aerial photo at sunset of the Ancient Town in Hoi An

3 Days in Hoi An, Vietnam: Ultimate Itinerary

Are you planning to visit Hoi An? This complete 3-Day Hoi An itinerary covers everything you need to know, including what to do in Hoi An for 3 days, where to stay in town, must-try local food spots, day trips, and more!

Hoi An, Vietnam’s charming coastal gem, is one of the country’s most popular destinations for a good reason! The small town blends culture, history, beach vibes, and a laid-back atmosphere.

At night, Hoi An transforms into a spectacle of a town, with its lit lanterns scattered throughout the Old Town, it’s quite a unique experience!

I spent just over a month in Da Nang and two weekends in Hoi An and I loved it!

By the way, the easiest way to get to Hoi An is to take a Grab car or scooter, and you don’t need to book one in advance. Drivers are always ready to take you! For those unfamiliar, GRAB is a popular ride-sharing app in Southeast Asia and a must-download!

How Many Days in Hoi An

Plan to spend at least two to three days in Hoi An. While the town isn’t large, there are plenty of things to do in Hoi An, from experiencing the local markets, exploring the town’s countryside and its night charm, relaxing at the beaches, and more!

The town definitely has a charm to it, which makes it stand out compared to many places you’ll visit in Vietnam, but that can’t be described, you must visit!

Day 1: Arrival, Explore Old Town, Bridge/Museum, Market

Morning

The best way to start your first morning in Hoi An is with an early local breakfast at a cafe in the Ancient Town. After breakfast, explore Hoi An’s charming Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, at your own pace.

The Ancient Town exudes a calm, laidback atmosphere in the morning, starkly contrasting with the bustling crowds as sunset approaches.

Wander through the narrow streets with yellow-painted buildings, traditional wooden houses, and Chinese temples.

Visit old merchant houses like Tan Ky House or Phung Hung House to glimpse 18th-century architecture and lifestyle.

a known Chinese Chùa Pháp Bảo
Buddhist temple featuring a large garden and stunning architecture

Afternoon

After lunch at a local restaurant, I recommend you visit one of the many Banh Mi shops, I’ve recommended below, Hoi An is home to the famous Vietnamese sandwich.

Head to the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge. This beautiful structure, built in the 1590s, is emblematic of Hoi An

The bridge connects the Japanese and Chinese quarters of the town and is both a practical crossing and a temple. Remember, it’s not just a bridge but also a pagoda, serving both pragmatic and religious purposes.

Afterward, visit the Hoi An Museum, where you’ll learn about the town’s rich history and cultural heritage. Housed in the Quan Am Pagoda, the museum displays artifacts from various eras, providing context for Hoi An’s development as a significant trading port town.

the multi coloured Japanese covered Bridge in Hoi An, Vietnam on a sunny day

Evening

Finish your day off with a must-do activity in the Old Town, the vibrant and fun Hoi An Night Market. As the sun sets, this market comes alive after dark and is the best thing to do in town.

As you explore the vibrant Hoi An Night Market, you’ll see a stunning display of lantern-lit lights and samples of local street food and browse handmade crafts and souvenirs to purchase.

The market’s famous colorful lanterns create a magical atmosphere, while live music and cultural performances add to the lively ambiance. It’s the perfect way to end any day in Hoi An!

For those looking to experience the Old Town atmosphere to the fullest, board one of the many traditional lantern-lit boats along the river for the best views of the Old Town!

Once you’ve done that, grab a drink at one of the many bars and follow up your evening with street food!

dense crowds of tourists heading towards the bridge in the Old Town of Hoi An

Day 2: Morning Market & Cooking Class, Beach Sunset

Morning

Your second day will start with this fun tour in Hoi An, which offers a well-rounded experience of the town’s culinary and cultural traditions. Your day begins with a visit to a local central market, where you’ll learn about the different Vietnamese ingredients and flavours.

Next, you’ll try your luck at traditional fishing techniques during a basketboat ride, a unique and enjoyable activity. Going in a basketboat in Hoi An is a must-do!

The tour will finish with a hands-on cooking class, where you’ll prepare authentic Vietnamese dishes using fresh, local ingredients.

This fun day tour provides an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in Hoi An’s daily lifestyle and culinary customs, making it ideal for those seeking an authentic cultural adventure.

Afternoon

After an active and busy morning, it’s time for a more laid-back afternoon in Hoi An! In the afternoon, you’ll head to An Bang Beach, the town’s stunning central coast beach, which offers a perfect escape from the bustling Ancient Town of Hoi An.

To get there, you can rent a bicycle and enjoy a scenic 4-kilometer ride through picturesque rice paddies and local villages, giving you a glimpse of Hoi An’s beautiful countryside.

