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The top 10 things to do in Hoi An with kids

Hoi An is one of the prettiest and most picturesque cities of Vietnam. Once an important harbor city, it’s now known for its magnificent architecture. You can find French colonial buildings here, Chinese buildings and even Japanese influenced architecture. It’s no wonder that UNESCO appointed the entire Old Town of Hoi An a World Heritage List site.

No crazy traffic, but a pedestrian only city centre. Lots of fun things to do for families. And even more delicious local dishes to try. Hoi An is our family’s most favorite city in Vietnam and I bet it will end high up your family’s list of best cities to visit in Vietnam with kids.

Although Hoi An is a relatively small city, you will need 4 days here to see and do all the great things Hoi An has to offer. This way you’ll have enough time to check out the complete top 10 things to do in Hoi An with kids.

Nightlife in Hoi An - Vietnam

Why Hoi An is a great choice for a family visit

The amazing thing of Hoi An is that it offers a great mix of activities that are interesting for both adults and kids of all ages. Parents can get their history and architecture fix, and enjoy the fact that the Old Town of Hoi An feels like stepping back in time. In addition to that there are different museums to visit and you can shop for local goods. These things can also be fun for older kids. Another great thing is that kids can safely bike through the Old Town. Other top Hoi An attractions for kids are learning how to make paper lanterns, carve wood and also dabble in a calligraphy class.

A visit to the local market is fun for all ages. And there are cooking classes on offer that cater to families. In short, coming up with the top 10 things to do with kids in Hoi An was easy.

Hoi An with toddlers

Hoi An is a relatively small city with a laidback atmosphere. And if you compare Hoi An to major Vietnamese cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hué or Da Nang, it’s so much more relaxed here. Hoi An offers a nice change of pace after visiting cities like that. That’s great for toddlers and maybe also for older kids.

Hoi An is one of only a few Vietnamese cities that we visited that’s actually surprisingly buggy friendly. But if you’re road tripping through Vietnam, it might not be enough reason to bring your stroller along. Most destinations in Vietnam are best explored with a baby carrier, instead of a stroller.

Is it safe to visit Hoi An with kids

Hoi An is definitely safe for kids. No crazy traffic in the city center, because the entire Old Town is forbidden for cars and motorbikes. The only thing you have to look out for are food carts and bicycles.

I can’t think of a reason not to visit this amazing city. Hoi An is definitely in our top 3 of favorite destinations in Vietnam.

When to visit Hoi An

If you’re looking for cool and pleasant temperatures, February to the end of April is your best option. Temperatures range from 25 to 32 degrees Celsius, this time of year. After that it will be around 30 to 35 degrees Celsius until halfway through September. From then on you get the same temperatures as in Spring, but the downside is that it’s rainy season. This lasts until January.

If you want to visit Hoi An in February, skip the first week. It’s Tet holiday, meaning Vietnamese New Years. Lots of shops, sights and restaurants are closed at the end of January and the beginning of February.

Fisherwoman in Hoi An - Vietnam

How to get to Hoi An

Fly

Some international airlines fly to Da Nang, which is the city next to Hoi An. If you can’t find a flight that lands in Da Nang, you can book a flight to Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport at Expedia. And travel to Da Nang from there by plane or train. Expedia usually has great deals available. Especially if you combine your booking with a stay in a hotel. Do always make sure to double check the flight prices at the website of the airline to make sure you get the best deal!

Getting to Hoi An from Da Nang takes 40 minutes by taxi or Grab, which is the Asian Uber.

Powered by 12Go system

Train & bus

If you’re traveling to Hoi An by train or bus from other cities in Vietnam or internationally from neighboring countries book your tickets via 12Go.

The trains are all in good condition, with comfortable beds and relatively clean. People eat a lot of food on the trains and cockroaches know that. So don’t be surprised if you spot one here and there.

Getting around Hoi An

Every day after 10am cars and motorbikes are forbidden to enter the Ancient Town, as the Old Town is also known. You can get a taxi or Grab to the edges of the Old Town.

But the best way of getting around in Hoi An is by bike. Lots of accommodations offer bikes for rent. And many of the AirBnB’s as well. We stayed outside the Old Town. It was a 15 minute bike ride and we really enjoyed the short trip. Hoi An can easily and safely be explored by bike.

The Old Town itself is quite compact. Everyone can be done on foot.

Phuc Kien Temple in Hoi An - Vietnam

Things to do around Hoi An

On this list you’ll find the 10 best things to do in Hoi An with children. But there’s also enough to do and see near Hoi An. A week in Hoi An gives you enough time to explore the town itself and to venture out of the city.

