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2 days in Hoi An Itinerary

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Home to the vibrant lantern street in Old Town, the vast white sandy stretch of An Bang Beach, and a seemingly endless choice of master tailors’ shops. Hoi An is hands down the most charming and unique town in Vietnam.

Best Things to do in Hoi An in 2 Days

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there’s no wonder Hoi An attracts massive numbers of foreign visitors each day. Some come to stay a while and soak up the relaxed vibe of the ancient town, others, sadly, come only for a day.

With so many extraordinary experiences on offer, we would recommend at least two days in Hoi An. Which interestingly enough is what most visitors to Vietnam allow for Hoi An.

 

While two days might not be enough to indulge in all Hoi An has to offer, this Hoi An itinerary is designed to make sure you incorporate all the best things to see and do so you don’t miss a thing. 

Don’t Forget to Get Your Vietnam Visa before You Go

You must have a visa to enter Vietnam

The process of obtaining a visa for Vietnam has now simplified meaning citizens from over 40 countries can now apply for their visa online. You can apply online for your Vietnam Visa here but make sure you allow at least three business days before your departure date for processing. 

 2 in Days Hoi An itinerary

 Getting to Hoi An 

The nearest city to Hoi An with an airport is Da Nang. While it is possible to travel by bus to Hoi An from major cities in Vietnam, flying is a cheap and efficient way to make the most of your time. Vietnam’s low-cost carrier Vietjet is the most budget-friendly with lots of services daily. 

Bicycle on the side of the road in Hoi An with a traditional Vietnamese conical hat hanging from the handle bars

Getting From Da Nang to Hoi An

Private Shuttle

To get to Hoi An from Da Nang airport, you can either pre-book a private transfer service for as little as VND 143,000 (~$6 USD) pp. You can get Hoi An shuttle details here.

Public Bus

Or, take the public bus – Bus No.1 which departs approx. every 20 minutes and takes around an hour. A one way trip will cost approx VND 30,000 (~$1.30 USD).

Taxi

Alternatively, you can take a Grab Taxi (SE Asia’s version of Uber. We recommend you download the app before arriving in Vietnam) or local taxi. Prices for taxis will depend on the time of day but will undoubtedly be the most expensive option. Expect anywhere from $15 USD to $25 USD.

Rent a Motorbike

If you’re comfortable with riding a motorbike, it is possible to rent a motorbike in Da Nang and ride to Hoi An along the coastal highway. Renting a bike gives you the freedom to explore during your time in Hoi An. 

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Vietnam

The most important travel purchase you should make is travel insurance.

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Man riding cyclo cab in Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Itinerary. Day 1 

Cao Lao For Breakfast 

Cao Lao is the speciality dish of Hoi An, found only in Quang Nam Province of Central Vietnam. While you may find this dish in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City you’ll never find the same authenticity as the Cao Lao in Hoi An.

A bowl of Cao Lao. A typical pork and noodle dish from Hoi An, VietnamCao Lao features thicker brown rice noodles, with bbq pork slices, pork crackling, lettuce and fresh herbs, finished with a splash of stock – Not soup.

Cao Lao has a unique taste that cannot be replicated outside of Hoi An. Some say it is because of the water used to make the dish is drawn from a particular well in Hoi An and mixed with ash from a local tree giving the noodles a specific taste and texture. 

Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge 

The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An Old Town holds such historical importance it is represented on the VND 20,000 note. The Japanese living in Hoi An built the 3-centuries-old bridge to enable them to reach the Chinese quarter across the water.

The bridge features intricate carvings including two dogs and two monkeys symbolic of the Chinese years many Japanese Emperors were born. The bridge-building also commenced in the year of the dog and was completed in the year of the monkey. 

The Japanese covered bridge in Hoi An Vietnam lit up at night. One of the most popular attractions in Hoi An.

The Japanese covered bridge is a popular photo spot at night.

Hoi An Old Town Ticket

You may photograph the Japanese Covered Bridge, but if you wish to cross it, you must present your Hoi An Old Town Entry ticket which includes entry to Hoi An’s 22 best Old Town attractions.

The cost of the ticket is VND120,000 (US$ 5). The ticket system was introduced after the Old Town was granted UNESCO Heritage status as a way to ensure the upkeep and restoration of heritage sites.

Vietnamese man on a bicycle holding an umbrella outside a heritage buddhist temple in Hoi An Old TownWhile in essence, it is compulsory to purchase a ticket before entering Old Town, the system is rarely enforced so many visitors are unaware of the requirement. You can find more information about the Hoi An Old Town Ticket here

Shopping in Old Town for Handicrafts & Clothing 

The main appeal of Hoi An is centred around Old Town and shopping is one of its biggest drawcards. It is in the heart of the town where you’ll find lots of tailor shops where you can have custom suits, dresses, gowns and more made to order. Many travellers make the trip to Hoi An specifically to have garments made. 

While it may be possible at some tailor shops, most of the good tailors, especially the more famous ones can take up to three days to complete an order depending on the item. Obviously, this is not ideal for a 2-day Hoi An itinerary.

Handmade lanterns lit up outside a street stall in the old town of Hoi An. However, all is not lost. While some tailors do advertise overnight service, there is also plenty of fantastic ready-made clothing to be found in Old Town. You will also find lots of stalls selling handmade crafts; including the hand painted lanterns Hoi An is famous for. A beautiful souvenir of Hoi An. 

Hoi An Old Town also has a very happening cafe scene, so there are plenty of places to stop for a coffee during your shopping spree. 

