3 Days in Hoi An: The Ultimate Jam-Packed Itinerary

Last Updated on April 3, 2024 by Natalie

Planning the perfect itinerary for 3 days in Hoi An?
In this ultimate itinerary for Hoi An, we break down how to make the most of your 3 days in Hoi An.

3 Days in Hoi An

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Your FREE Hoi An Printable to Keep Your Trip Organized

Stay organized during your 3 days in Hoi An with your free Hoi An Checklist to print out and take with you on your Vietnam adventure. This printable includes our list of the 12 top things to do in Hoi An + a blank template for you to create your own.

best things to do in Hoi An

Planning your trip to Vietnam? Check out all my posts on Vietnam Travel like my list of the best things to do in Hanoi or my day trip guide to Ninh Binh and Halong Bay.

3 Days in Hoi An (short version)

DAY 1:

  • Breakfast at Phin Coffee
  • Explore the Old Town
  • Stroll through the Central Market.
  • Visit a Tailor Shop.
  • Have famous banh mi at Phuong.
  • See the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall.
  • Cross the Japanese Bridge.
  • Tour an Ancient Home.
  • Dinner at Vy’s Market Restaurant.

Day 2:

  • Rent Bicycles.
  • Bike to the Tailor Shop for a fitting.
  • Sign up for a lantern-making class.
  • Bike to An Bang Beach.
  • Hoi An Night Market.
  • Take a Boat Ride on Thu Bon River.
  • End your evening with live music at Urban Cafe.

Day 3

  • Book a half-day or full-day trip.
  • Have dinner at Nhan’s Kitchen.

First Timers Guide to Hoi An

About Hoi An

The picturesque and historic town is located in central Vietnam, in the Quang Nam Province. It is often referred to as one of the most charming and well-preserved ancient towns in Southeast Asia. 

3 Days in Hoi An

Hoi An History

Hoi An’s history dates back to the first millennium when it was initially established as a small Cham (an ethnic group in Southeast Asia) village.

From the 7th to the 10th century, Hoi An was under the influence of the Chinese Tang and Song dynasties. During this period, it became a thriving trading hub for goods like ceramics, silks, and spices.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Hoi An saw an influx of Japanese traders, leading to the construction of the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge, which stands as a symbol of their presence to this day.

After Hoi An was briefly occupied by Europeans, by the 19th century, Hoi An came under Vietnamese rule. After earning recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, Tourism surged as travelers wanted to experience the lantern-lit streets, beautiful beaches, and culinary delights for themselves.

3 Days in Hoi An

Is Hoi An Worth Visiting?

Hoi An is worth visiting for its timeless charm and rich cultural heritage.

This historic town offers a unique glimpse into the past with its well-preserved architecture and lantern-lit streets, making it a photographer’s paradise. And of course the tasty dishes of Hoi An take you on a culinary journey through the heart of Vietnam, where you can savor local specialties and street food.

Overall, Hoi An is definitely worth a visit and offers a combination of history, culture, and picturesque beauty.

Best Time to Visit Hoi An

The best time to visit Hoi An is during the dry season, which spans from February to August. During this time, the weather is pretty nice with lower humidity and minimal rainfall.

The months of February to April and June to August are particularly ideal. You can enjoy exploring the ancient town, cycling through the countryside, and lounging on the nearby beaches like An Bang Beach and Cua Dai Beach.

Additionally, consider planning your visit if you’re keen to experience traditional festivals in Hoi An.  The Lunar New Year and the Full Moon Lantern Festival are significant events in Hoi An and can be so much fun to witness!

If you can’t help but plan your trip to Hoi An during the rainy season, which is September – January, be prepared for heavy downpours and occasional flooding of the Hoi An ancient town. However, a pro for visiting during the wet season is lower prices, fewer tourists, and lush greenery. 

How Long to Visit

3-5 days is the perfect amount of time to explore this cultural hub. There is quite a lot to do in Hoi An that you won’t want to miss, that’s why you should stay a minimum of 3 days in Hoi An.

