Hoi An Ancient Town in Central Vietnam is a well-preserved old-world trading port included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites along with Vigan (Philippines), Melaka (Malaysia), and Georgetown (Malaysia). It is one of the country’s most atmospheric towns and a must-visit for heritage lovers. Here, you can enjoy strolling along narrow streets and the Thu Bon riverside lined with charming French-colonial buildings, traditional wooden houses influenced by Chinese and Japanese architecture, and fill your stomach with delicious Hoi An / Vietnamese local dishes.

I found myself in Hoi An after a short local bus ride from Da Nang. I spent most of the day exploring the old temples, meeting halls, houses, and museums in town on a cheap rented bicycle and on foot. Initially, I planned on staying, only for a few hours, since Hoi An was very compact, and could easily be explored in as short as half a day. I ended up staying until nighttime to experience the sunset along the riverside. It was indeed magical to see the old town bathe in the soft hues of the dusk twilight, and I’m glad that I did not miss it.

Detourista Notes

I’ll be writing more about my experience and travel tips in Hoi An, Vietnam on future updates. In the meantime, here are some quick notes you might find useful if you plan on going.

Local Bus from Da Nang — If you’re on a short visit in Hoi An-Danang and you’re interested in heritage sites, I suggest staying (or at least spending one night) in Hoi An instead of Da Nang. From what I’ve been told before going, Hoi An is very touristy and a bit expensive. It can be a bit touristy, but you will not mind it too much if you’re only staying for a night or two. Also, there are plenty of cheap options around if you walk away from the touristy areas. Plus, you’d be able to join a sunrise tour to My Son. Local bus tips are posted on the Da Nang gallery.

Hoi An DIY Bicycle Tour — Hoi An’s heritage core is off limits to vehicles, which makes it perfect to explore the town on foot or by bicycle. Cheap bicycle rentals are offered by most hostels and guesthouses for around $1 a day.

Hoi An Ancient Town Visitor Pass — All tourists are required to purchase an entrance ticket to visit the heritage core. It costs 120,000 VND per ticket for international visitors and 80,000 VND per ticket for domestic visitors. The ticket is valid for the whole duration of your stay, but only allows entry to 5 (of a total of 21) sites. If you’ve visited 5 sites already, you can still freely roam around the town streets, but you have to buy an additional ticket if you want to go inside more houses, museums, temples, or meeting halls. Here are 5 sites that I recommend you check out: Japanese Covered Bridge, Quang Trieu (Cantonese Assembly Hall), Museum of Folklore, Old House of Tan Ky, & Phuoc Kien (Fujian Assembly Hall). There are many checkpoints around town, even the minor streets and alleyways, which make it hard to get in without a ticket.

Local Food in Hoi An — I didn’t have enough time to explore the food options in town, but I was able to eat delicious Com Ga (Rice Chicken) at Ba Buoi Restaurant. You may find more variety of local food at Hoi An Central Market.

Where to Stay in Hoi An — There are many hotels and hostel surrounding the heritage core and resorts at nearby Cua Dai Beach. You can find a wide variety of options at Booking.com or Agoda.

Previous DestinationDa Nang.

Next DestinationHue.

You may visit my 2-week trip in Central and Northern Vietnam series page, the Vietnam page to check for new posts, or follow Marcos Detourist Facebook page for updates.