice fields where buffaloes roam. USD25.
The are many ATMs around Hoi An but none seem to allow withdrawals over 2 million dong. They all charge for withdrawals. Agribank and Vietcombank maybe the cheapest with a fee of 20,000 đong, max withdrawal 2 million dong.
- 1 Money changer. If changing cash the best places are the gold shops near the market.
- Brass gongs and bells - There are many foundries on the road to My Son. Items can be made to order. This is the origin of the souvenirs sold in Hoi An tourist shops.
- Hand made silks and lanterns - Old Town tourist shops
Hoi An is known as the centre for affordable custom-made clothing. There are around 400 tailor shops in the city, some better than others. Most can complete something in one day, so you may wish to make an order on arrival so there will be time to complete the work. The principle of caveat emptor is definitely relevant. Ask at your accommodation. You will probably need to leave a deposit of about half the finished price before the work is started. If there are problems, shops may or may not be willing to make adjustments; you will not get a refund. Some strategies to minimise your risk:
- Use recommendations from your accommodation and not from motorcycle drivers (they get a kickback whilst your hotel probably doesn't)
- Order one thing at a time: if something goes wrong with one item, you lose less money;.
- Take something that fits, they work better with copies.
- Make sure they understand any special instructions: pockets, shortening, etc., the language barrier is not your friend.
- Price things in more than one shop: materials and prices vary.
- Order from more than one shop, again so all your eggs are not in one basket.
- Len Silk, 74 Tran Phu St, firstname.lastname@example.org. The owner is the 6th generation in the family business. Her grandmother learned to make silk by hand as a young girl. She continued for 50 years. Then mass-produced imported silk became the norm and the village women mostly dropped the craft. Reasoning that traditional techniques of making hand-produced silk resulted in a superior product, she kept the business of using time-worn techniques going. Nearly all the garments in the store made by this method. Only women's clothing is available in hand-crafted fabrics.
- Song Trang 'Moon River', 166 Nguyen Truong To (next to Tran Hung Dao crossroads), ☏ , email@example.com. 09:00-21:00. Men's and ladies' tailoring. 2-piece suits start about USD100. Many similar in nearby Le Loi St. From USD100.
- Vanda Tailors, 631 Hai Ba Trung, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 08:30-21:30. This tailor shop is very highly rated by many travellers.
- Yaly Couture, 358 Nguyen Duy Hieu St, ☏ , email@example.com. 10:00-22:00. Top end prices. You pay for the name, and the bag the clothes come in. From USD150.
- 2 Tranh Cổ Động (Old Propaganda Posters), 40 Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai (west of Japanese Bridge). Great little shop in the Old Town selling not just the promised propaganda posters, but a good range of high-quality T-shirts with classy, unique designs.
- 3 Hội An Market, 19 Tran Phu.
Food in Hoi An is, even by high Vietnamese standards, cheap and tasty. In addition to the usual suspects, there are three dishes that Hoi An is particularly famous for:
- Cao lầu, a dish of rice noodles soaked in lye, tinting them light brown and giving them a firmer, chewier texture not unlike pasta or Japanese udon. The noodles are topped with slices of roast pork, dough fritters, and this being Vietnam, lots of fresh herbs and veggies.
- White rose (banh bao vac), a type of shrimp dumpling made from translucent white dough bunched up to look like a rose. Eat it at 533 Hai Ba Trung St.
- Wonton dumplings, essentially the same as the Chinese kind, served up in soup or deep-fried.
- 1 Central Market (Hoi An Market (Chợ Hội An)), 19 Trần Phú. has a food court with several stands serving Hoi An specialities and typical Vietnamese food like pho, and spring rolls. It has a few stands catering to tourists with English-speaking staff and menus, and stands catering mostly to Vietnamese which serve rice and side dishes.
- 2 Bale Well Restaurant, 45-51 D Tran Cao Van (In the small alley), ☏ . 10:00-22:00. Set menu: bánh xèo, pork savoury pancakes; barbecued satay pork loin, wrapped in a lettuce leaf, with side salad. 110,000 đong each.
