For a town as enchanting as Hoi An, the best way to see it in three days is to see it in seven days (or more). Here’s a destination best discovered at a slower pace. But if 72 hours are really all you have, you can still appreciate some of Hoi An’s most beautiful scenes, touch on its incredible cultural heritage, and get a glimpse of life along the Thu Bon River. Follow our itinerary below to make the most of your three-day trip to Hoi An.

Day 1: Remarkable architecture and fragrant rice fields

Wake up early on your first day to catch a more quiet Ancient Town. But first, browse Thai Phien Street on foot and choose between mi Quang, porridge, and cao lau for an authentic local breakfast. Spend your morning marveling at Hoi An Ancient Town’s gorgeous assembly halls and fascinating museums. All of the assembly halls and museums are within walking distance of each other. Take a break between your visits at a nostalgic teahouse or coffee shop around every yellow-painted corner.

In the afternoon, rent a bicycle from your hotel’s front desk and explore the countryside of Hoi An. Mesmerizing rice fields in Cam Chau and Cam Thanh are just a 10-minute bicycle ride away from the Ancient Town, and so are some of the best rice field cafes. Give your feet a rest and sip on an ice-cold coconut coffee as you watch cute water buffalos wander the paddies. You will also find some sophisticated dining options among these lush rice fields, such as Tok and The Field.

Day 2: Peaceful canals and the beach

The next morning, hop on a basket boat to glide through the Bay Mau nipa palm forest. These leafy canals once sheltered Vietnamese revolutionaries during the war. Nowadays, they offer a picturesque escape from the crowd and a wonderful way to stay close to nature. A basket boat ride here will also let you in on Hoi An’s fishing culture, since you may catch some bamboo fish traps along the way. Afterwards, head to An Bang Beach for a scrumptious seafood lunch at one of the many local restaurants on the sand.

Spoil yourself with a lazy afternoon on this laid-back beach. While you can choose to swim, rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, or join the locals for a friendly game of volleyball, simply lying on a sunlounger all afternoon is also perfectly acceptable. Catch a ride back to town just before sunset to watch an amazing cultural show or go for a boat tour on the Thu Bon River, now glimmering under the light of hundreds of lanterns. After dinner, look for your new favorite cocktail at Hoi An’s finest bars and speakeasies.

TIP: For evening entertainment, ‘Hoi An Memories’ is an unmissable cultural show that tells the story of the town through stunning performances, while ‘Teh Dar’ is a bamboo circus show that features jaw-dropping stunts and traditional music from Vietnam’s Western highlands.

Day 3: Iconic crafts and sustainable shopping

For your last day here, the hunt for the perfect souvenirs is on. In the morning, walk around the Hoi An Market to get a taste of the buzzing local life and fill up on luscious noodles or crispy banh mi, before joining a lantern-making workshop to create your own silk lantern, an essential token for your Hoi An holiday. From ethical linen, bamboo baskets, upcycled home decors, to organic teas and spices, lovely shops scattered around Ancient Town are a real treat when it comes to sustainable shopping.

After lunch in the Ancient Town, visit the nearby Thanh Ha Village to learn more about Quang Nam’s ceramic traditions, or the 600-year-old Kim Bong Village to see magnificent wood carvings up close, and bring home a delicate tea set or a small wooden statue. Buying directly from craftsmen in these villages is a great way to support the local community and preserve the town’s heritage. End your holiday with a blissful spa session, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself already planning for your next trip to Hoi An on the way to the airport.

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