Things to do in Hoi An
The best way to experience Hoi An is to try as many different things as possible to get a real feel for its history and heritage, as well as the local life and culture that runs thick through the veins of this beautiful city. From bike tours, to cookery classes, boat trips down the picturesque Thu Bon River, and multi-colourful markets, there is plenty to see and do in this rich and diverse destination.
One of the best ways to explore Hoi An is on two wheels. A bike tour is a great way to meet up with like-minded travellers and be guided around the historic streets and into the rural rice paddies, learning about the city’s secrets along the way.
Your hostel or hotel can probably arrange one for you, but we would recommend Hoi An Intrepid Urban Adventures for a fun and informative 4-hour tour that will combine a boat, bike, BBQ and sunset experience all together for just USD56, leaving at 3pm.
Or enjoy one of the Hoi An Free Tours led by university students, at no cost, which will take you to Cam Kim Island and teach you all about local village life, from fishing, to marriage ceremonies, and even how to make proper noodles! Pop into their office on Hai Ba Trung Street to arrange a half-day tour leaving at 8am.
No visit to Hoi An is complete until you’ve done a cookery class to take a bit of Vietnam back home with you when you leave. If you’re a fan of melt-in-your-mouth papaya salads, crunchy spring rolls, and wholesome cá kho tộ, fish in claypot, like we are, then you’ll not want to pass up a class at Green Bamboo Cooking School & Café, the top-rated cookery class in Hoi An. In an intimate small group, you’ll be taken around the food markets with chef Van to learn about the ingredients you’ll be cooking with, before picking a personalised menu to make from scratch. At just USD45, it’s a bargain considering you’ll be leaving with a belly full of food and a head full of inspiration!
Hoi An’s riverside is one of the highlights on any visit. Dating back to the 15th century when it was a thriving port, the river has played an important role in the history of this UNESCO World Heritage city. Choose from the many local boats moored up along Thu Bon River and practice your bargaining skills for an hour’s ride in a traditional flat-bottomed sampan.
If you coincide your trip with a full moon – which we highly recommend! – take a boat trip just after dusk when you can experience the magical river alight with lanterns.
If you fancy something more adventurous, why not explore the islands around Hoi An in a kayak or a canoe. Get in touch with Hoi An Kayak Centre to find out more, prices and timetables can range depending on demand.
Hoi An Central Market
Hoi An’s Central Market is something to behold, and a great place to go if you’re feeling peckish or just want to indulge your senses in the sights, smells and sounds of this bustling local market. Browse among the vibrant colours of the Vietnamese silks, freshly cut flowers, exotic fruits and vegetables, delicious fish and other local delicacies. Head down there early, from 7am, where you’ll get the pick of the crop (pardon the pun) and don’t be afraid to haggle – it makes it all the more fun! The market is also a good place to pick out some unique fabric and get something tailor-made in just 24hours; the perfect sartorial souvenir.