Travel Guide Asia Vietnam Hoi An

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Introduction

Beautiful Hoi An Beach

Beautiful Hoi An Beach

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Hoi An is a beautiful city located near Da Nang in the central coast area of Vietnam and a great place to spend a few days. The beautiful historical sites in Old Town can attract tourists for hours. Then for the shopper or fashion expert the city is also famous for its many tailors. Remember to haggle, and shop around because the best tailors tend not to advertise.

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Sights and Activities

My Son

My Son

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  • Old Town - Hoi An's Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to many of its historically important sites. * The Japanese Covered Bridge dates back to 1600 and is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city.
  • Quan Cong Temple, 24 Tran Phu Street.
  • The beach is a pleasant 15-minute bike ride from the city. If you are caucasian you likely be harassed by local merchants trying to sell you nuts and pineapples. The produce is tasty and cheap and it is thoroughly recommend you at least once try having a pineapple. They hold it upside down and hack away at it with a machete until only the stalk remains on the outside, which you use as a handle and continue to eat the ripe soft fruit!
  • The markets are well worth a visit. Down various alleys, pool halls can be spotted where the locals spend their spare time.
  • Tailors are something that Hoi An has grown renowned for. Have yourself measured and pick patterns from catalogues or hand over some existing item of clothing to have it replicated with your chosen materials. Having a silk tie chosen and made takes an hour and will cost US$2. 2 Custom made shirts will be about US$13. The more you buy, the better the deal will be.
  • Harbour
  • My Son is an impressive ancient ruin Cham city that can be seen on day tours from Hoi An. Although not as impressive as Angkor it is still an amazing ruin. It was heavily damaged during the war and the scars can still be seen. Tours can be arranged at any tourist office in town and most hotels. Sunrise Join Tour cost US$8 and depart at 5:00am.
  • Kim Bong Village is just 10 minutes' boat ride from Hoi An. Kim Bong is famous for its carpenters and woodcarving artisans, because they've got lots of practice. Most of Hoi An's architecture was crafted by a resident of Kim Bong - while demand has subsided since those heady days, the craftsmen have never really left. You can take a free bike tour to Kim Bong Village with Hoi An volunteer students to explore this village. You will only pay for local ferry fee (US$1) and bike rental (US$2).
  • Cam Thanh Village. You will be excited by the beauty of many green rice fields, buffaloes, temples, hospitable inhabitants, activities catching fishes and more.

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Events and Festivals

Hoi An Full Moon Festival

Hoi An Full Moon Festival is held on every 14th day of the lunar month (Chinese Calendar). The festival starts around 6.00pm when the whole of HoiAn town is lighted with only dainty lanterns and everyone takes a stroll on the old narrow streets absolutely free from the sound of vehicles engine. Visitors can walkabout to wherever they feel like. Check the update full moon date 2012 at www.hoian-tourism.com.

Tết Festival

The most important and busiest festival in Vietnam, everyone returns home to be with their family. For visitors, it is a colorful time, as streets are decorated with lanterns and lights. The celebratory meal consists of four dishes, giò (Vietnamese sausage), ninh (stew), nem (spring rolls), and mọc (meat balls).

Tết Trung Thu

On the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, many celebrate the harvest by worshipping the Moon genie. It is one of the most impressive festivals in Vietnam and is particularly exiting for children, as they get plenty of toys. Square moon cakes are eaten by all, while children light lanterns and participate in a procession. Lion dancers accompanied by gongs and bells roam the streets.

