Hoi An (Hội An): located downstream Thu Bon River, belongs to Quang Nam Province, Hoi An is one of the most popular cities for tourists, widely known as “Hoi An Ancient Town”. Coming to Hoi An, tourists can fully immerse in local culture of many traditional villages, such as Kim Bong Carpentry Village , Thanh Ha Pottery Village, Phuoc Kieu Bronze casting Village… Hoi An ancient town has its traditional architecture style with many ancient monuments. Specialities such as Cao Lau (Cao Lầu), Quang Noodle, Vietnamese pancake (Bánh xèo) and boat-race festival are also factors attracting tourists to visit Hoi An .
Planning to visit Hoi An:
The best time to visit Hoi An is from February to April, when it rarely rains and the temperature is mild. Avoid to come in summer when the weather can be extremely hot. The rainy season from October to November has its disadvantage that is high mudity and frequent heavy rainfall.
On full moon (the 14th day of every lunar month), tourists could participate in a night festival. At this time, you have a chance to admire beautiful red laterns hanging across the streets, a typical scene of Hoi An during festivals
How to get to Hoi An:
The closest airport to Hoi An is located in Da Nang City, around 30km far from Hoi An. Nowadays, major airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar or Vietjetstar all offer flights from Ho Chi Minh and Ha Noi to Da Nang. In order to buy low-priced airline ticket, you should purchase it before 3-6 months.
Other public transportations: Car, Train…
- Railway: There are trains from both Ha Noi and Sai Gon to Da Nang City (North-South railway), the price ticket ranges from 20usd – 60usd depending on train types and seat classes. It takes from 14 hours to 20 hours to travel by train from these 2 cities to Da Nang.
- Coach: costs from 20usd – 25usd. Hoang Long, Hlink, Mai Linh, Thuan Thao… It takes 18 – 20 hours from Ha Noi/ Sai Gon to Da Nang
- From Da Nang, travellers could take a taxi/bus to Hoi An
- From Ha Noi, tourists could stop at Tam Ky railway station in Quang Nam province, then take a coach to Hoi An.
- If you come from Ho Chi Minh City, you could take a coach to Da Nang, it would pass by and stop in Hoi An
Notes: From Da Nang City, there are 2 ways to reach Hoi An Town:
+ Follow National Route 1 to the South about 27km, continue on Vinh Dien Street then turn left and go for 10km to get to Hoi An Town.
+ The second way is faster and less crowded, from Da Nang, cross Han River Bridge, then go along Da Nang-Hoi An Provincial Highway, drive for 30km before getting Hoi An.
Transportations in Hoi An Town:
You could travel in Hoi An by many vehicles such as bus, taxi, motorbike, cyclo…
- Motobike rental: 10usd- 12usd VND /day
- The most interesting way to explore Hoi An is to walk or to ride a bike so that you could enjoy all the special features of this place. Bike rental: 2,2usd/day
Necessary telephone numbers in Hoi An:
Police Department: 0510 3861204
Post Office: 0510 3861635
Hoi An Hospital: 0510 3864750
Hoi An Taxi: 0510 3919919
Tourism consultancy: 0510 3910919
Tourists attractions in Hoi An Town
Chua Cau (the Pagoda Bridge) is like a pearl of Hoi An. It was first constructed in 16th century and also called “Japanese Cover Bridge”. Inside the Japanese Covered Bridge lies a temple of Huyen Thien Dai De (Huyền Thiên Đại Đế). The Bridge has a unique roof with its structure and ornamentation representing an electic mix of architectural styles from Vietnam, China, Japan to Western.
Location: The Bridge is located across Thu Bon River bordering between Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Tran Phu street.
Phuc Kien Assembly Hall:
Legend has it that the precursor of assembly hall was a small temple worshiping Goddess Thien Hau statue (the caretaker of sailors) which was picked up at Hoi An coastline in 1697. Undergo a long proccess of restoration, with the main contribution of Chinese ethnic group from Fujian, The Assemby Hall becomes more vibrant and spacious, contribute to the overall architecture of Hoi An.
Location: 46 Tran Phu St.
Trieu Chau Assembly Hall
It was built by Chinese ethnic group from Trieu Chau in 1845 in order to worship Phuc Ba Ma Vien General – a goddess who could control the storms and protect local fishermen. The Assembly Hall has special value on architectural composition with skillful-carved wood frame, the pattern and wooden altars and 3D glazed works.
Location: 92B Nguyen Duy Hieu St.
