VietnamCentral Vietnam TravelFirst Time in Hoi An

First Time in Hoi An

Hoi An City is located in Quang Nam Province in central Vietnam. It is an ancient city 30 km south of Da Nang. Tam Ky is the capital city of Quang Nam Province.

Population of Quang Nam Province (2019): 1.8 mil, Hoi An City: 98,000

Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Co Tu, Xo Dang, M’nong, Co (Cor)

Highlights: Hoi An Ancient Town, My Son Sanctuary, Cua Dai Beach, Cu Lao Cham

Climate

The average annual temperature is 25.6oC (74.8oF). The warmest month of the year is July, with an average temperature of 29oC (84.2oF), and the coldest month of the year is January with temperatures averaging 21oC (69.8oF).

With a generally warm and temperate climate, the summer has a good amount of rainfall with precipitation of about 2,717 mm (106 inches) per year. Most of the precipitation is in October.

Transport

Tam Ky City is 70 km east from Da Nang, Hoi An City is 30 km from Da Nang and 40 km from Tam Ky.

Most people will travel from Da Nang to Hoi An through 3 options:
1) Take a group bus tour or a shuttle bus
2) Drive their motorbikes
3) Take a local taxi

Bus

Da Nang -> Hoi An: Check bus prices and availability from Da Nang to Hoi An

There is a bus every 30 minutes to Hoi An and it takes 40 minutes to travel to Hoi An

Hoi An Bus Station (view map): Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, Hoi An City

Tam Ky Bus Station (view map); 1 Phan Boi Chau Street, Tam Ky City

Look for cheap and scam-free bus tickets below:

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Motorbikes

It is quite easy to ride from Da Nang to Hoi An and you can easily plan a day trip to Hoi An from Da Nang. Do beware of the large number of motorbikes in the streets as well as the trucks and containers.

In Hoi An City, motorbikes for rent are available for around VND 150,000 per day at the hotels or hostels.

Taxi

Taxis are available almost everywhere in the city. Some of the taxi brands are Mai Linh, Hoi An, etc. 

Air

Chu Lai Airport (view map) is 25 km south of Tam Ky City and 80 km from Hoi An City. There are flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City daily.

Boat

Hoi An – Cu Lao Cham (Cham Islands): departing from Hoi An at 8 AM and from Cu Lao Cham at 1 PM
High-speed boats at Cua Dai Port (view map): VND 150,000/pax; duration: 20 minutes
Basket boat services on Cam Thanh Street: VND 30,000/pax; duration: 2 hours

Travel Guides:

Hoi An Travel Guide

Hoi An Nightlife

1 Day in Hoi An

Travel from Da Nang to Hoi An

Accommodations in Hoi An City:

Spend a night in luxurious resorts and hotels in Hoi An:

(View on Agoda)

See our recommended places on where to stay in Hoi An

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Little Riverside A Luxury Hotel & Spa(view prices & availability)

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la siesta hoi an room first time hoi an

La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa (view prices & availability)

Attractions in Hoi An Ancient Town:

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Residing along the idyllic Thu Bon River, Hoi An Town was once a bustling trading center in Southeast Asia between the 16th and 17th centuries welcoming merchants from Holand, Portugal, Italy, China, Japan, and other merchant vessels from the Far East.

Nowadays, several old houses and buildings are kept relatively intact. All houses were made of wood and decorated with horizontal lacquered boards and vertical parallel panels engraved with Han characters. Hoi An is the most ancient town in Southeast Asia which has been recognized by UNESCO as a  World Cultural Heritage Site.

Visiting the town is free, but you need tickets to visit certain attractions or take part in cultural activities. One ticket costs VND 150,000 for a coupon to visit up to 5 out of the 21 places of interest in the town. 

Japanese Covered Bridge

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Also referred to as the Pagoda Bridge (Chua Cau), the Japanese Covered Bridge was built in the 16th century and is still well-preserved. On the northern side of the bridge is a Japanese pagoda which is believed to protect sailors. There are 2 dog statues on the western end, and 2 monkey statues on the eastern end, and it is believed that the construction started in the year of the monkey and finished in the year of the dog (according to the Vietnamese Zodiac.)

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The unique structure makes the bridge a popular photography spot in Hoi An

Quang Dong Assembly Hall (Cantonese Assembly Hall)

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The building was built in 1855 by members of the local Cantonese community. It was constructed in the shape of the Han character Quoc (Nation), and many antiques are still preserved inside including four horizontal lacquered boards engraved with Han characters, a large 1.6 m tall bronze incense burner, a pair of Chinese porcelain-enameled terra-cotta chairs and many other valuables collected by the Hoi An locals.

Phuoc Kien (or Phuc Kien) Assembly Hall (Assembly Hall of Fujian Chinese)

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Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall, also called Kim Son Pagoda, was built in 1692 as a place of worship and a meeting spot for Chinese people from Fukien Province. Since then, Fukien merchants have renovated the building many times. The Holy Mother and the Goddess of the Sea – Lady Thien Hau, are worshipped in the main sanctuary. The Fukien ancestors and the God of Prosperity are worshipped in the sanctuary behind the main one. The Chinese architectural style combined with Vietnamese workmanship has enriched Hoi An’s cultural diversity immensely.

