6 Amazing Things To Do In Hoi An, Vietnam

Hội An’s allure derives from a fusion of French, Japanese and Chinese imprints from the past. 

When it’s not compounded by tourists, there’s something quite dreamy about Hội An. A city full of colorful lanterns, chatty cafés, bustling restaurants and nostalgic boat rides are part of its vintage charm. As one of the most well-preserved port cities in Vietnam, Hội An showcases remnants of Cham Dynasty’s archeology, French colonial influences, Japanese and Chinese cultural impacts and finally, its very own Vietnamese memoirs.

Here’s a list of fun things to do, that make Hội An stand true to its name: a peaceful meeting place.

Wander through Hoi An Old Town.

Hội An’s Old Town takes enchantment to a whole new level with vibrant lanterns and colonial architecture along the Thu Bồn River. There are numerous temples and markets to explore. Not to mention plenty of restaurants and cafés.

As one of the most alluring cities in Vietnam, Hội An also became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021 since archaeological evidence highlight this region’s movement in trade starting from 2nd century B.C. During the 7th-10th centuries, the Cham Dynasties flourished Hội An into an epicenter where merchants from Asia, Arabia and Persia conducted businesses that led to a unique melting pot of various cultures.

Hoi An Old Town
Hoi An Old Town. Photo by Jil Beckmann on Unsplash

Cross the Japanese Bridge.

Crossing the Japanese Bridge is a must-do in Old Town, since it’s a symbol of Japanese merchants’ establishment in Hội An during the 16th century. At the time, they built this bridge so there would be an easier access to the Chinese side of the canal.

Legend has it that the Japanese built a temple on top of the bridge to protect Hội An from Namazu – the earthquake monster. Throughout history, this bridge would be renovated several times. With each repair work, more Vietnamese and Chinese elements would be incorporated into the design of the bridge.

Japanese Bridge
Japanese Bridge. Photo by Luong Bao on Unsplash

Shop at the Lantern Market.

Hoi An Lantern Market
Hoi An’s Lantern Market. Photo by Steffen B. on Unsplash

Hội An’s beauty stems from its florescent colors illuminated by gorgeous lanterns throughout Old Town. Back in the 16th century when the city prospered into a busy port town with Chinese and Japanese merchants, the lanterns were not only hung by Cantonese merchants that longed for their homelands, they also became symbols of roots and eased homesickness.

Over time, Vietnamese artisans have morphed  lantern designs into their own, for instance: from bamboo into silk. Today, silk lanterns have become the emblem of Hội An, as well as a celebration of artisanal craft.

Ride the Basket Boats.

Quite a touristic activity, but it’s a fun 50-minute ride on the bamboo basket boat through Hội An’s natural coconut forest; in midst of mangroves, fishing villages and narrow water canals. There are several interesting activities along the ride as the basket boat rowers will dance, sing and entertain travelers.

Hoi An's basket boat
Hoi An’s basket boat. Photo by Le Porcs on Unsplash

My Son Sanctuary 

For history lovers, My Son Sanctuary is a magnificent heritage site that will absolutely take your breath away. Especially if you haven’t been able to make it to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. My Son Sanctuary was originally constructed between 4th and 13th centuries. The groups of abandoned Hindu temples were built by the Kings of Champa, as places where religious ceremonies and burials were held for the royals.

My Son Sanctuary
My Son Sanctuary. Photo by Steve Douglas on Unsplash

Make a day trip to Danang.

Da Nang's Ba Na Hills
Da Nang’s Ba Na Hills. Photo by Andreea Popa on Unsplash

Making a day trip to Da Nang completes your Hội An adventure, since it’s simply an hour away by car. In addition, Da Nang also features some of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam against the Truong Son mountains. For family travelers, there’s Bà Nà Hills – an amusement park originally built by French colonists in 1919 to entertain French tourists. Today, it’s a fun place full of cool rides that’ll keep the kids entertained all day.

Wendy Hung

CEO, FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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