Quang Dong Assembly Hall:
The Assembly Hall was built by Chinese people from Guangdong in 1885, initially to worship Mazu and Confucius, after 1911 moved to worship Guan Gong and ancestors. The harmonious combination of wood, stone materials in bearing structure and exquisite decoration have brought to the hall a unique ancient beauty. Every year, on January 15 Lunar (Nguyen Tieu festival) and June 24 Lunar, ancestor worship festivals are held in Quang Dong assembly hall attracting many locals and tourists.
Location: 176 Tran Phu St.
The Tran Family Chapel:
It was built by a mandarin of Tran family (a large family emigrating from China to Hoi An in 1700s) in 1802, following traditional Fengshui principles (a traditional science of winds and waters) of Vietnamese and Chinese. Located on an area of 1500m2, Tran family Chapel consists of many sections such as a temple worship ancestors and display many relics relating to the family… This ancient temple fully keeps the traditional architectural structure of ancient Vietnamese people
Location: 21 Le Loi St.
Historical- cultural museum
Found in 1989, the museum displays 212 valuable artifacts and documents made from porcelain, pottery, bronze, iron, paper, wood… which reflects development stages of Hoi An trading port city from Sa Huynh cultural period (the second century AD) to Cham period (from the 2nd to 15th century) and Dai Viet, Dai Nam culture (from 15th to 19th century).
Location: 13 Nguyen Hue St.
Tan Ky ancient house
Built about 200 years ago, Tan Ky House has the typical architectural style of Hoi An with many rooms, every room has it own function. The front of the house is used to do business, the back near the river is the place to import-export goods.
The house was made of traditional materials and designed by skillful local carpenters, so that it keeps the unique, traditional elegant cosy style but still represents the architectural influences from neighbors. On February 17th 1990, the house was listed as a national historical vestige
Location: 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc St.
Hoi An Handicraft Workshop
This place is a convergence of traditional handicrafts of Hoi An and Quang Nam, such as carpentry, pottery, rattan and bamboo, lacquer ware…. In the workshop, tourists have a chance to admire a peaceful scene of Vietnamese village and witness artisans directly making the subtle products from their skillful hands. Tourists can participate in some stages of making handicrafts and buy some products as gifts.
Location: 9 Nguyen Thai Hoc St.
More information: There are 21 places that tourists have to buy ticket. Domestic tourists: 60,000VND/ticket/3 places. Foreign tourists: 120,000VND/ticket/6 cultural buidings. Cases of ticket exemption and fare reduction: A group of 15 tourists has 1 free ticket, 8-tourist group has a free tourguide, children under 16 years of age are exempt from the ticket.
Ticket agency: Hoi An Tourism Information Office.
other destinations far from Hoi an
Cua Dai Beach
Cua Dai is a beautiful beach with white sand, blue water, small waves and lots of fresh-seafood stores with good price. It’s also wonderful at night when the beach is spacious the light of oil lamps glitter on the water.
Location: located 5km far from Hoi An Town to the East
An Bang Beach
Come to An Bang beach, tourists would enjoy the fresh air while walking along the beach, wait for the sunrise and admire the pure beauty of An Bang Beach at dawn.
Location: Cam An Ward, 3km far from the city center to the East.
Thu Bon River :
Tourists can take a boat trip along Thu Bon River. Along two sides of the river are beautiful sand dunes, the scene of fields and mountains is as beautiful as a painting. Especially, sunset on Thu Bon river is a stunning spectacle.
Location: from Bach Dang Wharf, go on boat from Hoai River to Thu Bon River
Kim Bong Carpentry Village:
Local carpenters always proud that their ancestors were invited by the King of Nguyen Dinasty to construct and renovate capital palaces, royal tombs. Coming to the village, tourists could watch the proccess of making subtle handicrafts
Location: at Cam Kim Hamlet opposite Hoi An Town, on the other side of Thu Bon River. It takes 10 minutes to go from Hoi An by boat.
Thanh Ha Pottery Village:
In the 16th and 17th century, Thanh Ha is a thriving village famous for ceramic and eathenware products trading all over middle area of Vietnam. The tradition originated from Thanh Hoa province, then it develops into the village nowadays. The products are mainly used for daily life activities such as bowls, jars, vases, flowerpots, animal statues…with variety shapes and colors and especially lighter than those from other villages
Location: 3km far from Hoi An Town to the West (30 minutes to go by boat)
The Cham Islands:
The Cham Islands consist of 7 small island: Hon Lao, Hon Kho Me, Hon Kho Con, Hon tai, Hon Dai, Hon Mo, Hon La, Hon Ong. Cham Island is extremely rich in biodiversity with wild jungles, beautiful beaches, corals and rich aquatic resources.
Tourists who want to experience a night in Cham Island could hire a tent (2usd) and pay overnight staying fee (1usd). When swimming in the sea, be careful of invisible jellyfish, touching it could make you feel itchy and break out into hives .
