The best things to do in Hoi An itinerary: A 2023 travel guide
Oct 10, 2023
Picturesque streets, ancient architecture, flavorful cuisines, rich history, and vibrant culture are what define the timeless charm of Hoi An Ancient Town, transforming it into an irresistible attraction that draws both local and international travelers alike. So what are the best places to visit and the best things to do in Hoi An? Let's explore with us!
The top 3 things to do in Hoi An to delve into its richness of cultural traditions
Hoi An Ancient Town is renowned for its distinct and well-preserved cultural beauty, a treasure that has remained nearly untouched. Therefore, if you happen to visit this ancient town, do not miss out on the following sites, where you can delve into the unique traditional values of the Central region.
1. Unveil the artisanal legacy in Hoi An’s traditional craft villages
The centuries-old craft villages are a unique intangible cultural heritage of Hoi An. There are 12 craft villages here, spanning a wide range of fields from textiles and cuisine to architecture and art.
Among them, four locations stand out for their fascinating historical significance.
- Kim Bong Carpentry Village: With a 600-year history, here is where you can explore the local art of wood carving and masterful carpentry, crafting everything from temples and shrines to boats and more.
- Thanh Ha Pottery Village: In addition to its Instagrammable vibe, you can also participate in many fun activities here, for example, making your own ceramic creation with the guidance of local artisans.
- Tra Que Vegetable Village: It is a tranquil and lush green farming area where you can escape the city’s bustle, experience one day as a farmer, or spice up your meals with the richness of the local herbs.
- Phuoc Kieu Bronze Casting Village: Many cultural bronze items such as musical instruments, gongs, ritual pieces, feng shui objects, etc are crafted here. If you are curious about this process, a visit here will provide a captivating opportunity to witness the artisans' mastery skills.
2. Immerse yourself in the timeless charm of Phung Hung Ancient House
Recognized as a national heritage site, Phung Hung Ancient House is one of the top unmissable places to visit in Hoi An. This house has a rich history spanning over a century with a charming architectural blend of Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese influences. Standing the test of time for over two centuries, the house still exudes the timeless beauty of its rare wood grains and valuable antique artifacts from its early days.
Assembly halls are the heart of the cultural exchange in Hoi An. Over a century ago, these bustling hubs were alive with bustling activities, vibrant interactions, and bustling trade within the overseas Chinese community. Today, they've been lovingly preserved as distinctive landmarks, drawing visitors from everywhere.
Each assembly hall has its own architectural uniqueness. Among them, the following list will give you more notable destinations.
- Phuc Kien Assembly Hall: It stands out with its grandeur and expansive layout, as well as the impressive decorations. The intricate detailing of flowers and leaves, skillfully carved into every corner, not only showcases the remarkable craftsmanship of local people but also whispers stories of the past, which will ultimately enhance your journey.
- Trieu Chau Assembly Hall: This place is a quiet note in the lively symphony of the old town. Here, you'll witness the exquisite and elaborate wood carvings that are nothing short of mesmerizing.
- Quang Dong Assembly Hall: It is a majestic hall that is often chosen for holding festivals and culturally rich traditional performances in Hoi An.
A journey through these assembly halls isn't just a stroll through history; it's an immersive experience that connects you with the vibrant tapestry of Hoi An's cultural heritage. If you find yourself with a moment to spare amidst your Hoi An adventure, make sure not to miss these captivating hidden gems.
→ Maybe you want to check out this list if Da Nang is on your travel radar: Da Nang Attractions and Tourist Spots you don’t want to miss.
The top 3 Hoi An attractions for capturing stunning photos
1. Japanese Covered Bridge
For the first-time visitor, one of the top recommended things to do in Hoi An Ancient Town is exploring visiting Chua Cau (the Japanese Covered Bridge). Because it isn't just a bridge; it's the heart and soul of the ancient streets, where each step uncovers new layers of heritage that make this charming town truly special.
The uniqueness of the bridge lies in its architecture, which is a harmonious blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Western architectural influences. From the enchanting yin-yang roof tiles to the sturdy wooden pillars and the gracefully curved roof, here you will have everything to capture the perfect shot!
2. The Old Brick Kiln
The Old Brick Kiln (Lo Gach Cu) is a new Instagrammable Hoi An attraction. Nestled amidst lush green fields, this kiln has become an artistic haven for those seeking serenity and a touch of tranquility. Just ascend its steps with the vivid blue sky framing your backdrop, and watch as your snapshots attain an unmatched level of captivating splendor!
3. The Ba Mu Tam Quan Gate
Among all the best places to visit in Hoi An for an unparalleled photography experience, The Ba Mu Tam Quan Gate is the most charming gateway to tranquility due to its spellbinding aura. Here, the Vauban architectural style is seamlessly integrated into the lush ecological landscape, creating an atmosphere that exudes both cultural charm and serene tranquility for those seeking an extraordinary photography setting.
→ If Da Nang is part of your travel itinerary, be sure to check out this recommended list: 11 places to visit in Da Nang Vietnam
The Best places to visit in Hoi An Ancient Town for culinary delights
1. Hoi An's Chicken Rice
This dish is golden rice paired with juicy, flavorful chicken, which will enable you to go on a gastronomic adventure that captures the essence of Hoi An's flavors like no other. What distinguishes this Hoi An-style chicken rice is its aromatic, tender grains, prepared by simmering them with a blend of chicken broth, turmeric, and pandan leaves over a classic wood-fired stove. The result is a symphony of tastes that you can only experience in this charming corner of Viet Nam.
2. Cao Lau
Cao Lau is an exclusive delicacy of Hoi An. It is a vibrant yellow noodle adorned with barbecued pork, pork slices, rice crackers, shrimp, fresh herbs, and a rich, flavorful broth that's bound to tantalize your taste buds. Beyond being a culinary delight, Cao Lau's roots delve deep into the culture and history of the locals, offering a taste of the upper-class experience from past centuries.
3. Dumplings and Shrimp Cakes (banh vac)
The best thing to do in Hoi An is to indulge in the local delicacies. And among the top recommendations, these steaming hot plates are unmissable. Bursting with a medley of flavors, these dumplings are generously filled with a variety of ingredients, from savory meats and succulent shrimp to delicate mushrooms, all harmoniously blended with regional spices, guaranteeing a tantalizing journey for every palate.
4. Corn Sweet Soup
Craving a delectable dessert during your stroll through Hoi An ancient town? Give the soft and chewy corn sweet soup a try! Its delightful sweetness leaves a lasting impression that makes you want to try it again, again and again. What's more, in some places, it's even prepared without coconut milk, allowing you to enjoy the authentic taste of corn.
5. Banh Xeo Hoi An (Hoi An-style pancake)
Unlike the Southern style, Hoi An's version comes in a smaller, palm-sized form. Its tantalizing blend of seafood fillings is enveloped by a crispy shell, creating an irresistible temptation that makes you enjoy at least 4–5 servings for a truly satisfying culinary experience. And believe us, it will be one of the best things to do in Hoi An for those who want to explore local street food.
Above are the must-visit places and delectable dishes that you shouldn't miss when exploring Hoi An. We hope this provides you with inspiration for all the best things to do and places to visit in Hoi An as you plan for an exciting upcoming journey.