Hoi An Ancient Town: A Comprehensive Tourist Guide

Visit Hoi An Ancient Town to explore its charming lantern-lit streets, historic architecture, vibrant markets, and rich cultural heritage. An unforgettable experience awaits!

Let’s visit Hoi An Ancient Town and discover the allure of a UNESCO World Heritage site in Vietnam. With its meticulously preserved architecture, narrow, lantern-lit streets, and tranquil ambiance, Hoi An has rightfully earned its place as a top tourist destination, attracting visitors from across the globe. By sharing useful information about famous attractions, exciting activities, and valuable tips to make the most of your memorable journey, this comprehensive guide serves as your trusted companion for your Hoi An adventure.

An Introduction to Hoi An Ancient Town


Quang Nam Province inCentral Vietnam

Travel awards

  • Since 1999, certified as a UNESCO World Heritage site    
  • Awarded as the most charming city of the world 2019
  • Be a member of UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)
  • Featured in the Top 15 favorite Asian cities of 2023
  • Among the Top 10 Asian most peaceful destinations in 2023
  • Voted in the Top 3 UNESCO historic sites in Southeast Asia in 2023
  • Be one of the world’s 13 most romantic places to visit in 2022

The best time to visit

  • February and May
  • August to October


  • Wandering Soul Day (Vu Lan)
  • Whale Worshiping Festival (Cau Ngu)
  • Nguyen Tieu Festival
  • Dragon Boat Festival (Long Chu)
  • Lady Thu Bon Festival
  • Mid-Autumn Festival (Trung Thu)

The best time to visit Hoi An Ancient Town

We suggest visiting Hoi An Ancient Town between February and May when it is usually pleasantly cool and with less rainfall. During this time, you might have chances to engage in significant local festivals such as An Bang Flower Festival and the Hoi An Cultural Festival.

hoi an ancient town

A beautiful sunny day in Hoi An Ancient Town

Alternatively, August to October is another ideal period if you prefer less crowds and more affordable travel prices. It offers opportunities to unveil historical landmarks and savor local cuisine without the overwhelming tourist influx.


Min Temperature

Max Temperature



19°C (66°F)

26°C (79°F)

  • Mild and comfortable climate
  • Low humidity
  • Favorable for outdoor activities


20°C (68°F)

27°C (81°F)

  • Lots of sun and minimum rainfall
  • Enjoyable to explore nearby beaches


22°C (72°F)

30°C (86°F)

  • Extremely dry with high UV index from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
  • Plan for indoor attractions


25°C (77°F)

33°C (91°F)

  • Hot and dry weather
  • Short showers some times


25°C (77°F)

35°C (95°F)

  • Hottest day up to 35°C (95°F)
  • Significant humid


24°C (75°F)

32°C (90°F)

  • A mix of sunny and rainy days


22°C (72°F)

29°C (34°F)

  • Up to 21 rainy days
  • Recommended for Indoor historical sites
Note: the average temperatures I provide are based on historical data and may not reflect the current conditions.

Must-join Festivals in Hoi An Ancient Town

As mentioned, Hoi An Ancient Town is known for its rich cultural heritage, showcased by many vibrant festivals.

Wandering Soul Day (Vu Lan)

colorful floating candles

Colorful floating candles on Wandering Soul Day 

  • Time: The 15th day of the seventh lunar month;
  • Place: Pagodas and temples e.g Japanese Covered Bridge, Quan Cong Temple.

Wandering Soul Day, or Vu Lan, is a festival of Vietnamese people to honor their ancestors and wandering spirits. While attending this festival, you not only immerse yourself in the local cultural traditions but also pay homage to your ancestors.

During the festival day, tourists and the locals usually go to the Japanese Covered Bridge and Quan Cong Temple within the ancient town to make offerings (e.g. flowers, fruits, food, incense, ghost money, etc.) and participate in traditional rituals.

