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As a travel destination with nightlife, fun activities, beaches and great food, you’d struggle to find a reason not to visit Hoi An on your way through Vietnam. Here you’ll find the Mad Monkey-approved list of the best things to do in this vibrant city, and what sets it apart from the rest of the country.


Crafty things to do in Hoi An

Join a lantern-making class 

If you need a wholesome and relaxing way to spend the day after a big night on the town, we’ve got a fun-filled activity for you. Unwind and take your mind off your hectic Vietnam travel schedule with a trip to a lantern-making workshop. You can book your spot online for around $12.50 USD and it includes all the materials you’ll need, alongside instructions that guide you through the 2+ hour class (and fix your creation if you’ve done a particularly shabby job). There are lots of fabrics to choose from, allowing you to make your lantern unique and match your aesthetic so it fits right in with the rest of your decor at home. 

Book your spot on our Hoi An Bike Tour where you’ll explore the city’s amazing landmarks, including a local market, the craft lantern workshop, the Rehahn Gallery and Museum, and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge.

An unforgettable adventure not to be missed!

Handmade lanterns line the walls of a workshop studio in Hoi An, photo courtesy of Talia Gilliham

Things to help you relax in Hoi An

Soak up the sun on An Bang beach

Hoi An is home to the stunning An Bang beach, the perfect place to escape for some respite from city life. There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas set up for those planning on a lazy day lying under the rays. You can also take part in watersports from jet skiing to parasailing if you’re looking for a more action-packed day by the sea. Finally, there are lots of trendy beach bars and restaurants along the sand, so you’ll always be able to find somewhere for lunch or maybe even some dinner and cocktails with a beachside sunset view.

Things to do in Hoi An: Soak in your surroundings

Stroll through the beautiful Old Town 

The historic Old Town of Hoi An can be found in the centre of the city. The colorful neighbourhood is hard to miss with lanterns, bright yellow buildings and photo opportunities around every corner. Dating back to the 15th century, the extraordinarily well-preserved architecture is a sight to behold, allowing visitors to be fully immersed in the film set-worthy surroundings. Boasting Chinese, Japanese and European influences, the unique town was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Visiting in the evening? Then be sure to make your way to the night market as well as the riverbank to see the floating lanterns in all their glory. 

Cultural things to do in Hoi An

Explore the My Son Sanctuary 

The My Son Sanctuary is a highlight for many Vietnam tourists, and the epic pictures online make it easy to see why. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a complex of Hindu temples built between the 4th and 14th century AD. Make your way through the valley and admire the fascinating architecture and surrounding landscape. You can even learn more about the site’s religious significance as well as the destructive impact that the Vietnamese war had on the ancient buildings, by booking a guided tour. If you’d like to explore the sanctuary without a guide then you’ll just need to pay 150,000 VND ($6 USD) for the entrance fee.  

The old ruins of My Son, Vietnam
Explore the old ruins of My Son Sanctuary, photo courtesy of Steve Douglas

Unique things to do in Hoi An

Ride down the river in a bamboo basket boat

Take a picturesque trip along the water with one of the most fun and unique boat rides you’re likely to experience in Vietnam. Your journey will begin by climbing into a basket-shaped boat made of bamboo before setting sail through the jungle-like scenery of the Bay Mau coconut forest. Depending on the tour you go for, boat-bound activities could include crab fishing, net throwing and even a spot of karaoke. Adrenaline junkies may want to bring along some extra cash, as for a small fee you can get spun around in the boat at a dizzying speed. 

Mad Monkey guests enjoying a ride in the famous bamboo basket boats of Hoi An

A taste of Vietnam: Culinary things to do in Hoi An

Get cheffing at a Vietnamese cooking class 

Whether you’re there to show off your skills in the kitchen or brush up on them, any food lover is bound to have fun at one of Hoi An’s traditional Vietnamese cooking classes. Make all your favourite local dishes from spring rolls to pho and banh xeo. You’ll be given all the ingredients and guidance necessary to make some amazing food that you’ll then be able to tuck into with the rest of the class. Prices range from around 520,000 – 756,000 VND ($22 – $32 USD) depending on which one you choose, and usually also include a ride in the famous bamboo boats. 

Experience Vietnamese culture through its food during our very own Mad Monkey Cooking Class. Learn how to cook some Vietnamese delicacies, such as Spring Rolls, Bánh Xèo (Hoi An rice pancakes), Phở (pho noodles with beef), and many more, before setting sail up the river in a bamboo basket boat and seeing some traditional fishing techniques and entertainment from the local fishermen. 

Book your spot on our Vietnamese Cooking Class Tour

Every day from 8 AM – 1 PM

A cooking class in Hoi An, Vietnam
Visit a local market, explore coconut mangroves by bamboo basket boat and take part in a two-hour hands-on cooking class with a local chef.

Upgrade your wardrobe whilst in Hoi An

Add some pieces to your wardrobe at the tailor  

Hoi An is known for its many tailor shops, with over 500 to choose from. Some people flock to the city just to get tailor made clothes as they’re very reasonably priced, considering the quality, fit and fast production of the garments. It’s wise to go there with an idea of the pieces you want so that the expert tailors waste no time working their magic. After the first visit, you’re just days away from owning your dream dress, new favourite shirt or the perfect pair of fitted trousers. 

Hoi An is the perfect place for all your tailoring needs
Hoi An, a perfect spot for all your tailoring needs, photo by Blue Chic

Adventurous things to do in Hoi An

Ride the world’s longest cable car to Ba Na Hills 

About two hours from Hoi An lies Ba Na Hills, a French mountain resort sitting nearly 1,500 meters above sea level and overlooking the central coast. This fairytale-like village is unlike anything you’ve seen before and is also where you’ll spot the famous Golden Bridge, distinguished by the two giant stone hands holding it up. On this day-long trip, you’ll also get to experience the world’s longest nonstop single-track cable car ride before reaching the epic views and incredible sights of Ba Na Hills.

An adventurous thing to do in Hoi An, visit Ba Na Hills

More Things to Do in Hoi An 

If you thought that was all Hoi An had to offer, think again. Believe it or not there’s even more to do and see in this diverse city, and you can find out about them in the following articles: 

10 Essential Things to Do in Hoi An – by Vietnam Tourism 
14 Things to Do in Hoi An, Vietnam – by Salt in Our Hair

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How to spend a week in Hoi An, Vietnam by Mad Monkey
Things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam by Mad Monkey

This is a guest article written by Talia Stanton, view her portfolio here.

About the Author

Talia Gilliham is a vibrant and cutting-edge digital content creator and writer with a passion for hospitality.