HOI AN BUCKET LIST: 21 THINGS TO DO IN VIETNAM'S ANCIENT TOWN

     

From the best tailors in the world khổng lồ pretty beaches to lớn historic attractions, and an ancient town center that is recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage site, Hoi An is one đô thị in Vietnam that you don’t want lớn miss. Located just an hour and a half plane ride from Ho Chi Minh City, it has all the intrigue of its larger counterpart, minus some of the chaos và sprinkled with more charm. There are virtually dozens of fun things lớn vị in Hoi An và I’ve listed some of the best ones for you.

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The Best Things khổng lồ Do in Hoi An—Vietnam’s Ancient Town

1. ✧ Sample Cau Lao

What is Cao Lau you ask? It is a traditional noodle dish that comes right from the đô thị of Hoi An. The authentic Cao Lau takes a significant amount of khổng lồ prepare (maybe that’s why it tastes so good!). The noodles have khổng lồ be soaked in the water from Cđắm say wells & wood ash lye. It typically consists of a little broth spiced up with mint, basil, và cilantro, then topped with slices of pork và croutons. It won’t be hard lớn find, almost every restaurant in the Ancient town and surrounding areas have it on their menus.

2. ✦ Get a Custom-Made Clothes at a Tailor

Have sầu a passion for nicely fitted clothing? There’s the perfect tailor waiting for you on almost every corner in Hoi An. The most popular bucket list worthy thing khổng lồ vày in Hoi An is to lớn have either a suit or dress made for you from scratch. You will be able to choose the color, style, và fabric. And the tailor will make sure it fits you perfectly!

The turnaround time for the first fitting is around 24 hours, so you don’t need to hurry to grab the first tailor you see. If you want khổng lồ get a really good piece, you should stroll around the đô thị và find the tailor whose clothes, fabrics & technique you really lượt thích. The selection is really wide & the prices differ greatly. Take note that many times a tailor will initially tell you the price which is around 30-1/2 higher than they expect to lớn get—so negotiate!

I went to lớn 3 different shops, & bought a total of seven pieces. My first stop was lớn Blue Ms. Tam Tam, who charged $230 (very expensive!) for a dress, a pair of pants and a jumpsuit. Next, was a stop just a few shops down to lớn Trang Tri. there I had a pair of pretty linen pants made for $25. Last, & what siêu thị was my favorite of them all, was khổng lồ Clothes Shop Fourteen 14 at the fabric market. My pieces purchased from them are pictured below & each cost between $30-$35.


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3. ✧ Visit the Precious Heritage Museum

Located in a 19th-century French house, the Precious Heritage Museum showcases the collection of stunning portraits, costumes, and songs of 54 tribal ethnicities found in Vietphái mạnh. The permanent exhibition was created by French photographer Réhahn. He aims to make the chất lượng tribal culture valued outside of their ethnic community.

4. ✦ Sip Egg Coffee

When you tire of a normal cappuccino, shot of espresso or cup of jo, Vietnam giới can surprise you with something truly different—an egg coffee. Egg coffee is a local drink wherein egg yolk & condensed milk are mixed with Vietnamese Robusta coffee. The richness of the egg, the sweetness of condensed milk, and the bitterness of blaông chồng coffee make a frothy drink that’s perfect khổng lồ warm your soul. I know what you think–egg on coffee?Hard pass.However, after a single cup, I was a die-hard tín đồ.

If you decide khổng lồ check this off your bucket list, the best egg coffees can be found at Hoi An Roastery, The Espresso Station and The Bird House where you can drink your cup inside a life sized birdcage!


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5. ✧ Visit Tra Que Vegetable Village

Only a few kilometers from Hoi An, you can escape the noise và urbanization at Tra Que Vegetable Village. This peaceful farming village grows remarkably clean & healthy vegetables. Why? They don’t use any artificial fertilizers. The only fertilizer used is a type of algae found in Tra Que lagoon. Once there you can take a gardening or cooking class, as well as take a tour.

The Hoi An Countryside Scooter Tour makes a stop there, along with visits khổng lồ craftsmen in the area.