With 3 days in Hoi An, you will get to experience the Old Town during the day and night, see one of the stunning beaches, and even visit the tailor shops for custom-made clothes.

3 days in Hoi An offers the perfect taste of the city. Of course, if you have enough time in your Vietnam itinerary, – I suggest staying up to 5 days if you can swing it!

Where to Stay

3 Days in Hoi An

$$$ – Anantara Hoi An Resort or Almanity Hoi An Resort

$$ – La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa or Allegro Hoi An 

$ – Hoian Sincerity Hotel & Spa or Mad Monkey Hostel

Transportation in Hoi An

Getting around in Hoi An is pretty simple as there are lots of options for different kinds of transportation.

Walking: The best way to explore the ancient town is on foot. Hoi An’s old town is a maze of narrow streets and alleys, perfect for leisurely strolls. Most of the town’s attractions, shops, restaurants, and cafes are within walking distance of each other.

Bicycles: Many hotels and guesthouses in Hoi An offer complimentary or rental bikes to their guests. Biking is a popular and convenient way to explore the town and the surrounding countryside. The flat terrain makes it suitable for cycling, and you can easily reach nearby beaches or explore the rice fields and rural areas.

If you’re comfortable riding a motorbike or scooter, you can rent one to explore Hoi An and the surrounding area. Just be aware of the traffic rules and road conditions. 

Grab: The Grab ride-sharing app is available in Hoi An. Grab is a convenient and often cost-effective way to get around. Grab is the “uber” of Southeast Asia. While it is usually effortless, cheap, and convenient, Grab in Hoi An was somewhat unreliable at times, especially late in the evening. You can use a motorbike Grab if you’re just 1 person or you can get a car like a typical Uber experience. 

Why You Shouldn’t Get a Taxi in Hoi An

As crazy as it sounds, there is a local Mafia presence in Hoi An and they dictate a lot of the costs of public transportation such as taxis and motor taxis.

If your accommodation isn’t personally ordering you a ride, or you aren’t ordering a ride through a tracked Rideshare app such as Grab, you should not accept the ride.

How to Get from Da Nang Airport to Hoi An

  • Public Bus – At the low cost of just about $1.50 you can catch the bus from the Da Nang International Airport to Hoi An. 
  • Shuttle Transfer – Book a shuttle transfer in advance for $6 from the airport to the old town. For just a few extra dollars, the extra cost may be worth the convenience.
  • Private Car or Grab – With the Grab app, you can get a ride straight to your accommodation in Hoi An. This will likely cost anywhere from $10-$20. 

Ultimate Itinerary for 3 Days in Hoi An (detailed version)

Here’s a complete breakdown of a jam-packed itinerary for your 3 days in Hoi An.

Day 1

Breakfast at Phin Coffee

Start your day off in the heart of the old town with a scrumptious breakfast at Phin Coffee & Restaurant.

This gorgeous cafe was a frequent stop for me during my time in Hoi An.

Something you should know is there are almost no local restaurants and coffee shops that have air conditioning. It’s just not the norm!

Thankfully, Phin has lots of mist and fans in every corner of the cafe to keep you cool. Ordering one of their specialty coconut frappes or Vietnamese iced coffees will also keep you cool.

3 Days in Hoi An

Explore the Old Town

Hoi An’s Ancient Old Town is one of the biggest reasons why travelers from all over the world come to Hoi An. The narrow, lantern-lit streets are lined with beautifully preserved colonial-era buildings, vibrant markets, and bustling shops.

As you wander through the ancient town, you’ll encounter an enchanting blend of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese architectural influences.

From the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge to the aromatic street food stalls, the old town has a unique charm that’s best experienced by taking a leisurely stroll. Let your eyes wander to discover all the hidden gems in the numerous tailor shops and art galleries that cover the streets.

3 Days in Hoi An

Central Market

While you’re exploring the Old Town, experience Hoi An at full steam at the Central Market. This local market is a vibrant hub of sights, sounds, and flavors.

