Sightseeing In Hoi An: 16 Things To See And Do In Vietnam’s Gem

Author: Veruska Anconitano, Award-Winning Food Travel Journalist, Sommelier & Outdoor LoverAuthor information
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Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a a food travel journalist with awards to her credit, such as World Best Food Travel Journalist. She holds a certification as a sommelier and she is also an ardent lover of the outdoors. Aside from this, Veruska is a Multilingual SEO and Localization Consultant and co-owns multiple websites that cater to a global audience.
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Hoi An, a city on Vietnam’s central coast, is a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and street plan reflect the indigenous and foreign influences combined to produce this unique heritage site.

Today, Hoi An is a popular destination for tourists from around the globe, offering a blend of historical sites, cultural experiences, and modern amenities.

This article will guide you through the top sightseeing spots in Hoi An, ensuring you capture the essence of this historic gem.

The Old Town

Hoi An Old Town

Nestled in the heart of Vietnam, the Old Town of Hoi An stands as a beautifully preserved trading port from the 15th to the 19th century. Its architecture, a fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures, particularly Chinese, vividly depicts its rich history. The Old Town’s narrow, winding streets, flanked by traditional Chinese-style buildings, transport visitors back in time. The area is enlivened with classical music, enhancing its atmospheric charm. A single ticket grants access to its prime attractions, including the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge, the historic Old Houses, and the majestic Quan Cong Temple. While the town is home to several museums, the folk music performances at the Hoi An Handicraft Workshop offer a captivating alternative, showcasing the region’s cultural heritage.

Japanese Covered Bridge

The Japanese Covered Bridge, or Cau Chua Pagoda, is a testament to Hoi An’s multicultural past. Constructed in the 17th century, this architectural marvel connected the Japanese quarter with the Chinese neighborhoods, symbolizing unity and cooperation between the communities. The bridge, covered and designed to resemble a Japanese pagoda, has been meticulously preserved for over four centuries. It offers shelter to those crossing and dazzles with its ornate carvings of animals, making it one of the city’s most cherished landmarks.

Note: Up to February 2024, the Japanese covered bridge is under heavy renovation and inaccessible.

Hoi An Night Market

Hoi An

As the sun sets, the Hoi An Night Market comes alive on Nguyen Hoang Street, opposite the Japanese Covered Bridge. Opening at dusk, over 500 vendors unveil a treasure trove of souvenirs, clothing, and fresh food. The market is particularly renowned for its paper lanterns illuminating the night in a spectacular display of light and color. These lanterns add to the market’s magical atmosphere and serve as a beautiful memento of the vibrant and spirited essence of Hoi An.

Fujian Assembly Hall

Phuc Kien, better known as the Fujian Assembly Hall, initially served as a gathering place for individuals from Fujian, China. It has since evolved into a revered religious site, dedicated to the deity Thien Hau. Visitors are greeted by colorful fountains, ornate gates, and intricately carved dragons, embodying the hall’s rich cultural and spiritual significance. The Fujian Assembly Hall remains a popular spot for both visitors and residents of Fujian origin, preserving its historical role as a community center.

An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach

For those seeking tranquility and sun, An Bang Beach is a pristine paradise just a ten-minute drive north of the city center. With its white sands stretching over four kilometers and flanked by rows of deckchairs and palapas, it offers the perfect retreat. The beach faces the East Vietnam Sea and the distant Cham Islands, providing a picturesque setting for relaxation. The recent surge in popularity, due to erosion at nearby Cua Dai, has led to the development of numerous hotels, guesthouses, and eateries, catering to every need of the beachgoer.

Cantonese Assembly Hall

Cantonese Assembly Hall

The Cantonese Assembly Hall, or Quang Trieu, stands as a focal point of cultural and religious activity in Hoi An. Erected by Cantonese settlers in the 19th century and dedicated to the Thien Hau Holy Mother, it served as a vital space for worship and social interaction among the Chinese community. The hall’s striking pottery dragon and the overall decor reflect the profound spiritual and communal values of its creators, continuing to draw visitors with its beauty and historical depth.

Old House of Tan Ky

The Old House of Tan Ky offers a unique glimpse into Vietnam’s past, with over 200 years of history within its walls. This residence-turned-museum has been maintained by seven generations of a Vietnamese family, blending architectural marvels with personal narratives. Visitors can admire the innovative flood prevention techniques and the exquisite carved wooden balcony, all while experiencing the vibrant history that continues to animate this historic home.

Central Market

Central Market Hoi An

Positioned at the city’s core, the Central Market is a vibrant mosaic of food, crafts, and culture. With its myriad stalls selling an array of products, from local handicrafts to delicious street food, the market captures the essence of H

oi An’s bustling trade heritage. Situated by the Thu Bon River, this lively marketplace not only offers a glimpse into the local way of life but also serves as a culinary haven for food enthusiasts looking to sample the region’s flavors.

Old House of Phun Hung

The Old House of Phun Hung, dating back to the 18th century, is more than a museum; it is a living home. Guided tours by a member of the eighth generation of the resident family reveal the unique blend of Chinese and Japanese influences in the architecture and decor, including carved beam supports and trap doors. This personal touch adds depth to the visitor’s experience, connecting them directly with the ongoing story of Hoi An.

