Hoi An is a picturesque ancient town in central Vietnam that is known for its rich in culture, history and friendly people. But if you want to find the best things to do in Hoian that are not too touristy and give you a chance to experience with locals, it’s better to explore areas beside Old Town. It’s much more to offer than just its old town, with countless activities. This Hoi An travel guide will share with you how to get off the beaten track and discover hidden gems in Hoi An.
Best Things to Do in Hoi An – How to escape tourist traps?
Wander around the ancient town
Visiting Hoi An in the morning
If you are seeking a real Hoi An, then you should avoid visiting here in the afternoon or evening since it will be so busy on the river and the bridge. Crazy as in walking is difficult because there are so many people.
But it’s totally different in the early morning, really quiet. This is when the true essence of Hoi An reveals itself – a tranquil haven where you can immerse yourself in the town’s charming beauty without the distraction of tourist hordes. Embrace the serene ambiance, connect with the locals, and create memories that will forever capture the heart and soul of Hoi An.
Discover how basket boats are made
One fascinating experience that is rarely mentioned in other travel blogs in Hoi An is discovering how basket boats are made. You can try the renowned Vietnamese basket boats. You will spend a day with first-hand experience with one of the rural inhabitants of the region, far away from the beaten tourist paths.
Joining this immersive activity provides a unique glimpse into the traditional craftsmanship of the region. During this experience, you’ll have the opportunity to observe the artisans at work, shaping the wood with precision.
Experience a home-hosted lunch with truly farming locals
The best thing you should do is move around and meet the locals. The people of Vietnam is what makes Vietnam so good. They are always happy to talk and happy to help. You should consider booking a home-hosted lunch with a local family in Hoi An.
You’ll get to sit and chit-chat with them while enjoying a delicious meal made from the freshest ingredients. It’s absolutely a great opportunity to explore more about the local daily lives.
Going to a family-run cooking class
Vietnamese food wears its pride for its variety, balance, and rich tastes. It makes sense that attending a cooking class to learn how to make authentic Vietnamese foods is one of the most sought-after activities in Hoi An.
We recommend enrolling for a cooking session with a local family for a truly immersive and amazing experience. You will be welcomed and learned to cook dishes with family recipes. Besides that visit the local market to collect fresh ingredients experience and learn to prepare traditional foods such as spring rolls, pho, or banh mi give you a deep understand about Vietnamese life.
Get off the beaten track in Hoian
Here’s a list of lesser-known places to visit in Hoi An the you might want to save
Chill out at An Bang Beach
An Bang beach is a hidden gem that every traveler should visit when coming to Hoi An. One of the highlights of this stunning beach is having banh mi for breakfast. You can easily find it at many local restaurants and cafes. It’s the perfect way to start your day off right.
All in one, An Bang beach has everything for everyone. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, local life or a little bit of both, this cozy corner of Vietnam has it all. You can take some time to soak up the sun or just read a book while listen to the calming sound of the waves.
If you want to explore the area, you can rent bicycles and discover the surrounding villages and countryside. It’s a great way to get some exercise, enjoy the fresh air, and see the local sights.
Gliding along the river in a basket boat
If you want a more adventurous and entertaining experience, hop on a basket boat and glide along the Thu Bon River, which runs through Hoian’s outskirts. The basket boat is the typical mode of transportation for the local fisherman. You may enjoy the excitement of a river cruise while observing the serene surroundings and the local way of life. Also, because this sport is generally calm, you may relax and escape the rush and bustle of town.
Cycling around the country neighborhood
If you want to appreciate the spectacular landscapes and fresh air of Hoian’s countryside, jump on a bicycle and explore the area. Cycling would be the perfect choice for people who are nature lovers.
You can pick one bicycle route that suits your travel style, ranging from gorgeous rice paddies to historic sites and tranquil villages. Take your time cycling around town and its environs to know more about local activities during their daily life. After that, you can sit back and enjoy the ambiance at a local coffee shop.
Visit and tend the vegetable farms in Tra Que village
For a glimpse into the local way of life and a peaceful escape from the town’s crowds, head to Tra Que Village. This is a small farming community located just 3 kilometers northeast of Hoi An. Tra Que is famous for its organic vegetable farms, where you can learn about the traditional farming methods and even try your hand at tending the crops.
You can enjoy a peaceful morning stroll in the fresh green fields, watch the farmers at work, and capture photos of the stunning natural scenery around you. Moreover, the friendly locals in Tra Que are always happy to welcome visitors into their homes for a home-hosted lunch, where you can savor the fresh, organic vegetables straight from the farm.
Explore the local fishing village
When to visit Hoi An fish market?
