Looking for the perfect one day Hoi An itinerary? Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this charming, historic city, nestled on Vietnam’s central coast, is rich in culture and history.

Hoi An is a treasure trove of preserved Southeast Asian trading port architecture from the 15th to 19th century. Infused with a rich cultural tapestry that weaves influences from both the East and West, it’s a destination that sings a melodious symphony of charm and beauty. 

Hoi An was the highlight of my trip to Vietnam. The kind people, the picturesque streets, the mouthwatering, delicious food, and the lively atmosphere – it’s a place that stole my heart from the get go and left me with lasting memories. 

And now, I’m excited to share my top tips for making the most out of one day in this enchanting city. If you’ve only got 1 day in Hoi An, this is the best itinerary to follow. 

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Hoi An’s History and Culture

Hoi An boasts a rich history and an impressive cultural tapestry. As you walk through the beautifully preserved streets, you’ll notice the blend of 18th-century architecture and the influences of Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese cultures.

In the 18th century, Hoi An flourished as a major trading port in Southeast Asia, attracting merchants from across the region. The Chinese and Japanese communities established themselves in Hoi An, building remarkable structures that are still standing today. 

For instance, the Chinese Assembly Halls and the Japanese Covered Bridge are iconic symbols of the city’s past and a testament to its cultural fusion.

The trading port attracted not only the Chinese and Japanese but also Europeans, particularly the Portuguese and the Dutch. Later, the French colonisation in the 19th century added a new layer to Hoi An’s architectural landscape and cultural narrative. 

However, it’s the blend of Vietnamese culture with the Chinese and Japanese influences that truly makes Hoi An unique.

Where is Hoi An and How to Get There

The pleasant little city of Hoi An is situated on the east coast of central Vietnam. 

To get to Hoi An, you’ll probably fly into the closest airport, which is the Da Nang International Airport (DAD). This airport offers both domestic and international flights, making it accessible from various parts of the world, plus other parts of Vietnam. 

From the airport, it’s about a 45-minute drive to Hoi An. Here’s how you can get there:

Private Car: You can  to pick you up directly from the airport and take you to your accommodation in Hoi An. Prices usually range from $15 to $28, depending on your preferred vehicle type and how many people.

Shuttle Bus: You can also  from Da Nang to Hoi An. This is the more affordable option, with prices ranging from $6 to $10 per person. You can book a shuttle bus.

Taxi: Taxis are readily available at the airport, but be sure to use a fixed rate company and negotiate the price before you set off. The cost of a taxi ride to Hoi An typically ranges between $10 and $15.

Motorbike: If you’re already in Vietnam, rather than flying internally to Danang, you could rent a motorbike and make the scenic drive to Hoi An. Make sure you have an international driving licence if you opt for this! 

Boats in the Thu Bon River

1 Day in Hoi An Itinerary

If you’re planning to visit Hoi An, you really are in for an extraordinary experience! This well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site is the cutest town and a true gem. I’ve put together this fantastic one-day itinerary for you, packed with all the best things and hidden charms of this ancient town. 

As a brief summary, this is what your 1 day in Hoi An will look like:


  • Explore the Ancient Town
  • Breakfast at a Local Café


  • Hoi An Central Market
  • Lunch at a Traditional Vietnamese Restaurant


  • Visit the Folklore Museum
  • Take a Lantern Making Class
  • Relax at An Bang Beach


  • Sunset at the Thu Bon River
  • Hoi An Night Market (with dinner)

For peace of mind, find out how much it costs to safeguard your trip.

Morning in Hoi An

Before we get into the itinerary, one thing I really enjoyed doing in Hoi An was visiting the many tailor shops and getting a few dresses made. It’s incredible how they can make these so fast, within a day.

So, if you’re interested in doing this you’ll need to head to the tailors first thing in the morning to ensure your garments are ready within 24 hours. I haven’t included this in the full itinerary as its a very personal choice, but the option is there should you choose!

Start at the Ancient Town

Your one-day Hoi An itinerary begins with a morning stroll through the Ancient Town of Hoi An. This is where you’ll find the famous Japanese Bridge, old merchant houses and plenty of charming streets lined with lanterns. 

