Escape the chaos of Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi and head south to Hoi An, Vietnam. Hoi An in English translates to “peaceful meeting place” and we’d have to agree with that. Hoi An is an oasis in Vietnam and our personal favorite city in Vietnam. We’d suggest spending at least two nights in Hoi An or many more if your time allows. We spent a week in Hoi An and could have easily stayed in Hoi An Vietnam for a month. You can get a 4-star Hoi An hotel for as low as $25 so why to stay a few nights? When you visit this beautiful city, here are the top things to do in Hoi An Vietnam.
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Things To Do In Hoi An Vietnam
1. Take A Hoi An Cooking Class
It’s hard not to fall in love with the Vietnamese food in Hoi An. Why not take a cooking class in Hoi An to learn how to cook your favorite Vietnamese food? There are tons of cooking schools in Hoi An, Vietnam but they are charging $50+ per cooking class. We took our class at our favorite Hoi An restaurant instead of a 10th of the price. At Cafe 43 we paid just $5 per person plus the menu price for whatever we learned how to cook. In our Hoi An cooking class, we learned how to cook papaya salad, fresh spring rolls, chicken chili lemongrass. Our cooking class was just the two us and cost less than $20 USD for a private cooking class in which we made 3 of our favorite Vietnamese dishes.
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2. Explore Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An’s ancient town became a UNESCO heritage site in 1999 as a well preserved Southeast Asia trading port. One of our favorite things to do in Hoi An Vietnam is just wondering down the streets in Ancient Town, don’t forget your camera!
There are several Airbnb listings right in Hoi An old town that are much cheaper than hotels and you’ll have a ton more space renting an apartment vs a hotel room.
Airbnb first-timers, if you sign up through my referral link you get $40 credit when you book your first trip! –>> sign up here! If you already have an account register a second account for your travel partner to get $40 off your next trip.
3. Try Hoi An’s Famous White Rose Dish
Try the local specialty in Hoi An called white rose. White rose is similar to a dumpling that is filled with shrimp or pork, topped with fried garlic and served with sweet dipping sauce. It’s super tasty and a must eat when traveling to Hoi An.
4. Get A Suit Or Dress Made At A Hoi An Tailor
Walking around Hoi An Vietnam you’ll be asked consistently if you want a suit or dress made. The number of tailors in Hoi An is insane! The tailors are super cheap and can make custom garments within a day. I had 2 custom dresses made within 24 hours. Hannah got two dresses made at Hana tailor and a leather purse.
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5. Visit The Banh Mi Queen
Vietnamese’s famous sandwich the banh mi, the word which simply translates to bread, but your mouth will translate it to the best sandwich you’ve ever had. The best banh mi in Hoi An is from the banh mi queen, she lives up to the name. This cute little old Vietnamese grandma is serving up one the tastiest sandwiches in Hoi An. She has one thing on the menu, you don’t really even order you just sit down in her house and she brings you a banh mi sandwich. I suggest stopping by the banh mi queen and having a $1 sandwich to fuel your day of things to do in Hoi An.
6. Drink 15 Cent Beers
Who can pass up 15 cent beers? Our favorite restaurant Cafe 43 had 15 cent beers of their special homemade Vietnamese beer, it was pretty tasty for 15 cents. Homemade Vietnamese beer is easily found in the city, so make a day of day drinking your way around Hoi An Vietnam.
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7. Relax On Cua Dai Beach
Just 5km outside of the Hoi An Vietnam is Cua Dai beach located on the South China Sea. We suggest riding a bike from Ancient Town Hoi An, as its a relaxing bike ride passing by rice paddies and the Thu Bon riverbank. Go for a walk along the 3km sandy beach or rent a beach chair for the day and enjoy the sunshine. There are tons of bike rentals in Hoi An, our hotel Hoi An Prince hotel (we paid $15 a night) rented bikes for $1 a day.
There are several hotels right on the beach, check specials on Agoda.com we’ve seen some as low as $15 a night.
8. Take the Hoi An Free Bike Tour
Another fun and one of the free things to do in Hoi An is the Hoi An free tour by bike. Every Sunday students volunteer and offer a free Hoi An tour. The Vietnamese students want to practice their English and this is a perfect way to do that. The tour is limited to 20 people, we emailed in advance to save our spot. Just show up at the meeting point with a bike or they have bikes for rent for a reasonable press. Click here for more information. If you enjoyed the tour the guides would appreciate any tips, we tipped 100,000 dong ($5 USD).
9. Visit The Full Moon Lantern Festival
Try and time your visit to Hoi An during the Hoi An full moon lantern festival. On the full moon of every month the streets in Hoi An’s ancient town off their lights, and the streets are shut down (no traffic) and the light is replaced with colorful lanterns floating down the river. The streets are packed with locals and tourists lighting lanterns and sending them down the river, we chose not to light a lantern in Hoi An.
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10. Slurp A Bowl Of Cao Lau
Cao Lau is another dish only found in Hoi An Vietnam that is definitely worth the try. Cao Lau is a soup with chewy thick noodles, mint, basil, peppers, bean sprouts, pork, lime, and some deep fried croutons for some crunch on the top. All these flavors together make this dish amazing.