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Small enough to see on foot, there is plenty to explore in Vietnam’s Yellow City to easily fill two days in Hoi An. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, Hoi An’s old town is as captivating as it is colourful.
A bustling port for hundreds of years, a Chinese community settled in Hoi An in the 18th century, leaving a huge impression on the city.
Today, alongside laid back cafes and sizzling street food stalls, Hoi An’s old town is filled with charismatic shophouses, Buddhist temples and exquisite assembly houses.
There’s a huge variety of hotels and accommodation in Hoi An, from budget friendly backpacker hostels to surprisingly affordable high end resorts.
→ You can search for accommodation throughout Hoi An by clicking here.
If you’re looking for accommodation suggestions, here are a few of the best places to stay in Hoi An:
Being a staple of the Southeast Asian backpacking trail means that there’s a huge range of good budget accommodation available in Hoi An.
If you’d prefer a homestay over sharing a hostel, then consider Xanh La Homestay. Just a ten minute walk from the centre of Hoi An, Xanh La Homestay is an idyllic haven for those wanting homely comforts at an affordable price.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the heart of the city’s old town, we stayed at the Little Hoi An Boutique Hotel and Spa. Little Hoi An’s rooms are well sized and extremely comfortable, many with views facing the Thu Bon River. Breakfast includes a fabulous variety of local and international cuisine.
The hotel’s staff are friendly and incredibly helpful, plus there’s an on-site gym and a small pool. Spa treatments are available too.
Easily amongst the best accommodation within walking distance of Hoi An’s old town, Hoi An Silk Marina Resort and Spa is perfect for anybody looking to add a little luxury to their trip.
With large comfortable rooms, some with river views, two swimming pools, a spa, and excellent onsite restaurants, the Hoi An Silk Marina is the best place to stay if you’re looking for a little luxury whilst exploring the city.
Here’s what see, do and eat for the perfect two day Hoi An itinerary.
A typical Hoi An street of flowers and lanterns and the Japanese Covered Bridge
A web of connected and colourful streets and alleys, Hoi An’s old town is a delight to explore. Begin by heading for the most famous landmark in Hoi An, the Japanese Covered Bridge at the heart of the old town.
The Covered Bridge was built by Hoi An’s Japanese community in the 16th century, and connects two of the old town’s main streets, Tran Phu and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai.
Look out for the monkey and dogs statues found at either end of the bridge, said to represent the zodiac signs of the years that construction of the bridge began and when it was completed.
Inside the covered bridge is a tiny temple, where a small shrine is dedicated to Tran Vo Bac De, the God of weather. Amongst the bridge’s many decorative details are colourful ceramic bowls moulded into the covered roof.
Top Tip: There are several different tours of Hoi An’s historic city centre, all run by local experts and guides.
If you’d prefer to be shown around the Yellow City and get an even deeper understanding of many of the city’s most fascinating areas and landmarks, then check out the guided tours of Hoi An that are available here.
Just a few steps from the Japanese Bridge along Tran Phu is Quang Trieu Assembly Hall, also known as the Cantonese Assembly Hall.
Built in 1885, the Quang Trieu Assembly Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings in Hoi An.
Ceramic dragons, wall paintings and goats at the Cantonese Assembly Hall
A commanding red gate stands over the entrance of the Cantonese Assembly House, leading into a magnificent central courtyard.
A dramatic dragon statue stands at the heart of the courtyard, whilst around the perimeter are framed scenes from Chinese folk tales hanging on the walls.
Tucked away behind Quang Trieu’s spectacular main hall is a wonderfully peaceful garden, featuring another stunning set of dragon statues, spectacularly decorated with colourful ceramics.
The fantastic dragons are almost outdone by the enormous goat statue at the far end of the garden.
Continue further along Tran Phu, the beautiful main street of Hoi An’s colourful old town.
Many of the historic shophouses in the old town are now home to cafes and souvenir shops, catering to the vast number of tourists who visit Hoi An. Many are also tailors, an industry which is synonymous with Hoi An.
One of the most popular things to do in Hoi An is to have clothes tailor-made at a very affordable price. There are literally hundreds of tailors shops in Hoi An, renowned for their ability to create bespoke clothes in just a few days for a comparatively low price.