Notes: If tourists want to travel by waterway means, contact:
– Hoi An land – sea transport & tourists cooperative. Tel: 0510.3861240
– Hoi River Transport Company. Tel: 0510.3861332
-Tourism Office: Tel:0510.3862715
The food of Hoi An Tourism
Hoi An’s old quarter is a small old town but it has an abundance of cuisine. The ideal choices of what and where to eat Hoi An’s special foods when visiting here are:
Com ga pho Hoi or Hoi An chicken rice.
With the clever and meticulous cuisine, local people has improved successfully chicken rice to become one of their signature dishes and name it: “Com ga pho Hoi” or Hoi An chicken rice. This dish of chicken rice with onions, soured papaya, Tra Que coriander becomes more attractive when using it with a soup of mixing all chicken’s heart, liver, kidneys.
Where to eat: Com ga ba Buoi (26 Phan Chau Trinh Street), Com ga ba Huong – Kiet Sica, Com ga ba Minh, Com ga ba Nga…
People living in this old quarter for a long time is said that Cao Lau was invented in the 17th century. That is the reason why this food has somethings in common with Chinese cuisine and Japanese udon. However, “Cao Lau Hoi An” has unique features and only in Hoi an tourists may taste the real “Cao Lau”.
Where to eat: It’s easy to find “Cao Lau Hoi An” from street foods of street hawkers to restaurants on Tran Phu Street. The most highly recommended “Cao Lau” eateries are Ba Be stall and Trung Bac restaurant.
Banh bao – banh vac or White Rose Hoi An
“Banh bao – banh vac” consists of two kinds of steamed rice dumplings that have the similar recipe and served together in a dish. “Banh vac” is filled with crushed ground shrimp mixing with pepper, garlic, green onion, citronella and the secret spices. On the other hand, in the main filling, “Banh bao” has minced pork, mushrooms and slices of onions that all stir-fry together with that secret spices. It is said that maybe this spices is one of the causes that make “Banh bao – Banh vac” get its best flavor only in Hoi An.
Where to eat: Bong Hong Trang (The White Rose) restaurant on Nhi Trung Street. In this restaurant, you can also see how to make the dumplings.
Banh dap – Hen xao (literally translated the cracked rice pancake and stir-fried clams)
The combination of crispy “Banh dap” dissolving in mouth when eating with stir-fried clams makes this food become the most attractive dish in Hoi An.
Where to eat: Crossing the Cam Nam bridge (45 seats coach can not cross this bridge) about 100 meters, then turning left. After this bend, you’ll see a row of food stall standing next to each other with the words “che bap, banh dap, hen xao” on every stall’s sign board. “Banh dap Ba Gia” is the most famous food stall at here.
Che bap or sweet corn soup
Che bap – a normal food becomes popular in Hoi An because it is made from the famous corn of Hoi An – Cam an corn. This food has the sweet, fragrant and natural taste of corn just picked. Being different from “che” of the South, “Che bap Hoi An” is not cooked with coconut milk so that it has the original flavor of corn. A little of coconut milk is only topped when eating “che bap” to enhance fatty flavor. The Cam Nang corn harvest is also the “harvest” time of “che”, specially from March to September each year.
Where to eat: Tran Phu Street, Le Loi, price: 7000VND/1 pudding.
Banh beo Hoi An (literally translated “water fern cake”)
To make “Banh beo”, people choose the best rice with shrimp, pork in the main filling. When guests come in, the food stall’s owner will put a number of bowls of “Banh beo” on the trap, then they add the main filling, oil, chilli sauce, green onions on every bowl. After that, they put all together on the table. When eating “Banh beo” you must use “dao tre” which is a piece of bamboo sharpened into a blade knife shape. Those all brings curiosity for tourists and make “Banh beo” different from the other special foods of Hoi An that made from rice.
Where to eat: The eateries at Cam Chau, Cam Nam…
Quang noodles is similar to Cao Lau at the appearance but it’s completely different in flavor. Quang noodles is mixed with shrimp, pork and quail egg… that are all immersed in spices. People often eat this food together with grilled rice paper and vegetables.
Where to eat: Ba Minh stall, Cam Ha area, Hoi An market or street foods of street hawkers.
Hoanh thanh (or wonton)
There are many kinds of wonton: soup wonton, egg noodles soup with wonton, fried wonton. Besides that, wonton is divided into: pork wonton, chicken wonton, shrimp wonton. In opinion, chicken wonton and pork wonton are easier to eat than fried wonton which easily cloys one’s appetite. Shrimp wonton is more fragrant and sweeter.