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The main building of Fujian Assembly Hall

Quan Cong Temple 

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Quan Cong Temple, also known as Ong Pagoda, is one of the typical temples in Hoi An’s old quarter. The temple was built in 1653 and dedicated to Quan Thanh De Quan, a general in the three-kingdom era in ancient China and a symbol of loyalty. Quan Cong Temple was constructed according to the Han character Quoc with many houses combined together. The houses are linked together by rafters and roofed with colorful glazed pipe-shaped tiles. They are also decorated with colorful porcelain lemon-tree flowers, dragons, and small lions. 

Tan Ky Old House

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Tan Ky House was built nearly two centuries ago as the house of a Vietnamese merchant, and the design has been so well-preserved that it has remained almost unchanged since the 19th century. The design of Tan Ky House incorporates Japanese and Chinese architectural styles. There are Japanese influences on the crab shell-shaped ceiling supported by three beams in the living room, Chinese poems written in mother-of-pearl hung from the columns. This is the first old house, along with the two other structures in Hoi An that have been recognized as National Cultural Relic since 1985.

Hoi An Museum of History and Culture

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Established in 1989, the museum was a pagoda turned into a museum displaying 335 exhibits and documents about the formation and development of Hoi An. The exhibition includes pottery, ceramics, bronze, iron, paper, wood, etc. which are classified into three eras: prehistory, Champa period, and Dai Viet period. The Hoi An Museum provides a deeper insight into the evolution of this land, from the history of Tran Phu Street – the oldest street in town, the folk meaning and conception of the “eyes” on the ancient houses’ doors, and of the hand-carved details on the designs, etc.

Museum of Sa Huynh Culture

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Museum of Trading Ceramics

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The museum opened in 1995 to tell stories about the importance of Hoi An Trading Port back in its golden days. Inside there are roughly 430 pottery exhibits dating back to the 8th to 18th centuries. Most of them came from the Middle East, India, China, Japan, Thailand, and even from within the country. Some pieces were collected in wrecked ships and archaeological excavations.

Hoi An Museum of Folk Culture

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Traditional Art Performance Theatre

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Water Puppet Art Performance Theatre

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Hoi An Silk Village

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Learn about Hoi An traditional silk-making craft and purchase the finest silk in the entire country at Hoi An Silk Village

Other Attractions in Quang Nam Province:

My Son Sanctuary

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40 km from Hoi An City, My Son Sanctuary is a group of temple-towers of the ancient Cham people. Various research by archaeologists and architects have revealed that in the beginning, there was only one small wooden temple built by King Bhadresvaral in the late 4th century. In the 7th century, King Sambhuvarman had it rebuilt with more durable materials. From then on, successive Cham kings continued to have their own temples constructed as offerings to the gods and My Son slowly turned into a religious and cultural center. 

French researchers listed around 70 temple towers in the area, but unfortunately, time and wars have taken a great toll on these relics. Now there are only 20 towers remain relatively intact. These vestiges are valuable treasures for studying the Cham culture. My Son Sanctuary was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. 

Thu Bon River

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Regarded as one of the most beautiful waterways in Vietnam, Thu Bon River has been repeatedly portrayed in Vietnamese poetry. The river begins at an altitude of 2,598 m in Ngoc Linh Mountain (Kon Tum Province) and then runs across the southwestern mountainous provinces before flowing into Cua Dai Beach. Visitors can rent a boat to travel to the idyllic villages along the river.

Cua Dai Beach

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Cua Dai belongs to Cam An Ward, Hoi An City, about 4 km from Hoi An’s city center. Formerly, this was the most popular trading point in Southeast Asia and now it is among the largest tourist spots in Hoi An. Coming to Cua Dai, you can stay at a marine ecological zone with Vietnamese countryside landscapes, and enjoy seafood specialties and high-quality rice liquor from Phuoc Trach. Cham Island is a 20-minute canoe trip from Cua Dai Port.

More on the Most Beautiful Beaches in Vietnam

Cu Lao Cham (Cham Islands)

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Cham Islands is a 15 kmarchipelago situated 20 km from Hoi An City. There are 7 islands in total: Lao (Ong) Island being the largest and most populous one, Kho Me, Kho Con, Hon Tai with its ear-shaped figure, Dai resembling a wave, La, and finally Mo Island in the shape of a tomb. On the islands on stand 3 mountains: Ngoa Long, Bat Long, and Tiem But.

According to archaeologists, islanders first settled here 3,000 years ago and established business with outside regions some 1,000 years ago. Cham Island has preserved many architectural constructions dating back to the 18th – 20th centuries, and in 2009, the island was recognized by UNESCO  as a World Biosphere Reserve.

You can choose from the many boat options in Hoi An to travel to Cham Island. Coming here, you’ll get to experience the traditional culture of the Cham people, immerse in the crystal clear water at the beaches, and observe the sea swallow’s nests clinging to the touring cliff. 

