Self-Guided Itinerary for a 2-day 1-night trip to Hoi An

If you once set foot in the land of Central Vietnam and visit the ancient town of Hoi An, you will understand why Hoi An is beloved by tourists both domestic and foreign. A self-guided 2-day 1-night trip to Hoi An is an ideal timeframe for you to fully explore the unique beauty of the scenery, culture, and people here.

The best time to go on a self-guided 2-day 1-night trip to Hoi An

What season is best for a 2-day 1-night trip to Hoi An? The climate in Hoi An is distinctly divided into two seasons: rainy season and dry season, each lasting about 6 months in a year. Whenever you visit Hoi An, you will always feel the beauty and unique charm.

Dry season: from January to July

  • February – April: During this time, the weather in Hoi An is very pleasant and cool, making it perfect for traveling. Exploring, having fun, and experiencing any activity is absolutely wonderful during this time.
  • May – July: This is nearing the end of the dry season in Hoi An. If you visit Hoi An during this time, you can go to Cu Lao Cham Island for diving and coral watching.

Rainy season: from August to January of the following year. Based on my travel experience in Hoi An, around October to December, Hoi An will be flooded, and people mainly travel by boat. If you visit the ancient town during this time, you will experience the feeling of floating in a boat through the streets, which is very interesting. However, you have to be “lucky” to witness this scene because even though it rains, the number of days flooded here can be counted on your fingers, then the water will recede very quickly, the sky will be clear again, and the sun will shine yellow.

Your 2-day 1-night itinerary for Hoi An should choose a beautiful, cool timeframe

Note: The 14th lunar day of each month is a wonderful time to visit Hoi An. On the eve of this day, all families in the ancient town of Hoi An will turn off all electric lights and only light lanterns. Therefore, you will have the opportunity to admire a beautiful and mystical scene. Not only that, the festivals and special cultural performances during this time will not disappoint you for coming to Hoi An.

Experience in traveling to Hoi An

Based on my travel experience from Da Nang to Hoi An, you can travel to Hoi An for a self-guided 2-day 1-night trip, which is reasonable. However, if you have time, you should also consider combining sightseeing in Da Nang. Because to get to Hoi An by plane, you will have to fly to Da Nang Airport, and then from there, you can move to the ancient town. Below, I will suggest some common and convenient transportation options for traveling to Hoi An, so you can choose the most suitable one for your travel itinerary!

Getting to Hoi An

Hoi An is located in Quang Nam province and does not have its own airport. The nearest airport is in Da Nang, about 30km away from Hoi An. Currently, many airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Bamboo Airways, etc., operate flights from various countries to Da Nang.

From Da Nang to Hoi An, you can take a bus or a taxi, both of which are very convenient. If you prefer a quick and cost-effective service with door-to-door transfer, you can opt for a private car rental service with a driver in Da Nang. Our drivers will hold a sign with your name at the international airport gate in Da Nang and then take you to Hoi An quickly and safely. Book a private car service from Da Nang to Hoi An today.

Moving around Hoi An

  • Motorbike: This is the ideal choice for those with extensive travel itineraries and destinations that are not close to each other. However, you should note that there are some streets in the ancient town of Hoi An with strict motorbike ban hours to avoid fines.
  • Bicycle: The best way to explore the ancient town is to ride a bicycle to enjoy the cool breeze and experience the peaceful life of the city. Some hotels in Hoi An offer free bicycles for guests, or you can rent one for around 40,000 VND/day.
  • Cyclo: While cyclos are rare in many cities, they are still a distinctive sight in Hoi An. You can catch a cyclo on Phan Chau Trinh Street or Tan Phu Street for around 150,000 VND/hour/vehicle.
  • Walking: In the evening, you can stroll along the Hoai River to admire the poetic beauty of Hoi An at night. Based on my travel experience in budget-friendly Hoi An, it’s best to walk to enjoy the scenery, save money, and savor street food.
  • Boat: For an authentic experience of the ancient town, don’t miss the chance to take a boat ride on the Hoai River or Thu Bon River. You can easily catch a boat at the riverbank in the center of the ancient town.
  • Taxi: Taxis are not very common for traveling within the ancient town of Hoi An.
Sitting on a boat on the Hoai River, Hoi An, admiring the view of the ancient town

Suggested itinerary for a 2-day 1-night trip to Hoi An

Day 1: Hoi An Ancient Town – Cua Dai Beach

Daily itinerary:

  • Morning: Explore and enjoy the ancient town of Hoi An.
  • Afternoon: Visit Cua Dai Beach for swimming and relaxation.
  • Evening: Return to the ancient town: stroll along the Hoai River, explore the lantern-lit streets, etc.

