The Best Things to Do in Hoi An in 3 Days

Hoi An is possibly the most beautiful town in Vietnam! It got its name as the Lantern City because of all the glowing lights in the Old Town. What you may not know is its name also translates to mean “peaceful meeting place.” If you only stuck to the Ancient Town you might be wondering why Hoi An got this name as the Old Town is super busy with tourists. Well, if you venture to the countryside and explore the hidden gems of Hoi An, you will immediately get the meaning. 3 days in Hoi An gives you the perfect amount of time to explore the slow life and the busy streets of the Ancient Town. Read on for the best things to do in Hoi An in 3 days.

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Quick Facts before visiting Hoi An:
💱 Currency: Vietnamese đồng (VND). 100K VND is around $4 USD based on the current conversion rate.
🛂 Visa Requirement: To enter Vietnam, you will likely need a visa depending on where you’re from. Americans and Australians definitely need one. If you’re from the UK, you can enter visa free for 45 days. The visa has to be applied for at least one week before you arrive. You cannot enter without it and you cannot get it on arrival. The direct website to apply is here.
💶 Budget for a trip to Hoi An: On average, a budget traveler can expect to spend around $17 per day, a mid-range traveler around $45 per day, and a luxury traveler around $123 or more per day.
💜 Is tipping required in Vietnam? Tipping is generally not expected in Vietnam at restaurants or taxi ridesFor tours, it tipping 5-10% is generally good practice.
☀️ Best time to Visit: The best months to visit Hoi An, Vietnam, are typically from February to April and from September to November. Avoid summer as it can become very hot.
🏥 Travel Insurance in Vietnam: I recommend SafetyWing which will cover you in case of trip cancellations or any accidents during your travels.
📱Mobile E-sim card to stay connected for less than $1 a day. There’s no hassle of changing out your sim card!

How many days in Hoi An is enough?

3 days in Hoi An is the perfect amount of time. In this time frame, you’ll have the chance to visit the Ancient Town and also get a chance to explore the country town. This will allow you to know how the town got its name as the peaceful meeting place. Not only that, 3 days in Hoi An will allow you time to go to the Ang Bang beach too!

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Most people stay within walking distance of the Hoi An Old Town. I’d recommend staying just outside of it as you’ll find better deals. If you stay in Cam Chau, you can have a more peaceful escape and take an $2 or less ride to the Old Town using Grab (the equivalent to Uber). Hotels in Hoi An are so affordable. I didn’t stay in one more than $40 a night and they were all beautiful as you can see in the photos below.

I have a whole blog post dedicated to answering where the best hotels in Hoi An are.

My top 3 hotel choices in Hoi An are:

Alsahar Boutique Villa

This gorgeous stay will remind you of Morocco with its stylish pool and rooms. It’s located in Cam Chau and is only a short motorbike away from the Old Town. I only paid $30 a night to stay here.

The Mansion:

Another stylish hotel in Cam Chau.

I loved the interiors of this place and it was only $40 a nite to stay here. They also have one room at the property that has a private pool for $100 a nite.

Rockmouse Centre River Villa:

This homestay is located in the Ancient Town in an unbeatable location. It’s literally 2 minutes from the river where you’ll find the Lantern Festival. The owner is seriously the sweetest person ever and makes the most delicious breakfast for you.

I personally stayed in all these places and can vouch that they were great.

The Best Things to Do in Hoi An in 3 Days

Day 1: Explore the Ancient Town

Get Tailor Made Clothes

You’ll want your first stop in Hoi An to be getting tailor made clothing! That’s because it will take between 1 day to 3 days to get it done. Hoi An is extremely famous for tailor-made clothes. This is because you can design literally anything you want at way cheaper than you’d likely pay in your home country.

I went with NY Central Tailor as it was recommended by one of my hotels as the best tailor in Hoi An. It took 2-3 days here because you have to come back for a fitting and if you have changes you pick it up a day after. It was on the pricier side but pricier means better quality. I would recommend having your ideas ready so have a browse on Pinterest or recreate some of your favorite dresses you own even!

That’s what I did. I bought an expensive silk dress on Etsy that is super flowy and backless in the color white. I went to the tailor and asked her to make a similar dress (final result pictured above!) but I wanted the back so I could wear a bra as my other dress you couldn’t wear a bra with. I also picked out a pink silk cotton fabric. I paid around $80 for the dress and the look-alike dress I paid $160 for!

You can definitely get pieces for cheaper here but it depends on the fabric and complexity of the design. You will also need to be prepared to negotiate a better price than their original quote!

Have a tea at Reaching Out Tea House

Reaching Out Tea House is a gorgeous cafe to visit in Hoi An. It offers a unique concept that aims to empower individuals with disabilities by providing them with employment opportunities. The tea house provides a serene ambiance where you can enjoy a variety of high-quality teas while supporting a meaningful cause.

In the cafe, you don’t speak at all. Instead, you order using the order sheet and if you need to ask a question or ask for something, you can signal to the staff using the message cubes laid out on the table.

Take a Lantern-Making Class

Hoi An is so known for its lanterns which you can find almost everywhere in the Old Town. I absolutely loved the experience of making my very own lantern! You can either take an express class where the frame is already made for you or you can make it completely from scratch. I took the express class as I was short on time. I picked out my fabrics and the staff was so fun in guiding me every step of the way to ensure my lantern was perfect!

If you’re solo traveling in Vietnam this is the perfect activity for you. In fact, the room was completely full of other solo travelers (no exaggeration!) I met a few girls from this class and we ended up swapping details to see if we could meet up later.

