How many days do you need to visit Hoi An?
By far one of the most, if not the most charming places in Vietnam, Hoi An will impress you with its unique beauty and will gift you with amazing moments for out of this world pictures.
Before you go you might love to know how many days do you need to visit Hoi An? You would need at least a long weekend to be able to enjoy every corner of Hoi An and surroundings, including the beach area.
Hoi An is a historic town located in Vietnam. It is a historic port city with an estimated population of around 120,000 people. The beautiful town is dotted with old pre-colonial and colonial buildings. The town itself is carved with beautiful canals that wind their way through the small town. The town itself was settled by Cham people.
This town was created as a port city to control the spice trade.
It became such a popular place that many different people of various ethnicities started to settle within the area which included Chinese, Japanese and even Indian people. The Japanese even built a bridge called the Japanese bridge which is unique due to it being the only one of its kind. The bridge itself is a covered bridge but it has a Buddhist temple to its side.
Around the 15th century onwards the Chinese and Japanese gave this port town immense significance believing it to be the best area for trade for the entire continent due to its path intercepting all maritime trade from Europe and India. The region was especially famous for its ceramics and archaeologists have even found wreckage’s with the same ceramics in Egypt. Later during the French rule around the 18th century, the port city of Da Nang become more popular since the Vietnamese King gave the French the rights to use that port.
Hoi An has been always famous for its architecture
Today however the city is remembered and visited specifically because of the beautiful architecture and the history of the cozy and quaint town. The port is still used for fishing and even tourism and the town is still famous for its ceramics and textiles which tourists from both abroad and locally come in droves to buy.
How many days do you need to visit Hoi An will depend on how many attractions you want to see, how many activities you want to enjoy.
Here are some examples of what to do in Hoi An
Hoi An is a quaint and quiet town which gives you a peek behind the curtain into the past of Vietnam. The town is dotted with old architecture that gives the town a unique charm or rather an identity of its own. Since Hoi An is a town with a minimal population of around 120,000 people the problems you would face in a big city are absent. Like you won’t be stuck in traffic for hours on end. So it is a great place to escape and unwind.
Generally speaking, you do not even need a lot of time to visit the entire town it can be done in a day but if you want to truly explore and want to have that deep emotional and spiritual connection with the heart of Hoi An and its people then prepare for at least 5 to 7 days.
Enjoy the Beach
Hoi An might not feel like it due to the fact that it is famous for its history but it has some of the best beaches in Vietnam. The beaches are in fact very clean and organized with exceptional facilities for you and your friends or family to sunbathe on the beach all afternoon. The beach has a good number of stalls that sell deckchairs and umbrellas for you to relax at the beach. You can even go swimming and have your go at some of the beachside entertainment. Not only that the food available at beachside shops also is just mouth-watering.
An Bang Beach
If you want a little one on one time with your loved one and want a little change of scenery than our advice is it to book a tour for the Cham Island. This beautiful Island is named after the original settlers of Vietnam and the town of Hoi An. Private tours can last for up to 8 hours and include pick up directly from your hotel to the port where you and some other people will be put on a nice traditional boat.
Some tours even include food and drink on your way to the island. Once you reach the Island they give you the opportunity to explore the beachhead and even go snorkeling. Some packages include lunch and tour guides which will take you to another spot in on the surrounding beach which you can explore and snorkel around the beautiful waters and see the magnificent marine life. Cham Island is a UNESCO world heritage site and is worth a one day trip.
Hoi An is famous for its textiles and by textiles I mean mostly silk clothes. Throughout the town, you can find privately owned shops or boutiques run by the locals. All you have to do is stroll around the city window browsing and if something catches your eyes just walk in select your cloth and ask the seamstress or tailor to make you your very own dress which will be stitched and embroidered ready for you to take home the next day.
The Japanese bridge was created in the 15th century when the town was divided into various quarters were different people of different ethnicity’s lived. The Japanese around that time specifically wanted to have better relations with the Chinese who lived across the river and so the Japanese built the bridge to show that they wanted both the communities to live in harmony. The bridge is a unique one and is entirely covered with even a temple in it. You can get tour guides who will show you the beautiful bridge in all its glory. A bit of advice, however, better you visit it after dark when the place looks like something out of this world.
