Visit Hoi An and Hue City in 2 days

You only have two days to visit Hoi An and Hue City on your trip in Vietnam. With the limited time, it is necessary to prepare a reasonable travel itinerary and suitable transportation in advance. This can support you to discover the most interesting unique features at each stop deeply.

Vietnamdrive will introduce you to a perfect plan for two days in Hoi An and Hue City. This plan has helped a lot of tourists save time because the factors such as travel time, tourist destinations, and outstanding cultural features are arranged suitable for fascinating exploration within two days in Central Vietnam.

Hoi An to My Son Tour
Cham Dance – photo: Bao Huy

Day 1: Discover Hoi An and My Son Holy Land

Hoi An attracts the attention of many tourists when choosing Vietnam as a destination for their family vacations. The unique, friendly and energetic way of tourism of the locals has become a prominent feature that helps Hoi An to always make a great impression in the hearts of tourists. Rich tourist products and services also create excitement for the increasing demand for recreation, entertainment, experience, and discovery of visitors throughout the five continents. If you only have one day in Hoi An, there are many things that definitely should not be missed.

Today we do the best itinerary to visit Hoi An Ancient Town and My Son Sanctuary.

Waking up early and enjoying the bustling atmosphere of Thanh Ha fish market will be the first exciting activity of the day. Thanh Ha Fish Market is located in Thanh Ha Ward, about 4 km west of the ancient town of Hoi An, and takes about 12 minutes to get here by car from the city center.

Thanh Ha Market in Hoi An Vietnam
Thanh Ha Market in Hoi An – Photo: Bao Huy

Thanh Ha Fish Market, one of the biggest fishing ports in Hoi An, starts operating from 3:00 am to 10:00 am every day. However, the busiest and most tumultuous times fall between 5:00 and 6:00 am. Depending on the weather, the season as well as the productivity of fishers, the bustle here changes day by day.

For tourists, 5:00 am to 5:30 am is the most appropriate time for experiencing the fish market of Thanh Ha. You are almost caught up in the bustling atmosphere with many boats going in and out constantly and carrying fresh fishes from the sea. Traders exchange trading and bargain the prices. Workers hurriedly transport seafood baskets from ships to the banks or the trucks to other markets around Hoi An and Da Nang City.

Everything becomes more vivid in the sunlight when the sunset is ready to welcome a new day. If you are a photography enthusiast, you definitely should not miss this place. There are many professional and amateur photographers coming here because of the impressive scenery that the fishing market offers. Early morning at the fishing market will help visitors to recognize the typical style, culture of the daily life of the local people.

After returning from the Thanh Ha fish market, you should take time for your breakfast. Banh Mi Phuong (Phuong Vietnamese Bread) is an exciting suggestion. Take your bread from Phuong bread restaurant to a café shop to enjoy “the best bread in the world” with a cup of Vietnamese coffee. You can also try any other kind of drink prepared according to the formula of the restaurant. The total amount of money you have to spend on Phuong bread and a cup of coffee is equivalent to 2USD to 3 USD. Of course, this is considered the most convenient way to help visitors see how Hoi An people start the day.

8:00 am to 8:30 am: transfer to My Son to visit the ancient holy land of the Cham people. My Son Sanctuary includes a complex of monuments bearing cultural traces of the Cham people in the most flourishing period. The highlight of these buildings is the technical mystery and adhesive materials used to build the towers and temples dating back to the 7th century.

My Son Holy Land Vietnam
My Son Holy Land – Photo: Vietnamdrive

It will take you about 1 hour and 15 minutes to travel from Hoi An to My Son Sanctuary by car. It is just enough for guests to enjoy the Cham dance performance at 9:30 am or the second show at 10:00 am at the cultural performance house located in the monuments’ area.

Ticket price to visit My Son relics is 150,000vnd / person, which includes entrance ticket, tram fee for moving to the monument from the gate, and a show of Cham dance at the performing house.

Farewell to My Son, return to Hoi An Ancient City. It’s time you suggest your driver stop at Cau Mong to enjoy Be thui (barbecue beef) – a famous specialty in Quang Nam. You will realize that it is worth the perfect lunch, full of energy with an average cost of 10usd / guest. Suggestions of Vietnamdrie for famous restaurants chosen by a large number of customers are: Be Thui Muoi or Be Thui Bay Lep. The two restaurants are located on Highway 1A in Dien Phuong, Dien Ban town, about 7.5 km from the center of Hoi An city. In particular, these addresses are situated right on the route from My Son to Hoi An, so it is entirely convenient for tourists to stop for lunch.

With this program, you have an entire afternoon to explore the ancient town of Hoi An. But, first, whether you are a fashionista or just consider fashion as necessary clothing, you should visit a tailor shop in the old town. It is because clothes, skirts, and suits made here are handcrafted according to the measurement, size, form of each individual. There are many models available for customers to choose, or you can also ask the store owners to follow the model you have. They always have a variety of fabrics with different colors and patterns to serve tourists best.

