Hoi An Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.
Hoi An has no airport, and no train station either. The only way to get there is by road. You can hire a taxi from the neighbouring city of Da Nang, which does have an airport with daily flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other large Vietnamese cities. There’s also a train station in Da Nang, and bus services are plentiful. We have a wide selection of hotels for you to choose from in both Cua Dai Beach and Hoi An City, whatever suits your pocket and style.
Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.
Hoi An Ancient town is located in Viet Nam’s central Quang Nam Province, on the north bank near the mouth of the Thu Bon River. The inscribed property comprises 30 ha and it has a buffer zone of 280 ha. It is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a small-scale trading port active the 15th to 19th centuries which traded widely, both with the countries of Southeast and East Asia and with the rest of the world. Its decline in the later 19th century ensured that it has retained its traditional urban tissue to a remarkable degree.
The town reflects a fusion of indigenous and foreign cultures (principally Chinese and Japanese with later European influences) that combined to produce this unique survival.
The town comprises a well-preserved complex of 1,107 timber frame buildings, with brick or wooden walls, which include architectural monuments, commercial and domestic vernacular structures, notably an open market and a ferry quay, and religious buildings such as pagodas and family cult houses. The houses are tiled and the wooden components are carved with traditional motifs. They are arranged side-by-side in tight, unbroken rows along narrow pedestrian streets. There is also the fine wooden Japanese bridge, with a pagoda on it, dating from the 18th century. The original street plan, which developed as the town became a port, remains. It comprises a grid of streets with one axis parallel to the river and the other axis of streets and alleys set at right angles to it. Typically, the buildings front the streets for convenient customer access while the backs of the buildings open to the river allowing easy loading and off-loading of goods from boats.
The surviving wooden structures and street plan are original and intact and together present a traditional townscape of the 17th and 18th centuries, the survival of which is unique in the region. The town continues to this day to be occupied and function as a trading port and centre of commerce. The living heritage reflecting the diverse communities of the indigenous inhabitants of the town, as well as foreigners, has also been preserved and continues to be passed on. Hoi An Ancient Town remains an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Far Eastern port.
Criterion (ii): Hoi An is an outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures over time in an international commercial port.
Criterion (v): Hoi An is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Asian trading port.
Hoi An Ancient Town has retained its original form and function as an outstanding example of a well-preserved traditional South East Asian trading port and commercial centre. It remains complete as a homogenous complex of traditional wooden buildings, with the original organically developed street plan, within the town’s original river/seacoast setting.
These original cultural and historic features demonstrate the town’s outstanding universal value and are present, well-preserved, and evident within the boundary of the inscribed property, even while it continues to be occupied and function as a trading port, as well as a popular tourism destination. As a result of this economic stagnation since the 19th century, it has not suffered from development and there has not been pressure to replace the older wooden buildings with new ones in modern materials. This has ensured that the town has retained its traditional urban tissue and is preserved in a remarkably intact state.
Hoi An Ancient Town has retained its traditional wooden architecture and townscape in terms of plot size, materials, façade and roof line. Its original street plan, with buildings backing on to the river, with its infrastructure of quays, canals and bridges in its original setting, also remains. The historic landscape setting is also intact, consisting of a coastal environment of river, seashore, dunes and islands.
Because most of the buildings were constructed in wood it is necessary for them to be repaired at intervals, and so many buildings with basic structures from the 17th and 18th centuries were renewed in the 19th century, using traditional methods of repair. There is currently no pressure to replace older buildings with new ones in modern materials such as concrete and corrugated iron.
Protection and management requirements
Hoi An Ancient Town was classified as a National Cultural Heritage Site in 1985 and subsequently as a Special National Cultural Heritage Site under the Cultural Heritage Law of 2001 amended in 2009. The entire town is State property and is effectively protected by a number of relevant national laws and governmental decisions, such as: the Cultural Heritage Law (2001, amended 2009) and the Tourism Law (2005). The 1997 Hoi An Town Statute defines in regulations that are implemented by the Hoi An Center for Monuments Management and Preservation, the responsible agency of the People’s Committee for the management of the property. Day-to-day management involves collaboration with various stakeholders, to maintain the authenticity and integrity of the property and to monitor socio-economic activities within and adjacent to the property. The capacity of the professional staff has been and continues to be developed by many domestic and international training courses. Revenue from entrance tickets is invested directly in the management, preservation and promotion of the property. Management and preservation are further strengthened through master planning and action plans at the local level. There are also regular restoration and conservation programmes.