Otherwise, a Grab taxi is always an option if you prefer to get there faster after an active morning.

Once at the beach, you’ll be greeted by golden sands and a relaxed atmosphere. Spend your time lounging on the shore, taking refreshing dips in the sea, or indulging in a cold drink at one of the beachside bars.

As your day winds down, prepare for a spectacular sunset. Hoi An is famous for its vibrant coloured skies at sunset! Another beach you may want to consider is Dai Beach!

Day 3: Countryside & Island Tour, Last Minute Shopping+

Morning

For your third and final day in Hoi An, you’ll spend it exploring the town’s remarkable countryside by jeep!

For those who biked the previous day to An Bang Beach, you won’t just be passing by the countryside but visiting the rice fields and more!

This tour offers an exciting adventure in a vintage army Jeep through Hoi An’s countryside. You’ll explore local villages, cruise through rice paddies, and have first-hand experience of rural Vietnamese life.

The day tour is a unique way to discover authentic Vietnam beyond the tourist areas. It combines scenic views with cultural immersion. It includes meeting local families, learning cultural insights, and seeing the off-beaten parts of this beautiful town.

a woman working in the rice paddy fields in Hoi An's countryside

Afternoon

As you spend your last afternoon in Hoi An, take advantage of your final hours to indulge in last-minute shopping and exploration.

The town is renowned for its charming boutique shops, offering a treasure trove of unique finds. Hoi An has earned a reputation for producing some of Asia’s finest authentic leather goods, with skilled artisans crafting everything from bags to shoes.

The town is equally famous for its tailoring, with numerous shops offering custom-made suits, dresses, and other garments, often completed in just 24-48 hours, keep this timing in mind if you’re looking to purchase anything custom!

Finally, spend your remaining hours exploring more of Old Town, relaxing at a local cafe, or checking off another one of the many excellent restaurants to try!

I purchased a few leather goods from Da Bao Real Leather. Check them out, but prepare to negotiate. A typical rule of thumb is if you don’t see pricing, prepare to bargain for the price!

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Below, I’ve shared the best areas for first-time visitors to stay. While the town isn’t large, each area has its advantages!

See which area would best suit you! Also included are excellent hotel recommendations for all budgets!

Minh An (Old Town) is the most central area in Hoi An. Staying here means you’ll have quick access to other areas and be in the heart of the city’s historic charm. It’s the best area in Hoi An for first-time visitors looking to experience the heart of the ancient town!

  • Allegro Hoi An / A 4-star boutique hotel with easy access to Old Town, nearby many restaurants, and luxurious amenities, including a spa and pool.
  • Fuse Old Town / A 3-star hotel in the Old Town, surrounded by historic sites and local attractions.

Cam Chau is an excellent option for travelers seeking a more local experience. This area offers a glimpse into everyday Vietnamese life while still within easy reach of the Old Town.

  • Lasenta Boutique Hotel / A 4-star property located in Cam Chau. It offers access to the Old Town and An Bang Beach, many restaurants, and stunning rice fields nearby.
  • Mad Monkey Hoi An / A lively backpacker hostel in the Cam Chau district, situated between the UNESCO Old Town and beaches. The hostel has a pool and offers daily tours and nightly events.

An Bang Beach is perfect for those seeking a beach getaway not too far from the Old Town. If you’re wondering where to stay in Hoi An for a mix of beach and culture, this area is ideal.

  • Wyndham Royal Beachfront Resort / Luxurious 5-star property located directly on An Bang Beach in a great location. It offers stunning ocean views and multiple pools.
  • Coral Riverside Homestay / A charming 3-star stay in the peaceful Cam Chau area, surrounded by lush greenery and close to the Old Town and local markets.

An Hoi is just across the Thu Bon River from the Old Town. It is known for its many bars, restaurants, and night market, making it an excellent area for those who enjoy Hoi An’s evening entertainment.

  • Bel Marina Hoi An Resort / 5-star resort just a 7-minute walk from the center of Old Town Hoi An, offering many amenities such as outdoor pools, a spa, and a fitness center.
  • Hoài River Homestay / A charming accommodation situated along the Hoai Rive offering easy access to the Old Town and local night market.

Where to Eat in Hoi An

Hoi An is an excellent destination for foodies. The town is renowned for its unique local specialties!

Below, I’ll share with you the best restaurants in Hoi An to try and a few dishes the town claims you should try when visiting!

For those who’re obsessed with Banh Mi’s as much as I am, Hoi An is home to the world-famous sandwich. Banh Mi originated in Hoi An, and if you speak to locals, they’ll tell you!

