Hoi An, Vietnam – City of Living Crafts

Hoi An Attractions

Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Hoi An was an important Vietnamese trading center for silk, porcelain, pepper, cinnamon and medicinal plants. Hoi An also boasts a beautiful and extensive coastline where Cua Dai and An Bang beaches are the most popular spots for diving, surfing and windsurfing, while local villages such as Tra Cue Spice Village and Cam Nam Village offer respite and escape from the crowded Ancient City. In addition to all the sightseeing and shopping, the countryside surrounding Hoi An is ideal for biking, beach vacations and boat cruises.

The sights of Hoi An in alphabetical order are:

1. Tra Que Herb Village

Tra Que Herb Village.

Attractions in Hoi An

Thanks to the special condition of rich soil and water, Tra Que Village has long been famous for growing many kinds of herbs: lettuce, lettuce, basil, coriander, etc., which are traditionally added to the national dishes of Hoi An. The beautifully designed gardens with mixed beds of vegetables and tiny flowers are attractive enough for a bike tour.

Opening hours: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

How to get there: Tra Cue Village is on the way from Da Nang to Hoi An, so it is very easy to get there by cab or bicycle.

2. Kim Bong Carpentry Village

Kim Bong Carpentry Village

Attractions in Hoi An

Over the years, Kim Bong Village has developed vigorously and has formed 3 groups of craftsmen: ancient architectural construction, civil wooden furniture and shipbuilding. Regardless of which group the craftsmen are in, they still maintain their traditional manner of starting as an apprentice and earning the title of master through years of hard work. Common Kim Bong products such as furniture, religious statues and finely crafted wooden doors can be found and bought in gift stores. They range from a few dollar coasters or trinkets to large religious statues worth thousands of dollars.

Opening hours: 7:30 am – 5:00 pm

How to get there: A boat trip from Hoi An Old Town (which can be found on Bach Dang Street) is a common way for tourists to come to Kim Bong Village.

3. The House of Hoi Traditional Handicrafts

The House of Hoi Traditional Handicrafts

Attractions in Hoi An

The House of Hoi is a silk store with an early 17th century silk loom and working cotton machinery. On the top floor there are trays to feed the silkworms, then racks to incubate the worms, and then in a tub of hot water the pupa is washed off and then a thread of silk is pulled out and wound onto a large skein. They have a large selection of silks in many colors and quantities suitable for clothing and home interiors.

Location: 41 Le Loi Street, Hoi An

4. Fujian Assembly Hall

Fujian Assembly Hall.

Attractions in Hoi An

The Fujian Assembly Hall was created as a place where Fujian residents from China living or visiting Hoi An could meet and socialize. Built around 1690, the assembly hall is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside the hall is the Golden Mountain Jinshan Temple, dedicated to Thien Hau, goddess of the sea and guardian of sailors, with altars decorated with delicately carved dragons. There is also a fertility temple to help answer the prayers of the childless couples who visit it.

Hours of operation: daily 08:00 – 17:00

Location: 46 Tran Phu Street, Hoi An

Notes: It is wise to dress respectfully, although it is not a strict requirement.

5. Marble Mountains

Attractions in Hoi An

The Marble Mountains or Non Nuoc is a famous sight in Da Nang among local and foreign tourists. It is considered the “spiritual” land of Quang Nam. The Marble Mountains include 5 beautiful mountains that were named after the 5 elements of creation: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. They look like bonsai trees that have formed among a huge hill. Each mountain has its own special beauty in shape, position and material, with many caves and temples. The marble mountains of Da Nang are truly a paradise for all tourists.

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Opening Hours: 07:00 – 17:00

Price range: 1.5 USD

Location: Khao Hai Ward, Ngu Han Son, Da Nang

6. Museum of Trade Ceramics

Museum of Trade Ceramics

Attractions in Hoi An

The Museum of Trade Ceramics is worth a visit to see the beautifully restored wooden house that houses the museum. Once inside, you’ll find a huge selection of Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese ceramics found during archaeological excavations in the area, mostly from the 8th to 18th centuries. The building that houses the Museum was built in 1858 and is an elegant example of traditional Vietnamese craftsmanship that has been preserved in first-class condition. There are many ancient exhibits, including some from a ship wrecked in nearby waters in 1733, and ceramics from the Chinese Tang Dynasty dating from the 7th to 10th centuries.