My Son Ruins
If you want to spend the day outside of Hoi An and have already seen the surrounding countryside then we suggest My Son Ruins which are about an hour away from the town. These ancient ruins were created by the Cham people around the 4th century. It is essentially a series of Hindu temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.
It is one of the biggest temple complexes in Asia. Unfortunately, a large part of it has been destroyed during the Vietnamese civil war when the US destroyed it during carpet bombing campaigns. The temple is still a great place to visit and there are many tours offered in Hoi An and is a must-visit for anyone in the area.
Hoi An is one famous for its culinary delights all across Vietnam and has some of the best locally sourced food in the country so if you are in Hoi An or hell If you are in Da Nang take a taxi over and spend some time sourcing the traditional food of Vietnam. A secret tip through visits the White Rose restaurant in order for you to try the port towns most authentic famous dish called the White roses which are shrimp dumplings. The most mouth-watering thing you can eat which explodes with flavor so definitely give it a try.
The Nguyen Hoang street in Hoi An is a 300 meter long, well street that at night transforms from a normal street with people in it to a night time market where you can get anything from jewelry to other items perfect for you take as gifts and souvenirs back home. The Lantern market gets its name from the hundreds of colorful lanterns that litter the walls around the street on both sides and make the place truly magical. It’s a great place to spend some time while you are in town and a definite must-see.
I hope this does not come as a surprise to you but the location in town is the riverside. Why do you ask? Well, the town was originally settled because it was the most important port in the region which controlled the spice trade from china to japan and earned this place a legendary reputation. That is why even today if you visit the riverside you will find the oldest buildings with their unique architecture dating back several centuries.
It’s also the place where you will find good coffee shops to enjoy egg coffees another famous drink of the locals which is sort of a half tiramisu and half coffee drink famous throughout Vietnam. Our advice would be to get on one of the local tours that offer you to go on a cruise with lunch served. Now just imagine having your lunch on a boat with the beautiful river flowing around you and the magnificent sleepy town of Hoi An surrounding you as you slowly drift through the river. Some cruises even offer cooking classes for the budding chef in you.
Is Hoi An Worth Visiting
Hoi An is definitely worth a visit especially if you are a backpacker or someone who enjoys traveling to places that give you a glimpse into the past. Hoi An is a unique town with a magnificent charm and identity and if anyone wants to visit Vietnam has to visit this place.
The town is a treasure trove for those who love history and old architecture and the town itself is a beautiful blend of the past with the present and the locals are an amalgamation of different ethnicity’s and cultures blending in together after living in harmony for hundreds of years. So definitely put this place on your bucket list.
Where do you fly into for Hoi An
Well unfortunately since Hoi An is a small town the only way to actually get to the Port town of Hoi An by air is if you fly into Da Nang airport. You can do this by flying domestically via Vietnam airlines from Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi. You can travel directly from Bangkok, Singapore, Cambodia, and Hong Kong and from China if you charter a plane.
Once you have landed in Da Nang then you have several methods of reaches the town of Hoi An
- Car: You can get from the airport to Hoi An via a taxi which in general will cost around $13 USD for a 45min taxi ride. It is fairly cheap. There are other options like haggling with taxi drivers who do not have a metered connection or using the local variant of Uber.
- Bus: The bus leaves every 30-40mins from the heart of Da Nang for Hoi An and costs around 20,000VDN the public buses are a little scary since they will try and overcharge you by asking for 50,000 or more but be sure to keep a record of the bus price chart which is usually written on the bus itself on the outside.
- Boat: A more traditional method of traveling to Hoi An is by boat. You will travel through the river and the various canals along the way so it is a great experience for travelers.
How do I get from Da Nang to Hoi An?
As I have previously mentioned the main way to get into Hoi An is through Da Nang and you can do that by getting a taxi, bike, private car, bus or even boat. The main reason why it’s easy for anyone to get to Hoi An from Da Nang is that it’s one of the main cities in the region and it also has the closest airport in the vicinity. The average travel time will take around 45-50mins and the best way to travel is by road so you can see all the beautiful sights along the way with ease and comfort.
Hoi An is a magnificent place to visit and in order for you to truly enjoy the town in all its glory one should stay at least 4 days in order for them to truly feel connected to the heart of the town. The town itself has so much to offer and like the Japanese bridge which links the Japanese and Chinese quarters together with the town of Hoi An truly links the Present with Past. So definitely visit this small quaint little coastal port town for a visit you will never forget.