- 3 Cafe 43, 43 Tran Cao Van. Biere Lerue for 10,000 đong and bia hoi (pronounced doy in the south) fresh beer for 3,000 đong. The food is general traveller fare but tasty. Try the cao lao noodles which is the local speciality. Portions are adequate. The "fresh spring rolls" (steamed) cost around 40,000 đong, but are huge.
- 4 Trung Bac, 87 Tran Phu. 100 years of cao lau and still going strong. Offers e.g. bowl of chewy noodles and lots of veggies.
- 5 White Rose, 533 Hai Ba Trung. 07:00-early afternoon. The shop that makes most of the "white rose" dumplings served all around town. 40,000 đong per serving, and if you ask nicely they'll let you try to make them yourself.
- 6 Ba Dam Vegetarian Restaurant, 71 Phan Chu Trinh.
- 7 Phở Tùng, 51/7 Phan Chu Trinh Thị Xã Hội An.
- 8 Madam Khanh - The Banh Mi Queen, 115 Trần Cao Vân.
- 9 Bazar Cafe & Restaurant, 36 Tran Phu (Next to the town market), ☏ . 08:00-24:00. New in town, serves the best Vietnamese and Mediterranean barbeque in the garden. Comfortable lounge, cocktails and shisha inside the traditional wooden house.
- 10 Dingo Deli, 463 Cửa Đại, ☏ . 07:30-19:30. This delicatessen offers an extensive selection of gourmet foods through the restaurant and European grocery store. Attractive ambience, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. A wooden constructed adventure play ground for children to play on overlooks paddocks with buffalo and the Thu Bon River.
- 11 Red Bridge Restaurant & Cooking School, Thon 4, Cam Thanh (about 3 km out of town), ☏ . 10:00-21:00. Next to the Thu Bon River within 2 acres of tropical gardens. Offers a wide range of Vietnamese Food, in an open air restaurant. Cooking Classes begin around 08:00 at the Hai Scout Cafe for an Italian-style coffee then a tour of the market to shop for fruit & veg. Booking for dinner is essential. They sometimes close early if there are no customers. They offer cocktails as well as the usual beers and a wine list.
- 12 Son Hoian, 232 Cửa Đại (Riverside on the Cua Dai beach road). 09:30-23:30. Very popular stopping point for those cycling back from the beach.
- 13 Thanh Restaurant, 76 Bach Dang (City centre, riverside), ☏ . Great Vietnamese and Western food. Excellent grilled fished in banana leaf and nice river view.
- 14 Madam Kieu, 43 Nguyễn Phúc Chu (On An Hoi, close to the bridge), ☏ . You're definitely paying a premium for the location, but this atmospheric restaurant serves excellent renditions of Hoi An and central Vietnamese favorites, and the river views and people watching from the wraparound balcony on the 2nd floor are hard to beat. Air-con seating available as well. Live music on the 1st floor on weekends. Set menus from 500,000 dong for two.
Walking along the river at night, you will find a lot of pubs. Beer is around 30,000 đong. Cocktails are 20,000-50,000 đong. There are some bar foods available, such as fried prawn crackers for around 15,000 đong a plate. Just walk into any pub and have a seat. However, Hoi An is not a real party destination and has a rather limited number of nightlife locations.
- 1 BB Lounge, 13 Nguyen Hoang St an Hoi islet (across night market), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 18:00-24:00. The new bar, lounge and club in town, located on the third floor above Bamboo Buddha restaurant. Nice selection of cocktails, rum shooters and tapas. Live music and regular DJs, dance floor. Sky balcony, open late. 30,000-120,000 đong for drinks.
- Before and Now, 51 Le Loi St. Morning-24:00. The most popular bar in Old Town. Reasonably priced drinks and food. Happy hour specials available in the evening. Offers seating, pool tables and bar stool seating. Usually closes at midnight. US$2-10.