6. ✦ Ride in a Lantern Boat

The paper lanterns are a symbol of Hoi An, và hang throughout the ancient town. They were introduced in the 16th century by the Japanese và the Chinese when people believed that paper lanterns would bring good fortune to lớn their houses. Every evening you can become a part of this tradition just by walking through the Old city as it is colorfully illuminated or take it one step further & hop onto a lantern boat along the Thu Bon river.

For about $12 they will take you on the river for a 20-minute ride where dozens of boats light up the water. While cruising along, you will even get lớn light your own candle lantern and mix it miễn phí on the water.


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7. ✦ See a Traditional Water Puppet Show

Getting to know the Vietnamese culture is not only limited lớn going khổng lồ museums. You can also vì so by going to lớn one of the most traditional attractions, the Hoi An Water Puppet show. These shows depict Vietnamese traditions, folklore, and myths by using puppets that splash around in a water stage. They have an elaborate set-up và lively music & effects khổng lồ make your experience truly quality. Although the was done entirely in theVietnamese language, don’t worry, the play was easily understood because of the puppets’ obvious actions.

Tickets are sold in the booths all around the Old Town or at the entrance to the theater, but if you want some extra assurance of getting a seat và want a dinner included, book your puppet tickets in advance here.


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8. ✦ See the Hoi An Traditional Art Performance Theatre

At the Hoi An Traditional Art Performance Theatre folk lovers will be able to get a taste of folk dance, ethnic instrumental ensembles, Quang Nam folk, and Bai Choi singing. You’ll be surprised lớn see how many sounds one can make using only one string when you hear the Vietnamese instrument “Dan Bau”! Its a dễ thương and very little theater that gets packed, so make sure to lớn arrive early if you want a seat.


9. ✦ Admire the Japanese Covered Bridge

Dating bachồng khổng lồ the 18th century, the Japanese Covered Bridge was built by the Japanese community khổng lồ connect it with the Chinesequarter. Today it is important not only because of its history, but its ornate construction và its religious value since there are shrines lớn several deities inside of it.

What most people want is lớn take a picture in front of this bridge during the daytime, but that is only half of the beauty. Come baông chồng in the evening and admire the bridge with all the magical lanterns shining.


10. ✦ See the AO Show (aka: Bamboo Circus)

Have you heard about the Vietnamese AO Show? The show, which has been dubbed as the “bamboo circus”, is similar lớn Cirque du Soleil, except Vietnamese style. And it is quite impressive! You can enjoy this artistic phenomenon at Lune Center, a famous 24-meter-wide bamboo dome, which imitates the full moon.

The show is a contrasting portrait of Vietnam’s peaceful country life versus urban modernization. Entertainers light heartedly poke fun at the Vietnamese culture, vị acrobatics on bamboo sticks and use large wicker baskets in creative dances that create quite an attraction!

The performance takes place almost every day, except Monday và Thursday. Book the tickets online here.


11. ✦ Explore the Ancient Town

Hoi An’s Ancient Town is recognized as one of the top UNESCO World Heritage Site, và for good reason. The old town was once a trading hub, but now is a well-preserved example of Southeast Asian architecture. Plus, the streets are lined with shops, bars, cafes and food markets!

Many travelers believe that the Ancient town is most beautiful at night—the midday heat is gone, & the streets are full of life và color. Thousands of paper lanterns shine throughout the streets, the Japanese bridge is glowing with lights & the street markets are lively.


12. ✦ Climb the Marble Mountains

The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five sầu limestone & marble hills located between Hoi An and Da Nang. One of them, Mount Thuy, offers a challenging climb khổng lồ the top that is pretty dang surreal. Every màn chơi has either a cave sầu khổng lồ be explored, a pagoda to lớn be admired or intricate stone statues. There is an elevator that will take you partway khổng lồ the top, but by choosing that route you may be missing some spectacular sites along the way. So take the stairs if you can!

We took a taxi, from our khách sạn in Hoi An, which took about đôi mươi minutes, & explored on our own, but you could also take a guided tour lượt thích the Marble Mountain & Sculpture Village Tour.