Have lunch at White Rose Restaurant or Bahn Mi Queen

White Rose Restaurant was absolutely amazing. They are famous for 2 things – white rose dumplings and fried wonton. I had both, but the dumplings are definitely the star of the place.

Bahn Mi Queen is the most famous place in Hoi An to try Bahn Mi. Interestingly enough, I found after trying several Bahn Mi’s in Vietnam that I didn’t really have a taste for them and I am a sandwich LOVER. I love the ones I’ve had in the US & UK and couldn’t wait to try the ones in Vietnam.

I found that they all came with these funky ingredients like pate and they weren’t very filled inside and you could just mostly taste bread. So strange, right? If you agree or disagree, let me know in the comments! I’d love to know about your experience too.

Shop in the Old Town & wander all the picturesque streets

I did some amazing shopping in the Old Town and for cheap! I got each of the dresses I’m wearing above for only $4 each – what a steal! There are many cute boutiques everywhere so just dive in and be sure to bring your negotiation skills.

You can also just get lost in the labyrinth of pretty streets in the Old Town. Some people even rent bikes and explore!

Check out the coffee scene

There are so many amazing cafes in Hoi An. Many of them have great rooftops where you can see views of the Old Town. My favorites included Faifo Coffee and Mê Hội An Rooftop Coffee & Kitchen. Mê Hội An had excellent food too.

Pamper yourself with a massage or a manicure

In Vietnam, the prices are so cheap for massages or getting your nails done. I did both while here and was amazed by how affordable it was.

I got a one hour massage at Metta Spa & Massage for only $15. I had my nails done for only $10 at Lotus Nail & Spa.

Take a sunset boat ride and release lanterns

At the top of your list of best things to do in Hoi An has got to be releasing a lantern from a boat trip along the Hoai River.

The tradition of releasing lanterns from boats along the Hoai River is deeply ingrained in the local culture and has become an iconic ritual for both locals and tourists.

You make a wish and then release your lantern into the river. It’s truly a magical experience. Doing this symbolizes the floating away of worries and troubles. It’s believed that as the lanterns drift away with the current, they carry the wishes and prayers of those who released them.

The Lantern Festival takes place on the 14th day of the lunar calendar when the moon is to its fullest. However, you honestly don’t need to plan your visit around this. It looked the same every night. If anything, it was better on days outside of the festival as the only difference is during the festival the lights are all off.

It is extremely busy every night so it’s best to book your tickets ahead to avoid long lines. You can book tickets here.

Nearby you’ll find a night market where you can shop for goods and souevenirs.

Watch my Instagram video to see what it’s like!

Have dinner at Heart Restaurant

After your boat experience, you can enjoy dinner at Heart Restaurant and enjoy watching everyone sail down the river! Here you can try some traditional Vietnamese dishes. One must-try dish known to Hoi An is called Cao Lầu (Pork Rice Noodle). They have this dish here but I ended up trying a slight variation of it.

Day 2: Relax in the Countryside

Grab a coffee in front of a rice paddy

There are so many hidden cafes in front of rice paddy views in the Hoi An countryside. My 3 favorites include Roving Chillhouse, Slow Cafe, and Xom Chieu. They were all so cute with cushy chairs low to the ground and nice views all around.

Ride bikes through the countryside

Another one of the best things to do in Hoi An is to explore the countryside by cycling. It’s likely your hotel will have free bikes for you so you can explore the surrounding areas. I stayed at Alsahar Boutique Villa and they had free bikes there.

Near Cafe Slow or Xom Chieu, you will find wonderful bike paths to enjoy the serene landscape of Hoi An.

Coconut Basket Boat Ride

A popular thing to do if visiting Hoi An in 3 days is a Coconut basket boat ride. It is quite different than you’d actually expect! It’s a it down the cheesy tourist path, I might warn.

You go down the river in these basket boats with many other tourists doing the same. Then, they will have a little show spinning around in the baskets! It’s pretty funny to see.

There are some cute corners you can ask your boat rider to tuck you down like I did o you can get some cute photos out of the trip.

I would definitely book tickets online because I encountered some places that tried to charge me 4 times the going price! I had researched ahead so I knew it was a scam. You can buy tickets here for around $10 if you decide to go!

Have Dinner at Tok.

Tok. will probably be your priciest meal in all of Vietnam but it was well worth it. And if you’re used to paying the prices in your home country like the US or UK, then this place is still amazing value.

I had this truffle ravioli pasta and it was absolutely incredible. This was the nicest break from Vietnamese food and the restaurant is also set in front of a rice field.

Day 3: Have a beach day

Have a Photoshoot!

Before you start your day at the beach, you can rise early and experience Hoi An Ancient Town without the crowds. I’d recommend hiring a photographer (book this one for only $30!) to take you around to all the best spots and help you get amazing photos!

Relax at An Bang Beach

On the third day of your Hoi An itinerary, make sure to enjoy a beach day at Ang Bang Beach. You can rent a lounge chair for approximately $5. For lunch, head to Cosy Corner for delicious brunch. In the evening at sunset, treat yourself to dinner overlooking the beach at The DeckHouse.

That’s the end of my 3 day itinerary to Hoi An. Hopefully, you’ve got a better idea of the best things to do in Hoi An!

You may also like these posts!
🏨 Where to Stay in Hoi An
🇻🇳 Hanoi 4 Day Itinerary|
🚂 Hanoi Train Street
☕ Best Hanoi Coffee Shops
🏞️ The best things to do in Ninh Binh
🚤 Guide to the Mekong River Delta
💖 Solo Travel Guide to Vietnam

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