- 2 Dive Bar Restaurant, 88 Nguyen Thai Hoc St, ☏ , email@example.com. 11:00-02:00. Great bar in a traditional house with a back garden, pool table, Wi-Fi. Plays many kinds of music on request, with music once a week. Great choice of cocktails and beers, wine by bottle or by glass. Food: small tapas, Vietnamese salads, pasta, lasagne, hamburgers, seafood, rice salads. 20,000-150,000 đong for drinks and food.
- Infinity, Far left Side, An Hoi Islet. until late. The new hot place in Hoi An. Very cheap drinks, lots of outdoor tables. Free shisha for groups of 4 or more. Begins to get crowded by 21:00 and is packed until late. As the popularity of this bar has risen, many other bars and previous late night spots of Hoi An are quickly being ignored as this is now increasingly popular.
- Rosie's cafe, 8/6 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street. M-Sa 08:00-19:00. A lovely cafe tucked in a peaceful alley of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai. Signature drink is cold-brew coffee which is less acid than hot brewing and cold pressed juice. Not only the food and drink, but also the space to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of Hoi An old townal. 20,000-70,000 đong.
- Why Not Bar, 10B Pham Hong Thai (On the eastern edge of old town). Open until late. Late night bar near old town. Not to be confused with the much different bar/club of the same name in Nha Trang. This very small 3-storey bar advertises free drinks and cheap all-you-can drink specials. Patrons do not come to this bar until at least midnight, when the rest of the town has closed down. Open until late. USD2.
Hoi An New Town
The atmosphere of the Old Town hasn't been preserved by accident: strict bylaws prohibit new construction within its narrow lanes. As a result, there's a building boom just outside the borders of the Old Town, most noticeably as you head north of Le Hong Phong. Walk a few blocks from that old world ambience, and suddenly you're in a construction zone. Several hotels have sprung up in this area, which is completely lacking in the charm that brings visitors to Hoi An. Not surprisingly, those are the hotels (Phuong Nam Hotel is among the worst offenders) that are most likely to pay commissions to open-tour bus companies and use Internet sites to describe the dusty construction zone as a "peaceful area". They're also cheaper and easier to bargain with, but the reason they're so cheap is that they're missing the whole point of a visit to Hoi An. There are plenty of options closer to the centre of town. Once you've taken a night-time stroll through the Old Town, you won't mind if you had to fork over an extra dollar or two for a better location.
Hotels in Hoi An are fiercely competitive, which means plenty of choice and generally high standards. Budget options are slightly pricier than many other parts of Vietnam, with 6 USD being about the cheapest. Many are clustered around Hai Ba Trung St and "Ba Trieu" (formerly, Nhi Trung St), just north of the Old Town and within easy walking distance, and also along Cua Dai St, off to the east and a bit of a hike away.
Most of Hoi An's high-end hotels are located along the unbroken beach stretching from Da Nang to Hoi An. Closest is Cua Dai Beach 5 km away.
- 1 An Hoi Hotel, 69 Nguyen Phuc Chu, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Nice and quiet, very near old town (opposite riverbank). Nicely decorated wide rooms. Free Internet and Wi-Fi. USD15-25, including breakfast.
- Dai Long. A 7 minute walk from the heart of the old town. Extremely clean, spacious rooms. Beds come complete with a mosquito net. The staff are incredibly helpful and speak excellent English. Free Internet and Wi-Fi. Doubles ~USD20.
- Green Field Hotel, 423 Cua Dai St, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Average value hotel with some English-speaking staff and a location that is not central. Satellite TV and decent air conditioning in some rooms. Other rooms have no air-con. Many rooms smell mouldy, so have a look before you check in. Cheaper rooms are below reasonable value. Free computers with Internet in the lobby, free Wi-Fi (patchy in rooms), swimming pool, and free cocktails for one hour in the evenings. They also have dorms available (three single beds in a room) for USD6 per night. Single/double from 430,000 đong; triple from 540,000, plus 15% for 10 Jul - 25 Aug and 20 Dec - 5 Jan. Buffet breakfast 110,000 đong per person.