13. ✦ Shop at Hoi An Central Market

Want to have sầu a unique shopping experience? Go lớn the Hoi An Central Market. It’s located on the riverside in the Hoi An Ancient town và here you’ll find a variety of fresh local foods, herbs and spices, silk and much more. With the bustle of the people và delicious smells, it will make for a lively time.

As with most Southeast Asian markets, it’s a perfect place lớn exercise the art of bargaining. When first asking for a price, you will typically hear a price around 50% higher than expected. So, don’t be shy and pay your tribute khổng lồ the traditions.

14. ✦ Taste a Traditional Bahn Mi

A Banh Mi is like the Vietnamese equivalent of a sub. It’s a baguette sandwich with lots of cilantro, pickled vegetables, pate, chilies, và hot peppers. You can choose your preferred meat fillings lượt thích roasted pork belly, fried fish in turmeric sauce, boiled sausages, boiled chicken, & many more. There’s a dozens of ingredients you can pichồng from!

Looking for the best place to lớn buy it? Try Banh Mi Phuong. Anthony Bourdain loved it, so will you.


15. ✧ Take A Day Trip To My Son Sanctuary

Architecture lovers just can’t miss a day trip My Son Hindu Sanctuary. These ancient temples were constructed between the 4th and 14th centuries by Champage authority civilization, and are a part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.The Champage authority used a very unusual technique while building their temples. Most of them are made of red bricks and the carvings of Hindu deities are made directly onkhổng lồ the bricks.

There are plenty of tours that will have sầu enjoying My Son Sanctuary, as well the Vietnamese landscapes, rice, & sunflower fields on your way. Here are a few top rated ones:

16. ✦ Explore the Old Houses

Hoi An is also called the yellow thành phố. And you can’t help but notice all the yellow buildings in the town. Along with many tourist attractions, you’ll find lots of soulful old houses. So, take time to walk around và admire the simple and authentic beauty of those dwellings.

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Especially, don’t miss Tan Ky Old House during your walk. This house is carefully preserved by seven generations lớn demonstrate an 18th-century merchant’s residence. Being one of the oldest houses in Hoi An, Tan Ky has many original elements like Bat Trang bricks on the floor. The Chinese and Japanese influence can be seen in the carvings, antique furniture, and structure of the house. Also, Duc An Old House has remarkable carved furniture along with a shop selling jewelry and souvenirs and a coffe.


17. ✦ Get a Massage

On almost every corner of Hoi An, and throughout the ancient town, there is a spa. Whether you choose a stone, foot or full toàn thân mas sa, it is one of the most relaxing things lớn vày in Hoi An! Plus, they’re typically half the price as the ones in the States. There are plenty khổng lồ choose from, but two of the top-rated are Aaron’s Spage authority and Green Grass Spa

18. ✦ Shop at the Night Market

Situated on 300-meter-long Nguyen Hoang Street, overlooking Thu Bon River, the Hoi An Night Market is a great place lớn get some souvenirs. You’ll find trinkets, silk products, jewelry, accessories &, of course, lots of local snacks. A big draw is the colorful paper lantern booths. Many instagram photos are taken in this section because of the way they twinkle in the dark sky.


19. ✦ Enjoy the Sun at An Bang Beach

An Bang Beach is a long stretch of Trắng svà beach that overlooks Da Nang and Cmê say Island, & offers plenty of fun things lớn bởi. You could go paddle-boarding, parasailing, surfing or just spover the afternoon basking in the sun. No need lớn bring food khổng lồ An Bang, because yummy restaurants line the beachfront. A variety of cuisines are represented (we had amazing Italian at Luna d’Autunno!), but most serve up some delicious seafood.

Sunbeds can be rented in most restaurants, but if you dine there, they typically will be loaned lớn you for không lấy phí.


đôi mươi. ✧ Take a Street Food Tasting Tour

Want lớn enjoy all the local street food but feel a bit confused? Try some of the best Hoi An dishes (like BBQ pulled pork, white-rose dumplings and a bahn mi!) during a Night Street Food Tasting Tour. For an even more unique experience, you can vày a food tour by motorxe đạp.