Hoi An Ancient Town

Many people may wonder when is the best time to visit Hoi An. Let’s see what Hoi An looks like during the day and at night through my suggested 2-day 1-night itinerary below!

Strolling around the ancient town and taking a boat ride along the Thu Bon River is one of the experiences in Hoi An that everyone should not miss

Hoi An Market

This is the largest market in Hoi An, specializing in selling various goods, from daily necessities and food to souvenirs such as lanterns and conical hats to meet the shopping needs of both locals and tourists. Visiting Hoi An Market in the early morning allows you to explore local specialties and learn about the culture and lifestyle of the local people.

Hoi An Market features many distinctive architectural elements that stand out in the ancient town

Japanese Covered Bridge

The Japanese Covered Bridge has long been a “must-check-in” spot when visiting Hoi An. Spanning a small stream, the bridge features unique and impressive architecture, representing the fusion of Vietnamese and Japanese cultures.

Japanese Covered Bridge, Hoi An, Viet Nam
Japanese Covered Bridge, Hoi An, Viet Nam

Ong Pagoda

Ong Pagoda is one of the famous tourist attractions in Hoi An. Built in the 17th century during the peak trading period of Hoi An port, the pagoda reflects the spiritual life of the local people, especially the Chinese merchants who considered Hoi An their second home.

Ong Pagoda has been recognized as a National Historic and Cultural Heritage Site.

Small alleys in Hoi An Ancient Town

In Hoi An, you’ll encounter small alleys everywhere. These narrow alleys, sometimes only wide enough for one person, stretch endlessly, offering picturesque scenes of Hoi An.

Among the countless cafes in Hoi An, I chose Faifo Coffee – the cafe with the most Instagrammable view in Hoi An to rest in the afternoon. Most visitors come here to take photos on the rooftop, but for me, it’s not just about capturing the picturesque view but also trying out the delicious drinks here.

Cua Dai Beach

After spending the morning exploring the ancient town, in the afternoon, my group decided to drive to Cua Dai Beach. It had been a long time since we had the opportunity to travel, and we all missed the beach, so as soon as we arrived at Cua Dai Beach, we were immediately enchanted by the vast stretches of white sand, walking on the soft sand felt so relaxing. After enjoying a refreshing swim, you can rest and have a light meal at the beachside shelters.

Cua Dai Beach doesn’t offer many entertainment or water sports services like other tourist beaches. Therefore, if you are traveling with family or friends, you can bring some snacks or fruits for a small beach picnic, which can be quite enjoyable.

After a relaxing afternoon by the sea and admiring the breathtaking sunset, we bid farewell to Cua Dai Beach and returned to the ancient town.

Nightlife in Hoi An Ancient Town

The ancient town “perhaps looks the most beautiful at night,” shimmering and mysterious like a painting. Hoi An’s nightlife truly offers many exciting activities!

Strolling around the ancient town at night

Another simple yet fascinating nighttime experience in Hoi An is strolling around the ancient town. The silent and serene ancient streets, adorned with colorful lanterns at night, create a romantic and poetic atmosphere, making it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Hoi An.

Walking along the Hoai River and releasing lanterns

The highlight of the ancient town at night is perhaps the banks of the Hoai River. Bach Dang Street, with its golden lights shining from the rows of ancient houses down to the Hoai River, creates a romantic and dreamy scene, becoming a characteristic destination for Hoi An tourism that everyone wants to visit.

Releasing Lanterns on the Hoai River

Experiencing a boat ride and releasing lanterns on the Hoai River is sure to be a memorable experience for you throughout your trip. You can rent a small boat to drift along the Hoai River, quietly admiring the serene and mystical Hoi An at night, while listening to stories about this land from the boatman in the peaceful atmosphere. Moreover, you can also personally release small lanterns, glittering with hopes, dreams, and prayers for health and luck for yourself and your loved ones.

Watching/participating in traditional folk games

To offer visitors more enjoyable experiences during their stay, most night markets or streets like Nguyen Thai Hoc Street will organize various traditional folk games. In the lively atmosphere, you can participate in blindfolded pot smashing, balloon popping, or singing chòi songs… These activities are very meaningful, helping tourists learn more about the folk culture of the people of Hoi An.