If you’re looking to have an item of clothing tailor made, you’ll need to act quickly if you’re only spending two days in Hoi An. After first measuring up, the tailor will typically need at least one fitting session over the next couple of days.
To get your bespoke clothes made you’ll need to visit your tailor of choice early on your first morning in Hoi An.
Be sure to a little research and find the best tailor for you before you arrive. Amongst the most reputable tailors in Hoi An is BeBe Tailor.
Though there are hundreds of tailors to choose from in Hoi An, and not all tailors work in the same way. To keep costs down many outsource the production of garments rather than make them on site.
To ensure the best quality, pick a tailor with a good reputation that you’re certain will be able to make your garments in the time that you have in Hoi An.
One of the best things to do in Hoi An is eat. Directly opposite one of BeBe’s tailor shops is Bánh Mì Phượng, the best place for bánh mì in all of Hoi An. Once you’ve been measured up, pop over the road for a spot of lunch.
Made famous by a visit from Anthony Bourdain, Bánh Mì Phượng is incredibly popular and an essential part of any Hoi An itinerary.
If possible try and get a seat inside – the attentive staff will do their best to find you a table. Choose your filling and then sit back and sink your teeth into possibly the best banh mi in Vietnam.
The baguettes are heavenly – crunchy on the outside whilst soft as a cloud on the inside – and the perfect complement to the soft pork, crunchy greens and spicy peppery sauce inside.
Real foodies will love this food-tasting tour of Hoi An’s colourful old town. The two hour tour takes in some of the best cafes, markets, street-food stalls and restaurants in Hoi An.
Afterwards, wander back towards the centre of the old town.
Don’t miss another of Hoi An’s cultural gems, the Hai Nam Assembly Hall, just a short walk from Bánh Mì Phượng on Tran Phu and directly opposite Hoi An’s fabric market.
The Hai Nam Assembly Hall was built in 1875 in honour of 108 traders who sailed to Hoi An from Hainan Island in China.
Tragically the traders were mistaken for pirates and put to death by the authorities. Years later they were recognised as martyrs, and the Hai Nam Assembly House was built in their honour.
The Hai Nam Assembly Hall consists of a peaceful courtyard that faces a magnificent main hall. Inside the richly-detailed hall are tablets in memory of the 108 traders, as well as elaborate models of traditional shipping boats.
Inside the Hai Nam Assembly Hall
A little further along Tran Phu is Phuc Kien, another beautiful assembly house built by migrants from the Fujian region of China who settled in Hoi An.
Built in the late 17th century, Phuc Kien is possibly the most beautiful of Hoi An’s assembly houses.
The entrance is marked by two striking gates. The first gate leads into a beautiful courtyard, whilst the second, more spectacular gate leads through to the Jinshang Golden Mountain Temple.
As is common amongst Chinese overseas communities, the temple is dedicated to Thien Hau, the Goddess of the Sea, who is believed to bring safe passage for sailors.
Phuc Kien Assembly Hall and boats on the Thu Bon River
If the heat and humidity of the afternoon are starting to take its toll, duck into one of the many coffee shops that fill Hoi An’s old town.
Directly opposite Phuc Kien is Hoi An Roastery, a lovely coffee shop set inside a beautiful old shophouse.
Wander through the open courtyard to the beautifully air conditioned room at the back of the shop. Relax and recuperate with a restorative ca phe sua, a traditional Vietnamese iced coffee.
Hoi An comes alive at night when the temperature and humidity begins to drop a little. The old town’s colourful streets are illuminated by thousands of lanterns as street food stalls pop up all along the Thu Bon River.
As the streets swell with people, wander over the Cau An Hoi bridge and explore Hoi An’s nightmarket on Nguyễn Hoàng.
Hoi An’s night market is a great place to wind the day down. The market has a little bit of everything, and it’s a great place to pick up some street food or tourist trinkets.
The streets around the night market are filled with a host of laid back bars and restaurants, making it the perfect spot to watching the world go slowly by.
Hoi An at night
On the second of your two days in Hoi An, take the chance to explore a little further afield. There are plenty of amazing places to visit in Vietnam and a number of those can be reached on a quick trip from Hoi An.
There are plenty of tour operators based in Hoi An with whom you can book a trip. Some trips out of Hoi An can take up a morning or afternoon, whilst others will take up the bulk of a day.