Another significant activity is releasing lanterns or small boats with lit candles on rivers or lakes. This symbolizes guiding the wandering souls back to the realm of the afterlife and bringing those souls to heaven.

spiritual festival at hoi an

An important spiritual festival to show gratitude towards deceased parents 

Since the festival is typically a religious activity in the ancient town, it is vital to show your respect and follow the local customs:

  • Dress in modest attire that covers your shoulders, chest, and knees;
  • Observe the locals quietly and follow their behaviors;
  • Do not make loud noises or disruptions during religious rituals;
  • Remember to ask for permission before you take photographs of ceremonies.

Whale Worshiping Festival (Cau Ngu)

dragon boat racing

Dragon boat racing is a typical activity in the festival

  • Time: The second week of the third lunar month;
  • Place: Whale temples and the sea.

Every year, between March and April, the fishermen in Hoi An celebrate a significant worshiping ceremony, for two or three days, to pay homage to the Whale God and pray for all upcoming safe voyages and bumper fish hauls.

On the first day, the locals usually gather at the whale temple for numerous art and traditional practices. For example, there are “boi singing” performances (known as the Southern classic opera) during which people row a boat on the ground illustrating the daily fishing activities and sing to show gratitude to the whale.

On the next day, most participants will join a procession of boats from the whale temple to the sea. If you are lucky enough, you might catch a sight of the procession from the Ancient Town, taking the below notes:

  • Visit the Ancient Town early because the procession usually happens at dawn;
  • Always show a respectful demeanor during the ceremony and maintain silence;
  • Be careful not to obstruct the procession and stay within the designated areas.

Nguyen Tieu Festival

  • Time: The 15th day of the first lunar month;
  • Place: The Ancient Town.

Since 2023, the annual Nguyen Tieu Festival has been officially recognized as a cultural heritage of Vietnam due to its distinctive features and cultural significance. Participating in this festival offers an opportunity to pray for peace and prosperity in the New Year.

In addition, the authority holds many activities on the venus of the Ancient Town, referring to the 2023 Nguyen Tieu Festival’s agenda for reference.

Noticeable activities/events



The Legendary Night

The Ancient Town

06:30 PM - 09:30 PM

Nguyen Tieu Poetry Night

Cam Pho Communal House

07:30 PM - 09:30 PM

Boi Singing

Hoi An Communal House

07:30 PM - 09:30 PM

Nguyen Tieu Parade

The Ancient Town

From 07:30 AM

Similar to participating in other festivals, you should keep some main notes in mind:

  • Respect the cultural heritage and local customs;
  • Be careful of your surroundings to avoid any obstruction to the ceremonies;
  • Prepare enough water and adequate food to experience a long-day festival.

Dragon Boat Festival (Long Chu)

festival at hoi an

The festival not only promotes unity and patriotism but also preserves cultural customs

  • Time: The 15th day of the seventh lunar month;
  • Place: Coastal villages in Hoi An.

The Long Chu Festival, also referred to as the Dragon Boat Procession Festival, carries significant symbolism of kings, gods, and generals, while also serving as a means to ward off evil spirits and ensure the people's well-being and happiness. The Long Chu boats, meticulously constructed by talented bamboo craftsmen, usually feature a dragon shape with flags and lanterns placed inside.

The shamans, who act as the ceremony hosts, conduct rituals involving the burning of incense and placing talismans to ward off spirits, followed by casting spells to banish them into the sea. Furthermore, the local community engages in singing, dancing, and theatrical performances to commemorate the departure of unfortunate circumstances.

Usually, there is also a forging procession on the Thu Bon river near Hoi An Ancient Town, which is a great chance to familiarize yourself with the local customs. If you join the festival, remember to show respect for the religious practices during the event.

Lady Thu Bon Festival

thu bon river

The above view of Thu Bon River is such a captivating scene

  • Time: On the 12th - 13th days of the second lunar month;
  • Place: Thu Bon River and Lady Thu Bon Temple.