Hon Kem – Da Dung Attraction

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Hon Kem-Da Dung comprises of two ranges of rocky mountains lying by the two banks of the Thu Bon River in Que Lam and Que Phuoc communes, Que Son District. The mountains feature many cliffs of peculiar shapes stretching out and interfering with the flow of the Thu Bon River. Champa scripts were carved onto giant pieces of rock lying by the river. This place can be reached from Hoi An by boat with a visit to My Son Sanctuary on the way.

HANDICRAFT VILLAGES IN HOI AN

Thanh Ha Pottery Village

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Thanh Ha’s pottery is made with inherited techniques from different regions in Quang Nam Province. The staple items here are cups, bowls, vases, and pots made by skillful hands and decorated with attractive colors.

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Thanh Ha Terracotta Park

Phuoc Kieu Bronze Casting Village

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The artisans in Phuoc Kiem Village create various bronze products such as bells, gongs, pots, incense burners, and typical musical instruments. Apart from purchasing handmade souvenirs, visitors can also enjoy the peaceful countryside scenery and relax in the calming village life.

Tra Que Vegetable Village

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Tra Que villagers specialize in planting various types of vegetables such as lettuce, water spinach, cabbage, etc. – commonly seen vegetables and herbs in a Vietnamese family meal, yet the ones from Tra Que are famous for their special fresh taste and high quality. It is widely believed that Quang noodles – the signature noodles of Quang Nam – must be served with Tra Que vegetables to create the undefeatable combination of the dish.

Kim Bong Carpentry Village

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The craftsmen of Kim Bong inherited their carpentry skills from the North and were also influenced by the Cham, Chinese, and Japanese techniques and cultures. Kim Bong wood carvings and ceramics are highly appreciated and can be found everywhere in the country. 

PAGODAS AND CHURCHES IN HOI AN

Chuc Thanh Pagoda

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Founded at the end of the 17th century by Monk Minh Hai, Chuc Thanh Pagoda was part of the Thien Lam Te religion’s origin. The design embodies both Chinese and Vietnamese architecture, with a statue of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and the tombs of the former monks on the outside of the main building.

Phuoc Lam Pagoda

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Phuoc Lam Pagoda belongs to the Lam Te-Chuc Thanh Buddhist sect. It was built in the ancient Asian architectural style with the construction following the Han character Mon and consists of three compartments, two lean-tos, and two bell towers. Inside are multiple precious antiques and statues. The pagoda was also where many famous monks were trained before 1975.

Tra Kieu Church

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Tra Kieu Church was built in 1722 at another location and then transferred to the current site in 1865. Next to the church are the Love of the Cross Convent built in 1867, the Museum of Traditions, and the Holy Mother Church located on a 60 m high hill.

Chien Dan Temple

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Chien Dan Temple is a group of three towers built around the 11th and 12th centuries to worship the three deities of the Champa Kingdom: Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. There is also a showroom in the site displaying Cham collectives of high-quality statues. 

Golfing in Hoi An

Montgomerie Links Golf Course (view map): Dien Ngoc Commune.

Eating and Drinking in Hoi An:

– Herbal Drink (Nuoc Mot)

– Banh Mi at Banh Mi Phuong

– Cao Lau

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Cao Lau is Hoi An’s staple traditional dish

– White Roses (Banh Bao, Banh Vac)

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Hoi An’s steamed rice dumplings or so-called Banh Bao and Banh Vac

Quang Noodles (Mi Quang)

Shopping in Hoi An:

Slik, bespoke ao dai, handmade lanterns, non la, and cheap souvenirs can be found at handicraft villages (as introduced above) and local markets such as Hoi An Market and Hoi An Night Market.

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Hoi An Day Market

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Hoi An Lantern Street is a nice spot to shop for souvenirs as well as take aesthetic pictures

Festivals in Quang Ninh Province

Madam Thu Bon Festival happens yearly on the 12th day of the 2nd lunar month. People of Thu Bon Village organize a festival to honor Madam Thu Bon, which includes boat races and hat boi (Vietnamese traditional opera).

Cau Ngu (Praying for Fish) Festival is celebrated on the 16th – 17th days of the 2nd lunar month to convey the local fishermen’s aspirations for bumper fish harvest. The festival starts with solemn rituals, followed by traditional games and art performances. Boat racing is a typical activity that attracts many professional boat teams.

Long Chu Festival is on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month and is the festival of boatmen living around Hoi An wishing for no diseases in the transitional time of the seasons. Long Chu is a royal boat, a symbol of divinity that is believed to scare away unwanted epidemics. Therefore, the festival includes a procession to carry a bat made from bamboo and a fabric-paper elephant from the river wharf and launch them to the sea.

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Releasing paper lanterns into the river and wishing for good luck are favorite nighttime activities in Hoi An

Tourism Division: 2 Tran Phu Street, Tam Ky City

Tourism Promotion Center: 51 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoi An City

Have questions or comments? Please feel free to leave us a comment below.

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