Multi-disciplinary research conducted by teams of international and national scholars has informed the conservation and interpretation of the town’s heritage. This research is on-going. Within the property boundary, the landscape, the townscape, the architecture and all material cultural artifacts are preserved.
A Management Plan was implemented at the time of nomination of the property, and is being kept up to date and reviewed as required by UNESCO to ensure that it remains effective.
The buffer zone is managed to protect the property from external threats. The potential adverse effects to the property caused by annual flooding and urbanization are being effectively controlled with the active participation of all authorities and the local community.
The Master Plan for the Hoi An Ancient town conservation, restoration and promotion together with the city and tourism development was approved by Prime Minister on 12 January 2012, covered the period until 2025.
Long-term management should aim to promote improvement in the living conditions for local residents. As tourism increases a strategy to manage it within the parameters of the site will be required. Strategies to deal with adverse effects of the climate are being developed and should be included in the Management Plan.
In the future, it is an aim to link the Hoi An Ancient Town with the adjacent UNESCO Cu Lao Cham Biosphere Reserve and to build Hoi An into a community integrating ecology, culture and tourism.
The best attractions in Hoi An are mostly set within the popular areas of Riverside and Ancient Town, where you can easily explore on foot or cyclo. Between the 15th and 19th century, Hoi An was a prominent Vietnamese trading port for silk, porcelain, pepper, cinnamon, and medicinal plants as it’s set nearby the Thu Bon River. As a result, the city offers a mix of Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, and French architectural feats.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, Hoi An is teeming with beautifully-restored houses, shops, and temples, offering sightseeing opportunities you won’t find in other cities in Vietnam. Ranging from centuries-old Buddhist pagodas and temples to pristine beaches and quaint museums, read on to discover our list of Hoi An’s most popular attractions.
Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An Ancient Town offers a breathtaking mix of ornate Chinese temples, a Japanese-designed bridge, wooden shop-houses, French-colonial houses, and old canals. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, most of the old shops have been carefully converted to modern businesses aimed at tourists including countless tailors, souvenir shops, art galleries, restaurants and cafés. An entrance fee of VND 120,000 is required for foreign tourists and VND 80,000 for locals - each ticket is valid for 10 days and covers entrance to entrance to Hoi An Ancient Town, six points of interest, and street entertainment (folk dancing, singing, and traditional games).
Hoi An Riverside
Hoi An Riverside was a prominent stop amongst foreign traders between the 16th and 18th centuries due to its location on the banks of Thu Bon River. The waterfront area is best known for its lively bars, bistros, and restaurants, where you can enjoy fresh seafood, beers, cocktails, coffee and cakes, as well as local and international fare. There are plenty of local boats to charter at the docks, which you can hire for a day of fishing or cruising along the tranquil river. During annual festivities, hundreds of colourful hand-crafted lanterns illuminate the wooden bridges, verandas and windows of shophouses.
Japanese Covered Bridge
The Japanese Covered Bridge, which dates back to the 18th century, is one of the most prominent attractions in Hoi An Ancient Town. Spanning 18 metres in length, locals believe that it was built by the Japanese then living in Hoi An as a way to reach the Chinese quarter across the water. In 1719, Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu officiated the bridge by carving three Chinese symbols above the entrance. The Japanese Covered Bridge also features intricate sculptures of two dogs and two monkeys to represent the birth years of prominent Japanese Emperors.