My Son Sanctuary

About 50km from Hoi An you’ll find the ruins of My Son. The oldest bunch of these Hindu temple ruins date back as far as the 4th century. My Son is a UNESCO World Heritage List Site. You’ll find lots of overgrown ruins, some very well preserved ones and unfortunately other parts of the My Son Sanctuary didn’t stand the test of time. Because of their age or because of bombings during the Vietnam War. You need 2 to 3 hours to explore the site.

My Son is often compared to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar or Sukhothai in Thailand. When it comes to beauty, you can certainly compare these sights, but the My Son Sanctuary is much smaller than the other world famous temple complexes in Southeast Asia. If you expect the same experience, you might leave the place disappointed. Do know that you can explore these beautiful temple ruins in relative peace. So, if you have the time, don’t skip a visit to the My Son ruins.

Da Nang

The city of Da Nang is the fifth largest city in Vietnam. It’s known for its beaches, sea food, the Ba Na Hills and the Dragon Bridge. Da Nang is located right next to Hoi An. And most likely the place you got off the train or plane to get to Hoi An. Spending a day here is highly recommended. See if you can fit it into your ultimate family road trip through Vietnam.

Marble Mountains

You can find the Marble Mountains about 20km from Hoi An and about 10km from Da Nang. The name comes from the fact that they are 5 mountains made of limestone and marble. You can either walk up to the top or take the elevator to check out pagodas and temples. The views you’ll get from the mountains are another reason to take the trip to the Marble Mountains. And while you’re there, don’t forget to explore one of the caves.

10 things to do in Hoi An with kids

Take in the sights of the Old Town

Get something tailor made

Walk on the Japanese Covered Bridge

Learn to cook a local dish

Relax at An Bang Beach

Buy a souvenir at the Lantern Market

Visit Hoi An Central Market

Go inside Tan Ky Old House

Enter the gates of the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall

Get crafty and make your own souvenir

Locals eating outside in Hoi An - Vietnam
Nightlife in Hoi An - Vietnam

Take in the sights of the Old Town

First on this list is roaming around the Old Town. Check out the French colonial architecture and the Thu Bon River. Buy a snack from a food cart, shop around and

Hoi An is known as one of the prettiest and most picturesque cities in Vietnam thanks to the 800 historical buildings you can find here. Unlike other cities in Vietnam, Hoi An managed to escape most of the bombing that happened during the Vietnam War. That’s why you get a chance to enjoy its history. And while you admire the view you walk through quaint streets decorated with lanterns in all the colors of the rainbow.

Store fronts in Hoi An - Vietnam
The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An - Vietnam

Let the exploration of the Old Town be the first thing you scratch of the this list of 10 things to do in Hoi An with kids. That way you get to know the city pretty fast and know where to find all the top things to see and do.

Get something tailor made

Hoi An is famous worldwide for its tailoring industry and it’s not hard to find out why. You can find dozens of tailors in the Old Town. This is your chance to own a tailor made suit, dress or other piece of clothing.

Before you enter one of the shops check out their reviews online. Not all of them are worth spending your money at. Another tip is to know what you want, before you go in. Show a picture of the item you’d like custom made or draw something yourself. Make sure they know exactly what you want, and if you’re not sure that they get what you mean, have them draw it out for you.

Buying tailor made clothes in Hoi An - Vietnam
Buying tailor made clothes in Hoi An - Vietnam

At most of the tailors you can also buy leather goods. You can also opt to get a leather bag, belt or wallet made especially for you. Or buy leather items off the shelve.

We were really happy with our suits that were tailor made for us by Truong An. We all got one and our son looked very dapper in his cashmere suit. My man also got 2 tailored long sleeved shirts. And I also bought a few leather bags that are of great quality.

Do you enjoy this list of the top 10 things to do in Hoi An with kids?

If so, read more about family travel in Vietnam

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The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An - Vietnam

Walk on the Japanese Covered Bridge

Constructed at the end of the 16th century and completed at the beginning of the 17th century, the Japanese Covered bridge is a historical building you must see in Hoi An. It was built by Vietnamese, with the help of Japanese constructors. The construction is very tough and meant to hold when earthquakes strike.

This 18 meters long landmark of Hoi An is also known as the Cau Pagoda (Chùa Cầu) can be found at the western part of the Old Town, right where the Thu Bon River meets the Cau An Hoi Bridge. The Cau Pagoda is covered, hence the name. The entrances are guarded by beautifully carved out dogs and monkeys.

Admission to this bridge is gained with your Old Town ticket, more on that one later. This ticket also grants you entrance to 5 Hoi An attractions. The Japanese Covered Bridge can be one of them.

