Hoi An is for us one of the best places to visit in Vietnam with kids. The beaches in Hoi An are incredible and some of the best in Vietnam for kids, with long stretches of beautiful white sand for them to run and play on, and there are so many beachfront child-friendly resorts in Hoi An to choose from.
But there is so many other things 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 stroller if you are visiting Hoi An with baby or toddler in tow (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 Hoi An things to see and do to indulge your kids’ adventurous sides too.
Worth noting is that the distance from Da Nang to Hoi An is not far at all – around 20-30 minutes in a taxi, and so if you are looking for things to do in Danang, then this article will be helpful to you too.
If you are planning your Vietnam holidays with kids, here we share with you what we think are the most fun things to do in Hoi An for kids.
Explore the Hoi An Old Town
One of our favourite Hoi An things to do is just exploring the Hoi An ancient town. The ease of exploring on foot is why we think Hoi An is one of the best cities for Vietnam family travel.
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.
Hoi An is renowned for its artists, so be sure to track down some of the little art shops where you can watch the artists at work and buy some unique art work for your walls at home. Be sure to admire the unique architecture – Chinese shophouses alongside French colonial architecture and don’t miss seeing the Japanese covered bridge, Hoi An’s most famous landmark.
Hoi An Cyclo Tour
If you are in Vietnam with children who are too small to walk too far (or even if they’re not), one of the most fun activities in Hoi An is to hire a cyclo for a half-hour or hour turn around the town to take in the sights.
Make sure you negotiate before you set off!
Farming & Fishing Hoi An Tour
A Farming & Fishing Tour is one of the best Hoi An tours we have done and for us is one of the best things to do in Vietnam for families. 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.
We kicked off our tour with a bit of family cycling Hoi An style – through the paddy fields and taking in the rural scenes. Our first stop was the Tra Que Vegetable Village, an organic vegetable and herb farm that supplies many of the Hoi An restaurants with their fresh produce.
Here, we learnt the traditional methods for planting and watering the vegetables, with everyone having a chance for some hands-on fun.
After stopping off to ride a water buffalo through the paddy fields we joined a boat on the Cua Dai River for the fishing section of the tour. First we learnt to paddle bamboo basket boats, before meeting up with some local to learn a few traditional net fishing techniques.
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. Taking a boat ride on the Thu Bon River is one of the most popular Hoi An activities and several companies offer boat trips ranging from one hour to half-day trips.
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 Food Tour
Hoi An is renowned as one of the best places in Vietnam for 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 top things to do in Vietnam is to take a Hoi An food tour 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 for your family trip to Vietnam.
We joined Hoi An Food Tour and learned how to make Banh Bao Banh Vac (white rose Hoi An dumplings) at the most famous White Rose restaurant in town. We also 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 Tailor Shops
Hoi An is also famous for its tailor shops, which are everywhere, and shopping in Hoi An and having clothes made is one of the top things to do in Hoi An. 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 for your Hoi An shopping, 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.
We were recommended to go to A Dong Silk. It has the reputation of being one of the best tailors in Hoi An, but has a price tag to go with it.
Hoi An Lantern Making Class
Hoi An Vietnam is also known as the City of Lanterns and you only need to take a wander around the Hoi An old quarter to see why. Recognised as symbol of luck, happiness and wealth, beautiful traditional lanterns in all shapes, colours and sizes can be seen bobbing in the breeze from all shops, houses and restaurants.
If you are travelling to Vietnam with kids who love a bit of arts and crafts, then a lantern making class is a great option. Use bamboo and silk to create any shape of lantern you want, and decorate it as you see fit.
Hoi An Water Puppets
Going to see a water puppet show is known as one of the fun things to do in Vietnam. The Hoi An water puppet show is at 6.30pm on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and is a good way to introduce some culture and history of Vietnam to kids.
There’s music, lights, smoke and dancing hand-made puppets. The whole show is only around 45 minutes, making it the perfect length to keep little kids entertained.
Where to Stay in Hoi An
There is a huge choice of Hoi An family accommodation to choose from. We have a full list of recommended Hoi An family hotels here. Our favourite Hoi An resorts for families are highlighted below:
The Four Seasons Nam Hai
If money is no object, this is absolutely one of the best hotels in Vietnam for a family vacation. Stunning landscaped gardens, a choice of swimming pools, kids club, beautiful beach and a good choice of hotels are all on offer at this Hoi An beach resort. We particularly like their family villas, and their private pool residences.
Hyatt Regency Danang
For a more affordable option, the Hyatt Regency Danang offers the option of two and three bedroom residences and three-bedroom pool villas all within the hotel complex. This Danang beach resorts is located on a stunning stretch of white sandy beach, and boasts a gorgeous swimming pool with both water slide and sand-play area, in addition to a kids club and choice of restaurants.
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