The Hoi An Oral Singing Class is a place where the love for various forms of national folk culture is imparted to the younger generation.

Day 2: My Son Sanctuary – Bay Mau Coconut Forest

Daily itinerary:

  • Morning: Explore My Son Sanctuary
  • Afternoon: Visit Bay Mau Coconut Forest in Hoi An ecological area

My Son Sanctuary

My Son Sanctuary is an archaeological site featuring the architecture of the ancient Champa people, located in Duy Phu commune, Duy Xuyen district, Quang Nam province. This area has a diameter of about 2km with over 70 different temple towers, each representing distinctive architectural styles from various stages of Champa civilization. The site was discovered in 1885 and was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1995.

The mystical and unique architecture of My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO-recognized World Cultural Heritage site

Situated relatively close to Hoi An, you can visit My Son Sanctuary in the morning from Hoi An. With the private car service from Hoi An to My Son Sanctuary provided by, you can quickly explore My Son Sanctuary to the fullest

Bay Mau Coconut Forest in Hoi An

After visiting My Son Sanctuary, you can then visit the Bay Mau Coconut Forest in Hoi An. Here, you will experience sitting on bamboo basket boats to explore the lush green coconut forest in a peaceful atmosphere, enjoy traditional basket boat performances, boat racing, and indulge in local specialties…

Bay Mau Coconut Forest – a new attraction in Hoi An

Bay Mau Coconut Forest is a popular destination for tourists in their Hoi An travel itinerary. It promises to offer you many new and exciting experiences. After that, conclude your 2-day 1-night self-guided journey.

List of famous specialties in Hoi An

What are the unique culinary delights of Hoi An and where are the best eateries? This question may seem simple at first glance, but it’s actually quite challenging to answer, isn’t it? Hoi An is not only famous for its tourist attractions and popular check-in spots but also known as a culinary paradise in Central Vietnam. Just walking along the streets, you will see many eateries on both sides of the road and encounter street vendors where you can unexpectedly stop by.

Let’s explore right away the extremely attractive specialties of Hoi An that you cannot miss when visiting the ancient town!

Cao lau

In the list of delicious specialties of Hoi An, one cannot ignore the dish called “cao lầu”. Unlike other noodle dishes that use broth, Hoi An’s cao lầu is eaten with slices of pork, pork skin, crispy fried pork fat, sprinkled with crushed peanuts and poured over with a bit of sauce to maintain its rich and savory flavor. When enjoying it, just mix everything well to absorb the seasoning or you can add fish sauce or soy sauce according to your preference, guaranteeing an unforgettable taste.

The standard Cao Lau is sold in many places in Hoi An

Price range: 20,000 VND – 35,000 VND/bowl

Recommended eateries:

  • Cao lầu Thanh: 26 Thai Phien – Hoi An ancient town
  • Cao lầu Hong: 18 Thai Phien – Hoi An ancient town

Quang noodles in Hoi An

When you come to Central Vietnam, you must try the delicious Quang noodles in Hoi An. The Quang noodles, with their white, opaque, soft, and chewy strands, immersed in a flavorful broth, combined with raw vegetables, roasted peanuts, shrimp, meat, and boiled eggs, are truly exquisite. Remember to eat them with crispy rice crackers to experience the dish in the most authentic way.

Coming to Hoi An - Quang Nam, you must definitely enjoy Quang noodles
Coming to Hoi An – Quang Nam, you must definitely enjoy Quang noodles

Price range: 25,000 VND – 75,000 VND/bowl

Recommended eateries:

  • Mi Quang Co Sinh: 170/5 Ly Thuong Kiet – Hoi An ancient town
  • Mi Quang Ong Hai: 6A Truong Minh Luong – Cam Chau – Hoi An ancient town

Hoi An chicken rice

If you fall in love with Hoi An cuisine, you will surely remember the famous “thousand-loved” Hoi An chicken rice dish. There are many reasons to “heart” this classic Hoi An specialty, from the fragrant, tender, and flavorful shredded chicken to the golden-brown cooked rice infused with the essence of boiled chicken. Adding a bit of papaya salad, sweet and sour onions will truly make it “heavenly”.