Located in the heart of the Ancient Town, it’s a bustling marketplace where local vendors offer an array of goods, from fresh produce to specialty dishes like white rose dumplings. It’s also a great spot to find souvenirs. 

Visit a Tailor Shop

3 Days in Hoi An

Of course, while you’re in Hoi An, you’ll want to get something tailor-made! I went to two different tailor shops in Hoi An: Bao Diep and 45 Thu Tailor. 

45 Thu Tailor was much cheaper than Bao Diep, however, I did feel that the clothes I had made from Bao Diep were better quality. 

When visiting a tailor shop, it’s best to have a general idea before you arrive so that you don’t get talked into clothing that you don’t necessarily want or need.

I recommend visiting the tailor shops on your first day in Hoi An as opposed to later because your clothes will require a day or two to get made.

Have Lunch at Banh Mi Phuong 

3 Days in Hoi An

Made famous by Anthony Bourdain, you’ll want to grab delicious local food at Banh Mi Phuong. While the line is almost always out the door, they move fast! And I can confirm, it was pretty dang delicious.

They have options for meat lovers, vegans, and everyone in between. Situated in the old town, it’s the perfect place to grab a quick bite during a full day of exploring.

See the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall

The Phuc Kien Assembly Hall is a 17th-century architectural masterpiece, built by Fujian Chinese immigrants. Showcasing a harmonious blend of Chinese design and Vietnamese charm, its ornate gates and colorful courtyards make it stand out from other pagodas.

The assembly hall offers a glimpse into the deep-rooted traditions and religious practices of the Fujian community in Hoi An.

Cross the Japanese Bridge

3 Days in Hoi An

This 17th-century bridge is a symbol of cultural fusion in Hoi An. Adorned with intricate carvings and housing a small shrine, the bridge is a unique blend of Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese architectural elements.

A visit to this iconic bridge is a journey through time. Offering stunning views of the tranquil canal and old town, the Japanese Bridge is one of the top must-do activities for history enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, the bridge was under construction during my visit in May 2023. However, it was certainly still cool to walk through this historical site.

Tour An Ancient Home

After you’ve tasted the famous Banh Mi and strolled through the covered bridge, explore some of the magnificent centuries-old ancient homes.

Historical ancient homes are open to the public, almost like museums, and are in the center of the old town. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a tour from the actual homeowners.

They may offer you tea, and a light snack, and will give you a brief history of the home. 

Here is a list of Ancient Homes you can visit:

Tan Ky House: Tan Ky House is one of the most well-known and oldest houses in Hoi An. It’s a combination of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese architectural styles and has been in the same family for generations.

Phung Hung House: Built in the 18th century, Phung Hung House is a fine example of traditional Hoi An architecture. It is a two-story building with an open courtyard in the center. The house is also home to a small museum displaying old photographs and artifacts from the town’s history.

Quan Thang Ancient House: This house, constructed in the 18th century, is a typical example of a Vietnamese merchant’s residence.

Duc An Old House: Duc An Old House is another beautiful example of traditional Hoi An architecture. It has a lovely courtyard and preserved living spaces. The house is still occupied by the same family, and they often welcome visitors.

Diep Dong Nguyen House: This house is a bit smaller in scale but offers a unique perspective on Hoi An’s history. It’s a combination of Vietnamese and Chinese architectural styles and is known for its intricate wood carvings and old artifacts.

Dinner at Vy’s Market Restaurant

Located just a 7-minute walk from the Japanese Bridge, head to Vy’s Market Restaurant for dinner. Vy’s Market is a delicious and memorable dining experience to be had in Hoi An.

Set up like a blend of an upscale market and restaurant, you can walk around and check out the delicious dishes as they are being cooked before you. Filled with traditional dishes like noodles and dumplings, along with unusual delicacies if you are feeling adventurous! 

Day 2

Rent Bicycles

Renting a bicycle is a must-do in Hoi An! It’s one of the easiest ways to get around, and the city looks even better when you have a light breeze blowing through you. 

