Hoi An Itinerary – 3 Day Guide For First Time Visitors

3 day hoi an itinerary - lolapan travels - river basket tour

Hoi An is a city with plenty of character, vibrant colours and delicious food to keep you busy on your 3 day Hoi An itinerary. It was one of our favourite stops on our 1-month travel through Vietnam. Hoi An is well-known for its Ancient Town that still retains its authenticity through the beautiful architecture and local culture. The rivers on the outskirts of Hoi An cut right through the city and are lined with plenty of restaurants, bars and shops . The city comes to life at night with a stunning display of colourful lanterns, night markets and traditional shows. A Hoi An itinerary wouldn’t be complete without trying out some of the local food which can’t be found anywhere else in Vietnam! Hopefully this 3 day Hoi An itinerary will give you some helpful tips when planning your next trip.

How to Get to Hoi An

There are no airports or train stations in Hoi An so your only option is to travel by road. Most people will be heading to Hoi An from Da Nang as it’s the next closest tourist destination. Da Nang has an airport and a train station so you can get there easily from most places around Vietnam. In Da Nang you’ll be able to book a van to take you into Hoi An. It’s a 1 hour drive and prices are around $10 AUD per person. We always use 12Go to book all of our trains, vans and buses around Vietnam as it’s one of the most reliable and cheapest ways of getting around.

↠ Book: Latest 12Go prices and timetables.

Perfect 3 Day Hoi An Itinerary

Day 1

Take the first day in Hoi An to settle in to your accommodation and get a feel for the area. A great way to start off your Hoi An itinerary would be to rent a bicycle or even motorbike and check out some of the nearby attractions. Everything is super close so a bicycle is perfect for exploring the city. You can rent a bicycle almost anywhere in Hoi An and most accommodations will also have them included so be sure to check with them.

Ancient Town

hoi an itinerary 3 day - ancient town - lolapan travels

Riding a bicycle around ancient town is one of the most popular things to do in Hoi An. It’s only a 5 minute bike ride or 15 minute walk from the centre of town. Ancient town is famous for its mix of Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, and French architecture. All of the buildings are beautiful and painted a mustard yellow colour. Lanterns also line the streets and you’ll come across hidden laneways full of small shops and cafes. There are plenty of things you can get in Hoi An for $10 and under so be sure to explore as much of the town as possible!

In the centre of Ancient Town is also a river where you can hop in a boat to take a cruise down the canal. You can also buy a small paper lantern to place into the river and make a wish. At night the place really comes to life due to its popular night market which is famous for its colourful lanterns. Ancient town is the heart of Hoi An so it’s definitely worth spending some time exploring this beautiful area.

An Bang Beach

hoi an itinerary 3 day - lolapan travels - an bang beach

An Bang Beach is an ideal way to spend a day soaking up the sun in Hoi An. It’s the perfect activity for a sunny day as it’s located close to town and only a short and easy bike ride away. As you approach the beach, you’ll notice a variety of local and foreign food options and cafes. The beach itself is full of sunbeds and umbrellas which you can rent for 60,000 VND ($3.50 AUD). If you’re looking for some thrill seeking activities, you can find jet skiing and parasailing options all along the beach. An Bang Beach is very clean and well maintained with thin white sand. The water is slightly murky and not the clearest, although there’s no rubbish or seaweed and it’s very refreshing.

Day 2

The second day of the Hoi An itinerary involves a lot of eating! We definitely recommend adding a food tour to your Hoi An itinerary as this was easily one of our favourite things to do in Vietnam. There were so many local dishes and delicious foods we never would’ve known about if it weren’t for the food tour.

Motorcycle food tour

The Hoi An Motorcycle Food Tour is an awesome way to get out of your comfort zone and try some delicious traditional Vietnamese dishes. You’ll be driven around on the back of a motorcycle to different restaurants which is also a great way to view the Hoi An landscape. The tour will teach you many different things about both Vietnam’s history and its delicious food!

You can book a Hoi An Private Food Tour online through Klook and they’ll take you around the city. The tour runs for roughly 4 hours and you can either do it in the afternoon or at night. The afternoon tour is between 2pm -6pm and the night tour is from 6pm-10pm. You’ll enjoy up to 7 different and delicious meals that are sure to make your mouth water.

hoi an itinerary 3 day - motorcycle food tour - lolapan travels

The tour will take you through hidden alleys and unknown spots around Hoi An. At each stop you’ll be feasting on local favourites such as Com Ga (chicken rice), Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette), banh xeo (crispy pancake), and plenty more! Not only is the food delicious, but you’ll also have peaceful views of the river and picturesque countryside.

Book your Hoi An Tours: Hoi An Private Motorcycle Food Tour.