In particular, the price of tailor-made clothes is exceptionally reasonable for quality above expectations. If you complete to choose the model and to take measurements in the early afternoon, after dinner, you can return to the store to try out the item and make a few repair requests if necessary. Customers are also assured if they have to leave the next morning because the clothes which you order the previous afternoon can be delivered to your hotel as your request.

Hoi An Ancient Town Vietnam
Hoi An Ancient Town – Photo: Pham Vu

Take two hours to visit the outstanding monuments in the center of Hoi An old town such as:

  • Museums: Hoi An, Sa Huynh Culture, Folklore, Trade Ceramics.
  • Cultural works: Japanese Bridge, Cam Pho Temple, Quan Cong Temple.
  • Old houses: Tran chapel, Tan Ky old house, Quan Thang ancient house, Phung Hung old house.
  • Assembly Halls: Fujian, Guangdong, Chaozhou.
  • Traditional handicraft at 41 Le Loi, Hoi An Handicraft Workshop (9 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street)

These places represent the deep culture of the ancient town. Hoi An includes a mixture of cultural diversity between ancient Cham culture, Chinese culture of the Ming Dynasty, and Vietnamese Confucian culture.

An entrance ticket costs VND 120,000, and visitors can choose 5 sites out of the relics listed above for your exploration of Hoi An.

In addition, visitors cannot miss Hoi An market. Located at the gateway to the old town, Hoi An Market becomes the gathering point of all the current lifestyle of the people here. They sell everything, such as vegetables, tubers, fruits, fishes, fresh meat of daily necessities, household goods, fashion clothes, and cosmetics.

Many small souvenirs with pretty reasonable prices are also available for sale around the market. Besides, Hoi An market has its own area for the most famous local dishes, such as bread, cao lau, sweet soup, Quang noodles, chicken rice, pancakes, or duck porridge… That is good to spend time here looking for some souvenirs or taste the local cuisine.

Leaving Hoi An market, you move to Hoi An boat station, less than 100 meters from the market. Here, choose a small wooden boat, and a local person will row it slowly on the Hoai River overlooking the old town in the sunset.

On both sides of the river, lanterns start lightening in place of the traces of a day that were quietly closing. The old town is so beautiful. And, there is no better view of Hoi An than the look from a boat drifting along the old streets. The price of an hour traveling on the Hoai River with a small boat accommodating 3-4 people is about 200,000 VND / boat.

Returning after a river cruise, it’s time to enjoy dinner at one of the famous restaurants in the old town. A few suggestions to choose are Miss Ly Cafe Restaurant, at 22 Nguyen Hue Street; Hai Cafe Restaurant, 98 Nguyen Thai Hoc; Morning Glory Restaurant, 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc; …

Ending the day in Hoi An, visitors can choose to walk around the old town covering by the color of the lanterns.

Day 2: Travel from Hoi An to Hue, visit the Imperial Palaces

8:00 am – 8:30 am: The best time to start the journey from Hoi An to Hue. The first stop is the Marble Mountains. Located about 18 km from Hoi An, 30 minutes by car, the Marble Mountains (Ngu Hanh Son) is at in Ngu Hanh Son District, Da Nang City. It consists of five limestone mountains named Kim Son, Moc Son, Thuy Son, Hoa Son, and Tho Son, within a radius of 2 km, surrounding a residential area near the coast. Visitors often choose Thuy Son (Mount Thuy) to explore. Mount Thuy is the most beautiful one out of the five mountains in Ngu Hanh Son. This mount has full of caves, rocky cliffs, gazebo, and sacred temples.

Marble Mountains Vietnam
The Way going into Huyen Khong Cave – Photo: @matt.dbse

Around the food of Mount Thuy is a famous carving-stone village. It is not difficult to find unique marble artworks here made from the talented hands of artisans. After visiting the Marble Mountains, tourists can visit this village to admire and find a product of art to decorate in their houses or gardens.

From the Marble Mountains, visitors need an additional 1 hour and 10 minutes by car to reach the top of Hai Van Pass (Sea-cloud Pass). This site is also called “the most majestic gate”. The Sea-cloud Pass is one of the most beautiful and rugged passes in Central Vietnam.

Stop at the top of the pass, we can see the whole scenery of Da Nang city, Tien Sa port, Son Tra peninsula and Cu Lao Cham island (with the good condition of weather). The top of Hai Van Pass is also the ideal location if you really want to have a convincing view of the awesome adventure from the zigzag roads to go up the mountain.

From Hai Van peak, the journey passes the 13 km long, and we will reach Lang Co beach. Lang Co Bay is located right at the foot of Hai Van Pass. This bay is one of the most beautiful bays in the world, which was recognized by the World’s Most Beautiful Bays Club – Worldbays in 2009.