Quan Cong Temple

Quan Cong Temple

At the heart of Hoi An’s Old Town, Quan Cong Temple stands as a vibrant testament to the city’s spiritual and architectural heritage. Dedicated to the revered general Quan Van Truong, known for his virtues of loyalty and justice, the temple is a site of pilgrimage and admiration. Its elaborate facade, adorned with frescos and classical Chinese features, invites exploration and reflection, offering a peaceful respite amidst the city’s historic lanes.

More sightseeing and experiences in Hoi An

Each of these experiences in Hoi An offers a unique window into this enchanting Vietnamese city’s cultural, natural, and artistic heritage. Whether through the flavors of its cuisine, the tranquility of its natural reserves, the leisure of its bike paths, the history of its ruins, or the craftsmanship of its tailors, Hoi An invites visitors to immerse themselves fully in its diverse and rich offerings.

Vietnamese Cooking Classes

Embarking on a Vietnamese cooking class in Hoi An is not just about learning to cook; it’s an immersive journey into the heart of Vietnamese culture and cuisine. With Hoi An’s reputation for delicious dishes, local restaurants and cooking schools offer engaging classes that often begin with a vibrant tour of the local markets. Here, amidst stalls brimming with fresh produce and aromatic herbs, participants gain insights into the traditions and history of Vietnamese cooking. The hands-on experience continues in the kitchen, where expert chefs guide you through the preparation of iconic dishes such as pho, fresh spring rolls, spicy mango salad, crispy banh xeo, and sweet and sour fish soup. Esteemed institutions like Gioan, Red Bridge, and the Kumquat BBQ Restaurant ensure a memorable experience that equips you with the skills to recreate Vietnamese culinary classics at home.

Trip to Cham Islands

Cham Islands

A visit to the Cham Islands offers a pristine escape, with the archipelago located just a short distance from An Bang Beach. Accessible by ferry or speedboat, these islands present an untouched natural beauty, with their status as a nature reserve and marine park ensuring the conservation of their diverse ecosystems. While most of the islands are uninhabited, Hon Lao, the largest, features quaint fishing villages that offer a glimpse into the serene island life. The Cham Islands beckon with their sun-drenched beaches and vibrant coral reefs, ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving, offering a tranquil retreat from the mainland’s bustle.

Bike Tours

Bike tours in Hoi An offer a unique vantage point to explore the city’s enchanting Old Town and the serene landscapes of the surrounding countryside. These tours, facilitated by numerous companies, take participants through traditional villages, past verdant paddy fields, and along tranquil rivers, offering a peaceful immersion in the area’s natural beauty. The journey often includes stops at local artisans’ workshops and secluded river delta islands, with guides enriching the experience with insights into the region’s rich history and culture.

Thanh Ha Pottery Village

Thanh Ha Pottery Village

Just a short drive from the city center, Thanh Ha Pottery Village offers a deep dive into Vietnam’s rich pottery tradition. Established in the sixteenth century, this village is a hub of creativity, where master craftsmen shape clay into exquisite artworks using time-honored techniques. Visitors can not only observe these artisans at work but also participate in pottery classes, making Thanh Ha a dynamic center of cultural exchange and artistic expression.

Tailor-Made Suits

Hoi An’s rich heritage as a trading port on the ancient silk route has fostered a thriving tailoring tradition, making the commissioning of tailor-made suits one of the city’s quintessential experiences. In the numerous tailor shops that line the streets, visitors can select from a wide array of fabrics and designs to create personalized garments. The skilled tailors of Hoi An can produce perfectly fitted suits or dresses, often ready for a first fitting within a day. While haggling over the deposit is common, the final payment is only due once the garment is completed to your satisfaction, ensuring a bespoke piece that captures the essence of Hoi An’s storied craftsmanship.

Trip to Mỹ Sơn

A trip to Mỹ Sơn transports visitors back in time to one of Southeast Asia’s most significant archaeological sites. Located an hour’s drive from Hoi An, this ancient Hindu temple complex, constructed between the 4th and 14th centuries by the Kings of Champa, rivals the grandeur of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Myanmar’s Bagan. The site, set in a wide valley, encompasses about seventy temples and tombs, showcasing intricate carvings and inscriptions amidst the encroaching jungle. Despite the damage it suffered during the American War, wandering through Mỹ Sơn offers a profound glimpse into the architectural and spiritual legacy of the Champa civilization.

Best Time to Visit Hoi An

The best time to visit Hoi An is during the dry season, from February to May, when the weather is pleasantly warm with minimal rainfall, allowing for uninterrupted exploration of its charming streets and scenic surroundings. This period strikes the perfect balance between comfortable temperatures and reduced humidity, making it ideal for sightseeing, outdoor activities, and cultural festivals.

Additionally, the moderate climate facilitates a more enjoyable experience of Hoi An’s outdoor dining and night markets. It’s worth noting that while June to August also offers sunny days, they can be pretty hot for some, potentially reaching temperatures above 35°C (95°F).

MonthClimateRecommended Activities
February – MayDry, WarmSightseeing, Outdoor Activities, Cultural Festivals
June – AugustHotBeach Visits, Evening Markets (Note: Higher Temperatures)
September – JanuaryWet SeasonIndoor Activities, Museum Visits (Note: Possible Rainfall)

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