Where to eat: Van Loc restaurants on Tran Phu Street, “Quan 26 Thai Phien” is cheaper.
Banh trang (banh cuon/banh uot)
Similar to “Banh cuon Thanh Tri” (Ha Noi), not only “Banh cuon Hoi An is a steam thin rice pancake rolls inside jew’s ear but also it has shrimp. When eating, this food is topped with grilled onions and used together with egg rolls.
Where to eat: Food Street along Hoai River’s bank.
Banh xeo Hoi An (Hoi An pancake)
“Banh xeo Hoi An” is a local signature dish of this old town. The main ingredient is not only rice but also shrimp and pork. To make “Banh xeo”, the cook will seat beside a hot stove continuously so that the perfect time to make “banh xeo” in Hoi An is the rainy season from October to December.
Where to eat: Gieng Ba Le stall (Phan Chu Trinh); Bale Well (Ba Le Stall) – 45/51 Tran Hung Dao Street..
Tips for shopping in Hoi An Tourism
- Hoi An lanterns are quite pretty, light and it can fold to smaller shape so that tourists love buying them for souvenirs. You can find them at some shops on Tran Phu street such as Tuoi Ngoc shop, Ngoc Thu shop or the others on Le Loi street. The price is not much experience, just about several tens of thousands VND.
- You will be satisfied with tailoring clothes at Hoi An because the price is cheap, the clothes are fashionable and it won’t take much time for tailoring. Within a few hours, the tailor will finish the clothes you like. If you can’t wait, just leave your measurements and address at the shop and they’ll send clothes to your site. Some of recommended shops: Thu Thuy shop (60 Le Loi street), Yaly shop (358 Nguyen Huy Dieu street), A Dong Silk (40 Le Loi street), Bao Khanh shop (101 Tran Hung Dao street).
- There are abundant style of shoes and sandals and they are all fashionable in Hoi An. Many shoes shops also have service of making shoes and sandals within a short time similar to the clothes shops.
- Some cakes you can buy as gifts such as: “banh in” (snow-flaked cake), “banh dau xanh” (cakes made of ground green lentils), “banh it la gai” (small stuff glutinous rice flour balls).
- Hoi An chilli sauce is a special food, not only pungent but also aromatic.
- The other things: Silks, wood-engraving, lace embroidery,…
- It’s interesting in early morning at Hoi An. The streets are empty and the locals are preparing for a new day. There’s no light, but has busy sellers and buyers.
- You can take a walk at night in quite alleys and lanes of Hoi An ancient town.
- Every night, at Bach Dang Wharf, there have traditional boats which perform traditional songs flowing along the river.
- Restaurants and shops are always willing to serve tourists enthusiastically. So that, you don’t need to take advices from the narks or follow them to places for shopping.
The recommended places to take photos in Hoi An
Taking photos at the beautiful beaches of Hoi An
About 5 kilometers from the center of Hoi An to the east, Cua Dai Beach is well-known as a gateway of the most busy, prosperous and beautiful commercial port of Dang Trong area. Hoi An’s old quarter is ancient and peaceful. In contrast, Cua Dai Beach or An Bang is energetic, youthful and attractive to a lot of tourists and couples coming here for taking wedding photos because of its fresh wild beauty and the open space.
Taking photos on the street of Hoi An
This old town has been preserving an area of historical monuments of ancient architecture including houses, clubhouse, pagoda, communal house, temples, wells, bridges, churches, pork, marketing,… almost in primitive state. Narrow streets cross each other to form squares of a chessboard that’ll make your photos impressed by their ancient mossy beauty.
Taking photos under the foot of Chua Cau
Chua Cau – a symbol of Hoi An was built at the end of the 16th century and often called Japanese Bridge (Cau Nhat Ban). In the middle of the bridge, there is a small temple dedicated to Huyen Thien Dai De. The bridge has the unique roof with structures and decorated patterns showing the harmony combination of the structure style of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and also Western. Because of the unique structure of Chua Cau, many tourists coming to Hoi An all want to capture memorial photos of this destination.
Taking photos at Hoai River
Hoai River is a branch of Thu Bon River flowing through Hoi An. To locals in particular and tourists in general, this river is a symbol can’t be separated from the old town. Besides taking photos with Hoai River, you can step on a boat to release flower garlands. And from that boat, you can capture photos of the whole river becoming a sparkling one in fairytales on the day of the full moon.
Taking photos with Hoi An Lanterns:
Lantern is a unique characteristic of Hoi An. With colorful lanterns made from wonderful Hoi An Silk, the night city becomes more brilliant and sparkling in the light. At night, along the riverside, there are lots of young people taking pictures with those colorful shining lanterns.