Thousands of tourists flock to Hoi An to see this historical and beautiful bridge. It begs the question if you’ve even been to Hoi An if you haven’t visited it while there. It definitely deserves a spot high up this top 10 things to do in Hoi An with kids.

Market in Hoi An - Vietnam
Street food cart in Hoi An - Vietnam

Learn to cook a local dish

You really get to learn about the culture of a country by visiting local markets and taking a cooking class. More often than not these two things are combined when you book a cooking class. The Vietnamese kitchen is raved about all over the world and rightly so. And Hoi An is a town for foodies.

Most of the dishes are als very kid friendly. A great activity to do as a family is a cooking class that’s suitable for kids. You can opt for a 2 hour class or a half day or full day course. You can prebook tickets via Get Your Guide. And if you don’t like to book ahead, you will definitely get lucky when you book it while in Hoi An. There are so many cooking classes on offer, that you can start a class the next day or the day after that.

You start by getting a shopping list, so you can buy your ingredients yourselves from the Hoi An Central Market. After that you start cooking. Dishes like wontons, chicken with rice (Com Ga), Bahn Xeo which is a savory pancake and of course Hoi An’s most famous dish Cao Lau noodles.

One of the most popular classes is by the Gioan Restaurant & Family Cookery School. But it’s a very popular one, so book ahead.

Playing at An Bang Beach in Hoi An - Vietnam

Relax at An Bang Beach

Hit pause on exploring the Ancient town of Hoi An and head to the beach. An Bang Beach is Hoi An’s most favorite beach to hang at. For both tourists and locals.

While frolicking on the beach and playing in the sea, vendors sell food and souvenirs. You can rent deck chairs for the prize of a bottle of water, they’re pretty cheap.

Delicious food can also be bought at one of the many bars and restaurants located alongside each other on the beach. Local dishes and fresh seafood. And drinks like fresh coconuts, fresh fruit juices, mocktails and cocktails.

At the end of the day the locals will join you after a long day of work or study.

Paper lantern shop in Hoi An - Vietnam

Buy a souvenir at the Lantern Market

Next on the list of best 10 things to do in Hoi An with kids is a family favorite. Lots of people refer to the Hoi An Night Market the Lantern Market. That’s because the Night Market at the Nguyen Hoang Street get lits up by sparkling lanterns, as soon as night falls.

You can get beautiful locally made products like paper lanterns and umbrellas, carved wooden animals, spoons and music boxes. This is the place to be to buy locally made souvenirs for the whole family.

Making a wish

After visiting the Hoi An Night Market, walk towards the Thu Bon River. There you’ll find vendors that sell paper lanterns with a candle light in there. You can buy one and while you let it float away on the river: make a wish.

And if the kids are still up for something, head back to the lantern market and look up. You’ll see that there are lots of rooftop cafe’s there. Enter one of them and enjoy all the people walking through the street, the music coming from the shops and the colors of the lanterns. All while enjoying a nice drink.

Hoi An Old Town Ticket

To get into the Old Town, or Ancient Town, you need a ticket. With the money travelers pay for the entrance ticket, locals can renovate the historical houses where they live. It’s also used for renovation of the temples and pagodas.

You can’t buy these tickets in advance and you have to go to the ticket offices to buy them. Most of them are open from 7am to 7pm. Some even remain open until 9pm. There are about 15 ticket booths spread out all over town, these are some of the places where you can buy a ticket:

  • the crossroad of Nguyen Phuc Chu and Chau Thuong Van next to the An Hoi Bridge
  • the Japanese Covered Bridge
  • the gate of the Ba Mu Temple
  • the crossroad of Hoang Dieu and Tran Phu right near the Hainan assembly hall

What does the Hoi An Old Town ticket cover?

Of course it covers entry to the UNESCO-inscribed area anytime during the day. Please make sure to keep the tickets on you at all times. Don’t leave it at your accommodation. In addition to entry to the Ancient Town of Hoi An, ticket holders can enter 5 sightseeing places in the area. At each attraction, they cut off one of the 5 pieces at the side of your ticket. When all are cut, you need to buy another ticket to see the other 16 sights in the Old Town.

Market in Hoi An - Vietnam

Visit Hoi An Central Market

A must amongst the 10 things to do in Hoi An with kids is a visit to Hoi An Central Market. If you’re doing a cooking class here, you will visit it as part of that class. If not, make sure you find time in your itinerary to check out this market.

The Hoi An Central Market is located at the banks of the Thu Bon River and runs from the Cau An Hoi Bridge to the end of Nguyen Hong Street. You can buy fresh vegetables, fruits and meat here. And you can get freshly cooked local dishes like Cau Lau with white rose dumplings, spring rolls, pho and banh mi.