- Ha My TT Hotel, Thon 1, Dien Duong, Dien Ban, Quang Nam, ☏ (French), (English and Japanese). This ancient French-style beach resort about 6 km from Hoi An centre has been renovated. It has a special atmosphere and its friendly owner, Mr Nguyen Van Hien, will do everything to make you feel comfortable. Don't be put off by its unpainted facade, as the rooms are nice, and the beach is good. USD20-30.
- Hoa My, 201 Ly Thuong Kiet St (Corner Hai Ba Trung), ☏ . Cheap, modern, very clean, but of course a bit outside the old town. There are two more similar hotels next to it. They sell bus tickets at approximately twice the genuine price. from USD12.
- Hoang Trinh Hotel, 45 Le Quy Don St (corner Tran Hung Dao St opposite Confucius Temple), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Average value hot. Great hotel in good location and scenic setting. Well furnished en suite rooms with cable TV with excellent reception, air-con, ceiling fan, fridge, Wi-Fi and balcony restaurant with an impressive view. Has bicycles for hire for 15,000 đong next door and motorbikes also. The staff are friendly, and they provide complimentary small snacks as well as a welcome dinner. USD22-28.
- Hop Yen, 103 Ba Trieu & 694 Hai Ba Tru'ng St (in the "backpacker town" area, 7 min from Old Town), ☏ . Check-out: 11:00. Clean rooms, spacious, moody staff with moderate to good English and tour advice. The open bus tickets they sell are not however with the companies they say they are, an inferior company, book elsewhere. Free internet and Wi-Fi before 21:00. doubles ~USD 12 no air-con, +USD2 with air-con, dorms USD5.
- Nhi Nhi Hotel, 60 Hung Vuong St (about 10 min walk from the Old Quarter, near the Bridge Pagoda), ☏ . Check-out: 12:00. Affordable, nice rooms and swimming pool. Near a local market but a bit far from tourist sites. Bargain to get good price. Normally price doesn't include breakfast. Standard/superior room: Single 680,000/795,000 đong, double or twin 800,000-1,020,000 đong. Family room 2,540,000 đong..
- Phuoc An Hotel, 31/1 Tran Cao Van St. Check-out: 12:00. A clean, friendly and modern atmosphere. An indoor restaurant on the first floor overlooks the hotel pool. The hotel is a stones throw from the markets and old quarter. Bicycles are offered to guests free, however motorbikes can be rented for USD4 per day from across the road. Good service and complementary all you can eat breakfast each day before 11:00. (This hotel is not connected with the Phuoc An River Hotel on Cua Dai beach road.) USD18-30.
- Sunflower Hotel, 397 Cua Dai St (Cua Dai St leads directly to the beach (about 2.5 km away). 4 km to An Bang Beach (turn left out of hotel, turn right on Hai Ba Trung St, go straight)), ☏ . Check-out: 12:00. Popular with backpackers. Motorbike and bicycle rental places both sides of the hotel (80,000 đong if renting for a few days, 100,000 đong for one day) (20,000 đong for a bicycle). Rooms are spacious with large beds, air-con, fridge, cable TV, fast Wi-Fi. Some rooms have balconies. Both dorms and private rooms available. Has a clean, medium sized pool and lounge chairs, with an outdoor bar and restaurant located next to the pool. Room rate includes a good buffet breakfast. A 15 minute walk into the city and 15-20 minute bike ride to the beach. USD20.
- Tan Phuong, 209 Ly Thuong Kiet, ☏ , email@example.com. Small fan room for USD6, larger nice rooms for USD8. North side of the city, but easy walking access to the city centre. Also rent bikes/motorbikes. USD10-20.