The Lady Thu Bon Festival is a cultural celebration that honors Lady Thu Bon, a revered local deity who safeguarded the region. Legend tells of her selfless act to rescue her village from floods, leading to her divine status as the guardian of the Thu Bon River and its surroundings. The festival serves as an expression of gratitude and seeksLady Thu Bon's blessings, encompassing protection and prosperity.

thu bon river

Tourists riding on Lady Thu Bon River

Participants engage in rituals and offerings at the Lady Thu Bon Temple, showcasing their gratitude and seeking blessings. A boat procession on the river, traditional performances, lantern lighting, processions, and parades are among the highlights.

The festival also offers food and craft stalls, fostering community engagement and providing an opportunity to celebrate, interact, and preserve the region's cultural heritage through religious and spiritual activities. Since the festival is usually very crowded, you should be mindful of your belongings.

Mid-Autumn Festival (Trung Thu)

check in with lantern in mid antumn festival

The Ancient Town becomes extra colorful in Mid-Autumn Festival 

  • Time: On the 15th day of the eighth lunar month;
  • Place: Hoi An Ancient Town.

If you visit the Ancient Town in late September or early October, you might have the opportunity to take part in the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional occasion for Vietnamese people to gather with family and pay tribute to abundance and blessings.

Streets of the town are usually decorated with vibrant lanterns, symbolizing unity and good fortune where the locals and tourists happily indulge in festive meals, and appreciate the full moon while enjoying cultural performances, processions and parades. There are also customs such as moon worshiping ceremonies and the release of floating lanterns on the river, creating a magical and captivating atmosphere.

festival at hoi an

People gather together to enjoy the festival

Keep in mind that the specific activities and traditions during the Mid Autumn Festival in the Ancient Town can differ depending on the location and local customs. To obtain the most accurate and current information, it is recommended to consult local sources or event organizers.

10 Things to Do Around Hoi An Ancient Town

Although the ancient town is not too large, there are unlimited activities you can enjoy to make the most of your travel time. The following are the most noticeable things!

Take a stroll through The Ancient Town streets

hoi an ancient town

The quiet and peaceful Ancient Town’s street in the shoulder season

As you stroll through The Ancient Town's streets, you'll encounter a fascinating blend of architectural styles, including Chinese, Japanese, and European influences. Admire the intricately carved wooden facades, colorful lanterns, and charming storefronts. There are numerous shops and boutiques where you can find local handicrafts, silk products, and tailor-made clothing.

While you walk around the town, do not forget to explore the well-known destinations and sample the delightful street food and traditional Vietnamese dishes at the many quaint cafes and restaurants lining the streets.

  • Tan Ky ancient house;
  • Phung Hung old house;
  • Guangdong Assembly Hall;
  • Pagoda Bridge.

Admire the architecture of the Japanese Covered Bridge

japanese covered bridge

The Japanese Covered Bridge is a remarkable architectural marvel

Originally constructed in the 16th century, the bridge served as a link between the Japanese and Chinese quarters of Hoi An, symbolizing the harmony and cultural exchange between the two communities. Today, it stands as a testament to the city's past and offers a picturesque backdrop for photographs, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history and captivating architecture of The Ancient Town.

The bridge serves as a focal point for various festivals and events in Hoi An, such as Mid-Autumn Festival or Lunar New Year when it is adorned with lanterns and decorations, creating a magical ambiance. Check the local calendar to see if there are any upcoming festivities coinciding with your visit and join in the celebrations.

Take a Boat Ride on the Thu Bon River and Hoai River

thu bon river

Admire the tranquil town while riding a boat on Thu Bon river 

Under the Japanese Covered Bridge is the Thu Bon river where you might indulge in a picturesque boat ride and be treated to stunning views of the countryside, riverside villages, and iconic landmarks. Witness the traditional boats, colorful fishing nets, and the reflection of the renowned bridge, all adding to the enchantment of the experience.

The boat ride also takes you through the lively Hoai River, giving you a chance to soak in the vibrant atmosphere of Hoi An Ancient Town, with its charming houses adorned with lanterns, bustling street performances, and mouth watering street food. Particularly, during the sunset, the sky is painted with vibrant colors, creating a breathtaking backdrop for your river journey or in the early morning, the rivers are usually calm, and the air is cool and refreshing.

