Hi, I’m Mike, and I’m currently living a “full-time traveller”. When I’m not carrying around my backpack – I’m helping out Hoi An Now – Check them out! Jamie at The Daily Adventures Of Me has been kind enough to let me share my two-day itinerary with you of the best things to do in Hoi An. I hope you like it!
Two Days in Hoi An
There’s a looot to do in Hoi An. Far be it for me to complain but sometimes being spoilt for choice can be a tad overwhelming, right?!
That’s why I’ve created a 2-day itinerary for Hoi An – to help people get a taste of everything this wonderful town has to offer, without the dreaded FOMO.
Hoi An’s famous for its street food, with local delights from cao lau to white rose dumplings. So why not dive right in with a Food Safari walking tour? It’s a great start to your day and basically means you’re feasting on breakfast and culture. Nice!
Time for a dose of history. If you like, you can hire a guide to lead you through the Ancient Town but this is definitely something that’s fun as a DIY activity. Because there’s nothing quite like losing yourself in the beautiful winding streets of Hoi An.
Psst…Remember, you’ll still need to buy a ticket to visit some of the historical attractions – it’ll set you back 120,000VND.
Take in the ancient temples and houses, find fantastic photo ops at the Japanese Bridge (rumored to have been built in 1593) and afterwards, relax with a ca phe sua da in one of the many coffee joints in town.
If you’re more of a tea lover than coffee connoisseur, there’s a gem of a tea shop called the Reaching Out Café on Tran Phu Street. It helps hearing-impaired locals with employment opportunities and what’s more, it creates a truly peaceful setting in which you can rejuvenate for the next part of your day. Good news all round.
When the sun’s on its way down and temperatures have dropped, now’s the ideal time to explore town further. Hire a bike (or use the free one provided by your guesthouse if that’s an option!) and cycle along the banks of the Thu Bon river before crossing the bridge to An Hoi.
There, you’ll find plenty of options to enjoy sunset with a drink, but a personal favorite is indulging in a happy hour cocktail at Mango Mango. It made me very happy indeed.
At this stage, you’re probably ready for more food, right? Well, you’re in luck because just a stone’s throw from Mango Mango you’ll find cheap and tasty eats at the night market. Yay!
You can also pick up souvenirs as a reminder of your trip here; don’t forget to bargain, offering a third of whatever price they tell you!
If you feel like more of a sit-down dining experience, check out Nu Eatery on the other side of the walking bridge. It’s a treasure of a place, serving up incredible and authentic Vietnamese food in a charming little restaurant. It’s quite reasonably priced and its alleyway location sets it apart from the more touristy options in town. Book ahead.
After enjoying your food, take a stroll along the river before having an early night – after all, tomorrow will be an action-packed day!
Rise bright and early before heading to the Ancient Town for breakfast – eat with local hipsters at The Espresso Station or splash out in the more touristy (but very delicious) Cargo Cafe.
Then it’s time to see the countryside by bicycle – definitely a must-do activity in Hoi An. There’s heaps to do on the outskirts, whether it’s cycling to Cam Thanh Water Coconut Village or exploring the charming Cam Kim island.
Psst…I’d highly recommend a 5-minute detour to Taboo Bamboo, where the owner Tan Vo has created a wonderland of all things bamboo, from bicycles to telephones. You can have a go at making your own creation with his help – talk about a great souvenir to bring home!
Once you’ve reached the water coconut village, you can take a bamboo basket boat on a guided tour through the nipa palms, hire a kayak or simply enjoy the views from land.
Delving deeper into the rice fields, you’ll pass shrimp ponds, water buffalo and farmers laying out sheets of rice to in the sun. Photo ops all round. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, stop off at Tra Que Water Wheel for lunch – a little oasis where you can sit and relax in the shade. Bliss.
Next, it’s onwards to An Bang beach, a 15-minute ride away. Lose the next couple of hours in a dreamy stupor as you doze under a beach umbrella, float about in the sea and enjoy a cold drink from one of the many restaurants that line the shore.
Stick with the beach-side vibe and enjoy a scenic setting with your dinner at Hmong Sisters or Soul Kitchen – the latter of which has live music several times a week.
Or, if you’re hankering for some more Old Town action, cycle back (note: before it gets dark!) and venture into the eating section of the Central Market. Here you’ll find some of the tastiest dishes in town, starting at just 20,000VND.
Another option is to cook up your own storm in a cooking class. Hoi An offers several but a great option for an evening class is offered by Red Bridge at Hai Cafe. It’s a fun and alternative evening out – plus you get to bring recipes home for a takeaway taste of Hoi An.
Finish your day with a nightcap at the always-interesting Dive Bar and take a final walk through the lantern-lit splendor of the Old Town. Make a wish as you set a floating candle out on the Thu Bon River – to return to this magical place again.
Note from Jamie: So many of the items in this itinerary make me dream of making it a reality for me. Thanks for sharing, Mike!