Cua Dai Beach
Cua Dai Beach offers a relaxing seaside escape from the ancient streets of Hoi An. Boasting three-kilometre stretch of white sand and gentle waves, the beach is relatively quiet most of the time apart from weekends and public holidays. After a day of swimming, and snorkelling, Cau Dai Beach is also worth staying for dinner at the numerous seafood restaurants located around the coast. Easily accessible via taxi or xe om, Cua Dai Beach is a 15-minute drive from Hoi An Ancient Town.
Van Duc Pagoda
Van Duc Pagoda dates back to the late 17th century, where locals pray to Buddhist deities such as Amitabha Buddha, Dia Tang Bodhisattva, and Avalokitecvara Bodhisattva. Hailed as one of Hoi An’s oldest Buddhist temples, the yellow-hued establishment is fitted with three worship halls, intricate animal sculptures, paintings of deities, potted plants, and plenty of shady trees. Its peaceful surroundings draws numerous visitors looking to pay their respects, get fortunes told, or simply marvel at the well-preserved architecture. On full moons and auspicious celebrations, you can also see local monks releasing paper lanterns into the river whilst chanting prayers.
Hoi An Museum of History & Culture
Hoi An Museum of History and Culture showcases relics that span 2,000 years of Hoi An’s rich history. Set within the vicinity of Quan Am Pagoda, one of Vietnam's oldest, built in 1653, the museum offers an interesting insight into the local heritage, including traditional burial rites with authentic coffins on display, photographs of local architecture, ceramics and pottery depicting the changing faces of Hoi An, as well as several Cham artefacts such as bronze temple bells and gongs. Hoi An Museum of History and Culture is a 10-minute walk from the Japanese Covered Bridge.
Fujian Assembly Hall
Fujian Assembly Hall is a symbolic icon of Hoi An architecture and Fujian artistry, boasting beautiful statues of Buddhist deities, altars adorned with delicate carvings of dragons, bronze bells drums, and lacquered artwork. Constructed in 1690, this World Cultural Heritage Site was utilised by residents from Fujian in China to meet up and socialise whilst living or visiting Hoi An. Fujian Assembly Hall is also the home of Jinshang Golden Mountain temple, which is dedicated to Thien Hau, the goddess of the sea and caretaker of sailors. There is also a fertility shrine where childless couples pray in hopes of conceiving.
An Bang Beach
An Bang Beach houses an array of beachfront resorts, seafood restaurants, and hippy bars with stunning views of neighbouring mountains and islets. It’s one of the few stretches of beach in Hoi An that’s relatively unspoiled by development, where you can enjoy activities such as swimming and paddle-boarding, or simply relaxing on sun beds (expect to pay between VND 15,000 and VND 40,000). Surf season is from September until March, and there are plenty of surf and stand-up paddling classes available for inexperienced visitors. Great for soaking up the sun after a day of exploring Hoi An Ancient Town, An Bang Beach is a mere 10-minute drive away.
Chuc Thanh Pagoda
Chuc Thanh Pagoda was founded by Monk Minh Hai of Chine in 1454, making it the oldest Buddhist pagoda in Hoi An. Featuring a mix of Vietnamese and Chinese architectural designs, the temple houses a marble statue of Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy), intricate animal carvings, lacquered pillars, and 16 grave towers of eminent monks. Chuc Thanh Pagoda is regarded as the birthplace of the “Thien Tam Te” religion, where antique ritual objects such as a 200 year-old stone gong, a carp-shaped wooden gong, and several bells are still in use to this very day.
Hoi An Museum of Trade Ceramics
Hoi An Museum of Trade Ceramics is set within a restored timber house along Tran Phu Street, displaying a vast selection of foreign ceramics with detailed English-written descriptions. Offering a cultural insight into the history of Hoi An and foreign relationships with countries such as Japan, China and India, these artefacts mainly date back between the 8th and 18th centuries. Entrance is free of charge, and visitors can experience what it’s like to live in a traditional Vietnamese house. Located in Hoi An Ancient Town, Hoi An Museum of Trade Ceramics is just a five-minute stroll from the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge.