Lang Co Beach is like a masterpiece of nature that bestowed on this land. The perfect combination of majestic tropical mountains locates next to the blue coast with fine white sand longer than 10km. Interspersed among the beautiful scenery, the mysterious Lap An Lagoon forms the perfect connection for the natural picture that is more attractive and captivating. Indeed, you will lose a lot of space on the memory card of your camera because of the beautiful scenery that this place offers.

Lap An Lagoon Lang Co
Amazing Scenery of Lap An Lagoon – Photo: Pham Vu

After resting and taking photos at Lang Co Beach, we continue to move to the center of Hue city. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes for the 67km road to reach the first attraction in the complex of Hue Monuments: the Royal Tomb of Khai Dinh. This tomb is located about 10km from the center of Hue city, in Thuy Bang commune, Huong Thuy district, Hue City, Thua Thien – Hue Province. This is the tomb of the 12th king of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945).

The tomb of Khai Dinh has many unique features by a diverse combination of East-West architectural styles in construction. This factor helps Khai Dinh Royal Tomb be evaluated most differently in all the works belonging to th3 Hue ancient vestige complex, which was recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage. This building imprints the personality of King Khai Dinh and the social situation at a turbulent historical period, such as the decline in feudalism, and the East-West cultural interference. On average, visitors spend about 40 minutes to visit Khai Dinh tomb.

The next is to return to the city center and have lunch at a local restaurant with the famous dish: Bun Bo Hue. The address received many positive reviews for this dish is at Ba Xuan Restaurant at 17 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hue City. A bowl of beef vermicelli soup here costs from VND 35,000 to VND 45,000. Most diners feel enough with a bowl of Hue beef noodle soup, and it is a dish with unforgettable impressions.

bun bo hue
Hue Beef Vermicelli Soup – Photo: Vietnamdrive

Afternoon in Hue, we start visiting, exploring the palaces of the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam – Hue Citadel including Hue Imperial City & Forbidden Palace. Located on the northern bank of the Huong River, Hue Citadel (Kinh Thanh Hue) is the main architectural monument, which has the largest scale among the complex of the ancient capital of Hue. Built in 1804 under King Gia Long, the first king of the Nguyen Dynasty, Hue Citadel was the place to perform all royal activities during the reign of the 13 Nguyen Kings.

Despite the war and devastations, most of the principal works are still intact. Currently, the Imperial Royal Palaces of Hue are considered as the “heart” of the local tourism industry. Coming to Hue, tourists certainly do not miss this place. You need at least 1 hour to visit Hue Citadel including Imperial City and Forbidden Place if a guide accompanies you. However, there are still many visitors who need up to 3 hours to be able to visit all of this area. Therefore, hiring a guide is considered as a helpful suggestion for visitors when visiting this monument. That will help you save a lot of time and make it easier to experience the differences in Asian cultural, historical and architectural features here.

Leaving the Citadel, you need to move another 5km along the Perfume River, to the west of the city to visit Thien Mu pagoda. You will have an excellent chance to experience how the locals show their Buddhist beliefs.

thien-mu-pagoda
Tam Quan (Three-door gate) and Phuoc Duyen Tower of Thien Mu – Photo: Vietnamdrive

Established in 1601, under the reign of Lord Nguyen Hoang, Thien Mu Pagoda is the oldest pagoda in Hue, and it’s among the few most famous ancient pagodas in Vietnam. A unique location and many favorable feng shui elements help Thien Mu pagoda bring a mystical, spiritual color.

Every day, Thien Mu Pagoda attracts many Buddhists from all over Vietnam to worship. Besides, the grand scenery of the pagoda also becomes a highlight. Many tourists come here to enjoy the peaceful natural landscape, watch the charming Huong river winding in front, learn about the architecture of the ancient pagodas in Hue, or want to hear impressive legends about this place.

Explore Thien Mu Pagoda, you do not pay the entrance fee. However, formal wear with long-sleeve shirts and pants or a skirt covering knees is a mandatory rule for everyone who wants to visit the temple.

Finish the two-day Hoi An – Hue program with a dragon boat on the Perfume River from Thien Mu Pagoda to the city center. Travelers will see the lush banks of the Huong River and the poetic Hue city lying along both sides of the flow. About 40 minutes of the boat tour on the Perfume River is a wonderful relaxation before returning to the hotel. Enjoy dinner and take leisure time in your own way.


Conclusion

You only have two days in Hoi An and Hue City on your trip in Vietnam. With the limited time, it is necessary to prepare a reasonable travel itinerary and suitable transportation in advance. These suggestions can support you to discover the most interesting unique features at each stop deeply.

It is because travel time, tourist destinations, and outstanding cultural features are arranged suitable for fascinating exploration within two days in Central Vietnam. With the above plans, we have helped a lot of tourists save time.

Vietnamdrive has selected the highlights of Hoi An and Hue City carefully. The two-day tours give you great experiences. You can book a tour with a package, or just hire a professional driver and a private car to explore them flexibly.

About the author

The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.