Madam Khanh – The Banh Mi Queen: Known Banh Mi stall offering a variety of sandwiches, it’s been around for many years and is a must-try

Bánh Mì Phượng: Widely famous for its wide variety of Banh Mi options, this restaurant’s been around for many years and has gained more fame due to Anthony Bourdain’s visit

LemonGrass Restaurant: Located in a quaint courtyard, this restaurant isn’t only beautiful in the evening but serves excellent fragrant lemongrass chicken & many more local favorites

Dê Sake: This restaurant is known for its charcoal-grilled roasted fatty goat, with fresh herbs and many excellent sides / It is my personal favorite restaurant in Hoi An

Phi Banh Mi: Local favorite Banh Mi shop, famous for it’s charcoal heated Banh Mi’s

Morning Glory Original: A local favorite, Morning Glory offers several Hoi An dishes you must try, including rose dumplings, Mi Quang, and more

Foods to Try in Hoi An

Banh Mi: Crispy baguette filled with various types of meat, fresh herbs, pate and sauces

Cao Lau: A noodle dish made with thick rice noodles, fresh herbs with slices of pork

Mi Quang: Noodle dish similar to Cao Lau but with thinner noodles and spicier broth (it’s debated whether it’s from Hoi An or Da Nang)

Banh Bao Banh Vac: This is a unique dumpling made from translucent rice paper and filled with minced shrimp or pork

Getting Around Hoi An

  • Walking: Hoi An’s Ancient Town is compact and pedestrian-friendly, making walking the best way to explore its charming streets and attractions
  • Bicycle: Renting a bike is popular and ideal for exploring the town and nearby countryside. Many hotels offer free or low-cost bike rentals
  • Cyclo: These traditional three-wheeled bicycle taxis are a fun way to tour the Ancient Town, though prices should be negotiated in advance
  • Grab: This popular ride-sharing app operates in Hoi An, offering car and motorbike services

Best Time to Visit Hoi An

Hoi An is in central Vietnam, and like many places in the country, it experiences two distinct weather seasons: dry and rainy.

If you visit during the dry season, you can expect warm weather, consistent sunshine, and lower humidity levels. During the wet season, expect sporadic rainfall and higher humidity levels.

Dry Season: February to July

The best time to visit Hoi An is during the dry season, from February to July—average temperatures in the time range from 25°C (77°F) to 35°C (95°F).

The town’s weather is consistent in the dry season, with plenty of blue skies, sunny weather, and lower humidity levels. The driest months are typically March and April.

Rainy Season: August to January

The less ideal time to visit Hoi An is during the rainy season when you’re more likely to experience frequent rain. The rainfall in the wet season can be heavy on some days, particularly in October and November.

Expect temperatures around 22°C (72°F) to 30°C (86°F). It’s important to know that humidity levels are higher than in the dry season. However, the best part is that the rainy season can offer lush green landscapes and fewer tourists despite the rain.

a woman in a red dress with a classic Vietnamese farmer hat in the Old Town of Hoi An

Tips to Know for Hoi An

  • For riverboat rides, only use the official vendors with posted pricing signage and boats ready to take you – Don’t go on any boat rides where vendors approach you often. They don’t have an official boat license to operate and will take you in the opposite direction, a common scam in Hoi An
  • To see the Old Town in its authentic state, walk around before 8:00 AM
  • Watch out for pick-pocketers when crossing the famous bridge or in dense crowds
  • Make sure to bargain for items you’d like to purchase without any price signage
  • Have cash on you at all times, some restaurants take card but most only take cash
  • Rent a bike and ride around Hoi An, it’s the best way to see the town
  • If you’re coming from Da Nang or going back to Da Nang, take a Grab in the early morning or late afternoon, prices tend to be slightly cheaper & there’s less traffic

Final Thoughts

With the town’s unique, captivating history, charm, excellent cuisine, and laidback atmosphere, Hoi An is one of the most visited destinations in Vietnam. During my two weekends there, it was easy to see why!

So, is Hoi An worth visiting? Yes, It is a must! You must add it to your Vietnam itinerary; if you were debating to visit, I’d like to think I’ve convinced you to visit after reading my Hoi An blog. There’s nowhere in the world quite like it, and I hope you enjoy your Hoi An trip!

Hoi An is in central Vietnam, so the best way to get there is to fly into Da Nang.

You may wonder if staying in Hoi An or Da Nang is better. Da Nang offers a better base in central Vietnam because of its airport. It’s also more central than Hoi An, with its own famous attractions and arguably a better beach!

However, if you choose to make Da Nang your base, you must visit Hoi An!

several lanterns hanging on boats on the river during the night time in Hoi An, Vietnam

Happy & Safe Travels


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