- Thanh Binh 3, 98 Ba Trieu St (Off Hai Ba Trung St), ☏ . Popular budget hotel done up like a Chinese temple, with a pool and pleasant rooms, all air-con equipped. The mattresses are on the hard side and the breakfast isn't much. Free Wi-Fi throughout and Internet at the lobby. From USD25.
- Hoa Cọ Villas, 252 Cua Dai Street, Cam Chau Ward, Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. There are six 5-bedroom-villas. Each villa has a private pool, a large area of living and dining room. It is suitable for big families
- An Huy Hotel, 30 Phan Boi Chau St (City 1 km, taxi 25,000 đong), ☏ , , email@example.com. Fourteen rooms conveniently located near the river and Central Market, away from the din of most streets in the heart of Hoi An. The hotel was converted from a traditional Hoi An shophouse. Not as squeaky clean as a newly-built hotel, but nice, with plenty of historic charm. Good breakfast, such as pancakes with banana fillings. There are 2 computers set up in the lobby to provide Internet access. USD28 for a double room.
- Betel Garden Homestay, 161 Tran Nhan Tong St, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 06:00, check-out: 12:00. A bit out of the city centre and a beautifully landscaped garden with several species of areca and betel trees, complete with songbirds and fish in small ponds. Staff are incredibly friendly and try to make you feel at home, including complementary fruit in your room each day and the free bicycles. Their area also offers a nicely laid out secluded pool area, as well as two covered dining areas the 20 guests. The Vuon Trau Family organises a complimentary dinner together with their guests twice a week, offering free beverages (including beer) and excellent food.
- Ha An Hotel, 6 Phan Boi Chau Rd, ☏ . In a quiet area beyond the main markets, this hotel consists of a few buildings built in a semi-French colonial style around a central courtyard. The rooms are airy, light and pleasant with air conditioning, baths, and TV. A basket of fresh fruit is usually provided in the room. There's a collection of books in the reception area that can be borrowed by guests. The price includes an excellent breakfast and free use of bicycles. USD55-104.
- Hoai Thanh Hotel, 187 Ly Thuong Kiet St (200 m from the centre of town), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. USD24-75.
- Hoi An Pho Library Hotel, 96 Ba Trieu St (5 min walk from Old Town). Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. A beautiful small hotel with modern marble baths and the added bonus of in-room Wi-Fi. The deluxe rooms even have computers. The room service menu is packed full of local delicacies and the hotel features the only rooftop swimming pool in Hoi An. Breakfast is included in the price. What really makes this hotel are the staff, welcoming, helpful and professional, with excellent English. USD30-48.
- Long Life Hotel, 30 Ba Trieu St, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Comfortable hotel with a nice pool and excellent breakfast. Wi-Fi and computers are available. Friendly staff. Wide range of room prices with the internal rooms having tiny windows the cheapest and the upper floor rooms with a balcony being the most expensive. The attached baths for all the rooms are about the same and include a nice whirlpool bath. USD17-35.
- Lotus Hotel, 330 Cua Dai Rd, ☏ , email@example.com. Beautifully designed resort-hotel draws from a range of styles & influences resulting in a perfect blend of Eastern culture & French architecture, immaculately furnished and equipped rooms in a relaxing combination of Vietnamese, Japanese and French styles. Free ADSL/Wi-Fi available throughout. USD36-55.
- Villa Orchid Garden Riverside, 382 Cua Dai St, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. The name Orchid Garden originates from the owner's long held passion for orchids, with more than 30 varieties of orchid in the garden. The homestay has four secluded bungalows built in traditional Vietnamese architecture, surrounded by a variety of tropical trees, and equipped with modern convenient facilities. Each bungalow is named after a type of orchid found around the garden. Orchid Garden also has a traditional sanctuary for worshiping ancestors and for family activities.
