Hoi An Ancient Town has a reputation for being one of the prettiest cities in all of Vietnam and the Old Town here has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with its 800 historic buildings.
It is located on the Thu Bon River which is flanked by bars, cafes and local markets and you can walk along the banks at night and take in the views across the rippling water. When you walk around the city, you can take in spots such as museums, ancient homes and pretty temples, and Hoi An also has a delicious local food scene. As if that wasn’t enough, the surrounding countryside of Hoi An is equally scenic and you can easily take a day trip out to glorious beaches or ruined cities.
1. Walk around the Old Town
Hoi An is something of a rarity in Vietnam as it managed to escape most of the bombing that razed many other cities to the ground during the Vietnam War.
This means that the beautiful buildings here were spared, and so you will still find some gorgeous architecture here in the Old Town which makes the perfect place to go for a walk and take in all the sights.
The Old Town has now been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is said to date back some 2,000 years.
2. Admire the Japanese Covered Bridge
The Japanese Covered Bridge is located in the centre of the city and is also one of its focal points.
The bridge spans some 12 meters and is famous for its ornate carvings, many of which are in the shape of monkeys and dogs.
This is also a very popular place for amorous Vietnamese couples who come here to take photographs as the bridge is considered a top romantic spot in Hoi An.
3. Visit Hoi An Museum
If you want to know more about the history of Hoi An then you need to come to its main museum.
Here you will find a huge range of pieces that tell the story of the area including antiques that date from the Cham period as well as the colonial period.
There are a number of galleries here that are filled with drawings, ceramics, paintings and photographs and you can also check out signature pieces like large bronze temple bells.
4. Visit Hoi An Silk Village
The Hoi An Silk Village is the place to come if you want to get outside the city and check out the ancient weaving techniques for which this part of Vietnam is known.
The village is located in Quang Nam Province which is around one kilometer from the centre of the city and you will find a quaint village with homes built in the traditional style.
The village is filled with artisans who will teach you how to make beautiful silk pieces and you can even feed the silkworms here and help to unravel their cocoons.
This is also a great place to buy some traditional silk pieces which make great gifts and souvenirs.
5. Tour the Tan Ky Family House
The Tan Ky Family House is one of the most historically significant buildings in Hoi An and is located in the Old Town section of the city.
The family home was built in the 18th century and would have belonged to a family of merchants.
The architecture here is a mix of Japanese, Chinese and traditional Vietnamese design motifs and you can now take a tour of this amazing property.
Some seven generations of merchants lived in the home and you will still find their original furniture and memorabilia here which will give you an idea of how people would have lived in Hoi An in the days of old.
6. Shop at the Lantern Market
The pretty Lantern Market is located in An Hoi which is across the river from central Hoi An.
This is one of the most scenic markets in Vietnam and, as the name suggests, you can buy traditional lanterns here which come in all different shapes and sizes.
Many of these are made of gorgeous Hoi An silk and you can walk around at night and take in all the amazing illuminated lanterns which come in a range of different hues.
7. Cao Lao Noodle
Vietnam, as you would expect, has a huge number of different kinds of noodles.
If you want to try the regional Hoi An variety, then you need to try Cao Lao which are brown rice noodles that are mixed with lye water.
This is ash from the lye that comes from the wood on the Cham Islands which are around 12 kilometers from the coast of Hoi An.
The noodles are hand cut and then topped with pork, rice crackers and fresh herbs, all soaked in a delicious meat broth.
One of the best places to try the noodles is at Cam Ga Huong which is located off Le Loi Street.
8. Check out the nightlife
If you are looking for some nightlife in Hoi An then the best thing to do is head over the central footbridge that will take you to An Hoi islet.
Here you will find a number of bars and cafes along the river which serve up ice cold beers or other drinks.
If you want to try the local tipple than ask for the locally brewed larger which is called bia hoi and which makes a crisp and refreshing choice after a hard day of sightseeing.
9. Visit Tra Que Village
Hoi An is known for its delicious fruit and vegetables and with that in mind you can come to Tra Que Village and check out the source in person.
The village is located between Hoi An and An Bang Beach and is made up of a local farming community who grow most of the produce that you will eat during your time in Hoi An.
On a trip to the village you can visit spots such as Water Wheel which has cooking classes so you can learn how the local produce is used, or you can have lunch at places like Baby Mustard which uses the freshest local ingredients.
10. Sunbathe on An Bang Beach
Hoi An has a number of beaches, but locals will tell you that An Bang is one of the best around.
This beach is less crowded than many of the more famous strips of sand in the area and you will find pristine white sands that back on to the water.
If you come here for the day then you will also find a number of charming beachside restaurants here that serve up some delicious seafood.
If you are planning to stay by the beach a little longer then you can also rent a beachside villa here.