As you wander the narrow streets, you’ll come across traditional shops selling handmade crafts, colorful paintings and unique souvenirs. Take your time exploring this area as it’s truly a feast for the senses.

Fujian Assembly Hall Hoi An

Within Hoi An’s Ancient City, you find The Fujian Assembly Hall, initially built as a gathering place for the Fujian Chinese community, which is an outstanding fusion of Chinese and Vietnamese architectural styles.

Pay attention to the intricate carvings and colourful decorations, which have been carefully restored to maintain their original beauty.

Hoi An Japanese Covered Bridge

Just a short walk from the assembly hall, is the famous Japanese Covered Bridge. This symbol of  Hoi An was built by the Japanese community to connect with the Chinese quarter and is a beautiful example of Japanese architecture.

As it’s a heritage site, you’ll need an entrance ticket to visit the old town, which costs VDN120,000 ($5), but you can spend as long as you like roaming the streets.

Breakfast at a Local Café

After working up an appetite from exploring the Ancient Town, it’s time for breakfast. Head to one of the many local coffee shops in Hoi An and indulge in a traditional Vietnamese breakfast. Try some of the following Vietnamese dishes:

Cao lầu: A signature Hoi An dish made with yellow noodles, sliced pork, crunchy fried pork rind, and fresh greens, all topped with a flavourful broth.

Bánh mì: A popular Vietnamese sandwich filled with a selection of meats, pickled vegetables, and herbs, all stuffed into a crunchy baguette.

Bánh xèo: A savoury, crispy rice flour pancake filled with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts, usually served with fresh herbs and a tangy dipping sauce.

If you just want to stop for a quick tea or coffee, you have to try the Reaching Out Tea House.  This unique café employs and supports people with hearing disabilities, and patrons are asked to keep silent while there. 

You order by writing your choices on an order form and handing it to the waitstaff. The menu offers a variety of traditional teas, coffees, juices and homemade snacks.

Mid Morning

Visit Hoi An Central Market

After filling up on a yummy breakfast, it’s time to explore Hoi An’s Central Market. Here, you’ll find a lively atmosphere with street vendors selling everything from colourful fruits and vegetables to souvenirs and textiles. 

Visiting markets in other countries is one of my favourite things to do when traveling. The energy and all the different finds always make for a great experience. Plus, it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the daily life of Hoi An locals.

Enjoy a Traditional Vietnamese Lunch

After exploring the market, it’s time to enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch. There are several local restaurants near the market where you can savour some of the best dishes that Hoi An has to offer. Here are a few recommendations:

Hoi An Heart Kitchen:  This restaurant is all about home cooked dishes which have been passed down from generation to generation. The food is delicious and the warm atmosphere makes it a must-visit spot.

Quan Chay Dam – Co Dam: This restaurant is a hit with both locals and visitors, particularly vegetarians and vegans. It offers authentic Vietnamese dishes, with a focus on soy ‘meat’. The noodle soup here is a must try! 

Morning Glory: One of the most popular restaurants in Hoi An, Morning Glory serves up traditional Vietnamese dishes with a modern twist.  Their specialties include white rose dumplings and cao lau noodles – both especial to Hoi An.

Hoi An Afternoon 

Visit the Folklore Museum

After grabbing lunch, head to the Museum of Folk Culture to explore the rich history of Hoi An. The museum, located in an old wooden house within the Old Town of Hoi An, showcases various artefacts, tools, and costumes related to farming, fishing, and traditional crafts.

You’ll find ao dai (traditional Vietnamese dresses), silk weaving, and wood carving, to name a few. It’s a great way to learn about the cultural heritage of Hoi An and its people.

Get Crafty at a Lantern Workshop

6 lit lanterns in Hoi An

One of the most iconic symbols of Hoi An is its colourful lanterns, and you’re bound to see them everywhere you turn. But why just admire them when you can make your own?  Take part in a traditional lantern-making workshop where you can learn how to make these beautiful creations using bamboo frames and silk fabric. It’s a fun activity that allows you to take home your very own hand-crafted souvenir from Hoi An.