Embarking on an adventure to explore the local fishing village in Hoi An promises to be an unforgettable experience. Firstly, plan your excursion for the early morning hours, around 5:30 – 6:00 am. As the sun begins to rise, the village comes alive with vibrant sounds that paint a vivid picture of daily life by the sea.
What to expect at the market?
The rhythmic chants of fishermen, the clinking of nets, and the gentle lapping of water against the boats create an atmosphere that will immerse you in the village’s authentic charm. Exploring a fishing village in Hoi An offers a glimpse into an authentic and often overlooked aspect of Vietnamese culture.
Helpful tip: It is advisable to wear shoes instead of slippers during your visit. While the village offers a glimpse into the local way of life, it is important to note that it can be a little bit dirty due to the nature of the fishing activities. Wearing shoes will ensure your comfort and protect your feet as you navigate through the village’s alleys and sandy paths.
Places and activities you better try in Hoian 2023
Best Restaurants in Hoian
Before COVID 19, there were some pretty good places to dine in Hoi An, but they all closed down. Here are some best restaurants has a high-quality still exists that you should check out in 2023:
Cargo Club Cafe & Restaurant
If you want to grab meals in Hoian riverside restaurant, Cargo Club is for you. This restaurant is known for its excellent food, services, and great views of the river especially at night with the lantern boats. It’s located in a beautiful building with a charming courtyard. They served full meals from breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch to late at night. They offer a range of dishes, which are fresh and well-displayed. Coming here you can try from Vietnamese classics to Asia favorites. Address.
Rêu is a cozy and intimate restaurant that serves Vietnamese fusion dishes. It is located in a rural area of Hoian, so you will have a chance to enjoy the natural beauty and peace of the countryside, with frogs serenading as you dining.
This restaurant is recognized for its innovative spin on classic Vietnamese meals. Once you go in, you can feel the ambiance is one-of-a-kind, and the food tastes really fresh. Because the menu changes regularly, there is always something new to try. Address.
Tok Bar and Restaurant
Tok Bar and Restaurant is known for its authentic Vietnamese dishes, including delicious seafood. It’s located on a quiet street and has a charming ambiance. This is a stylish and modern restaurant that serves delicious Vietnamese cuisine. The menu is diverse, and the atmosphere is lively and fun.
Tok Bar and Restaurant is a lovely hidden gem place with service and top-notch ambiance. The dish is delicious and refreshingly innovative, served as Vietnamese cuisine. It’s not far from Hoi An Oldtown, so this place is worth the short drive or you can slightly longer walk. Address.
Cơm Linh is a charming family-run restaurant serving traditional Vietnamese food made with fresh, , local ingredients. It’s also a great place to taste street food in a clean and cozy ambience. Coming to Com Linh, you do not need to worry about the price since it’s affordable. Address.
Read more: Don’t leave Hoi An without trying its food
Best Coffee Shop in Hoi An
Hoian has no shortage of cozy cafes and excellent coffee shops. Some of the best places to get your caffeine fix include.
You will be absolutely loved this fantastic find this coffee tucked away down a little alley in the Old Town. They serve traditional Vietnamese coffee and a range of delicious cakes and western breakfast dishes. If you are a vegetarian you can give it a try. Address.
145 Cafe located near the Hoi An Old Town, so it’s easy for you to access. This is such a beautiful coffee shop and has a tranquil atmosphere. Especially because in Hoian every western cafe is more pricey, this one is amazing coffee, but not overpriced. 145 Cafe is a perfect location with great service will be the best done to enjoy Hoi An. Address.
This is a cafe designed by contemporary style and a great selection of coffee from egg coffee, latte, cappuchino,… It’s much more taster when you have coffee with cakes, especially grabbing it with decent carrot cake. I would certainly recommend if you ‘re looking for a good place to sit on the terrace and watch the world go by. Address.
FeFe Coffee is a lovely coffee shop situated in Cam Ha Commune, just outside of Hoian’s Old Town area. As soon as you enter it, you will feel the cozy and relaxing atmosphere, with a beautiful garden and pond that provide a serene environment to enjoy coffee.
Recommended itinerary to uncover the real Hoi An
The number of days needed to explore Hoi An can vary depending on your interests and preferences. However, a typical visit to Hoi An can range from 2 to 4 days. Here are some of our suggested tours in Hoi An and Central Vietnam with detailed accommodation information and itinerary:
Find out more Vietnam recommendation itineraries from 1 to 3 weeks here: List of Vietnam travel packages
If you want to explore Hoi An in an authentic way with a customized itinerary that only fits your preferences, get in touch with us by filling out the form below. Once you drop us a request, we will send you a details itinerary and quote for your own.
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