Exploring the east coast of Vietnam and looking for some of the best day trips from Hoi An?
Hoi An was my favourite town I visited on my Vietnam trip. I loved exploring the ancient city, Japanese covered bridge, visiting the many temples and taking part in cooking classes.
But Hoi An city is also a great base for exploring some of Vietnam’s other highlights.
So, after exploring the ancient town, lazing on the beautiful beaches of the city, shopping from limitless tailor shops and street markets and satisfying your taste buds with delicious Vietnamese food, its time to venture a little further out of the city and take a few day trips from Hoi An.
But first thing’s first…
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- Where is Hoi An
- How to get to Hoi An
- Where to stay in Hoi An
- How to get to these day trips from Hoi An
- 1. My Son Sanctuary
- 2. The Marble Mountains
- 3. Hue Imperial City
Where is Hoi An
Just in case you’re not familiar with Vietnam’s geography, Hoi An is in central Vietnam, on the east coast. It’s about 30km south of Da Nang and just over an hour north of Nha Trang.
It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam, and you’ll have to agree once you get there too.
How to get to Hoi An
There are a few ways of getting to Hoi An, depending on where you’re coming from.
If you’re flying from elsewhere in Vietnam, such as Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, the closest airport is Da Nang airport which is about a 45 minute drive from Hoi An.
You can also take the train from Hue, but again you’ll only make it as far as Da Nang and you’ll have to find another mode of transport from there (usually bus or taxi).
If you’re visiting other areas of Vietnam (and you should!) you can always rent a scooter or motorbike and hit the coastal roads as far as Hoi An!
Where to stay in Hoi An
One of my favourite things about staying in Hoi An is that you get a lot more bang for your buck (or dong!).
There are a number of beautiful boutique hotels, but if you’re on a budget there are plenty of excellent homestays too.
I stayed at the Belle Maison Hadana Hoi An Hotel and I literally couldn’t fault anything about it. From the moment you walk in and are greeted by the staff with a welcome drink in the open air, lantern filled lobby to the beautiful, spacious room with a balcony and the outdoor swimming pool – everything was perfect!
If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, Hoi An Dat Cam Homestay is a superbly rated place to stay in a quiet area of Hoi An, and offers great value for money.
Some other highly rated hotels in Hoi An are:
How to get to these day trips from Hoi An
There are a couple of ways of getting around Vietnam and to these day trips from Hoi An
The first is doing it like a local and taking public transport. I recommend using Bookaway if you plan to travel by public transport as they give you so many different options and the best prices available. For example, this sleeper bus from Hoi An to Hue costs just $5!
Another option is to rent a scooter for the day. You can do this from most hotels or hostels in Hoi An and it’s a great way to explore at your own pace. Just be careful on the roads as they can be quite dangerous with locals whizzing around!
And on that note, I can’t say it enough, but please please please make sure you have adequate travel insurance before you head of on any trip! I use AXA Travel Insurance as they offer great coverage for adventurous travellers like myself!
And finally, you could always book a day tour from Hoi An. This is usually my go to for day trips as it’s the easiest option and everything will be organised for you. It’s also great for solo travellers as you’ll be part of a group and you’ll get to meet fellow travellers.
Right! That’s all the logistics out of the way, now let’s get on to the fun part…
The best day trips from Hoi An
1. My Son Sanctuary
This first day trip from Hoi An takes you to the UNESCO World Heritage site of My Son.
My Son was once the capital of the ancient Champa Kingdom which ruled over central and southern Vietnam from the 4th to the 13th centuries.
The My Son Sanctuary is a complex of over 70 temples that was built between the 4th and 14th centuries in dedication to the Cham Gods, and it is considered to be one of the best examples of ancient Cham architecture in Vietnam.
The ruins have been compared to those of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and although they may not be on the same scale, they are definitely worth a visit.
The site was badly damaged during the Vietnam War, but has since been restored and it’s easy to see why it’s such an important part of Vietnamese history and culture.
