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Planning to spend 2 days in Hoi An, Vietnam, and looking to see as much as possible? There are so many things to see in Ho An and the surrounding area. This 2-day itinerary will help you make the most out of your stay in Hoi An.
Hoi An is an absolute must for anyone visiting Vietnam thanks to its stunning architecture, eclectic cultural history, and wonderful shops and restaurants, not to mention a pristine beach that is the perfect place to kick back and relax for a few hours! While you could easily spend weeks in Hoi An, getting clothes tailored and visiting markets and events, this two-day itinerary allows you to experience the highlights of Hoi An and then decide for yourself how much longer you wish to stay.
I’ve tried to include a mix of different activities and sights that most of my readers will enjoy, so whether you’re a backpacker passing through or a discerning traveler who wants an interesting spot for an alternative holiday destination, you should be intrigued and excited by this two-day Hoi An itinerary.
Table of Contents
The Best Time To Visit Hoi An
Thanks to Vietnam’s tropical climate and the city’s ideal location on the coast, Hoi An is a fairly year-round destination in terms of heat as it receives temperatures of around 28-30°C throughout the year. This only drops as low as 19-24°C during the winter months and can rise up to the late 30s between June and August.
Unlike other destinations in Vietnam (such as Hanoi and above), Hoi An only has two distinct seasons instead of four. These seasons are the rainy season from September to January and the dry season from February to May.
As the seasons are only split in two, it can feel like the rainy season lasts a really long time, and as the rainfall seems continual throughout this period, flooding can occur. As such, tourism levels sharply decline during these months which makes traveling between September and January a much cheaper time to travel (if you can deal with the rain).
Early months in the dry season (February and March) are arguably the best time to visit Hoi An, as temperatures will be mild and comfortable, yet there will be plenty of sunny days to enjoy the beach and the plethora of cultural sights that Hoi An has to offer!
*Another top tip is to try and travel to Hoi An during Full Moon (the 14th day in the lunar calendar) as the town really comes alive with their lantern festival and night markets!*
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How To Get To And From Hoi An/Danang Airport
Danang Airport is the closest airport to Hoi An and it lies around 40km north of the city, just along the coast. There are a few modes of transport you can take from the airport to Hoi An, and depending on which method you choose and what time of day you arrive, your journey could take anywhere between 30 and 90 minutes.
The easiest option for getting from Danang Airport to Hoi An is the Express Shuttle Bus which takes around 60 minutes from the airport to Hoi An and costs just $6. This shuttle service is undertaken in a private minivan which features both air-conditioning and seatbelts. This makes it preferable to use than a local taxi which does not always have seatbelts (and as drivers can be a little bit erratic in South East Asia it’s probably best you choose an option with safety methods!).
You can pre-book the airport shuttle service online before you travel so that you know someone will be there waiting for you when you arrive. The shuttle service begins at 5 am from the airport to the city and runs until 11 pm each day. On the way back from Hoi An, the service starts at 4 am and the last shuttle leaves Hoi An at 10 pm.
There are various meeting points (one in the international terminal and two in the domestic terminal), so look out for Hoi An Express signs or head to the Hoi An Express Counter on the first floor of the domestic arrivals hall.
If you want to save money on transport or just want a more authentic experience, you can take the public bus (the yellow bus) from Danang to Hoi An for just 18000 VND ($1) – 30 0000 VND (with luggage). This does leave from the city of Danang though, rather than the airport, so it’s only really convenient if you want to explore Danang first too.
There are a number of bus stops throughout Danang that leave for Hoi An and you can pay for the ride on the bus. The journey will take around 70-80 minutes but that may be worth it if you really want to save your pennies!
The third option for getting to/from Danang Airport and Hoi An is to take a private car transfer direct. This, of course, costs more than taking the shuttle (around $25-$80) but it can be a good option if you’re traveling as a family or group.
It is always worth asking your hotel if a transfer service is included or is a service they provide, as this will give you peace of mind when being collected and dropped off.
Hoi An itinerary – How to Spend 2 Days in Hoi An
2 Days in Hoi An – Day One
Head To A Tailor
As Hoi An has a rich trading history as a port on the silk route, one of the highlights of any visit is the excellent tailoring service offered throughout the city. You can get everything made here from suits and ball gowns to shoes, shirts, skirts and more! During my recent trip, we visited the Thang Loi tailors as they allow visitors to experience the whole silk-making process before choosing an item or two to purchase. It is important that you visit the tailors at the beginning of your time in the city as they then have time to make your chosen creations and ensure they fit and are finished before you depart.
