Hoi An was my favourite city on my Vietnam trip. One of the most popular tourist spots in Vietnam, Hoi An is a beautiful, historical and cultural city on the east coast of Vietnam, where you can explore and learn about ancient port life.
After exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Town, lazing on the beautiful beaches of the city, shopping from limitless tailor shops and street markets and satisfying your taste buds with delicious Vietnamese food, its time to venture a little further out of the city and take one of these day trips from Hoi An.
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OUR PICK OF THE BEST DAY TRIPS FROM HOI AN
My Son is a complex of over 70 Hindu temples, constructed by the Champa kingdom when they ruled between the 4th and 14th centuries. It features stone sculptures of Hindu deities, in a forest setting.
During the American War a lot of My Son was blown up and today you can see giant craters throughout the site. Surprisingly, a lot of the buildings remain intact today.
How to get to My Son Sanctuary
There are various ways you can take a My Son tour, either independently or as part of a group.
My Son Sanctuary is approximately one hour drive (40km) from Hoi An. If you’re wanting to take the cheap and solo option, hire a motorbike and enjoy the scenery and open road along the way. Please make sure you have adequate travel insurance before doing something like this! I met someone on crutches with a cast who had been injured by a motorbike (and she had only been walking!). World Nomads are my go to for travel insurance, especially if you’re taking an activity filled trip.
Alternatively, if you prefer to join a group, meet some new people and let someone else do the organizing, here are some great choices:
Hue, once the historic capital of Vietnam, is still today one of the most interesting cities in the country. Situated along the banks of the wonderfully named Perfume River, Hue’s imperial history and heritage are a historian’s dream.
The great thing about Hue is that a one day trip from Hoi An is all you need to see the sights.
What to see in Hue
- Take a stroll along the Perfume River promenade or venture out onto the river itself by renting a paddleboat or booking an evening dinner cruise
- Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial City. One of the most renowned historical sites in Hue, the Imperial City is a vast complex made up of exquisite landmarks. One said landmark being the Forbidden Purple City where the Emperor and his confidants lived and worked.
- Visit Thien Mu Pagoda. Along the banks of the Perfume River sits this Buddhist Temple. Climb the seven stories of stairs for beautiful views of the river and city.
- Explore the Tombs of the Emperors. Hue has quite a number of imperial tombs around the city where Emperors are buried. The Tomb of Minh Mang, the Tomb of Tu Duc and the Tomb of Khai Dinh are those not to be missed on your day trip from Hoi An to Hue.
How to get from Hoi An to Hue
There are various ways to get to Hue from Hoi An, located 125km apart.
The first is by train. Always an interesting mode of transport allowing for incredible views of the surrounding countryside. The train is a cheap option, however there is no direct train to Hoi An so you would need to get bus/taxi to DaNang and the train from DaNang to Hue.
Another option is to rent a mode of transport – car / motorbike – or take the bus.
My personal favorite, as it allows me to meet new people, is to join a guided tour. You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Hoi An and returned there afterwards, so less hassle if you don’t love organizing side of things. Here are some great guided tour options:
Cham Islands are a cluster of 8 small granite islands off the coast of Hoi An on the east coast of Vietnam which have been recognized as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. They offer white sandy beaches and coral reefs for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Cham Islands are only 15km off the coast of Hoi An, so it’s the perfect day trip from Hoi An if you don’t want to travel too far.
What to do on Cham Islands
One of the most unbelievable experiences you can do on Cham Islands is Underwater Walking with SeaTrek Vietnam. This is a half day trip from Hoi An, where you’ll be picked up from your hotel, brought out close to Cham Islands for snorkeling and the underwater adventure, you’ll have lunch at a nearby island, with some chill time on the beach, before being brought back to your hotel. You can read more about this incredible underwater walking experience here.
Another great Cham Island tour you can take:
Chances are, if you’ve arrived by plane to Hoi An, then you arrived into DaNang Airport. DaNang is the third largest city in Vietnam and its proximity to the coastline means you get best of both worlds with beaches and city.
What do see in DaNang
- Head out to Ba Na Hills, situated over 1400m above sea level in the Truong son mountains. The Ba Na Hills cable car holds the Guinness world record of the highest and longest cable car system in the world. Probably the most popular attraction at Ba Na Hills is the iconic Golden Bridge pedestrian walkway held by two giant hands. Spectacular views of pristine forests and DaNang city can be enjoyed from the bridge.
- Climb Marble Mountains, a set of 5 limestone hills located just south of DaNang. There is a long set of steps leading up to the top of the mountain, passing by pagodas and shrines along the way, with a stunning views to take in from the top.
- Visit Dragon Bridge, the longest bridge of it’s kind in Vietnam. Best to visit in the evening, when it’s all lit up. At the weekends you can catch a firebreathing show from the dragon.
For day trips from Hoi An to DaNang, check out these tours:
Bach Ma National Park
If you’re a hiking enthusiast, then Bach Ma National Park makes for one of the most exciting day trips from Hoi An for you. Bach Ma National Park offers great landscape, natural scenery, and biodiversity, with over 1400 species of flora and fauna. It is surrounded by high mountains, dense forests, lakes, and waterfalls.
What to see at Bach Ma National Park
- A short walk leads to the peaceful and serene Five Lakes (Ngu Ho)
- Take a boat across Truoi Lake to Truk Lam Zen Monastery
- Climb to the observation deck at the top of Hai Vong Dai, 1400m above sea level, which is the highest point of Bach Ma National Park
- Trek to Do Quyen Waterfall, surrounded by lush green forests. Trek a little further down 600m to the base of the waterfall
Bach Ma National Park is not easily accessible by public transport, so it’s best to arrange to go with a guided tour.