- 2 Aurora Riverside Hotel (Phuoc An River Hotel), 242 Cua Dai Rd. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00. Roof garden restaurant on the sixth floor provides the best views in Hoi An. Clean rooms, good food, friendly staff and beach road riverside location make the Aurora Riverside Hotel unique in Hoi An. Spa, gym, pool, poolside bar, coffee garden. The hotel is a 15-20 min stroll to/from the beach, and within walking distance of the ancient town. Bicycles are free for guests. Good service and good breakfast. USD30-60 per night.
- 3 Palm Garden Beach Resort and Spa Hoi An, Lac Long Quan Street, Cua Dai beach, Hoi An City, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A charming beachfront resort with 216 rooms and bungalows. It is 30 km from Danang International Airport and 5 km to Hoi An Ancient town. from USD 180.
- 4 Anantara Hoi An Resort, 1 Pham Hong Thai Street, ☏ , email@example.com. 93 rooms and suites in split-level design with daybed porches. 5 dining options. The main resort activities include swimming and boat trips to the Thu Bon River. USD133.
- 5 Le Belhamy Hoi An Resort and Spa, Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Dien Ban District (10 min from Hoi An Old Town and 30 min from Da Nang International Airport.), ☏ . All rooms are equipped with private pool, balcony, garden, living area, refrigerator, minibar, Wi-Fi and TV with satellite/cable. Restaurant, room service, concierge, swimming pool, pool bar, spa, fitness room/gym. From USD101.
- 6 Vinh Hung Riverside Resort & Spa, 111 Ngo Quyen St. USD70-110.
- 7 Hotel Royal Hoi An, 39 Dao Duy Tu (in An Hoi area, along Thu Bon River), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A French colonial style boutique hotel with Japanese architecture influence in the quiet area 5 minutes of walk from the Ancient Town of Hoi An. 119 rooms are of MGallery standard by Accor hotels, overlooking Thu Bon river, pool and Hoi An town. There are one outdoor pool, two restaurant, one chic bar, one spa, complimentary bikes and gym. USD127 - 220.
- 8 Anantara Hoi An Resort, 1 Pham Hong Thai St (East end of street fronting the river). French colonial style architecture with rooms overlooking the Thu Bon River at the east end of Hoi An, a short walk from the Old Town but just far enough away that a quiet night's sleep is practically assured. Rooms are large, many are bi-level with a sitting area, and have air-con; but restaurant and bar are open to the breezes.
- 9 The Ocean Villas, Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District Non Nuoc Beach (On the beach side opposite the Colin Montgomerie and Greg Norman Da Nang Golf Club links, halfway between Hoi An and Da Nang.). You will need a car and driver for this beach and sport club resort oasis.
- 10 River-Beach Resort, 05 Cua Dai St, ☏ . 2 min walk from the beach, with views of surrounding paddy fields, river and sea. 120 rooms, ranging from deluxe, superb deluxe rooms to executive, family and presidential suites. Each room has a private balcony or terrace and offers views of the river, pool, garden or countryside. Free Wi-Fi throughout. There is also a fitness centre, beauty salon and spa, bar, baby sitting services and gift shop. USD60 for deluxe room, USD165 for a presidential suite.
- 11 Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort and Spa, Cua Dai Beach, ☏ . Internet rates from USD125, walk-up rates from USD165, honeymoon suites USD210-300.
- 12 Vinh Hung 1 Heritage Hotel, 143 Tran Phu St, ☏ . Small historic hotel. USD60-100.
Hoi An regularly floods during November. Visitors who plan to arrive during one of their floods should book ahead.
The city stayed open during the November 2013 floods, although there were news reports of tourist evacuations. As hotels near the river flooded, tourists started moving to hotels on higher ground. Flooding affected streets up to four blocks uphill from the river, as well as the hotel and restaurant area across the bridge on An Hoi peninsula. The water levels for this flood seem slightly below the levels of the 2011 flood; the cleanup seemed to be well handled.
- Internet - Most hotels and restaurants have free Wi-Fi, often unsecured, although Facebook may be a problem here as elsewhere. There is also a widely available citywide network: to connect, open your browser and click the banner at the top.