Alternatively, try a Vietnamese cooking class where you can learn how to make authentic Vietnamese dishes. 

Relax at An Bang Beach

Wind down your afternoon with a visit to An Bang Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam. Located about 5 km from the Ancient Town, a short taxi or bicycle ride will get you there.

At the beach, take a refreshing swim, rent a sun lounger, or indulge in a coconut while enjoying the beautiful view of the coastline. 

Note: Although the beach is open 24 hours, it’s best to visit between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, as most facilities are operating during this time.

Evening in Hoi An

Sunset at Thu Bon River

As the sun begins to set, make your way to the Thu Bon River for a spectacular view. The multicoloured skies reflecting on the tranquil waters create an incredible stunning scene. It’s one of my best memories of Hoi An. 

Sunset over the Thu Bon River

Grab a seat at one of the riverside cafés or simply stroll along the riverbank, soaking in the view. Watch the local fishermen returning with their daily catch and see the traditional Vietnamese boats elegantly floating by.

If you prefer to be on the water, this is the perfect boat ride to see Hoi An at night.

Hoi An Night Market (with dinner)

Next, head to the lively Hoi An Night Market. This bustling market comes to life as the sun sets, with a ton of food stalls, souvenir shops, and street performers creating an enchanting atmosphere.

You’ll want to come hungry, as there are a lot of local dishes and street food to be had! Pick up some unique souvenirs like silk lanterns, handmade pottery, or custom-made clothing.

Stalls at the Hoi An night market

For dinner, indulge in some delicious local street food, such as: 

  • Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich)
  • Cao Lau (pork and noodle dish)
  • Com Ga Hoi An (Hoi An chicken rice)
  • Banh Xeo (a crispy stuffed pancake)

Make sure to also try the refreshing local drink, Nuoc Mia (sugar cane juice), to quench your thirst.

After a scrumptious meal, take a leisurely walk around the market, and watch the iconic lanterns lighting up the streets. It’s a perfect way to end your day in Hoi An.

Got More Time in Hoi An?

If you’ve got more time in Hoi An, there are plenty of fantastic day trips and activities you can enjoy in the surrounding areas. Here are some of my top recommendations:

Marble Mountains

The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five marble and limestone hills located just outside Da Nang. Each mountain is named after an element: Kim (Metal), Thuy (Water), Moc (Wood), Hoa (Fire), and Tho (Earth).

Explore the caves, temples, and viewpoints by climbing the steps carved into the mountains. Joining a guided tour on a day tour is a great way to get to the Marble Mountains without the hassle of having to plan the trip yourself. 

Cham Islands

For an island adventure, hop on a boat and set sail to the Cham Islands. Known for their rich marine life and vibrant coral reefs, these islands are perfect for snorkelling or diving. You can explore the small fishing villages, visit local markets, and enjoy pristine beaches while soaking in the charm of island life.

Underwater Walking with SeaTrek Vietnam

I highly recommend booking an experience with SeaTrek Vietnam, where you’ll get to walk under the sea with a special diving helmet and discover the underwater world up close. It was the best fun! 

Motorbike Adventures

Why not jump on a motorbike and explore the countryside surrounding Hoi An? Many companies offer guided motorbike tours, which can take you on scenic routes to hidden gems such as traditional villages, rice paddies, and ancient ruins. The thrill of cruising on a motorbike combined with the beauty of the rural landscapes truly makes for an unforgettable experience.

Bike Ride

If you prefer something a bit more relaxed, consider taking a leisurely bike ride around Hoi An. You’ll pass by beautiful countryside, rice fields, local markets, and water buffalo. If you don’t want to head out on your own, try this highly rated guided bike tour.

Hai Van Pass

Lastly, don’t miss a visit to the spectacular Hai Van Pass. Renowned for its winding roads, stunning views, and lush vegetation, the pass links Hoi An to Hue. You can join a tour guide van tour or, for a more thrilling experience, ride a motorbike to the peak of the pass to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views.