Tet Doan Ngo

Tet Doan Ngo (Killing insects) or Dragon Boat Festival in Chinese is one of the oldest festival of Vietnam, occurred around June or July in Lunisolar Calendar and May in Lunar calendar. This festival is to celebrate a new section of the year and erase all the illnesses and worms in the body by using glutinous rice wine and lotus seed sweetened porridge in northern Vietnam or sticky rice dumplings in the south. Tet Doan Ngo often occurs from the breakfast to the noon, Vietnamese people eat this festival’s specialties before they take the meal whom believed that it’s the most suitable time to cleanse the body. The origin of this festival was started when people were celebrating for having a good crop and then the pest suddenly destroyed all of what they have been worked on, people couldn’t find a way to overcome this disaster so a man called Doi Truan appeared and guide the farmers to started a simple feast which included lime-water dumplings, fruits and doing exercises. The after day people realized that all the insects have been wiped out, Doi Truan reminded people that the pest was dominating at this month and must do what they’ve been guided to keep the crops away from the pest.

Tet Han Thuc

Tet Han Thuc or Cold Food festival at the end of the spring season, commonly in March 3rd (Lunar Calendar) and April or May (Lunisolar calendar), the festival was originated from China’s classic reference which is about the exile time of Duke Wen of Ji when he was so hungry that his royal advisor Jie Zhitui cut a part of his thigh to cook a soup for the duke, after he found out what Jie did, he was so grateful and promise that he’ll repay the favour. By the time Duke Wen regained his throne, Jie Zhitui had resigned and taken care of his mother at home hill, after many failed attempts to repay him, Duke Wen set fire to the hill and hoped that Jie would come out but he and his mother died in the firestorm. Duke Wen felt regret about what he had done so he created Cold Food Festival and named that mountain as Jie to pay tribute his advisor. The main specialties that Vietnamese people eat in this occasion are: floating cakes and glutinous rice dumplings. Vietnamese marked this day as the change from cold weather to hot so the name Cold Food Festival is to celebrate this season-changing time of the year.

Vu Lan or Ghost Festival

This festival is common in Asia countries: China, Japan, Vietnam, etc. The main purpose of Vu lan is to pay the gratitude to parents and helping the homeless, hungry souls. According to Vu Lan Sutra, a Buddha’s discipline named Maudgalyayana had trained many powerful abilities and he had purposed of meeting his mother one last time, he used his power to search and find out that his mother was in underworld and punished for her karma to be a hungry ghost, he brought rice bowl to his mother but she afraid of her food being taken away so she cover her hand to hide it but the bowl suddenly turned into fire. To seek a way to save his mother Maudgalyayana come to Buddha and the Buddha said that he cannot save his mother unless asking for help from the monks in the fifteenth day of July, after doing what Buddha said Maudgalyayana saved his mother. Vietnamese people often go to pray at the pagodas at this month and prepare a feast at home in the daylight to make offerings for the wandering ghosts. Since Vietnamese considered this is unlucky month, most of the activities from trading, building house, going at night are minimized, so the stores often close earlier than usual.

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Weather

Warm, humid and sunny, approximately 30 °C in September to December. Occasional brief showers occur during the early evening, which are welcome.

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Getting There

By Plane

Hoi An does not have a domestic terminal, the nearest airport is in Da Nang (30 kilometres away from Hoi An), which has frequent connections to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and some international flights. There are two that service Vietnam's domestic routes: Vietnam Airlines and Jestar Airline.
From Da Nang you can travel by public bus, private car or taxi to Hoi an. You want to take local bus to Hoi An (US$2 per person). The bus stop is near from the airport and every 30 minutes, there's a bus from Da Nang to Hoi An during the day. It takes you about 1 hour to arrive in Hoi An by bus. Please be sure that you arrive to Da Nang airport in the day time, because after 7:00pm, there's no bus from Da Nang to Hoi An.
A taxi from the airport to Hoi An costs about US$15 thanks to the cartel. Be sure to have a fix price.
If you arrive late, you should arrange an airport transfer in advance if you don't want the taxi haggling hassles. You can book online or contact your hotel and the price is about the same.

