8 Free Things To Do In Hoi An

Jan 18, 2024

Nestled on the central coast of Vietnam, Hoi An is a city that effortlessly blends history, culture, and natural beauty. Known for its well-preserved ancient town, lantern-lit evenings, and delectable cuisine, Hoi An offers an array of experiences that won’t cost you a dime. In this guide, we unveil the charming old city with a list of free things to do in Hoi An, allowing you to immerse yourself in the city’s unique charm without worrying about budget.

Wander Through the Ancient Town – top 1 of free things to do in Hoi An

Hoi An’s UNESCO-listed Ancient Town is a treasure trove of history and architecture. Stroll through its narrow winding streets, adorned with yellow-painted buildings, and marvel at the fusion of Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese influences. The town is particularly enchanting in the early morning or late afternoon when the golden sunlight bathes the streets in a warm glow.

free things to do in hoi an ancient town free things to do in hoi an

As you wander through the Ancient Town of Hoi An, don’t be afraid to venture into the less-traveled alleys and courtyards. Many hidden gems, such as ancient houses, art galleries, and small family-owned businesses, are tucked away from the main streets. Exploring these intimate spaces provides a more authentic glimpse into the local way of life.

Delve into the spiritual side of Hoi An by exploring the ancient temples and pagodas that dot the town. While some may have entrance fees for detailed tours, the exteriors and surroundings often provide a serene atmosphere for quiet contemplation and appreciation of the architectural beauty.

Enjoy Candlelit Evenings along Thu Bon River

free things to do in hoi an thu bon river

One of the free things to do in Hoi An is experience the enchantment of Hoi An’s evenings as the lantern-lit streets come alive. Walk along the Thu Bon River and absorb the magical ambiance created by thousands of flickering candles. This spectacle, especially on special occasions or during lantern festivals, transforms the ancient town into a fairytale-like setting.

Marvel at the Night Market

As the sun sets, Hoi An’s vibrant night market comes alive. Meander through the bustling stalls along the riverside, where local vendors showcase an array of handcrafted lanterns, traditional clothing, and souvenirs. While purchasing items may not be free, the lively atmosphere and cultural immersion are priceless.

free things to do in Hoi An night market free things to do in Hoi An night market

Marvel at the array of local handicrafts and artisanal products that line the Night Market. From intricately woven textiles and handmade jewelry to traditional lanterns and wooden carvings, the market is a treasure trove of unique and authentic Vietnamese craftsmanship. While some items are for sale, the act of appreciating the artistry comes at no cost.

Bring your camera and capture the vibrant scenes of the Night Market. The combination of colorful lanterns, bustling crowds, and the eclectic array of goods on display offers fantastic photographic opportunities. The market’s lively energy and visual appeal make it a favorite subject for both amateur and professional photographers.

>> Top 15 Best Hoi An Attractions for Curious Travelers, discovery here!

Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge

Cross the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge, a symbol of Hoi An’s rich history. The Japanese Covered Bridge, also known as Chùa Cầu or Lai Vien Kieu, stands as a symbol of Hoi An’s rich history and cultural fusion. Built in the 18th century by the Japanese community, the bridge has weathered time and remains a testament to the town’s diverse heritage.

free things to do in hoi an japanese covered bridge

What sets the Japanese Covered Bridge apart is its unique blend of architectural styles. The structure combines Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese design elements, reflecting the harmonious coexistence of different cultures in Hoi An during the bridge’s construction.

Entrance to the bridge is free, and visitors are encouraged to walk across and explore its intricacies. The modest size of the bridge, combined with its historical and architectural significance, makes it a must-visit destination for those exploring Hoi An’s Ancient Town.

>> Explore more: Top 08 best places for things to visit in Hoi An

Unwind at Cua Dai Beach from daylight to sunset

Take a leisurely bike ride or stroll to Cua Dai Beach, a short distance from the ancient town. Cua Dai Beach, with its unspoiled beauty and tranquil atmosphere, provides an ideal canvas for various accessible and enriching experiences.

Whether you choose to engage in social activities, practice mindfulness, or simply soak in the natural beauty, the beach invites you to unwind and create lasting memories without spending a dime.

Pack a simple picnic with local snacks and refreshing beverages, and enjoy a delightful meal by the sea. Spread out a blanket on the sandy shores, savor the local flavors, and let the rhythmic sounds of the waves enhance your dining experience. It’s an intimate and cost-free way to enjoy the beach.

free things to do in Hoi An Cua Dai

Cua Dai Beach provides a picturesque setting for photography enthusiasts. Capture the ever-changing hues of the sunset, the silhouettes of fishing boats on the horizon, and the reflection of the sun on the calm waters. It’s a free and rewarding activity for those who appreciate the art of photography.

Take a photograph tour to Hoi An’s fishing villages

Hoi An is also surrounded by fishing villages, which offer a glimpse into the traditional way of life in Vietnam. Embarking on a photography tour around the fishing villages is the one of the best free things to do in Hoi An that unveils the authentic and captivating soul of the local lifestyle.

As the morning sun casts its warm glow, fishermen set out on traditional fishing boats, creating picturesque scenes against the backdrop of the river.

free things to do in Hoi An fishing village free things to do in Hoi An fishing village

Capture the vibrance of daily life as fishing nets are cast, boats adorned with colorful flags navigate the waterways, and local villagers engage in age-old practices. The interplay of light and shadow, the vibrant colors of the fishing boats, and the genuine expressions of the villagers present various opportunities for photographers seeking to capture the essence of Hoi An’s maritime culture.

Experience Hoi An Central Market

Rise early and explore the ancient town as it awakens. Witness locals setting up their market stalls and engaging in morning traditions. Visit the local marketplaces where the day’s fresh produce is showcased, and the aroma of traditional Vietnamese breakfast fills the air. Observing these daily rituals offers a deeper connection to the pulse of Hoi An.

free things to do in Hoi An central market

Immerse yourself in the local way of life by exploring Hoi An’s Central Market. While the temptation to purchase fresh produce, spices, and handmade crafts may be strong, simply wandering through the lively market offers a sensory experience and insight into daily Vietnamese life.

Join Riverside Yoga and Tai Chi

Begin your day in Hoi An by joining the riverside yoga and tai chi sessions. Many locals and visitors gather along the banks of the Thu Bon River, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere. The morning tranquility, combined with the river’s gentle flow, sets the perfect stage for a rejuvenating experience.

The riverside yoga and tai chi sessions often attract experienced instructors who guide participants through the graceful movements. Additionally, you’ll find locals who passionately engage in these ancient practices, creating a welcoming environment for individuals of all skill levels.

Participating in riverside yoga and tai chi is not just about physical well-being; it’s an opportunity for community bonding and cultural exchange. You can engage in conversations with fellow participants, locals, and fellow travelers, creating connections beyond the yoga mat.

Bike Ride to Cam Thanh Coconut Village

Embark on a delightful bike ride from Hoi An to Cam Thanh Coconut Village, pedaling through picturesque landscapes of vibrant green rice paddies. The journey itself is a feast for the eyes, with the rhythmic sway of the rice stalks and the refreshing breeze guiding you toward the village.

 free-things-to-do-in-hoi-an-bike-to-cam-thanh-village free things to do in Hoi An Cam thanh village

As you approach Cam Thanh, the bike path leads you along the Thu Bon River, offering panoramic views of the waterway and the traditional fishing boats that gracefully glide across its surface. The tranquility of the riverbanks enhances the overall biking experience.

Cam Thanh is known for its expansive coconut groves and lush natural surroundings. The serene environment is perfect for a leisurely exploration, and you may even encounter local wildlife along the way. Park your bike and immerse yourself in the laid-back rhythm of Cam Thanh. Witness the locals engaged in daily activities, such as weaving coconut leaves or tending to their vegetable gardens.


The ancient town’s lantern-lit streets, traditional boat races, and vibrant night market beckon exploration without breaking the bank. These free things to do in Hoi An are a gateway to the heart of Vietnam’s history and traditions.

For a seamless journey through the diverse landscapes and cultural gems of Vietnam, Asia Encounter’s Vietnam 14-day North to South expedition is the perfect complement. Connecting these free things to do in Hoi An with a broader exploration, this meticulously curated tour not only captures the enchantment of Hoi An but takes travelers on an immersive odyssey from the northern wonders of Hanoi to the bustling energy of Ho Chi Minh City in the south.

With Asia Encounter, discover the allure of Hoi An’s free offerings and seamlessly extend the exploration through the entirety of Vietnam, unlocking the nation’s beauty and charm at every step of the way.


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