A man and lady sitting in separate windows in a pretty Hoi An cafe in Le Loi Street, Old Town

Enjoy the Lanterns in Hoi An Old Town 

The best thing to do in Hoi An at night is stroll around the vibrant Old Town and enjoy the atmosphere of the lanterns that light the streets after the sun goes down.

two girls under an umbrella strolling down the street shopping and looking at the lanterns at night in Old Town Hoi An. You’ll find in Hoi An; travellers tend to slow their pace to simply enjoy the atmosphere. A rare thing in this day and age of high-speed checklist travel. 

Lady taking a cyclo cab ride through the pretty streets of Old Town Hoi An

Take a cyclo ride around Old Town. One of the most popular things to do in Hoi An.

Enjoy dinner in one of the restaurants with a view of the street. Soak up the atmosphere of visitors strolling the streets enjoying the laid back vibe of Hoi An and the parade of cyclo drivers peddling visitors around the ancient city. Maybe even take a pre-dinner cyclo ride yourself.

Take a Hoi An Food Tour for Dinner

Want some guidance in navigating Hoi An’s remarkable culinary history and current food scene? 

Consider a food tour as a dinner option on your first night in Hoi An. 

2.5 hr Small-Group Hoi An Night Food Tasting Tour: 

Starting at 5.00 pm join your guide for food lovers walking tour of Old Town. Sample some of Hoi An’s typical dishes while learning the history of the towns unique culinary heritage. Includes: all food, bottled water and a beer or coffee. Prices start from VND 735,300 (~$31 USD) pp. See here for full tour details

3.5 hr Hoi An Street Food Tour with River Boat Ride:

Be guided through Hoi AN’s Old Town and market place discovering the flavours and specialities of the regions from local vendors, including some of Hoi AN’s signature dishes. Finish the evening with a relaxing 1 hr boat cruise down the Thu Bon River. Includes: all entries, boat ride, food, transfers, and guide. Prices start from VND 925,100 (~$39 USD) pp. See here for full tour details

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Hoi An Itinerary. Day 2 

Banh Mi for Breakfast 

In Vietnam, Banh Mi is the breakfast of champions. In Hoi An, countless Banh Mi stalls sell great food. However, there’s one particularly popular Banh Mi joint made famous by Anthony Bourdain – Banh Mi Phuong.

If you have no idea what a Banh Mi is – The Banh Mi is originated from the French colonial era as the first “to go” sandwich which has grown to become street food staple in Vietnam.Even if you only have 2 days in Hoi An you must try a Banh Mi Sandwich.

The airy freshly baked French baguette is loaded with shredded vegetables – carrot, cilantro, chilli, cucumber, and your choice of meat, pate, or at breakfast time, a simple fried egg. The simple sandwich which is celebrated all over the world has a flavour that is uniquely Vietnamese. 

Join the Locals in Hoi An Central Market 

After breakfast, head straight to Hoi An Central Market where the locals come to shop for their daily groceries. This is undoubtedly the most ‘local’ thing in this Hoi An itinerary.

Like other wet markets in Southeast Asia, you’ll find fresh vegetables, spices, poultry, fruits, fresh fish straight from the dock, and more. You can even find some clothing stalls as well as some exciting souvenirs. The best time to visit the Central Market is early morning when it’s the most crowded. 

Colourful handmade kits hanging outside an old shop in Hoi An Old Town

An Bang Beach 

An Bang Beach is the most famous beach in Hoi An town. Located only 5 kilometres from the town, the vast stretch of white sandy beach is one of the last relatively undeveloped beaches in the area. You will find a few low key beach resorts, beachfront seafood restaurants and laid back beach bars.

Most of the restaurants have sun lounges for rent. Expect to pay anywhere from VND 15,000 – VND 40,000 (~ $0.70 – $2.00 USD) depending on the establishment or free of charge of you dine there which makes An Bang an excellent option for lunch. If you’re riding a motorbike to An bang, you might need to pay a small fee for parking.

Discover Another of Vietnam's Best Beaches

Dinner in the Hoi An Night Market 

For your final night, hit the Hoi An Night Market for some last-minute shopping and seriously good Vietnamese street food – BBQ sticks and Vietnamese banana pancakes anyone? 

Vietnamese lady sits in a lantern stall in Hoi An Night Market.

You can find an extensive range of beautiful handmade lanterns at the Hoi An night market. A great souvenir of Hoi An and easy to travel with as they fold flat for storage.

After dark, the night market is the most crowded spot in Hoi An. The area is bustling with souvenir stalls, street food carts, massage stalls; you name it, it’s happening at the night market.

Around the area, there is a myriad of bars, cafes and restaurants to choose from. Many of the restaurants offer alfresco dining so you can enjoy the festive street atmosphere and views over the river. 

Watching the lanterns on the river boats is a popular thing to do in Hoi An at night.

Are 2 Days in Hoi An Enough?

The charming town of Hoi An will always warrant more time. The atmosphere alone is enough to make travellers want to slow the pace a little and spend an extra day or two. There is also so much to explore around the area.

Regardless of how little time you have, everything you should see or do in Hoi An has been covered off in this itinerary, and best of all, you can still enjoy the best of Hoi An in two days without rushing. 

Related: A Complete Guide to The Best Crossbody Bags for Travel 

Helpful Packing Additions for Vietnam

We love these handy additions to our day pack or handbag for every travel situation. Perfect for day trips, especially countries like Vietnam.

A line of cyclo drivers riding into the brightly coloured, lantern filled streets of Old Town Hoi An

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About the Author

Zheng Yen Ang

Yen is a Malaysian travel enthusiast who prefers to travel solo. He opts to travel for extended periods in each destination to learn and share the cultural differences, along with travel tips and guides in his travel blog, Wandering Journal. You can also find Yen on Facebook and Instagram 

Fish drying in the sun in Kalk Bay to make a type of fish Biltong.
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