- Cham Islands - UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Cu Lao Cham - Hoi An 9 nautical miles offshore. Get there by slow boat or speedboat. Day trip (arrange with your hotel or local tour operators).
- Non Nuoc Beach - opposite the Marble Mountains. Accessible by motorbike. There are beaches closer to Hoi An accessible by bicycle or motorbike, with parking near the beach. Cost about 50,000 đong all day, which can probably be negotiated.
- Dong Duong - ruined Cham tower, the sole major remnant of a large Buddhist Cham period (9th century, 875-915 under Indravarman II) temple-complex that was originally 155m x 326m. Other minor remnants are also visible.
- Lang Co - fishing village that includes mountains, a river, a lagoon, an island and a 32 km beach between Da Nang and Hue.
- The Marble Mountains, 9 km short of Da Nang, are well worth a morning or afternoon trip from Hoi An. The largest of the five mountains has temples and caves. Get there by hiring a motorbike (costs less than organised tour).
- There is a nominal fee for entry; it is worth paying extra for the small map. No one will tell you how to get to the top to overlook Fire Mountain to the west, there is one trail accessible from the WC—look for the handrails going up—another is nearby, near a temple complex and next to an arch over the trail.
- Accessibility: An elevator available for a small fee. It may be broken, but it only leads to platform with an overlook towards the water; you would still need to take stairways to see the temples, so there is no advantage to the elevator. If you can make it up the stairs at the entrance, there will be no problem with the rest of the stairs. Cave floors and trails may be wet but are not slippery.
- My Khanh - Rare seaside ruin of a Cham tower dating from the 8th century.
- My Son - Best done as an early morning half-day trip from Hoi An (arrange with your hotel or local tour operator or any car or motorbike taxi driver for about USD5-7). A return by boat can be arranged. Trails may be slippery in rainy weather.
- Tháp Bằng An - Twelfth-century Cham octagonal tower dedicated to Shiva. By motorbike, about 30 minutes northwest of Hoi An. There may be a someone on the site who will sell you a ticket for 10,000 đong. Can be combined with a day trip to Tháp Khương Mỹ.
- Tháp Khương Mỹ - Three Cham towers, contemporaneous with Bagan in Burma. Small museum on premises. There may be someone at the site who will sell you a ticket for 10,000 đong. By motorbike, a half hour south of Hoi An. Can be combined in a day trip with Tháp Bằng An for about 120,000 đong.
- Da Nang - local bus #01, 18,000 đong - same route as in Get In - #From Da Nang section
- Hue - the former imperial capital, a few hours away by car or train. There are 3 or 4 trains a day, reservations can be arranged a day in advance. Although to catch the train you must go to Da Nang as trains do not go all the way to Hoi An. Besides, this train has the reputation of one of the top train journeys in the world.
- One-way motorbike trips to Hue traveling through the Hai Van Pass are a very popular and scenic method to get north. One-way rentals with an English speaking guide can cost as low as USD25-30. Travel time, including numerous stops, is about 6-8 hours.
- Hanoi is the capital city, and gateway to Sapa
- Nha Trang - Vietnam's premier beach resort town and the next stop for backpackers travelling south on the open bus or train.
- Dalat - built as a playground of the French, who built villas in the clear mountain air to escape the heat and humidity of the coast. From Hoi An to Dalat is at least 12 hours by bus, and can take several days during the flood season. There are no trains to Dalat.
From Hoi An bus station buses run to Da Nang, ending the route at the bus station, where there are many options. An early bus directly to Pakse, even a long ride to Vientiane. In order to cross the border to Lao, there are many buses to Kom Tum. Ask the to drop you at Pleikan, is a town where locals gather to take a minivan at sunrise and reach the border when it opens. The minivan will wait for you after the formalities in the Viet side. Back to the minivan you will be driven to the Lao border, where a visa on arrival will be issued. And back to the minivan. The route at Attapeu, capital city of Attapeu Province, Laos.