Hoi An is home to a rich cultural heritage, and delicious culinary traditions. Indulge your senses with heavenly food and refreshing beverage while enjoying the history, scenery and vibrant local culture of this easy-going tropical town.
For your convenience, Asia Highlights provides the following suggestions for what to eat and drink while vacationing in Hoi An. Remember, the local food can best be enjoyed with one of our customized tours, to help you to sit back, relax and enjoy the incredible flavors.
The cuisine of Hoi An typically utilizes fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the surrounding farmlands. Local people, international travelers and foodies across Vietnam appreciate the raw flavors, tasty herbs and fresh spices typically used in Hoi An dishes.
From signature specialties like pork noodle soup and spiced rice, to modern fusion cuisine, Hoi An has all the ingredients needed to satisfy any traveler’s palate.
Cao Lau Noodles
Cao lau is the most famous specialty dish in Hoi An. Thick, wide noodles (resembling Japanese udon, for the foodies out there) are stewed into a traditional pork or seafood broth before being topped with fresh herbs and Chinese-style wantons. No visit here will be complete without sitting down to enjoy this signature soup at least once during your stay.
Banh Mi Sandwich
Banh mi is often called the classic Vietnamese sandwich. This tasty snack includes a meat of your choice, pickled vegetables, pate and salad on a freshly baked baguette-style break roll. While this dish is eaten across the country, travelers and locals agree that Hoi An’s street stalls and restaurants serve up some of the best banh mi in Vietnam.
White Rose Dumplings
White rose dumplings are another snack favored by foodies in Hoi An. These famous rice-dough dumplings are prepared with minced shrimp and local spices. Though they are served at many restaurants across the city, they are mainly supplied by one family who holds the secret recipe.
Make sure to bring your camera to snap a picture of the delicate, rose-shaped dumplings before you dig in.
Travelers will be faced with plenty of options when searching for the perfect spot at which to enjoy a meal in Hoi An. For your convenience, the Asia Highlights team has carefully selected the following restaurants, taking account of the extraordinary food, atmosphere, and service they provide.
Morning Glory has a reputation as a favorite of tourists in Hoi An, and for good reason. This elegant restaurant offers reliable yet delicious versions of traditional Vietnamese dishes prepared by a celebrated chef, Ms. Vy, who is preparing to open several international branches in the near future.
Enjoy a fun, comfortable atmosphere and an exciting glimpse into the open kitchen as skilled cooks prepare fresh, heavenly dishes.
At Morning Glory, guests can enjoy a varied breakfast menu that includes Hoi An style waffles, Vietnamese egg sandwiches, pho and sticky rice.
For those choosing to dine at lunch or dinner time, first select a tasty appetizer such as the famous white rose dumplings, locally-sourced shrimp skewers or a nourishing soup. For your main course, try the cao lau noodles, pork belly with caramel sauce, or any of the fresh fish entrees. (Morning Glory Location: 106 Nguyễn Thái Học)
Mango Mango is a treat for foodies eager to sample some of the best fusion cuisine available in Vietnam. Founded by notable American Vietnamese chef Duc Tran, this restaurant serves up unique, tasty dishes and craft cocktails to hundreds of guests every night.
The restaurant is situated in the Old Town, and guests can enjoy a gorgeous view of the river and city skyline while they dine, as well as a live jazz band.
As an appetizer, try the red snapper fried tempura-style, crispy shrimp rolls, or sweet potato tortillas. When choosing a main course, try the seafood pasta served over thick rice noodles, prawns, or duck confit. Enjoy homemade ice cream with fresh fruit for dessert. (Mango Mango Location: 45 Nguyễn Phúc Chu)
White Lotus offers guests a delightful dining experience in a clean, peaceful environment. With friendly staff and excellent service, it is known as catering for travelers, serving western food options as well as less-spicy classic Vietnamese dishes.
Choose a set menu and enjoy a three-course meal including dishes like signature spring rolls or marinated fish, pork, or beef. The seafood platter, stuffed squid and green papaya salad are also among guests’ favorites.