Make Sure to Try Cau Lầu

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If you didn’t get the chance to try Cau Lầu on the food tour, now is your chance. Most restaurants around Hoi An sell this dish as it’s a local favourite and ours too! Cau Lầu is the most traditional dish in Hoi An. It’s incredibly delicious and made of noodles, pork, local greens and a yummy broth. This dish is only found in Hoi An and you won’t be able to find it anywhere else in Vietnam so don’t miss out!

Day 3

The last day involves checking out the peaceful river in a unique and traditional way. The river basket tour is one of the most popular and iconic attractions in Hoi An. Then, finish the night off down by the beautiful river in Ancient Town where the whole place is lit up in stunning colorful lanterns. There is also a night market to indulge in some more local food and nightly shows which are fun to watch.

River Basket Tour

hoi an itinerary 3 day - river basket tour - lolapan travels

The River Basket Tour is an incredible way to experience local culture and way of life as you paddle along the river in a traditional bamboo-woven basket boat. It’s a unique Vietnamese experience that shouldn’t be missed from your Hoi An itinerary. You can book your Hoi An tours online through Klook where they have plenty of different options for great prices. One of the most popular tours is the Hoi An Eco Cooking and Basket Boat Tour.

Riding in the traditional basket boats was such a unique way to see the Hoi An river and the peaceful scenery. The traditional boats are woven out of bamboo in the shape of a basket and can actually hold up to 5 people despite how small they look. The locals also paddle the boat in an interesting way due to the shape of the basket.

Once you’ve made your way out of the palm forest, you’ll be able to try your luck at catching fish and crabs. We joined a local fisherman and learnt the local fishing technique. He showed us how to cast the net out into the river but unfortunately we didn’t catch anything. It’s a lot trickier than it looks but hopefully you’ll have some better luck!

Book your Hoi An Tours: Hoi An Eco Cooking and Basket Boat Tour.

Vietnamese Cooking Class

cooking class - lolapan travels

The tour will finish off with a 2 hour cooking class where you’ll learn to make some of the best Vietnamese dishes! You’ll be making spring rolls, papaya salad with shrimp crackers, pork or fish in a clay pot with steamed rice and Banh Xeo rice pancakes. This cooking class is the perfect way to learn more about Vietnamese food which you can recreate when your back home. You’ll be visiting the local markets in the morning to grab your fresh ingredients to cook with.

Night Market

The Hoi An night market is located on Nguyen Hoang Street in the centre of town. Here you’ll find countless shops selling a variety of items from souvenirs, clothing, jewellery and local snacks. The market stretches for over 300 metres and also runs along the beautiful river. The river at night is absolutely stunning as it’s completely illuminated by hundreds of colourful lanterns. There are boats running along the river that are also decorated in lanterns. You can jump on one and cruise along the canal to get a unique view of the market. Right by the river there are some local shows and games that both locals and tourists can participate in. Spending a night at the night market is a super fun way to finish off the day. It’s one of the most popular markets in Vietnam so be sure not to miss out.

Best Time to visit Hoi An

Hoi An only has two seasons; dry season and rainy season. The dry season runs from February until July and is when you’ll see the most sunshine and warm weather. The rainy season in Hoi An is from September until January. During these months, days can often be overcast with heavy afternoon showers.

The best time to visit Hoi An would be between February and April when the temperature is comfortable and not too hot. During the peak summer months, daytime temperatures can become too humid and unpleasant.

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Hotel Royal Hoi An – MGallery by SofitelLuxury: This stunning luxury hotel is situated in the heart of Hoi An, along the peaceful river. The property features an infinity pool as well as a rooftop bar with perfect views overlooking the whole city. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring. The rooms are beautifully decorated and are super comfortable. Staff are also very friendly and are always there to help with your requests.

Green Heaven Hoi An Resort and SpaMidrange: Green Heaven is great value for money where you can experience everything Hoi An has to offer in comfort. The hotel is in the perfect location, being close to old town and within walking distance of the night market and Japanese Bridge. Guests can enjoy the outdoor pool as well as rent bicycles to explore the city. Breakfast is included in most rooms and they have a delicious variety of food available. Rooms are also spacious, clean and modern.

Hoi An Estuary VillaBudget: If you’re looking for a budget beachside accommodation that’s still relatively close to everything in Hoi An, this is the perfect villa. They offer free bicycle rentals and also a free shuttle bus into the city. The rooms are clean, modern and have everything you need. There’s a large selection at breakfast, including vegan options. The property is located very close to the beach and the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. Hoi An Estuary Villa is the perfect place to stay if you’re on a budget but still want a place to relax in comfort.

↠ Check availability: Hoi An accommodation

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