Hours of operation: daily 08:00 – 17:00

Location: 80 Tran Phu Street, Hoi An

7. Hoi An Museum of History & Culture

Hoi An Museum of History & Culture

Attractions in Hoi An

Where the Thu Bon River flows into the East China Sea, Hoi An was one of the largest trading centers in Asia. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, merchants came from all over the world, stopping to wait for the weather to change before moving on. Merchants from France, Portugal and the Netherlands mingled with Japanese, Chinese, Thais, Indians and Vietnamese in the old streets of the city. The Hoi An Museum of History and Culture displays a range of artifacts, such as photographs of local architecture, ceramics and earthenware, depicting Hoi An’s changes, including the Champa era, dating from the 7th to 15th centuries, and Da Viet from the 15th to 19th centuries.

Opening hours: 08:00 – 17:00

Location: 7 Nguyen Hue, Hoi An

8. Cham Islands (Cu Lao Cham)

Cham Island (Cu Lao Cham)

Attractions in Hoi An

Cham Islands are a group of 8 small islands, which has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve (Cu Lao Cham Marine Park). This ideal place is gifted with wonderful topography of mountain slopes and biodiversity. From Qua Dai Beach, Quang Nam Province, it takes about 30 minutes to reach Cham Island by express boat, although tourists can instead opt for a 45-minute ride to enjoy the feeling of traveling on authentic fishing boats.

How to get there: Interested tourists can book a tour from Hoi An, which departs daily in the morning for the island. The tour usually includes a guide, transportation, and decent food on the island. If you want to explore the island on your own, take a cab to Bach Dang Marina. The boats usually leave at 7:30 a.m. and the fare is $2 per person. Sit on the second floor to get the best view on your way to the Cham Islands.

9. Chuc Thanh Pagoda.

Chuc Thanh Pagoda

Attractions in Hoi An

Chuc Thanh Pagoda was founded by Monk Minh Hai from China in 1454, making it the oldest Buddhist pagoda in Hoi An. The temple features a combination of Vietnamese and Chinese architectural designs, with a marble statue of Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy), elaborate animal figurines, lacquered pillars and 16 tomb towers of prominent monks. Chuc Thanh Pagoda is considered the birthplace of the Thien Tam Te religion, which still uses ancient ritual objects such as a 200-year-old stone gong, a carpel-shaped wooden gong and several bells.

Opening hours: daily 08:00 – 18:00

Location: Khu Vuc 7, Phuong Tan An, Hoi An

10. Van Duc Pagoda

Attractions in Hoi An

Van Duc Pagoda dates back to the late 17th century, when locals prayed to Buddhist deities such as Amitabha Buddha, Dia Tang Bodhisattva and Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva. Recognized as one of Hoi An’s oldest Buddhist temples, the yellow-green building features three halls for worship, intricate animal sculptures, paintings of deities, potted plants and many shade trees. The tranquil setting attracts many visitors wishing to pay their respects, learn about destiny, or simply admire the well-preserved architecture. During full moons and auspicious celebrations, you can also see local monks release paper lanterns into the river while chanting prayers.

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Opening hours: daily 08:00 – 18:00

Location: Dong Na Village, Kem Ha Commune, Hoi An

11. An Bang Beach

Attractions in Hoi An

An Bang Beach is one of the few beaches in Hoi An that has not been touched by industrial development, making it a popular option for sun and water fun. It is also home to many beach resorts, seafood restaurants and hippie bars with beautiful views of the nearby Marble Mountains, Cham Island and Da Nang Bay.

