Hoi An in Vietnam is one of our favourite places in Southeast Asia to spend a few days with the kids. The beaches here are incredible – long stretches of beautiful white sand for you to run and play on, and there are so many child-friendly resorts in Hoi An to choose from.
But there is so much more to do in Hoi An with kids than hitting the beach and your resort pool. The town itself is easy to navigate, even with a buggy (although you will sometimes be pushing it along the road alongside the motorbikes), the locals are welcoming to children and there are lots of fun activities to indulge your kids’ adventurous sides too.
Here we pick out some of the best things to do in Hoi An with kids:
Explore the Old Town
One of the best things to do in Hoi An for families is just exploring the town. You could happily spend a few hours wandering around the winding streets, popping into souvenir and art shops and stopping off for a Vietnamese Coffee or cold beer in the charming little courtyard restaurants that line the streets.
If your children are too small to walk too far (or even if they’re not), one of the most fun ways to take in the sights of Hoi An is to hire a cyclo for a half-hour or hour turn around the town. You could book through a tour company, or you will usually find a willing cyclo driver sitting in the shade on the corner near the Japanese Bridge. Make sure you negotiate before you set off!
Farming & Fishing Tour
A Farming & Fishing Tour is a great fun day out if you’re trying to find things to do in Hoi An with kids. It is a great way to see some of the beautiful countryside surrounding Hoi An, as well as educate your kids in the local way of life beyond the beaches and swimming pools.
Cycle through the paddy fields, learn to plant vegetables, ride a water buffalo, how to cast a fishing net from a traditional fishing boat and how to steer the round bamboo basket boats. Fun and educational – ideal.
Boat Ride on Thu Bon River
If you don’t have time to dedicate a full day to exploring the farming and fishing communities, you can still get out on the water in Hoi An with kids. Several companies offer boat trips ranging from one hour to half-day trips, but you can also just take a wander along the river on Bach Dang Street near An Hoi Bridge and negotiate with the many boat owners there to take you for a ride up the Thu Bon river. Of course your destination is in the hands of your helmsman but you should be able to take in some of the atmosphere of the rural riverside communities.
Hoi An is renowned for its fabulous food, from small snack stalls at the side of the road to family-run restaurants that have dished up secret recipe meals for generations. One of the best Hoi An things to do is to take a food tour of Hoi An with a local guide. It is a great way to get to know all the best joints in town for lunch and dinner. If you’re deciding what to do in Hoi An with kids, I can definitely recommend this.
We joined Hoi An Food Tour and learned how to make Banh Bao Banh Vac (white rose dumplings) at the most famous White Rose restaurant in town; visited Anthony Bourdain’s favourite Banh Mi takeaway; sat at the side of the road and ate Xi Ma (sweet black sesame soup) and visited the bustling Central Market for a piping bowl of Cao Lau (Hoi An Noodle Dish).
Hoi An is also famous for its tailor shops, which are everywhere, and having clothes made is one of the most popular things to do in Hoi An for tourists. Come armed with a favourite outfit to have copied, or browse through magazines or Pinterest on the shops’ iPads to choose your style. Ask your hotel for a recommendation, as the quality of the shops varies hugely. It’s not just for adults either – my 3-year old loved picking out some material and being measured up for a new skirt.
Looking for the best family resorts in Hoi An? Check out our guide to the Best Family-Friendly Hotels in Hoi An and Danang.
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