Hoi An Ancient Town, Vietnam was classified as a Special National Cultural Heritage Site in 2009. Located on the north bank of the Thu Bon River, Quang Nam province (Central Vietnam), Hoi An Ancient town comprises 0,28 km2 and has a buffer zone of 2,8 km2. This town is an example of traditional South East Asian trading port and commercial center from 15th to 19th centuries. It reflects the combination of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and European. Hoi An Ancient Town comprises a complex of 1,107 timber frame buildings with brick or wooden walls. Open market, ferry quay, wooden Japanese bridge, pagodas, family cult houses. The original street plan was designed to support the trade port’s purpose, the town is a grid of streets with one axis parallel to the river.
In recent days, Hoi An Ancient Town has become a must destination in Vietnam for its beautiful landscape, ancient architecture, rich culture, peaceful atmosphere and authentic cuisine. There is a wide range of activities which make tourists busy in the town. Below list will answer frequent questions of most tourists who are planning their trips to the town – What to do in Hoi An ancient town.
1. Riding bicycle
Motorized vehicles are banned in the area of Hoi An Ancient Town so that most of the tourists walk around to explore the town. However, wandering the town by bicycle is a good choice for people loving cycling because it’s safe and comfortable. Riding a bicycle is faster than walking, riders can stop any time to see interesting things, eat delicious foods, shop favorite items or just relax, enjoy fresh air and peaceful sight. Tourists can rent bicycles easily at hotels or tour agencies in Hoi An, price of bicycle rental is 1-2 USD or 30,000 VND for one day.
2. Riding cyclo
Riding three-wheel cyclo is a good choice if tourists don’t want to bike. Indigenous cyclo drivers are happy to drive you around at your wish. It has been said that cyclo appeared in Vietnam in 1939 and has become more and more popular. In recent days, cyclos still service tourists in tours around cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An… Beautiful Vietnamese women wearing Ao Dai and conical hat on cyclos is one of the most memorable scenes in the past. Cyclo is not only a mean of transportation but also a part of Vietnamese culture. Taking a cyclo around the ancient town is worth doing. The price is about 150,000VND/hour or 7usd/hour.
3. Buying souvenirs
Colorful Hoi An lanterns with frame from wood, bamboo, steel, cloth, paper with beautiful patterns. Lanterns of different sizes and shapes are meaningful souvenirs from the ancient town. Nice and easy to be put in luggage 3D pop-up cards also attract many tourists. Statues made in the famous Phuoc Kieu Bronze Casting Craft Village and woodworking products from Kim Bong Carpentry Village are also good choices.
4. Enjoy delicious foods
No trip to Hoi An completes without tasting delicious specialty dishes. Must try foods in Hoi An are Cao Lau, Chicken Rice, White Rose, Banh Dap and Stir-fried Baby Basket Clams with Crackers which are sold everywhere at restaurants. Corn Sweet Soup, Fried Cakes and Dried Squids in Special Sauce are famous street foods which could be found easily at shoulder poles and rolling carts moving around the town. You can also come to Banh Mi Phuong shop to buy and eat an exotic Vietnamese Bread which was recommended by the famous American chef Anthony Bourdain on his show “No Reservation”. Herb tea from a lots of herbs, including lemongrass at Mot Cafe is a good choice to refresh yourself after a long day exploring the town.
5. Admiring lanterns at night
When the sun goes down, entire ancient town is covered by a twinkle multi-colorful coat of Hoi An beautiful lanterns. Tourists seem to be lost in a wonderland in real time. It’s time to forget everything to smile, love and relax totally. This could leave one of the best moments in tourists’ life.
6. Relaxing on river
Hoai river is a Thu Bon river’s tribute flowing through Hoi An. This meek and affable river has become a inseparable part of Hoi An Ancient Town. From early morning to late night, many tourists cruise along the rivers with diligent locals on small wooden boats to enjoy the beauty of river as well as ancient town. It’s very quiet because there’s no motorized boats on the river. Price is about 2 usd or 50,000 VND for 30-minute cruising.
7. Visit buildings
With a ticket (120,000 VND), tourists are free to visit all streets in the ancient town, artistic activities, folk games, night market and 5 of the 21 sightseeing places as below:
- Japanese Covered Bridge, Cam Pho Communal House, Minh Huong Communal, House of Tuy Tien Đuong, Quan Cong Temple.
- Old houses: Quan Thang, Đuc An, Phung Hung, Tran Family’s Chapel, Tan Ky, Nguyen Tuong Family’s Chapel.
- Chinese Assembly Halls: Trieu Chau, Quang Đong, Phuc Kien.
- Museums: Hoi An, Trade Ceramics, Sa Huynh Culture, Folk Culture.
- Xu Đang Trong and traditional arts performance,
- Ancient tombs of Japanese traders: Mr Gu Sokukun, Mr Tani Yajirobei, Mr Banjiro.
The ticket is valid for 24 hours and foreign tourists can choose 5 places to go inside.