Go inside Tan Ky Old House

What family member can resist taking a peek inside of a house that’s centuries old? Take a step back in time and visit the Old House of Tan Ky in the middle of the Ancient Town of Hoi An, near the Japanese Covered Bridge.

Tan Ky old house in Hoi An was built in 1741 and it was the trading place of the local merchants as well as the foreign traders in the 18th and 19th centuries. Back then Hoi An was an important trading post in Vietnam.

Tan Ky ancient house is still managed by the family who has lived her for ages, the Le family. This family lives on the top floor. Only the first floor is open to travelers.

In 1990, the old house was recognized as a World Natural Heritage by UNESCO. A UNESCO site within a UNESCO site, how cool.

The Tan Ky Old House is open daily from 7am to 5pm. You can use your Hoi An Old Town ticket to enter. Note that if your visiting this ancient house with small children, that you keep a close eye on them. No one is allowed to touch any of the ancient artefacts.

Phuc Kien Temple in Hoi An - Vietnam
Dragon statues at the Phuc Kien Temple in Hoi An - Vietnam

Enter the gates of the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall

One of the most colorful temple complexes we’ve explored in Vietnam was the gorgeous Phuc Kien (Fukien) Assembly Hall. Also known as the Fujian Assembly Hall, this is one of five assembly halls in Hoi An. It was erected at the end of the 17th century as a place of worship for the Chinese Fukien people.

Phuc Kien Temple in Hoi An - Vietnam
Inside the Phuc Kien Temple in Hoi An - Vietnam

The colorful courtyard with the gorgeous dragons in a fountain is a kid favorite. And all the pink and red colors, make it stand out from other temples. Other fountains have carved out Koi Carp, lions and other animals.

If you have time for only one assembly hall, let it be the Fujian Assembly Hall. You’ll need about an hour to see it all. And again, you can use your Hoi An Old Town ticket to get admitted.

 

Get crafty and make your own souvenir

Last on this list of 10 things to do in Hoi An with kids is all about arts and crafts. All over town you get a chance to learn local crafts. Like making a paper lantern, making cutlery from bamboo and you can even do a calligraphy class in Hoi An.

We loved the paper lantern class. But, I have to be honest, we didn’t do any of the other classes. Only the cooking and paper lantern ones.

I can’t tell you what the other ones are like, but we did peek into the bamboo workshop at Taboo Bamboo and it seemed fun.

Fisherwoman in Hoi An - Vietnam

Other things to do in Hoi An with kids

We touched on the top 10 things to do in Hoi An with kids, but there are also some other great things to do in Hoi An. They deserve a mention as well.

So if you’re in Hoi An for 5 days or longer, you can add the following fun things as well:

  • Go to the Hoi An Silk Village
  • Do a cyclo tour
  • Enjoy a free walking tour (tipping is necessary)
  • Visit the Hoi An Museum

5 things to do in Hoi An with kids

If you have 3 days in Hoi An with kids, you probably have to drop a few activities. Make sure to keep these things in your itinerary:

  • Take in the sights of the Old Town
  • Get something tailor made
  • Walk on the Japanese Covered Bridge
  • Buy a souvenir at the Lantern Market
  • Enter the gates of the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall
About me Sas Crossing Countries

Hi, I’m Saskia!

I travel the world with my family of 4 and write about our adventures.

Sas Crossing Countries is a family travel blog. It’s created to inspire other parents to travel the world with their kids. Gift your kids the world! It’s the most valuable present you can give them.

With all the experience I have as a traveling parent I’ve got lots of tools and tips for you. So on this site you’ll not only find family travel blog posts, you can also download FREE pocket guides, travel checklists and eBooks from my resources page.

All that I share can be used to plan your own ultimate family road trip!

Get FREE ebook The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road TripVisit our travel shop!Become a member of my private family travel Facebook group


You might also like


About me Sas Crossing Countries

Hi, I’m Saskia!

I travel the world with my family of 4 and write about our adventures.

Sas Crossing Countries is a family travel blog. It’s created to inspire other parents to travel the world with their kids. Gift your kids the world! It’s the most valuable present you can give them.

With all the experience I have as a traveling parent I’ve got lots of tools and tips for you. So on this site you’ll not only find family travel blog posts, you can also download FREE pocket guides, travel checklists and eBooks from my resources page.

All that I share can be used to plan your own ultimate family road trip!

Get FREE ebook The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road TripVisit our travel shop!Become a member of my private family travel Facebook group

Get my FREE eBook!

The Ultimate Beginners guide: Planning a Family Road Trip

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