Unlike Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An is small and provincial in feel. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that provides a fascinating glimpse into what port life was like in 18th century Vietnam.
Walk around the Ancient Town and you’ll find a well-preserved labyrinth of shophouses and pagodas with paper lanterns zigzagging from building to building. It’s lovely at any time of the day but at night, it turns into something magical.
If you’re visiting Hoi An for the first time, then this detailed travel guide will tell you everything you need to know to plan your trip.
HOI AN AT A GLANCE
Hoi An is a city in Quang Nam Province in central Vietnam. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was one of the most heavily-frequented trading ports in Southeast Asia.
During that time, many foreign merchants lived in Hoi An, mostly Chinese and Japanese then later Europeans, creating a unique fusion of cultures that can’t be seen anywhere else in Vietnam. The name Hoi An translates to “peaceful meeting place”.
Hoi An’s prominence as a trading port fell sharply at the end of the 18th century. This was due in part to the silting up of the Thu Bon River as well as the rise of nearby Da Nang as the new center of trade in Central Vietnam. Fading into a forgotten backwater, Hoi An has been left largely untouched by the changes to Vietnam over the next 200 years.
Today, Hoi An is a well-preserved community of merchant houses, temples, and ancient tea warehouses that harken back to its days of prominence as a trading port.
BEST TIME TO VISIT HOI AN
Unlike Northern Vietnam which sees climate changes akin to the four seasons, Hoi An truly has just two seasons – DRY (Feb – Sept) and WET (Oct – Jan). Weather-wise, the best time to visit Hoi An is from February till August.
DRY SEASON: Hoi An’s dry season is from February to September. It’s hottest from June till August when temperatures often reach 35°C (95°F). February to May is the driest time of the year and the best months to visit Hoi An. Humidity is low and temperatures are relatively mild.
WET SEASON: The rainy season in Hoi An is from October until January. Heavy showers are frequent which may come with typhoons and flooding, especially in October and November. These aren’t the best months to visit Hoi An.
TRAVELING TO HOI AN
Nowdays, travelling within areas in Vietnam is quite comfortable. Hoi An can be reachable from other big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City by plane, bus or train. Fares are depended on your travel time. If you are travelling to Hoi An by plane from either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, it will be a 1 hour journey only. However, it takes days to travel by bus and train.
The airport is Da Nang International Airport. It is roughly 35km away from central of Hoi An. The drive is 45minutes only. Advance arrangement for airport pickup is advisable to avoid any challenges upon arrival.
THINGS TO DO IN HOI AN
1. Explore Hoi An Ancient Town
2. Take a Cooking Class
3. Visit Hoi An Central Market
4. Ride a Boat
5. Visit Tra Que Vegetable Village
6. Explore the Night Market
7. Have a Suit or Dress Custom-Tailored in 24 Hours
8. Visit Thanh Ha Ceramics Village
9. Visit An Bang Beach