By Train

There is no railway station in Hoi An. Most guests going to Hoi by train must stop at Da Nang or Tam Ky Railway Station. Everyday there are many domestic trains from Ha noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Nha Trang etc. From Da Nang you can travel by bus, private car or can take a taxi to Hoi an. Da Nang Railway Station is located at 202 Hai Phong, Tan Chinh Ward, Thanh Khe District, Da Nang City.
The Ha Noi - Hue – Da Nang schedule is as followed:

  • SE1 19: 00 07:57 10:31
  • SE3 23:00 10:45 13:12
  • SE5 15:45 06:07 08:56
  • SE7 06:15 19:07 21:41

The Ho Chi Minh- Da Nang- Hue schedule is:

  • SE2 19:00 11:55 14:43
  • SE4 23:00 14:30 17:06
  • SE6 15:45 10:10 13:21
  • SE8 06:30 23:12 02:00

By Bus

There is a public bus #1 from Da Nang's bus station to Hoi An's bus station. The bus makes a loop through Da Nang and passes through downtown Da Nang as well. Your accommodation should be able to point you to the nearest stop. If you come from Da Nang airport, the closest bus stop on the route to Hoi An is at the roundabout where the streets Nguyễn Tri Phương and Điện Biên Phủ meet (a nice 10-15 minute walk; you can walk along the lake). This bus stop is clearly marked with a road sign. The bus stop closest to the train station is in front of 299 Lê Duẩn road (leaving the train station cross the square and walk down Hoàng Hoa Thám road and turn left at the next intersection).

On the return trip, the yellow bus passes within a block of the train station. Let the ticket collector know, and he can show you where to get off.

There are two different bus stations in Hoi An now. But the public buses to Da Nang leave from the Bus station, 67 Nguyễn Tất Thành (about 2 kilometres northwest of the centre on Le Hong Phong). A taxi om from Hoi An bus station to the old town should be around 10-15,000 dong.

There is no shortage of travel agencies and private buses travelling to and from Hoi An to destinations such as Hue, Hanoi, Saigon, Dalat and Nha Trang. Guesthouses can arrange tickets for a surcharge, although they may not release the ticket to you until after you formally check out.

Buses from Buon Ma Thuot or other cities in central Highlands going to Da Nang will drop you off just outside of Hoi An, at a stop along the highway if asked. From there it is a 15-minute motorbike ride to anywhere in town.

By Boat

The old Champa way was to travel by the river system. The rivers of Hoi An cover hundreds of kilometres and offer an interesting and adventurous alternative to travelling by road. Get on a boat and you'll begin to see a whole lot more of Hoi An and the delta. You can charter boats for about USD1/hour.

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxis can be found in the middle of Le Loi St, over the river in An Hoi or summoned by phone. When busy, taxis may refuse your fare back to your hotel from town if it is too close, opting for larger fares. Arranging a shuttle from your hotel may be a better option although prices may be higher.

By Foot

Journeys around the city centre are best made on foot. The centre of Hoi An is very small and pedestrian-friendly, so you will be walking around most of the time. Motorbikes are banned from the centre of town during certain times of day (08:00 to 11:00, 13:30 to 16:30), but you should keep an eye out for motorized kamikazes, even in the most narrow alleys. The city government does not allow motorbikes to enter Old Town on the 14th and 15th of each lunar month. On those evenings, a lot of activities, including traditional games such as bai choi, trong quan, and dap nieu are held in all over the town.

By Bike

Bikes are readily available for hire at a very cheap price for a day or half day (typically 4 or 8 hours).

You can ride down to the beach in about 15 minutes. There is a bike park there, where you can pay someone less than a dollar to have your bike guarded whilst you enjoy the beach.

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Eat

Food in Hoi An is, even by high Vietnamese standards, cheap and tasty. In addition to the usual suspects, there are three dishes that Hoi An is particularly famous for:

  • Cao lầu is a dish of rice noodles which is not quite as slippery as pho and a bit closer in texture to pasta. The secret is the water used to make it, and authentic cao lau uses only water from a special well in the city. The noodles are topped with slices of roast pork, dough fritters, and this being Vietnam, lots of fresh herbs and veggies. Where to eat Cao Lau: Thai Phien St (local shop).
  • White rose (banh bao vac) is a type of shrimp dumpling made from translucent white dough bunched up to look like a rose. Where to eat White Rose: 533 Hai Ba Trung.
  • Wonton dumplings - essentially the same as the Chinese kind, served up in soup or deep-fried.

