How to spend a perfect day in Hoi An

Waking up in Hoi An, with a beautiful day ahead of you, is an incredibly lucky feeling. There are so many experiences to choose from. Lounge by the beach, or choose a spot along the river? Get lost in the Ancient Town, or soak up the greenery in the countryside? To inspire your next visit, here’s our idea of how to spend a perfect day in Hoi An.

6:00Cycle in the rice fields

Locals in Hoi An like to wake up early. You may be surprised by all the activity going on before sunrise in the markets and cafes. Hop on a bicycle for an invigorating ride through the rice fields in the sweet morning air. You’ll see cows and water buffaloes grazing in the fields, farmers in conical hats tending their plots, and vast rice paddies carpeting the countryside.

7:00Enjoy a morning swim

The beaches of An Bang and Tan Thanh are inviting all day long, but early morning is when locals love to swim, jog, practice yoga, or join a game of volleyball on the sand. The clear, sparkling water of the East Sea will beckon you for a dip. As the sun rises you can make out the Cham Islands on the horizon, and the Truong Son Mountains to the west.

8:00Breakfast by the water

After an active morning, nothing beats a fabulous breakfast. On An Bang beach you’ll be spoiled for choice at The Shore Club, Cosy Corner, and Bikini Bottom. On Tan Thanh Beach, the gardens at Sound of Silence Cafe are a special spot to enjoy crepes or omelets with a view of the waves. If you’re keen for a local breakfast, look for warm banh mi, a bowl of mi Quang, or bun noodles.

10:00Go on a cultural excursion

Spend the hottest hours of the day indoors, exploring the amazing history of Hoi An. A ticket to the Ancient Town gives you access to five of 22 historic attractions. You might like to visit the Sa Huynh Museum, or the Museum of Folk Culture, look around the Tan Ky House, or wander through any of the striking Assembly Halls tucked along the streets of Hoi An.

12:00Eat lunch on the sidewalk

You haven’t been to Hoi An until you’ve eaten like a local: on the sidewalk. Celebrated stalls all over the city serve com ga, a delicate dish of boiled chicken with turmeric rice, pickles and herbs. Hints of Japanese udon can be found in Cao Lau, a dish of chewy rice noodles with char siu pork, lemongrass broth, and fresh herbs.

2:00Find your favorite café

Going for coffee is an art in Hoi An. Traditional cafes lure guests with low armchairs and koi ponds, modern cafes serve Italian coffee in new concoctions, and sidewalk cafes claim the best corners for people-watching. For expert brews head to Espresso Station, pause for a break at Reaching Out Teahouse, or relax in the rice paddies at The Field.

3:00Shop for local crafts

You’ll find many wonderful souvenirs in the crafts hub of Hoi An. The villages near Hoi An are known for producing high-quality ceramics, woven bags and mats, wood carving, and silk garments. Shop for edible souvenirs such as chili sauce and Vietnamese coffee, or browse two unique takes on Vietnamese clothing at Metiseko and Gingko.

5:00Sundowners with a view

After a day on your feet, find a spot where you can sit and admire the view as dusk descends on the Ancient Town. Market Terrace is a sensational lounge with a menu starring creative gin infusions. If you like, you can hire a wooden boat along the riverfront for a sunset cruise along the Thu Bon River.

7:00Dine on local specialties

For dinner, try a meal of shared dishes just like the Vietnamese do. For starters, try crispy banh xeo, papaya salad with prawns and mint, or Hoi An’s mouthwatering White Rose dumplings. Classic dishes such as fish steamed in banana leaf, chicken in chili and lemongrass, and greens fried with garlic go perfectly with bowls of steamed rice.

8:00See the town after dark

For an unforgettable hour of entertainment, make your way to Hoi An Lune Center to see a Vietnamese circus show with live music and eye-catching costumes. Afterward, step out on the streets of Hoi An one more time to soak in the sight of thousands of glowing lanterns illuminating the old shophouses and shimmering on the dark river.