Location: 7 km north of Hoi An

12. Qua Dai Beach

Attractions in Hoi An

Cua Dai Beach is one of Vietnam’s five UNESCO World Heritage sites and offers an unparalleled seaside retreat from the old streets of Hoi An. It is a 3-kilometer stretch of beautiful white sands with very clear water and tropical blue waves that are soft enough for swimming.

13. Hoi An Riverside

Hoi An Riverside.

Attractions in Hoi An

The riverfront is the main attraction of Hoi An. It is where traditional and modern boats drop their anchors, local housewives go to the local market every morning. The pristine architecture on the waterfront and in Hoi An Old Town was built only about 200 years ago and consists of a combination of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and colonial styles. Those who want to see the old buildings, however, will have to go further inland, where they can find, for example, the 15th-century Pagoda.

14. Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old Town.

Attractions in Hoi An

Hoi An, once a major trading post of Southeast Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries, is mostly a living museum of old town architecture. Some famous historic buildings are Chinese temples, Japanese-designed bridges, pagodas, wooden lodges, French-colonial houses and old canals. Although large-scale commerce has long since moved elsewhere, Hoi An has succeeded in preserving and restoring its charming roots and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1999.

15. My Son Sanctuaries

My Son Sanctuary

Attractions in Hoi An

Located in a narrow valley and surrounded by mountains, the Mai Son temples are a masterpiece of ancient Cham architecture.

Mai Son consists of 70 architectural works ranging in size from small to huge. Unfortunately, this complex was severely destroyed by American bombs in the war and only 20 of the 32 remnants still retain their original appearance today. Hours of operation: year-round. The best time to visit is early in the morning, before it gets too hot, and when it’s not too crowded yet

Location: In a small valley in Duy Tan Commune, Duy Xuyen District in Quang Nam Province (about 70 km southwest of Da Nang and 40 km from Hoi An)

16. Tran Family Chapel

The Tran Family Chapel

Attractions in Hoi An

Now no one can safely say exactly what is the oldest and most beautiful place in Hoi An, but many people know that the Tran Family Chapel is one of the oldest and most historic houses in this city, dating back to the early 19th century. It was built by Tran Tu Nhac, a respected mandarin during the reign of Gia Long before he was sent to China as the king’s envoy. The chapel originally served as a place of worship for the family’s ancestors as well as a reminder of the family’s tradition. Sitting among a 1,500 m2 garden of ornamental plants, flowers, fruit trees and century-old plants with a gate and high surrounding walls combined with Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture that has remained almost the same as two centuries ago, one feels peaceful and serene.

Price range: VND 40000 for Vietnamese, VND 75000 for foreigners

Opening Hours: 08:30 to 18:00

Location: 21 Le Loi Street, Hoi An

17. Old House of Tan Ky

Old House of Tan Ky

Attractions in Hoi An

The Old House of Tan Ky combines Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese elements from when three communities lived in Hoi An in the 16th and 17th centuries. The house displays features of Eastern philosophy, such as a triple block structure (that’s heaven, earth and people), five round blocks (representing metal, wood, water, fire and earth – the five basic natural elements of Eastern philosophy) and several decorative carvings on the edge of the roof and furniture. Among the few pieces in the house, the most famous are the two vertical panels next to the central courtyard of Tan Qi, on which parallel sentences are written. What is amazing is that each stroke of writing is an illustration of a bird. The hundred birds as a whole represent perfection.

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Opening hours: 08:30 – 17:00

Location: 101 Nguyen Thai Noc Street, Hoi An

18. Traditional Art Performance Theatre

Traditional Art Performance Theatre

Attractions in Hoi An

Walking around Hoi An Old Town, tourists are sure to be fascinated by the endless memories of the past when the old town was a major commercial port, a center of cultural understanding among the Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese. For those who want to imagine these memories of history even more, the Hoi An Folk Art Theater is the place to see how it all used to be. The theater offers live performances of Vietnamese folk music and folk dance.