Not only does White Lotus serve up some of the most delicious food in Hoi An, it is also a subsidiary of the Australian non-profit charity organization Project Indochina. All the proceeds from the restaurant go towards improving the lives of disadvantaged individuals in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. (White Lotus Location: 11 Phan Boi Chau St.)
When you need a break from sight-seeing but aren’t quite ready for lunch or dinner, enjoy a delicious beverage such as fresh fruit juice, rejuvenating coffee, or a refreshing beer. Vietnamese coffee is some of the best in the world, especially in Hoi An where beans grow abundantly. Don’t forget to start your day with a cup from a local coffee shop.
Hoi An’s tropical climate means that juicy fruit and vegetables are everywhere to be found. Make sure to relax and rehydrate with a juice or smoothie sourced from locally-grown produce. Freshly squeezed sugar cane juice and ice-coconuts are some of our guests’ favorite beverages.
Best Places to Grab a Drink
Check out Ms. Ly’s Café for a generous menu that includes Vietnamese coffee, tasty fruit smoothies, as well as a selection of imported beer and wine (Location: 22 Nguyen Hue Street). Visitors looking to sample divine wines paired with contemporary Eurasian dishes should check out the Aubergine49 Restuarant (Location: 49A, Ly Thai To Street).
For a farm-fresh taste in a charming ambience, visit the Cocobox Café Farm Shop. In addition to offering homemade coconut milk, fresh juices and more delicious beverages, this hipster-esque coffee shop gives travelers the chance to relax in comfortable seats while browsing an array of hand-made souvenirs. (Location: 94 Le Loi Street, Hoi An)
Nightlife in Hoi An is concentrated within the tourist-friendly Ancient Town and Riverside, featuring trendy bistros, cafes, bars, artistic lounges, and live music venues. Unlike cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, most of these nightlife venues are within walking distance and stay open until 03:00, where you can barhop with fellow tourists and fun-loving locals.
When the sun sets, the streets of Hoi An Ancient Town are illuminated with hundreds of colourful lanterns, traditional dance performances, and candles floating down Thu Bon River. Meanwhile, numerous bars and pubs offer attractive happy hour promos with local artists and international DJS playing a variety of music genres. Whether you prefer a relaxing evening or dancing till the sun rises, our list of Hoi An’s most popular nightlife is below.
Hoi An Night Market
Hoi An Night Market, occupying Nguyen Hoang Street in the centre of town, consists of over 50 local vendors selling a variety of local snacks, trinkets, clothing, jewellery, and accessories. Widely regarded as one of the most popular markets in Vietnam, it occupies a 300-metre-long street that overlooks Thu Bon River and is illuminated by hundreds of colourful lanterns, making a popular spot for photography as well.
White Marble Wine Bar
White Marble Wine Bar occupies a refurbished heritage building within Hoi An Ancient Town, where you can enjoy exquisite wines, spirits, and cocktails with sweeping views of the bustling streets and Thu Bon River. Set along Le Loi Street, this stylish bar, restaurant, and lounge is a two-minute walk from Hoi An Museum of Trade Ceramics. The nightlife venue serves 14 premium wines by the glass from USD5 onwards, including Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, Australian Pinot Gris, and Red Bordeaux. Meanwhile, its food menu comprises authentic Vietnamese, French and Italian fusion dishes – we highly recommend the cheese platter, mini crispy pancakes, and chicken satay.
Q-Bar offers an extensive list of unique cocktails, opulent interior, and upscale ambience, attracting a stylish crowd of affluent locals and tourists in Hoi An. Set within a traditional shophouse in Hoi An Riverside, the bar is fitted with Japanese-style furnishing, plush chairs, and colourful mood lighting, with lounge music and electronica playing in the background. Drinks-wise, cocktails are priced between VND 120,000 and VND 150,000, local beers for VND 50,000, and margaritas for VND 95,000. Despite the hefty price tag, Q-Bar remains as one of the most popular nightlife spots in Hoi An.