Most tours start & end in the Old Town, so you’ll enjoy both historical buildings & extraordinary taste of Vietnamese cuisine.

21. ✦ Admire the Assembly Halls

With their bright colors và elaborate architecture, it’ll be hard miss the picturesque Chinese Assembly Halls in Hoi An. There are several, but if you only have time for a few, here are three top ones to see:

The Cantonese Chinese Congregation founded Quang Dong Assembly Hall is Assembly Hall. It was built in the 18th century. The building is decorated with multiple carvings, paintings, and sculptures.Trieu Chau Assembly Hall is dedicated lớn the god of wind and big waves.Fujian Assembly Hall is a World Cultural Heritage site. This Assembly Hall is dedicated lớn the goddess of the sea. Built in the late 17th century, the Assembly Hall contains many examples of Fujian artistry like statues of mythical animals, bronze bells và drums.

As you can see, Hoi An is an amazing city with things khổng lồ bởi for everyone—ancient architecture, vibrant Asian markets, lush tropical nature, wonderful spicy food và great people khổng lồ meet.

Essential Tips for Traveling khổng lồ Ho Chi Minc City

Visa: You need a visa khổng lồ travel khổng lồ Vietnam giới. Apply for a visa online (you can vày thathere). There is an option khổng lồ apply online và then get one on arrival, but don’t vày that because that’s one more long line you’ll have sầu to wait in at the airport! It’s $25 và will take about 3-5 business days, if there’s no problems.After you receive sầu it confirm that everything on it is accurate because the airports will check every line! Then save a copy khổng lồ your phone và also have a printed copy.

You will need a picture for your visa. I simply took mine on my điện thoại thông minh against a trắng wall.I had to lớn show my visa at EVERY airport (including the layover ones), so keep it handy.

Getting There: The closest airport lớn Hoi An is in Da Nang, which is about a 45-minutes away. You can fly there from most major airports in Vietnam—check for the best fare deals at Skyscanner, which also has the option to choose ‘cheapest month’ as the departure to find the lowest priced dates to lớn fly lớn your destination.

Transportation from the Airport: There are many options for getting from the Da Nang airport to lớn your hotel in Hoi An, so choose which works best for you.

Book a Grab (Cheapest): If you downloaded the GRAB ứng dụng prior to arrival (which you should do!) then you can just use it like you would Uber to get your oto. You can tải về it in the US, but most likely won’t be able khổng lồ add credit thẻ information until you get khổng lồ Vietphái nam (so if you have cell service you can bởi vì that while waiting in line at passport control).

Communication: Download What’s App prior to lớn arriving, everyone uses it. Facebook is also popular for making restaurant reservations.

Tickets for the Ancient Town: You can walk through the Old Town for không tính tiền, but many to lớn enter many of the sites on this các mục you will need khổng lồ purchase tickets. Ticket books can be purchased for about five dollars at a booth at the entrance và includes five tickets.

What to Bring Essentials / /These are just a few things that may not be on your typical travel packing list.

Safety: Vietphái nam is generally pretty safe, but petty theft is comtháng.My cell phone was stolen in Ho Chi Minh on the first day! After replacing my stolen phone, I used myrunner’s/travel beltwherever I went và made sure to only use the phone well aways from the street.

Where lớn Stay in Hoi An: It’s best to stay near the Old Ancient Town, because it will probably be the area you will be spending the most time in. Cozy Savvy Boutique is a great choice just on the outskirts of the Old Town. It is where I stayed và loved! For something on the less expensive side, try Vinci Villa Hoi An located in the city center. For a khách sạn with a little more extravagance, book a room at Lavini Hoi An boutique Villa. Or search some great deals on hotels of your choice atBooking.com. If you’re looking for more of a trang chính atmosphere (or are traveling with a group of people), head over toAirbnbthat has houses, apartments and even just a room for rent in every price range.

Insurance:It’s always a good idea to travel fully insured so you are protected in case of trip cancellations or medical emergencies. You can check out pricing atTravelex Insurance.

Universal Adapter:Your American plugged equipment will work in most locations, but in others you may need an adapter. I use theCeltic Universal Adapter, which has brought me around the world with no problems.

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