Tel: +845 103 861 159

Open daily 9:00 – 22:00

Location: 75 Nguyen Thai Noc Street, Hoi An

19. Hoi An Central Market

Hoi An Central Market

Attractions in Hoi An

There is a huge variety of products for sale, including spices such as saffron and cinnamon, which will be excellent buys, as well as exotic fresh fruits and vegetables. Because of its riverside location, there is also a huge selection of fresh fish. The market is famous for its tailors who have their own department at the market.

Opening hours: daily from 06:30 and it’s best to arrive early in the morning

Location: Nguyen Hue and Tran Phu on Thu Bon River

Remarks: It is best to wear closed shoes, as the market floor can be wet and sticky, especially if you visit the fish department.

20. Japanese Covered Bridge

Japanese Covered Bridge.

Attractions in Hoi An

One of Vietnam’s most famous landmarks, the Japanese Covered Bridge, has been domesticated since the 18th century and is considered a beautiful historical work of Japanese architecture. It is said to have been created by the Japanese living in Hoi An and was built to cross over to the Chinese quarter.

The bridge was opened by Nguyen Phuoc Chu in 1719 who carved three Chinese symbols above the door as a keepsake. The bridge also features sculptures of two dogs and two monkeys, representing the Chinese years in which many Japanese emperors were born, and that construction of the bridge began in the year of the dog and was completed in the year of the monkey. In 1986, the Japanese covered bridge underwent renovation work that restored the arch, which had once been flattened to make room for cars. Today the bridge stands as a symbol of Hoi An and remains as beautiful as it was when it first opened.

Hoi An

I went to Hoi An for one day, but stayed there for a month. In my mind, an Asian city is a bustling anthill with frantic traffic in the streets, smelly food, and barracks next to high-rises. What was my surprise when I saw Hoi An.

Old cobblestone streets, neat two-story tile-roofed houses, cute cafes, workshops and art galleries – this is Hoi An, a typical 16th and 18th century port city. The first impression when you find yourself in the center is that you are not in Asia, but in Europe.

It is the only city in Vietnam that survived the war. The entire center is protected by UNESCO, more than 800 sites: temples, houses and bridges are of historical significance.

Hoi An is considered a tourist mecca for Europeans and Americans. Here you will not meet the “packers” from Russia, this area is not yet enamored of travel agencies. Hoi An – a paradise for curious solo travelers and backpackers. The city has a large selection of hostels, inexpensive hotels and villas.

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The city of Hoi An is located on the banks of the Thu Bon River. Many tourists compare it to Venice. Only instead of pumped-up gondoliers here Vietnamese colorful grannies offer a ride on the local gondolas.

Shopping is another reason to go to Hoi An. No, there are no huge malls, supermarkets and outlet stores here. This city is famous for its tailors. For a small fee they will sew an evening gown or suit no worse than in Italy.

Also called the Hoi An City of lanterns. They light them every night on the streets: red, yellow, orange, different shapes and sizes.

How to get there

By plane

When it’s high season. When is the best time to go

Hoi An – Monthly weather

Main attractions. What to see

Food What to Try

Things to do

Getting around

Skiing Holiday

How to get there

The easiest and fastest way to get to Hoi An from Russia is to fly to Da Nang Airport with connections in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, and from the airport take a cab or bus to the desired city.

There is another option: take a direct ticket to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and from there to Hoi An by bus. Between these cities there is a so called sleeping bus, in which you can sleep lying down, which is very convenient for long distances. You have to spend more than 12 hours on the road, of course with short stops.

By plane

There are no direct flights from St. Petersburg to Vietnam, it is more convenient to get from Moscow.

From Moscow to Da Nang

There is no airport in Hoi An. The nearest airport is located 30 km to the north in Da Nang. It is the third largest international airport in the country and the largest in central Vietnam. It’s small but very comfortable: there is a Duty Free and a few Vietnamese cafes at reasonable prices.

Flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Siem Reap and Seoul arrive here.

From Moscow to Da Nang, as I have already mentioned, you can change planes in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Aeroflot and Vietnam Airlines fly five times a week. To Hanoi it’s 9 hours. 15 minutes in the sky, to Ho Chi Minh City – 10 hours. The roundtrip ticket costs 450€.