Renting Bicycles 3 Days in Hoi An

Bike to the Tailor Shop

Odds are if you went to your tailor shop on your first day, you will be asked to come back the following day for a test fitting.

Try to get this fitting done first thing in the morning so you can schedule your pickup either later that day or on your third day in Hoi An. 

Sign Up For a Lantern Making Class

Create your own colorful lantern with the help of expert craft makers. Lanterns make a lovely souvenir to remember your trip to Vietnam.

The art of lantern making is deeply ingrained in Hoi An’s cultural identity and offers a hands-on opportunity to connect with the town’s heritage.

Crafting your own lantern allows you to appreciate the intricate workmanship and vibrant colors that adorn the streets of Hoi An at night. After all, Hoi An is known especially for lanterns!

Bike to An Bang Beach

Hoi An has some of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam, so you will want to dedicate several hours to experience it. You can easily spend half a day around the An Bang Beach area as it’s lined with its own restaurants, shops, and beach clubs.

With its soft golden sands, gentle waves, and relaxed atmosphere, An Bang Beach offers a serene escape from the bustle of Hoi An. 

An Bang Beach - 3 days in Hoi An

Grab Lunch & Visit shops at Bang Beach

I’ll be honest, the best Vietnamese food is found on the outskirts of the Old Town and not necessarily near Bang Beach, which is filled with mostly Westernized restaurants. I’ve heard that you can find some delicious seafood at stalls set up around the beaches, so if you’re on a mission I would go out exploring.

However, I will say, that they have truly mastered the art of Western food as some of the spots were SO good. If you’ve been in Vietnam for a while, this is the spot to gorge yourself on all things pizza and burgers. 

Bikini Bottom Restaurant is a Westerners favorite among travelers seeking a classic burger and milkshake.

Hoi An Night Market 

After you’ve recovered and cleaned yourself up from your beach day, get ready to experience the Hoi An Night Market. The night market is every weekday from around 5-10 p.m.

Around 6-8 pm is when the market is the liveliest. If you’re feeling adventurous, this is the time to try unusual dishes on the street! I myself tried frog and to my surprise, it was pretty tasty. 

Take a Boat Ride on Thu Bon River

Experience the mystical charm of Hoi An at night with a lantern-releasing boat ride on Thu Bon River.

All you have to do is head to the An Hoi Bridge and you will likely be approached by many salespeople asking if you’d like to ride along the river.

For 1-3 passengers, the price should be around 150,000 VND. If you have over 3 passengers it will be closer to 200,000 VND.

Lanterns cost an extra 5,000 VND. 

Be sure you have a lighter to release your lanterns or ask for one before getting on the boat.

End Your Night With Live Music at Urban Cafe

The live music scene in Hoi An was one of my favorite parts of the nightlife!

Grab yourself a cup of hot tea or a cocktail and enjoy the talented musicians singing through the streets of Hoi An’s Old Town.

While I enjoyed Urban Cafe, another great spot in Hoi An with live music is Guitar Hawaii Coffee. 

Day 3

With your last day in Hoi An, you’ve got options!

There are so many day trip options from Hoi An. From private islands to ancient historical complexes, choose one of these 6 different day trip options from Hoi An, ranging from half-day experiences to full-day trips.

Take a Boat Trip to the Cham Islands

All aboard snorkel adventurers and sun lovers! If you’re sea-obsessed and one beach day in Hoi An just simply wasn’t enough, this is the perfect Hoi An day trip for you.

Prepare for your full-day boat trip and adventure on a charming small island with your swimsuit and loads of sunscreen.

The Cham Islands is a full-day tour lasting over 6 hours.

Tra Que Village Experience

If you’re interested in the rural outskirts of Hoi An, Tra Que Village is a popular tourist attraction known for its lush vegetable gardens and fertile farmlands.

Walking through Tra Que, you’ll be greeted by the aroma of fresh herbs and the sight of farmers in conical hats working the fields.

Visitors can participate in hands-on experiences like planting, watering, and harvesting crops, as well as enjoying farm-to-table meals prepared with the village’s produce.