If you are really adventurous, walk to the Central Market and have a local breakfast. Seating on stools, eating a bowl of cao lau with wooden chopsticks, and sipping the ice cold "white coffee with vinamilk" is an adventure. Beware though, prices will vary immensely, as shopkeepers swarm over you to sell you things, or even shove plates of food before you. Just keep declining politely and return the food you don't fancy. Keep small denominations of dong with you, as you probably won't get change if you give them US dollars. Also, confirm the prices before you eat the food. Prices range from about 7,000-10,000 dong for a bowl of noodles, and 5,000-7,000 dong for a coffee. The baguette is a nice snack, and should not cost more than 10,000 dong.

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Drink

Walking along the river at night, you will find a lot of pubs. Beer is around 30,000 dong. Cocktails are 20,000-50,000 dong. There are some bar foods available, such as fried prawn crackers for around 15,000 dong a plate. Just walk into any pub and have a seat. However, Hoi An is not a real party destination and has a rather limited number of nightlife locations.

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Sleep

Hotels in Hoi An are fiercely competitive, which means plenty of choice and generally high standards. Budget options are slightly pricier than many other parts of Vietnam, with 6 USD being about the cheapest. Many are clustered around Hai Ba Trung St and "Ba Trieu" (formerly, Nhi Trung St), just north of the Old Town and within easy walking distance, and also along Cua Dai St, off to the east and a bit of a hike away.

Most of Hoi An's high-end hotels are located along the unbroken beach stretching from Da Nang to Hoi An. Closest is Cua Dai Beach 5 kilometres away.

Upscale

View our map of accommodation in Hoi An or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Vietnam's international dialing code is +84. To call to other countries from Vietnam, start with 00, followed by the international number, usually without the first 0. International and domestic phone calls are available in almost every hotel or internet café. International phone charges are high in Vietnam and hotels often add a mark up fee so it is smart to always check the rates before dialling. Public phones require phone cards, which are available at post offices.

Some common and useful phone codes are:

  • 00 - International call prefix
  • 110 - Operator
  • 113 - Police
  • 114 - Fire Department
  • 115 - Medical Aid/Ambulance
  • 116 - Directory Assistance
  • 1080 - Information

Post

Vietnam Post is the government owned national postal service of Vietnam. Services are generally fairly reliable, cheap but not overly fast, except express services. Express Mail Service (EMS) ensures that letters and small parcels are delivered within 24-48 hours domestically. International EMS is associated with over 50 countries worldwide, with a delivery time ranging from 2 to 10 days. Regular services are cheaper but much slower. Most post offices keep much longer hours than most other official businesses, usually starting from 6:30am until 9:30pm and also open on Saturday and even Sunday. You can buy stamps here and they also offer other services like money transfers. You can also try other companies to send parcels, for example with DHL, TNT and UPS. There is a post office near the library in the centre of the town.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 15.5097
  • Longitude: 108.297501

Accommodation in Hoi An

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Hoi An searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Hoi An and areas nearby.

Contributors

as well as jennifer-ong (14%), Peter (7%), Lavafalls (6%), Sam I Am (1%), Hien (1%), boulderman (1%)

Hoi An Travel Helpers

  • ventori

    Hoi An ancient town is very close the city where I live. Whenever feel tired from the work, I often visit Hoi An. Walking on the small roads, seeing the hawkers, breathing the peaceful atmosphere. That’s the typical traits of Hoi An that I love a lot.

    Ask ventori a question about Hoi An

This is version 76. Last edited at 16:06 on Mar 11, 19 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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