Dive Bar draws in a fun-loving crowd of diving enthusiasts, expats, and travellers from all over the world, making it a popular nightlife spot for drinks and live music in Hoi An. The bar is fitted with lounge sofas, pool tables, garden courtyard, and an Internet café, while its live music performances are held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening. Priced between VND 25,000 and VND 110,000, Dive Bar’s drinks menu comprises imported beers, strong cocktails, and premium wines with a variety of Vietnamese and western pub grub.
Tam Tam Bar
Tam Tam Bar has been a staple in Hoi An’s nightlife scene since it opened in 1996, with tropical-inspired décor, pool tables, relaxed setting, and a spacious upstairs lounge area that’s ideal for relaxing and people-watching. Set within a restored tea warehouse in Hoi An Ancient Town, it’s a five-minute walk from the Japanese Covered Bridge. For drinks, you can find a standard array of imported beers, cocktails, spirits, and wines by the glass. Tam Tam Bar also serves a selection of Vietnamese and European fare such as banh xeo, pho, omelettes, sandwiches, pizzas and pastas as well as homemade ice-cream, sorbet, and cakes.
Mango Mango is a colourful eatery that’s set along the tranquil Hoi An Riverside, offering a wide range of signature cocktails and authentic Vietnamese fare. With a spacious upstairs terrace overlooks the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge, Thu Bon River, and Hoi An Night Market, its prime location attracts mostly tourists looking to unwind after a day of exploring Hoi An. Imported beers and wines by the glass cost approximately USD12, but cocktails are the main attraction at Mango Mango. Our favourite is the berry cocktail, which consists of fresh strawberries, vodka, hibiscus, mint leaves.
Fusion Cafe serves over 20 types of mojitos, tapas, and American fare in a cosy lounge setting. This cocktail café is set along Thu Bon River, where you can enjoy beautiful evening views of the lantern-lit streets of Hoi An Riverside. Attracting a steady clientele of trendy locals and travellers, its menu ranges from cold pressed juices, wraps, pastries and sandwiches to creative Vietnamese-inspired cocktails and Lavazza coffee. Guests of Da Nang’s Fusion Maia Resort can enjoy gourmet breakfasts, complimentary back massages, and manicures at Fusion Café. Every Friday, the café hosts international DJs spinning soul, funk, disco, reggae, and house tunes between 18:00 and 22:00.
Mango Rooms is a bistro bar facing Hoi An Riverside, boasting vibrant interiors, friendly service, upbeat music, and an impressive menu of signature cocktails, fruity smoothies, and Vietnamese fusion dishes. Made with fresh mangoes and lots of booze, popular drinks here include margarita, daiquiri, fandango, and mojito while beer lovers can enjoy ice-cold pints of Tiger, Heineken, Saigon, and LaRue. If you’re feeling peckish, try its homemade spring rolls, papaya salad, or baguette with shrimp mousse and mango coconut curry. Happy hour promos are between 17:00 and 19:00, where you can enjoy selected drinks at half price.
Hoi An Sports Bar
Australian-owned Hoi An Sports Bar mainly caters to travelling sports fans, where they can watch live events such as NRL, Super Rugby, AFL, Australian Open Tennis, and NBA. Located within Hoi An Ancient Town, this lively bar is a five-minute stroll from the Hoi An Museum of History and Culture. Its upstairs lounge area is fully air-conditioned and fitted with a foosball machine, darts, Xbox, Wii, PlayStation, and plenty of board games. Priced at VND 25,000 onwards, Hoi An Sports Bar serves a diverse range of local and imported beers, including Stella, Corona, Asahi, LaRue, and Coopers Stout.
Before and Now Bar
Before and Now Bar’s popularity has slightly dwindled over the years, but it’s still a nice nightlife venue for a relaxed night out in Hoi An Ancient Town. The two-storey bar is five minutes away from the Japanese Covered Bridge, featuring an open-air terrace that’s decorated with plenty of potted plants and colourful lanterns. You can play a game of pool and foosball or simply enjoy a chat with its friendly staff. Before and Now Bar’s main draw however, is its four-hour happy hour promos, where you can get two drinks for the price of one between 18:00 and 21:00.