From there you fly to Donang with Vietnam Airlines or Jetstar from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. The plane leaves almost every hour and in 1 hour. You will be there in 1 hour and 30 minutes.

There are also connecting flights from Moscow to Singapore (Singapore Airlines). The flight from Moscow to Singapore takes 10 hours and from there to Da Nang takes 2 hours. 50 min. The ticket costs 500 €.

You can find the tickets on the well-known aggregator sites or, for example, in this section of Travelask.

From Da Nang to Hoi An
By cab

From Da Nang Airport to Hoi An you can take a cab – $20-$25, but you need to bargain.

Cab drivers are waiting at the airport entrance.

Transfer

You can order a shuttle service from your hotel, it is cheaper than a cab. A minibus ride costs $5 (VND110,000) and a private car costs $14 (VND300,000-350,000). I booked a minibus through the hotel. Got there for $5 (110 VND) and 40 minutes.

The Vietnamese dong has fallen a lot against the dollar in recent years, so the locals will be happy if you pay with American currency.

By Bus

There is a yellow #1 bus between Da Nang and Hoi An that says Danang-Hoian. It departs from the local bus station, which is located at Dien Bien Phu, after the intersection with Highway 1A. It is better to get there by cab ($5-10).

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Then the bus goes to Dien Bien Phu, Hung Vuong, Ong Ich Khiem, Nguyen Thi Minh Kha. Catch better on the streets, you need to raise your hand up and the driver will slow down. Buses in Vietnam do not stop completely, you have to jump in as you go.

In Hoi An, the bus will take you to the north station, where there will be cab drivers. I took a motorcycle cab at my own risk. With haggling, it took me with a large suitcase for $3 (60,000 VND). If you print out a map of the city beforehand, you can also walk to the hotel – the Old Town is small.

By train

Vietnam has a well-developed network of railroads along the coastline, you can get to any major city by train. There is no railroad in Hoi An, the nearest station is in Da Nang.

To Da Nang, there are trains from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Hue.

If you are going from Hoi An to Da Nang, you can take a cab, bus or buy a ticket in Hoi An from a travel agency – they will take you to the train station.

By bus

In Vietnam, there are public buses where the locals ride. These buses are “murdered”. There are a lot of people on the bus, and people sit in the aisles between the seats. In addition, they are very slow, because the driver is constantly picking people up on the street. And tourists usually want to charge double or triple the fare.

This mode of transport can only be used for short distances. Tickets are sold at the train station. I took it from Hue to Da Nang and it was a great experience. If you want to experience the local color, this is the place to go.

There are also tour buses and sleeping buses. They are comfortable for long journeys around the country: the salons are clean, they give out water and even something to eat. The sleeping buses have separate beds (in contrast to neighboring Laos, where two people sleep on the bed) and a blanket.

You can buy tickets at hotels and agencies around town. Tourist buses come to Hoi An from Hanoi ($30), Ho Chi Minh City ($40), Nha Trang ($24), Hue ($13), Da Nang ($5).

You can take this bus to Vietnam from neighboring Laos. I drove from Pakse (south Laos) to Da Nang ($33), and from there by cab to Hoi An. Travel time was about 10 hours with several stops.

Entering Vietnam by land proved to be very easy. Our group was disembarked from the bus before the border, the driver collected everyone’s passports and gave them to the customs officer. In about 10 minutes everyone got their passports stamped and we were on our way. There were no questions about how long you were going, where you were staying, and whether there were any return tickets.

The only inconvenience was that at the border they asked to take your temperature. And we didn’t find any official currency exchangers. Only a few grannies standing around ready to exchange Laotian kip for Vietnamese dong.

By Car

Traveling by car in Vietnam is not easy. Russian and international driver’s license are not valid here, you should get a local one. It is better to rent a car with a driver, the price is almost the same ($ 35 per day). The rates for renting a car without a driver can be found here.

You can also rent a scooter ($5 per day). Who has been in Asia, knows that it is a more convenient mode of transport.

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