Best Time to Visit Hoi An

When planning your trip to Hoi An, you’ll want to keep the weather in mind. In general, the best time to visit Hoi An is during the dry season from February to April. During this time, you can expect pleasant temperatures, minimal rainfall, and plenty of sunshine, making it a great time to explore the charming streets and surrounding countryside of Hoi An.

Dry Season (February to April):

  • Average temperature: 23-30°C
  • Average rainfall: 30-60mm/month

In contrast, the rainy season runs from October to January and can bring heavy rainfall and occasional flooding to Hoi An. While the city remains a beautiful destination during the rainy season, the unpredictable weather can make outdoor activities a little more difficult to plan. If you’re prepared for occasional showers and don’t mind the humidity, you can still enjoy your visit during this time.

Rainy Season (October to January):

  • Average temperature: 24-28°C
  • Average rainfall: 185-850mm/month

To make the most of your one day in Hoi An, I suggest planning your visit during the dry season, ideally between February and April. You’ll get to enjoy pleasant temperatures and lower humidity, perfect for exploring the city.

How to Get Around Hoi An

Walking is the best way to explore any city, and Hoi An is no different. As a pedestrian-friendly city, many of the central areas are off-limits to motorised traffic, which makes it a safe and enjoyable stroll. 

If you prefer a faster option, renting a bike is also a brilliant choice. You’ll probably be able to rent one from your hotel, or you can rent a bike here. Riding a bike enables you to cover more ground in less time, and Hoi An’s flat terrain makes it a breeze even for novice cyclists. 

For greater distances or when you’re in a hurry, taxis are readily available in Hoi An. When opting for a taxi, agree on a fare beforehand or ensure the driver uses the meter, so there are no surprises at the other end.

Cyclo's carrying passengers in Hoi An

For a bit of fun, hop on a cyclo (three-wheeled bicycle taxi) and let the driver take you around town. Negotiate a price before getting on, and keep in mind that this form of transportation is more about the experience than getting from point A to point B quickly.

Renting a motorbike is another fantastic option to explore Hoi An, especially if you’re an adventurer at heart! It allows you the freedom to discover hidden gems at your own pace. Plus, you’d be joining the locals’ preferred mode of travel, giving you a real taste of Vietnamese life. 

Cultural etiquette and useful local phrases

When visiting Hoi An, I recommending familiarising yourself with the local culture and customs. Here are some key points to keep in mind.

Dress code: Remember to dress modestly when visiting temples, pagodas, or other religious sites. This generally means covering your shoulders and knees. A scarf can come in really handy for this purpose.

Shoes: Before entering a religious building or a local’s home, please remove your shoes. It is considered disrespectful to wear shoes indoors in Vietnam.

Greetings: A gentle handshake is the standard greeting among Vietnamese people. You might also notice them bringing their hands to their chest and bowing slightly. Don’t worry too much about it, as a nod of acknowledgment and a small smile will do just fine.

Understanding a few Vietnamese phrases can greatly enrich your experience in Hoi An. Here are some useful phrases to get you started:

Hello: Xin chào (sin chow)

Thank you: Cảm ơn (kam uhhn)

How much: Bao nhiêu? (bow nyew)

Excuse me: Xin lỗi (sin loy)

Yes: Có (kaw)

No: Không (khome)

In Hoi An, you’ll find that many locals speak a little English, especially in tourist areas. But, learning a few phrases in the local language will not only help you communicate better, but it will also show your respect for the culture and people of Hoi An. 

Remember to always ask for permission before taking photographs, especially when it comes to the local people. This little gesture shows cultural sensitivity and creates positive exchanges between visitors and locals.


1 day Hoi An Pinterest pin

Are you ready to spend one day in Hoi An? I hope this itinerary has given you a good idea of what to do and see in this charming city.

Hoi An really is a magical place, and I hope you’ll fall in love with it just as much as I did. Don’t be afraid to wander off the beaten path and get lost in its hidden alleyways and ancient temples. You never know what kind of adventure or new discovery awaits you! 


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