Explore The Old Town
Next on the agenda is exploring the Old Town, the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site section of Hoi An that includes a wonderful mix of colonial buildings, Chinese temples, wooden shop-houses, and the famed Japanese Covered Bridge. This bridge is arguably the most photographed site in the city, despite being small, as it is one of the very few covered bridges to be built outside of Japan.
Other sites to explore include the Old House of Tan Ky, the Hoi An Market, the Assembly Hall Of Fujian Chinese, the Vietnamese communal temple and the Quan Cong Temple as well as the Museum of Folk Culture if you have time!
There are so many stunning photo ops throughout Hoi An that you can simply spend hours meandering your way through the picturesque streets stopping to snap whenever you please.
Get Some Vietnamese Coffee
Once you’ve discovered some of the top sights in the city, you’ll be ready to sit down and enjoy a cup of Vietnam’s finest coffee, perhaps alongside a French patisserie. We found the best coffee to be from the Hoi An Roastery which is thankfully served up in seven locations around the city so it‘s not too hard to find! Depending on the weather you can choose from a hot or cold coffee and pair it with a delicious treat such as a chocolate éclair or a slice of banana bread – yum!
Head back to the tailor for final rehearsal and collection of clothes.
Final Fitting And Collection Of Garments
Before night sets in you’ll want to head back to the tailors to do a final fitting, and if everything is ok, collect your garments. You’ll be amazed at the fine handiwork of these tailors and might even want to stay a little longer so that you can have a few more items made!
See The Lanterns
Depending on what time of the month you visit, you may be lucky enough to witness the lantern festival that coincides with Full Moon. This is a spectacular festival in which all the city lights are turned off and the town is lit up by colorful lanterns instead. Locals light candles and place them on delicate lily-like lanterns to float down the river with thousands gathering on the riverside to watch this beautiful light show.
Take An Evening River Cruise
If you aren’t in Hoi An over the full moon, fear not as you can still enjoy the river by night by taking an evening river cruise. This allows you to see the yellow city of Hoi An lit up by gentle lights, perhaps experiencing a sunset dinner with candlelight, fresh food, and live music.
Visit the Night Market
Your last event of the day is the Hoi An night market, a bustling collection of shops and stalls that stretches all the way down Nguyen Hoang Street. The market consists of street food vendors, souvenir shops, clothing, and jewelry stalls as well as plenty of local artwork on sale. There are likely to be more tailors open for business too, so it’s never too late to put in an order. You could spend hours wandering the market stalls, stopping off for drinks and snacks along the way to keep you going. As with all Asian markets, bargaining is encouraged so don’t simply settle for the first price, have fun with bartering for a lower price!
2 Days in Hoi An – Day Two
My Son Archaeological Site
My Son is an ancient Hindu sanctuary and UNESCO World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Hoi An that is well worth a visit. I recommend this tour to get to My Son that leaves Hoi An at around 4.30 am so that you are able to witness a beautiful sunrise in the countryside before arriving at My Son before the majority of tourists arrived.
My Son was a vital part of the Champa Kingdom who built a collection of stunning temples between the 4th and 14th centuries. These temples are not in various states of disrepair but are breath-taking nonetheless!
An Bang Beach
After an early start, you’ll want a fairly relaxing afternoon, so I suggest you spend the rest of the day at An Bang Beach. An Bang is situated around 7km north of Hoi An and you can choose to cycle or motorbike to the beach or simply take a taxi. This stretch of beach is relatively unspoiled and features a handful of beachside restaurants and bars, many of which offer sunbeds and natural parasols. If you like seafood, this is a great place to try some fresh fish cooked up on a Vietnamese BBQ.
Where To Stay in Hoi An
On my recent trip to Hoi An, I stayed at the delightful KOI Hoi An Resort and Spa which was a blissful place to return to after enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city. The hotel has a natural, verdant setting along the De Vong River where guests can sit in the garden by the water or take out kayaks to have a peaceful paddle.
The KOI Hoi An Resort features a range of guest rooms which are bright, modern and airy and even boasts larger villas with private pools for groups who want to stay somewhere extra special. There are on-site drink and dining options in the form of the Vong Restaurant, Chopstix Restaurant, Pool Bar and the Moonshine Rooftop Bar. There is also an additional restaurant and bar within the KOI spa complex, a wellness area with a fitness center, yoga area, treatment rooms and spa services such as a Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
So, there you have it, my quick, two-day Hoi An highlights itinerary! This is a perfect whistle-stop tour of the amazing things that Hoi An has to offer, packed into a fun two-day itinerary. If you have time, I would highly recommend staying in Hoi An for longer than two days so that you can further explore the cultural sights and try much more of the coffee and cuisine that helps make this place so magical! If you visit during the rainy season, you may not want to visit the beach, in which case I would spend more time discovering Hoi An’s museums and temples.
Have you been to Hoi An? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!