The My Son Sanctuary is located about an hour drive from Hoi An, and you can book a day tour from Hoi An that includes transport and a guided tour of the site. I highly recommend taking a tour rather than wandering around here yourself as there’s so much history and culture to learn about.
2. The Marble Mountains
The next day trip from Hoi An takes you to the Marble Mountains, which are a group of five limestone and marble mountains just south of Da Nang.
These mountains have been used as a place of worship for centuries, and they are home to a number of temples, caves, and pagodas.
The Marble Mountains are a great place to get away from the heat and humidity of Hoi An, and if you climb to the top of some, they offer stunning views over the coast as well as incredible views of the other marble mountains.
You can either do this day trip on your own or book a tour from Hoi An. I recommend the latter as it’s easy to get lost in the maze of caves and temples, and a tour will ensure you see all the best bits!
3. Hue Imperial City
Hue was the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945, and it’s pretty clear as to why, with its stunning imperial citadel, palaces, and temples.
The city is located on the banks of the Perfume River, and it’s well worth taking a boat ride down the river to get a different perspective of the city.
Hue is also home to some of Vietnam’s best food, so make sure you try some of the local specialities such as bún bò Huế (beef noodle soup) and bánh khoái (crispy pancakes).
Hue is located about 3 hours drive from Hoi An, so it’s best to either spend a night here if travelling on your own or book this highly rated tour of the Imperial City.
What to see in Hue
- Take a stroll along the Perfume River promenade or venture out onto the river itself by renting a paddleboat or booking an evening dinner cruise
- Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial City. One of the most renowned historical sites in Hue, the Imperial City is a vast complex made up of exquisite landmarks. One said landmark being the Forbidden Purple City where the Emperor and his confidants lived and worked.
- Visit Thien Mu Pagoda. Along the banks of the Perfume River sits this Buddhist Temple. Climb the seven stories of stairs for beautiful views of the river and city.
- Explore the Tombs of the Emperors. Hue has quite a number of imperial tombs around the city where Emperors are buried. The Tomb of Minh Mang, the Tomb of Tu Duc and the Tomb of Khai Dinh are those not to be missed on your day trip from Hoi An to Hue.
4. Tam Thanh Mural Village
This next day trip from Hoi An takes you to the coastal village of Tam Thanh, which is famous for its beautiful murals.
In 2016, this little town was chosen to be a blank canvas for a group of Korean and Vietnamese artists, who then proceeded to paint murals all over 100 buildings and walls in the village.
The result is a colourful and vibrant village that’s well worth a visit. You can explore the village on your own or book a guided tour.
If you are minded to do a little souvenir shopping while in Vietnam, I recommend doing it here. The locals sell a range of handicrafts, paintings, and textiles that make for unique and beautiful gifts. And you know your money is going right back into the community here.
Tam Thanh is located around 45km south of Hoi An and you get a taxi for about $25 or join a guided tour. If taking the bus, you’ll have to switch a couple of times so I don’t recommend this mode of transport.
Find out more about this guided tour of Tam Thanh Mural Village.
5. Cham Islands
The Cham Islands are a group of eight islands located off the coast of Hoi An. The largest island, Cu Lao Cham, is home to a small village and some beautiful beaches.
The islands have been recognised as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and are famous for their clear waters, which make them a popular spot for snorkelling and diving.
And not just that! I did an incredible underwater walking experience there which was up there as one of the most unique travel moments of my life! SeaTrek Vietnam will pick you up from your hotel in Hoi An and take you 15km off the coast for this unforgettable experience, before stopping for a delicious seafood lunch and a laze on the beach hammocks for a couple of hours.
You can read more about this incredible underwater walking experience here. But basically what happens is that you put this ‘helmet’ on and climb a ladder down to the seabed, where you’ll walk amongst the marine life! Don’t forget your GoPro, I got some seriously great shots down there!
Heading out to the Cham Islands make for a great half day tour if you don’t fancy being out for a full day.
6. Hai Van Pass & Lan Co Beach by Motorbike
Hai Van Pass is one of the most scenic drives in all of Vietnam. This mountainous stretch of road connects the city of Da Nang with the town of Hue and offers stunning views of the coastline.