Attend a Cooking Class

witness chefs make food

Let’s witness chefs make traditional Vietnamese food and even join hands to make some

For food lovers, we suggest embarking on a local culinary adventure by attending a cooking class. Hoi An is known for its mouthwatering dishes, and a cooking class provides a wonderful opportunity to uncover the secrets behind these cuisine treasures such as pho, banh mi, and fresh spring rolls, discovering the art of creating harmonious flavors and incorporating fragrant herbs and spices.

Beyond the culinary expertise, attending a cooking class in Hoi An provides a unique cultural immersion, offering insights into the local way of life, traditional cooking methods, and the cultural significance of ingredients.

Visit the Assembly Halls

the fujian assembly hall

The Fujian Assembly Hall, a stunning architectural gem dedicated to the sea goddess 

Or, provided you are history-adventurers, do not forget to visit Assembly Halls built for decades, each of which offers a distinctive architectural style, historical significance, and vibrant community atmosphere. Most halls feature rich heritage of Chinese communities in the Ancient Town.

Here are a few notable Assembly Halls for your reference:

  • Fujian Assembly Hall (Phuc Kien);
  • Quang Trieu Assembly Hall;
  • Trieu Chau Assembly Hall;
  • Cantonese Assembly Hall.

Relax on An Bang Beach

An Bang beach

An Bang Beach offers you with an idyllic escape from the bustling city

Situated just around 5 kilometers to the east of the Ancient Town, the pristine An Bang beach offers a peaceful retreat from the vibrant city atmosphere. There are a variety of activities to cater to different preferences, from thrilling water sports to taking leisurely strolls along the shoreline, or simply reveling in the breathtaking coastal views. Additionally, you can explore the nearby fishing village to gain insights into the local way of life, or treat your taste buds to delectable seafood dishes at one of the beachfront restaurants.

If possible, you should plan a visit on weekdays rather than weekends and on dry days when there are fewer visitors, providing a more relaxed and uncrowded beach experience. You'll have more space to unwind, lounge under the sun, or take a leisurely stroll along the shore.

Cycle to Tra Que Vegetable Village

vegetable village

A vegetable village is only 4 kilometers from the town center 

Tra Que Vegetable Village is easily reachable by bicycle in 20 minutes from the center of the Ancient Town. On the way, you might admire picturesque paths, passing by lush rice fields, charming villages, and waterways and your destination treats you with vibrant fields of herbs and vegetables.

Just engage in interactive activities such as assisting local farmers to discover the principles of organic farming, and even trying your hand at planting or harvesting vegetables. This experience will deepen your understanding of the dedication and hard work involved in cultivating the fresh ingredients.

Get Custom Tailored Clothing

Ao dai Viet Nam

Cleverful tailor in Hoi An

In recent years, Hoi An’s tailors have gained a reputation among foreign tourists for its remarkable ability to produce custom clothing within a short timeframe. The process itself is a delightful immersion. Browse vibrant fabric selections, discuss intricate details with expert tailors, and witness the meticulous transformation from vision to garment. 

Unlike mass-produced clothes, each stitch embodies craftsmanship and reflects your unique preferences. For a seamless experience, remember to be clear about your expectations and budget, and don’t be afraid to bargain or walk away if you are not happy with the result.

Below are some well-known tailor shops to make your custom clothes before you get back to your country:

  • Yaly Couture;
  • A Dong Silk;
  • Be Be Tailor;
  • Kimmy Custom Tailor;
  • Thu Thuy Silk.

Visit the Lantern Market and buy souvenir

hoi an lantern market

Hoi An Lantern Market where you can buy souvenirs home 

The market is a wonderful place where you can discover the local culture and lifestyles. It presents a wealth of cherished mementos that embody the essence and character of the old town.

There, you might also explore the bustling stalls adorned with exquisitely crafted lanterns, intricate handicrafts, and authentic Vietnamese artworks, offering an abundance of unique and memorable keepsakes to choose from.