Just an 8-minute drive from the Old Town, this is the perfect half-day activity as it’s just a short trip from Hoi An. 

Explore the Historical Site of My Son Sanctuary

My Son Sanctuary, located near Hoi An in Central Vietnam, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that represents a remarkable historical and cultural treasure. This ancient complex of Hindu temples and towers dates back to the Champa Kingdom, flourishing between the 4th and 14th centuries.

Located an hour from central Hoi An, My Son Sanctuary is a great half-day trip option.

Day Trip to Ba Na Hills

Ever wonder what an amusement park in Vietnam is like? Ba Na Hills is basically Vietnam’s version of Disney World. Read all about my experience at Ba Na Hills – Vietnam’s iconic theme park.

This massive entertainment complex is known for its breathtaking views and the world-famous Golden Bridge. Visitors can reach the park via a scenic cable car ride.

The landscape is filled with manicured gardens, French colonial-style architecture, and a variety of amusements.

Ba Na Hills is a full-day tour from Hoi An as it’s nearly a 2 hour drive. 

Take a Cooking Class or Food Tour

Cooking classes and food tours are a great way to immerse yourself in the rich culinary heritage of Vietnam.

Discover the secrets behind the delicious local dishes like banh xeo or cao lau.

Learn how to recreate Vietnamese food in your own kitchen when you return home. Cooking classes and food tours in Hoi An are the perfect half-day activity.

See the Marble Mountains

Near Hoi An are the famous geological wonders, the Marble Mountains. A cluster of five limestone and marble hills, these mountains are a popular tourist destination and are known for their natural beauty, religious sites, and handicrafts.

Just a 30-minute drive from Hoi An, this is the perfect half-day trip.

End your Day with Dinner at Nhan’s Kitchen

After a long day of exciting experiences, enjoy a tasty dinner at Nhan’s Kitchen.

Known for exquisite dishes like passion fruit chicken, banana leaf, and Cao Lau, this is a great place to have your last meal in Hoi An.

I myself enjoyed the spring rolls and the passion fruit chicken and they were delicious!

where to eat in hoi an
where to eat in hoi an

​This Itinerary for 3 Days in Hoi An Gives You The Perfect Taste of the Small City

I hope you found this 3-day Hoi An Itinerary helpful! Because I work remotely, I spent a little longer than 3 days in Hoi An.

Staying 5 days exploring the city and experiencing everything it had to offer allowed me to build this ideal Hoi An itinerary for travelers visiting for the first time.

From strolling along the lantern-lit riverbanks to savoring delectable street food and engaging in cultural activities, Hoi An is an unforgettable gem on Vietnam’s central coast.

Lantern rides thu bon river

Last Few Tips for Visiting Hoi An

– Carry small amounts of Cash

– Don’t accept rides from random drivers. Make sure rides are organized through the Grab App or your hotel/ guest house.

– Get tailor-made clothes.

– Beware of fake drivers dressing up in GRAB app clothing. 

– Don’t drink unfiltered water anywhere in Vietnam.

– Expect most places to not have air conditioning.

– If you love leather goods, Hoi An is a great place to get them. 

This post was all about how to spend 3 days in Hoi An, Vietnam.

5 Unmissable Experiences in Hoi An, Vietnam
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  1. What a fun and detailed post! We spent a few years based in SE Asia and China when my daughter was young and immersing in her Mandarin, so explored Vietnam some but missed this gem!

  2. On the travel wish list! Would love to visit Vietnam and we will have to make sure to plan a few days for Hoi An. It certainly would give us a good look at the history and culture. And such a pretty spot to visit! We would not miss out on great Vietnamese coffee. But we probably would not have custom clothes made.

  3. Hoi An was my favourite part of central Vietnam. I just loved this small town in the night and the local food was delicious too.

  4. Vietnam is high on my list! The country has an amazing mix of everything I love: food, history, and culture. Plus, the people seem so friendly. I can’t wait to visit!

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