Hoi An is a well-preserved town with centuries-old architecture still intact today. The blend of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese design styles created a unique combination of aesthetics that is one of a kind.
Hoi An attracted foreigners like the Chinese and Japanese between the 15th and 19th centuries as one of the busiest trading ports in Southeast Asia. With their settlement in this part of the country, the mixing of all the cultural influences can be seen in everyday life from food to architecture. For all the beauty and history of this peaceful town, UNESCO recognized Hoi An as a World Heritage Site.
I am in love with Hoi An! My first visit to this memorable town was three years ago. I remember the dimmed lanterns lining the streets, the wonderful aromas from restaurants and the friendly people. I knew I loved this town as soon as I arrived.
If you are planning to visit Vietnam, you must also visit the central region. Whether it is Hoi An, Da Nang or Hue, each place is unique, and it’s not something to be missed.
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What you need to know before starting your Hoi An itinerary
Before you take a solo trip to Hoi An, take a look at some of these travel tips first:
- Hoi An is safe for female solo travellers. I feel entirely safe in this city. It is safe to walk or bike around during the day and night. I never felt threatened, but I also practice safety precautions wherever I go (it’s just second nature to me now).
- Plan your solo trip to Hoi An with the following festivals and events:
- Buddha Birthday or Vesak (late April to early May) – see the parade in the Old Town and lanterns placed on the riverbank.
- Mid-Autumn Festival (early to mid-September) – see street performances and lantern processions in the Old Town.
- Hoi An Lantern Festival (14th day of each month) – see thousands of lanterns light up the Old Town.
How to get to Hoi An Vietnam
Many domestic and international flights arrive at Da Nang airport, less than an hour from Hoi An.
Choosing a flight over a bus or train can save you some time and is also very economical. For example, I paid less than $50USD for a flight with Vietnam Airlines from Hanoi to Da Nang. Between Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air or other airlines, you will find one that will suit your itinerary and budget.
Another option is to travel by sleeper buses. Many bus companies operate on similar routes to popular tourist destinations. The cost is very affordable, but they make various bathroom stops along the way as there are no toilet facilities on the bus. Check The Sinh Tourist for their route and timetable.
Hoi An Itinerary: Things to do in Hoi An in 3 Days
Hoi An is one of those places you immediately fall in love with. The best part about touring through Hoi An is finding little streets lined with lanterns, discovering all the little shops and sampling local coffee and delightful cuisine.
Beyond the old town, rice fields are peppered throughout, and the main road will take you to the beach. And beyond that, Da Nang is just less than an hour away.
Day 1 in Hoi An: best attractions in Hoi An
1. Hoi An Ancient Town
Many old heritage building with beautiful architecture is the most apparent in the Old Town.
The Old Town is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in itself.
2. Get custom clothing made at a tailor in Hoi An
Hoi An has many shops for making custom clothing. The tailors can make almost anything you can dream of. They can make everything from dresses, pants, and shirts to a full suit – whatever you want.
All you have to do is to bring your idea. Maybe bring a photo of the clothing.
And make sure to visit one of the tailor shops in Hoi An on the first day you are in the city. It will take a few days for your custom clothing to complete. Usually, you go in on day 1 for measurement. And if your clothing is a bit complicated, you may return on day 2 to do a fitting. And either by the end of day 2 or 3, you will get your finished custom clothing.
I’m pretty amazed by the quality of the dresses I got custom-made in Hoi An. And they were very affordable.
3. Japanese Covered Bridge
The famous bridge is known for its ornate carvings and is an excellent spot for taking photos.
4. Guan Di Temple
5. Visit museums in Hoi An
- Museum of Trade Ceramics
- Hoi An Museum
6. Thu Bon River
7. Hoi An Central Market
best places to shop for handicrafts. Look for textiles, aromatic spices and other local food.
8. Hoi An Night Market
See all the lit paper lanterns at the night market. I bet you can’t resist buying one.
But if you want a special souvenir to take home, you can make a foldable paper lantern yourself.
Day 2 in Hoi An: things to see outside of Hoi An
1. Marble Mountain
2. Da Nang
Furthermore, staying in Da Nang is another excellent option. If you choose to stay in Da Nang, check out these two areas to stay in Da Nang.
3. An Bang Beach
There are several beaches near Hoi An and A Bang Beach is one of the better ones. It’s not as busy and has soft white sand. There are also several beachside cafes where you can enjoy a lunch or snack while soaking in the sun.
Day 3 in Hoi An: best activities around Hoi An
1. Learn to cook Vietnamese food in Hoi An
There are a lot of cooking schools where you can learn to make various local dishes. Many cooking schools include a local market trip where the teacher shows you what to buy to make Vietnamese food.
I spent a morning cooking cao lao at Gioan Cookery School.
2. Enjoy a massage
And if it rains while you are there, spend the day at one of the many spas in the town. Indulge a little and enjoy your time there!
Other things to do in Hoi An Vietnam
There are many other things to do around Hoi An if you have more than three days. If you stay an extra day or two, you can check out these attractions:
- My Son Sanctuary – See the most important site of Champa’s ancient kingdom and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The day trip includes a cruise down the Thu Bon River.
- Tra Que Vegetable Village – Visit the local farming community that grows most of the produce for Hoi An and the surrounding area.
Where to stay in Hoi An for 3 days
During your 3 days in Hoi An, stay in the Old Town where most attractions are available on foot or via bicycle.
If you are staying beyond this Hoi An itinerary, there are some fantastic and affordable resorts between the Old Town and the beach. Some of these resorts will even have bikes to lend you for the day. And of course, there are resorts right on the beach where you are always by the water.
Here are some lovely accommodations in Old Town Hoi An:
- Cozy Hoian Boutique Villas ($) – tucked away in a small street close to the Old Town, the 3-star boutique hotel has ultra-modern design aesthetics mixed with traditional material and furniture. And the complimentary breakfast is superb!
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Hoi An Historic Hotel ($) – located in the Old Town, the entire hotel complex is welcoming and comfortable. The 4-star accommodation has a magnificent pool, gym, spa and restaurant.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
What to eat in Hoi An
The diverse flavours of Hoi An are genuinely unique. Influences from Chinese, Japanese and other neighbouring countries contribute to central Vietnam’s flavours, and it is noticeably different from the North and the South.
While you are in Hoi An, try these specialties:
- Mi quang – my favourite Hoi An dish! Made with shrimp, pork and vegetable rice noodle
- Cao lao – Hoi An’s signature dish: pork with yellow noodles
- White rose – shrimp and pork dumpling with crispy shallot with unique dipping sauce
- Com ga hoi an – Hoi An chicken rice
Where to eat in Hoi An
- Lantern Town Restaurant – my absolute favourite noodle is my quang and cao lao with seafood is also quite impressive.
- Banh Mi Phuong – saw a long lineup for this place so it must be good, right? If the banh mi sandwiches are good enough for Anthony Bourdain, they are good enough for me.
- Morning Glory – several restaurants are just across the street from each other. They serve fabulous Hoi An specialties. It is too hard to pick a few.
- The Deckhouse An Bang Beach – the food is great at the Deckhouse. But it is the view of the beach that will blow your mind.
- Cotic Art Gallery – this renovated space houses a gallery in the front, a coffee shop in the middle and a shop at the back. It was nice to sit in the courtyard and have coffee.
Are you ready to spend 3 days in Hoi An Vietnam?
Thank you for reading my Hoi An itinerary post
You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Vietnam:
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- Day trip to Ninh Binh from Hanoi
- Halong Bay 2 night cruise for solo traveller
- One day in Hue Vietnam
- Things to do in Mui Ne Vietnam
- Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary