Hoi An is undoubtedly one of the most romantic and picturesque locations in Southeast Asia. Filled with pretty lanterns, flourishing rice paddies and ancient buildings; this town in central Vietnam is the perfect setting for couples to delight in romantic activities. No matter if you’re on a 2-week trip around Northern Vietnam, or a month escape from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, Hoi An should firmly be placed on your list of places to visit. Here we have 5 incredible things to do in Hoi An for couples.
1. Stroll around the old town & bridge
Hoi An’s charming character makes a stroll around the old town with your significant other an essential thing to do. When walking around hand-in-hand, embrace the opportunity to take in the sights of the unique, yellow-washed walls of each building, the colors of the lanterns that dangle from the doors of almost every shop and restaurant, and the smell of tasty, local food being fried up along the waterfront.
As you roam around the old town, make sure to stop by the 18th Century Japanese covered bridge, Bu Ma Temple gates, and Quang Cong Temple for some awesome couple pictures.
2. Take a romantic bike ride through the rice paddies
Hoi An is blessed with an abundance of greenery and rice paddies. Only a short, 5-minute cycle away from the center of Hoi An, you and your partner will feel like you’re a world away from life in the old town.
Rent a bicycle for the day and head out into nature. As you slowly cycle through the rice fields, get a glimpse into the rural Vietnamese lifestyle. Peer out at the local non-la wearing villagers, ploughing away in the fields and tending to their livestock.
Pro tip: Many hotels offer free bicycle rental, so make sure to look out for this when you’re booking your accommodation. If your accommodation doesn’t offer bicycle rental, you can rent one from one of the bicycle rental shops. Rental prices are around 50,000 vnd ($2.15) per day.
3. Wine and dine at one of the many restaurants
Hoi An old town boasts plenty of eateries, offering local, regional dishes not to be seen anywhere else in Vietnam. Sit by the riverbank and enjoy a pork noodles dish called Cao Lau, a shrimp dumpling appetizer called White Rose or maybe even a plate of shredded chicken and rice called Com Ga Hoi An.
Alternatively, to the street food variety, there are countless cute, quaint and dimly lit restaurants lining the river, serving all kinds of local and international cuisines. No matter which establishment you choose to eat at, you’re sure to have an intimate dinner together. Most of the restaurants put out candles in the middle of the tables and have lanterns dangling from the ceiling.
4. Take a cooking class together
Cooking and laughing together is often portrayed in films as a romantic “lovey-dovey” couple thing to do. Whilst on the road, the opportunity to spend time cooking together rarely arises. However, Hoi An is the perfect place to throw yourself into learning how to cook some traditional Vietnamese food.
What’s special about a Hoi An cooking tour is the opportunity to cook on a private island away from the hustle and bustle of other tourists and busy roads. The cooking class consists of a trip to the local market to buy your produce, and then a ride on a basket boat before reaching an idyllic island, where you will learn how to cook a variety of dishes.
Start with a crash course on how to roll a fresh spring roll, followed by a traditional Vietnamese pancake. Finally, a cooking tour wouldn’t be complete without learning how to cook the national dish; pho (beef noodle soup).
To book a cooking trip, you can book online beforehand or inquire about the trip at your accommodation or one of the tour agencies in the old town.
5. Float down the river on a boat
Finally, complete your trip to Hoi An with a dreamy night time boat ride down the river. Sit back and relax in the arms of your partner while you peacefully float up and down as the colorful lights from the lanterns glisten off the water. You may want to bring along a nice bottle of wine or your drink of choice to enjoy during the ride.
Pro tip: There is no need to prebook a boat ride along the river in advance. Just simply roll up and seek out one of the many locals in their boats who are waiting for you to hop on board. The price of a 30 minutes trip should cost no more than 100,000 vnd ($4.31).
How to get to Hoi An
Hoi An doesn’t have an airport, so if you choose to reach Hoi An by air you will need to fly into Da Nang. Airlines such as VietJet Air and Air Asia offer daily flights into Da Nang for relatively cheap prices. From Da Nang, you can book a transfer to Hoi An. The journey is 30 km and takes around 40 minutes.
Overland from Hue
Many bus companies are running the route from Hue to Hoi An, all of which can be booked online. The journey from Hue to Hoi An takes around 4 hours. Alternatively, if you’re a confident motorbike rider, you can rent a motorbike and drive yourself. Companies such as Hue Motorbike Tour, offer motorbike rental and luggage transfer service, allowing you to ride the famous Hai Van Pass at your leisure with the ease of not lugging around your luggage.
Overland from Nha Trang
Similar to going overland from Hue, there are plenty of bus companies running the route. To save time and money, we recommend making the journey during the night on one of the comfortable and convenient sleeper buses, that allow you to fully recline into a sleeping position. Again, these buses can be booked online for your convenience.
To conclude, Hoi An is the perfect destination in Vietnam for couples to retreat for a relaxing romantic time together. From cycling the rice paddies, strolling around the colorful old town, to indulging in tasty food over candle light; there’s plenty of things to do to keep you on your toes and wanting more of Hoi An. So, whether you’re on a quick stop in Hoi An or have chosen it as your honeymoon destination, you’re sure to have a wonderful time with your loved one.