At the top of Hai Van Pass, you’ll find Lan Co Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand that’s perfect for a swim or just relaxing in the sun.
There are a few ways to do this day trip from Hoi An. You can join an organised tour, which will usually include pick-up and drop-off from your hotel, or you can rent a motorbike and drive yourself.
I recommend the latter option only if you’re comfortable driving a motorbike in Vietnam. If not, I would definitely recommend joining this group tour as the roads can be quite chaotic, to say the least.
Da Nang is home to some incredible sights, including the Marble Mountains, the Dragon Bridge, and the Lady Buddha Statue.
Chances are, if you’ve arrived by plane to Hoi An, then you arrived into DaNang Airport. DaNang is the third largest city in Vietnam and its proximity to the coastline means you get best of both worlds with beaches and city.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Da Nang, making it the perfect day trip from Hoi An. You could easily spend a few days here, but if you only have time for a day trip, you’ll still get to see the best of Da Nang.
What do see in DaNang
- Head out to Ba Na Hills, situated over 1400m above sea level in the Truong son mountains. The Ba Na Hills cable car holds the Guinness world record of the highest and longest cable car system in the world. Probably the most popular attraction at Ba Na Hills is the iconic Golden Bridge pedestrian walkway held by two giant hands. Spectacular views of pristine forests and DaNang city can be enjoyed from the bridge.
- Climb Marble Mountains, a set of 5 limestone hills located just south of DaNang. There is a long set of steps leading up to the top of the mountain, passing by pagodas and shrines along the way, with a stunning views to take in from the top.
- Visit Dragon Bridge, the longest bridge of it’s kind in Vietnam. Best to visit in the evening, when it’s all lit up. At the weekends you can catch a firebreathing show from the dragon.
8. Explore Hoi An Countryside by Bicycle or Scooter
Just outside of Hoi An there are some beautiful rice fields, lagoons and country roads that make for a great day exploring by bike or scooter. You can easily rent a bike or scooter from your hotel or ask them for a recommendation hear the hotel if they don’t rent themselves.
Alternatively, you can join either of the below tours which are great for those who want to explore Hoi An’s countryside with a small group.
9. Bach Ma National Park
If you’re a hiking enthusiast, then Bach Ma National Park makes for one of the most exciting day trips from Hoi An for you. Bach Ma National Park offers great landscape, natural scenery, and biodiversity, with over 1400 species of flora and fauna. It is surrounded by high mountains, dense forests, lakes, and waterfalls.
What to see at Bach Ma National Park
- A short walk leads to the peaceful and serene Five Lakes (Ngu Ho)
- Take a boat across Truoi Lake to Truk Lam Zen Monastery
- Climb to the observation deck at the top of Hai Vong Dai, 1400m above sea level, which is the highest point of Bach Ma National Park
- Trek to Do Quyen Waterfall, surrounded by lush green forests. Trek a little further down 600m to the base of the waterfall
Bach Ma National Park isn’t really accessible by public transport, so you’ll need to arrange to go with a guided tour for this one.
10. Vietnamese Market Tour, Basket Boat Ride and Cooking Class
If you want to get a taste of real Vietnamese life, then this tour is for you. This tour will take you to a market where you can see the locals going about their everyday lives, bargaining and buying fresh produce.
You’ll then jump on a basket boat, which is the traditional way that people in this region have transported goods for centuries. These bamboo basket boats kind of look like one half of a coconut shell, and they’re pushed through the water with a long pole.
You’ll then get to help prepare some Vietnamese dishes using fresh, locally grown fresh ingredients before sitting down to enjoy it.
This is a really fun tour and a great way to learn about Vietnamese culture and cuisine.
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And there you have my list of the 10 best day trips from Hoi An. I hope you’ve found some inspiration for your own trip to Vietnam.
If you’re looking for more ideas on what to do in Vietnam, be sure to check out my ultimate 10 day itinerary for Vietnam and my guide for what to do in Hanoi.