Take a Day Trip to My Son Sanctuary

my son sanctuary

The sanctuary holds immense historical and cultural significance 

My Son Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage site, located 40 kilometers away from the center of Hoi An town. It features a complex of Hindu temples dated back to Champa civilization in the 4th - 14th centuries.

A visit to My Son Sanctuary allows you to delve into Vietnam's rich past, exploring the unique architectural style of stone carvings and spiritual ambiance, and learning about the cultural traditions of the Champa people.

Watch Hoi An water puppet show

water puppet show

Water puppet show - a unique storytelling art of Vietnamese people 

The water puppet show is a captivating attraction in Hoi An, introduced to visitors in late 2015. Alongside well-known performances from Vietnamese water puppetry, such as Uncle Teu's Prelude, Dragon Dance, Fishing, Boat Race, Eight Fairies Dance, and Children Swimming, there are also plays that highlight the cultural essence of the Quang Nam region, including Apsara Dance and the Legend of Monster Cu.

The water puppet show is suitable for audiences of all ages, making it an excellent choice for families. Children, in particular, are often enthralled by the colorful puppets, lively music, and playful performances. Thus, if you are looking for a family activity, do not forget to check the schedules of Hoi An Theater and enjoy the water puppet show!

Experience galleries at Art Theatres

hoi an ancient town

Galleries provide a glimpse into Hoi An Ancient Town diverse artistic traditions 

If you have a deep passion for art or curiosity about Hoi An's cultural heritage, galleries provide an enthralling exploration of the region's artistic heritage. Take your time to admire the exquisite beauty and masterful craftsmanship showcased in the displays, allowing yourself to be transported to the very essence of Vietnamese culture and the artistic legacy of Hoi An.

There are several places to view galleries and explore the local art scene:

  • Hoi An Fine Arts Museum;
  • Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum;
  • Couleurs d'Asie Gallery;
  • Moon River Art Gallery.

Enjoy the Hoi An Memories show

Hoi An Memories is an impressive cultural evening show held in an open-air theater in Hoi An. During a maximum of 70 minutes, the audience is treated to a grand display of lights, music, dance, and storytelling that brings to life the history and cultural heritage of the old town.

Throughout the show, you will have the opportunity to experience dynamic dance performances, traditional music, and captivating multimedia presentations that breathe life into the stories of Hoi An. The performance beautifully portrays different facets of the city's cultural legacy, delving into its beginnings as a thriving trading hub, the infusion of diverse cultural influences, and the remarkable resilience of its inhabitants.

Have some drinks at Fender Live DJ & Live Music Bar

club in hoi an

Clubs in Hoi An offer a lively environment to socialize with friends

Fender Live DJ & Live Music Bar offers a dynamic and lively nightlife option in Hoi An, inviting you to unwind, have a great time, and create lasting memories as you enjoy delicious drinks and excellent music.

There, you savor a variety of beverages while enjoying the talented musicians and DJs who perform there. Whether you prefer classic cocktails, cold beers, or unique concoctions, the bar provides a diverse selection to cater to different preferences.

>>> Read more: 20 Most Must-see Places to Visit in Hoi An

“Must-Try” Dishes in Hoi An

Hoi An cuisine is a delightful blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, and European influences, resulting in a distinct and flavorful culinary experience. The town's rich history as a bustling trading port has contributed to its diverse range of dishes and ingredients. From street food stalls to upscale restaurants.




Banh beo (Water fern cake)

Banh bao aka water fern cake

VND 15,000 - 30,000 (USD 0.5 - 1) per serving

Hoang thanh (Wonton)

hoang thanh wonton

VND 40,000 - 110,000 (USD 1.5 - 5) per plate

Bun thit nuong (Grilled pork over vermicelli)

bun thit nuong aka grilled pork over vermicelli

VND 30,000 - 45,000 (USD 1 - 1.5) per bowl

Banh uot (Steamed rolled rice pancake)

Banh uot aka steamed rolled rice pancake

VND 15,000 - 30,000 (USD 0.5 - 1) per plate

Goi cuon (Vietnamese spring rolls)

goi cuon aka vietnamese spring rolls

VND 15,000 - 45,000 (USD 0.5 - 1.5) per plate

Cao lau (Pork rice noodle)