Ba Buoi chicken rice is very popular with Hoi An tourists

Price range: 30,000 VND – 75,000 VND/plate

Recommended eateries:

  • Ba Buoi Chicken Rice: 22 Phan Chau Trinh – Hoi An ancient town
  • Ba Nga Chicken Rice: 8 Phan Chau Trinh – Hoi An ancient town

Bánh đập hến xào (Rice paper with baby clams)

This is a type of cake that is very familiar to the people of Quang Nam province and is considered a unique specialty of Hoi An. Bánh đập, or bánh chập, is actually a piece of wet cake placed between two thin grilled rice papers.


When eating, you not only feel the crispy texture of the rice paper but also taste the sweet flavor of the wet cake. Typically, bánh đập is eaten with stir-fried baby clams to enhance the rich and enticing taste. This dish is irresistibly delicious, and you can keep eating without getting tired of it.

Price range: 20,000 VND – 35,000 VND/serving

Recommended eateries:

  • Ba Gia Stir-fried Baby Clams: Village 1 – Cam Nam – Hoi An ancient town
  • Cẩm Nam Shop: 679 – Hai Ba Trung – Hoi An ancient town

Mussel rice

This mussel stir-fry is very popular in Central Vietnam, especially in Hue and Quang Nam. The mussels are cooked with mussel broth, shrimp paste, pork fat, crispy fried rice crackers, chili, peanuts… then mixed with rice and fragrant herbs. Mussel rice is a famous specialty of Hue, but it is also beloved by the people of Hoi An. Simple and affordable, this humble mussel rice dish has captivated many tourists (including myself) with its rustic and unforgettable taste.

Price range: 15,000 VND – 25,000 VND/bowl

Recommended eateries:

  • Cuong’s Shop: 1 Nguyen Hoang – Hoi An ancient town
  • Hue Cuisine Hoi An: 21A Tran Cao Van – Hoi An ancient town

Hoi An steamed rice cakes

If people in Hanoi love pho and those in Saigon prefer Hu Tieu, then people in Hoi An are really fond of these steamed rice cakes. Hoi An steamed rice cakes are famous not only for their soft and melt-in-the-mouth rice cake but also for the various toppings such as dried shrimp, fish cake, peanuts, crispy pork fat… eaten with sweet and sour dipping sauce, they are incredibly delicious.

Price range: 2,000 VND – 5,000 VND/bowl

Recommended eateries:

  • Mrs. Bay’s Shop: 2 Hoang Van Thu – Hoi An ancient town
  • Chen Steamed Rice Cake: 48 Tran Phu – Hoi An ancient town
  • Mrs. Tai’s Steamed Rice Cake: next to Hoi An post office

During your 2-day 1-night trip to Hoi An, besides enjoying the delicious specialties of Quang Nam province, don’t forget to buy some Hoi An specialties to bring home as gifts for your family and friends such as Hoi An green bean cake, Quang Nam hive cake, thorn leaf cakes, Hoi An chili sauce…

Notes for a 2-day 1-night Self-Guided Trip in Hoi An

The people of Hoi An, in particular, and Central Vietnam, in general, are very friendly and hospitable, so you don’t need to worry too much. And to have the smoothest and most convenient 2-day 1-night trip in Hoi An, don’t overlook the following extremely useful notes:

  • Exploring Hoi An Old Town: If you want to visit the Old Town, buy tickets at the ticket counters. The ticket includes 12 slots for you to choose to visit 5 points of your choice. If you have any questions, you can ask the tour guide office staff, they will guide you patiently. Remember to keep your ticket to access heritage sites at any time!
  • Shopping: Wherever you go in Hoi An, you should ask the price beforehand to avoid being overcharged (although this rarely happens here, it’s better to be cautious).
  • Clothing: Because Hoi An Old Town has many historical sites, museums, temples, and pagodas, you should wear modest clothes, suitable for Vietnamese customs when visiting these places. And remember not to push, jostle, or laugh loudly in crowded areas to avoid disturbing others!
  • Tips for saving costs when traveling to Hoi An independently: In addition to tips such as booking accommodation and flights early from 2 weeks to 2 months to get cheap prices, you can consider combining a 2-day 1-night or 3-day 2-night trip to Da Nang and Hoi An, which is both economical and allows you to enjoy exploring these two super attractive tourist cities with just one flight.

The above are all the experiences of my 2-day 1-night self-guided trip in Hoi An. Hopefully, it will be helpful for your upcoming journey to fully explore and experience the beauty and interesting things here.


Leave a Reply