Popular trips from Hoi An include snorkelling in the Cham Islands or taking in the temples, caves and sensational panoramic views at Marble Mountain.
Alternatively, hire a bike or a motorbike and drive to the beautiful Ang Bang beach, just a few kilometres north of Hoi An.
Another popular trip from Hoi An is a visit to the famous Golden Bridge. High up in the Ba Na Hills, and with incredible views over Da Nang, the Golden Bridge appears to be held in place by a pair of huge stone hands.
Alternatively you could take a trip to Da Nang, which includes a trip to the tallest female Buddha Statue in Vietnam, standing at over 65 metres tall.
Also close to Hoi An is My Son Sanctuary, a remarkable complex of ancient Hindu temples nestled deep within a gorgeous green valley.
The earliest of the temples at My Son date back to the 4th century. A UNESCO World Heritage site, My Son features a series of temples built by a succession of kings over around thousand years.
The temples were largely forgotten about for hundreds of years until they were rediscovered in the late 19th century.
Ravaged by nature and then carpet-bombed during the Vietnam War, most of the old temples have been restored or preserved with varying degrees of success.
For the best experience, book a sunrise tour of My Son for an early morning view of the site before the crowds arrive.
On returning to Hoi An, wander a little north of the old town for lunch at the White Rose restaurant on Hai Ba Trurng.
The White Rose has a simple menu of just two dishes, white rose dumplings and a Vietnamese take on fried wonton that’s also known as a Hoi An pizza.
White rose dumplings at White Rose restaurant and boats on the river in Hoi An’s old town
White rose dumplings are a speciality of Hoi An, consisting of shrimp paste and a few chopped up vegetables wrapped in rice paper and steamed.
The precise recipe is supposedly a closely guarded secret, but at the back of the restaurant you’ll see a small army of staff making the dumplings by hand, where they make several thousand a day.
After lunch head back into the old town. Don’t leave Hoi An without visiting the old traditional family houses that are still dotted around the centre of the city.
There are three historic old houses in the old town that date back to the late 18th century when Hoi An was a major trading port; Phung Hung House, Quan Thang House and the Old House of Tan Ky.
All three old houses are open to the public and are still occupied by descendants of the original families. These old houses are perfect examples of the blend of old architectural styles used during the port city’s heyday.
Inside Tan Ky House and Hoi An at night
Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese influences can be seen in each of the houses which are rich in detail. The Old House of Tan Ky is possibly the most well preserved.
Dark wood beams and poems inscribed in mother of pearl are complimented by small altars dedicated to prominent members of the family from previous generations.
An open courtyard at the heart of the house brings in light and much needed cool air. Look for the markers in the back room that show how high the rain waters have reached on the numerous times that Hoi An has been severely flooded.
If you’ve had clothes tailor-made whilst in Hoi An don’t forget to pick them up before the day is done. Then head for dinner at Morning Glory restaurant on Nguyen Thai Hoc.
One of the best restaurants in Hoi An, Morning Glory specialises in beautifully prepared classic Vietnamese dishes in a fabulous setting.
Though there are cheaper places to eat in Hoi An, Morning Glory is far from expensive.
Renowned for its excellent Vietnamese food, great service and a wonderful atmosphere, Morning Glory is an excellent place to round off two days in Hoi An.
Hoi An is around a 45 minute drive from the neighbouring city of Da Nang, which is home to the nearest airport and train station.
If you have accommodation booked in Hoi An, your hotel should also be able to arrange a transfer from Da Nang Airport for you too.
Alternatively you can take a green Mai Linh taxi outside Da Nang airport who can take you all the way to Hoi An. They’re known to be reliable and safe but perhaps try and determine a price for the journey with the driver before you set off.
Hoi An has implemented a curious system in which tourists need to buy a book of tickets to enter the old town and most of the main attractions.
The price of the tickets goes towards the upkeep and maintenance of the old town as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In reality, you can wander around the old town without buying tickets, but they are needed to enter the temples, assembly houses, museums and old houses inside the old town.
Tickets for Hoi An’s old town can be bought at any of the eleven bright yellow stalls dotted around the perimeter of the old town.
A book of tickets costs 120,000 VND, which is around USD $5. Each book of tickets has five tickets inside.
You surrender one ticket at the entrance to each historic site you visit, so if you want to see more than five of the old town’s main attractions, you’ll need to buy a second book of tickets.
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