Cao lau aka pork rice noodle

VND 25,000 – 50,000 (USD 1 - 2) per serving

Banh vac (White Rose Dumpling)

Banh vac aka white rose dumpling

VND 50,000 – 100,000 (USD 2 - 4) per serving

Banh mi “Phuong” (Phuong Banh Mi)

Banh mi

VND 20,000 – 40,000 (USD 1 - 1.5) per serving

Mi quang (Quang Noodles)

mi quang aka quang noodle

VND 20,000 – 50,000 (USD 1 - 2) per serving

Com ga Hoi An (Vietnamese Chicken Rice)

com ga hoi an aka vietnamese chicken rice

VND 30,000 – 50,000 (USD 1 - 2) per serving

Note: Prices are for current reference and may change over time.

Hoi An Ancient Town - Transportation guide

vietnam airlines

Can you fly to Hoi An? (Source: Vietnam Airlines)

How to get to Hoi An Ancient Town?

In Hoi An Ancient Town, there is no airport available for travelers. Therefore, you typically arrive at Da Nang International Airport, located in the city of Da Nang, which is approximately 40 kilometers away.


Once at Da Nang International Airport, visitors have several transportation options at their disposal, including express coaches, buses, taxis, and more, to reach your intended Ancient Town.




Airport shuttle

Approx. 75 mins

  • Accessible right at the terminals of airports
  • English-speaking staff and driver
  • Available amenities, wifi, and seating

Express coach

Approx. 45 mins

  • Affordable option
  • Punctual and reservable in advance
  • Available amenities, wifi, and seating

Taxi/Private car

Approx. 45 mins

  • Flexible to choose departing time
  • Faster mode due to personal route
  • Suitable for heavy luggage

Public bus

Approx. 1.5 to 2 hrs with stops​​

  • Slow but extremely cheap transportation
  • Authentic culture of the locals
  • Slow but with frequent schedules

How to travel around Hoi An Ancient Town?

cyclo around the ancient town

Take a cyclo around the ancient town

Once you reach the center of the Ancient Town, you might select one of the following transportation options. Just note that motorized vehicles are restricted from entering the town during specific hours. However, bicycles, electric scooters, cyclos, and walking as means of transportation are still allowed.




VND 120,000 - 150,000 (USD 5 - 6) per day


VND 13,000 - 75,000 (USD 0.5 - 3) per kilometer


VND 150,000 VND (USD 6) per hour


VND 40,000 (USD 1.5) per day


Free of charge

Note: Please note that prices as shown are valid at the time of publication and are subject to change without prior notice.

Other tips to explore Hoi An Ancient Town to the most

Below are several important considerations to keep in mind when planning a visit to Hoi An Ancient Town in order to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip:

  • Check the weather forecast before the trip: check the weather forecast and ensure appropriate attire is prepared;

  • Carry local currency while traveling: ensure you possess sufficient Vietnamese Dong (VND) in cash for smaller purchases and street vendors. ATMs are typically accessible throughout the town;

  • Learn some basic Vietnamese words and phrases: enhance your communication experience by learning and practicing key Vietnamese phrases such as greetings, expressions of gratitude, and inquiries about pricing;

  • Be assertive: politely decline unwanted offers with "Không, cám ơn" (No, thank you). Sellers appreciate the genuine interest;

  • Bargain respectfully: compare prices across shops before buying souvenirs. Maintain politeness and understanding during price negotiations. Tipping is not customary in Vietnam;

  • Support local crafts: opt for authentic souvenirs made by local artisans to preserve traditions.

hoi an ancient town

A glance at Hoi An ancient town’s corners from above

If you have a chance to visit Hoi An Ancient Town in the near future, you will not regret it. The town offers an enthralling expedition immersed in cultural heritage and historical importance, featuring the dynamic streets, time-honored architectural marvels, and hospitable residents of Hoi An are bound to make an enduring impression on your soul!