The ancient town of Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To walk within the old town area, it’s expected that all visitors carry an Ancient Town entrance ticket. This ticket allows you to explore Hoi An’s old town and its numerous well-maintained heritage buildings.
Preserving the ancient past requires modern day tourist money, and it was with this intent that the tickets were introduced. Although a ticket is now compulsory for tourists entering the old town, it is not consistently enforced.
To save you time scouring the net and getting conflicting advice, Hidden has pulled together an overview of the ticketing system, as well as information on where to buy tickets and how to use them. We’ve outlined the designated old town district and the ticketed heritage sites that the Ancient Town ticket covers.
Our aim is to make the whole system clearer for you so that you can get back to planning and enjoying your stay in Hoi An.
Old Town Entrance Tickets
The Ancient Town entrance ticket costs only 120,000 VND (5 USD) per person, which is a relatively low cost to visit the old town and its monuments. The fees go towards the maintenance and preservation of the city. Technically, the ticket is mandatory for entry to the old town; however, enforcement is inconsistent, and it is unlikely you will be asked to purchase one unless you are accompanied by a tour guide. The ticket allows you walking access to the all the streets within the old town district, and admission to a number of historic buildings, also referred to as sightseeing places, including heritage buildings, as well as museums and a theatrical performance. Each ticket allows you entrance to five sightseeing places. If you wish to visit more than five, you will need to purchase additional tickets. Most ticketed buildings or monuments will have official ticket collectors manning the entry.
When the ticket system was first introduced, tourists were expected to buy one ticket per person per day, for every day they spent in Hoi An’s old town. However, this being inconvenient and expensive for tourists, and difficult for the city to monitor, it’s now a common understanding that all visitors buy at least one ticket when they arrive in Hoi An, and this will be sufficient for the duration of their stay (even though the ticket states it is only valid for 24 hours). You may be asked to show your ticket at certain points around the city, or at different times of day, so it’s best to keep it on you even after you’ve used all your five sightseeing entries. Regular changes to regulations are very much the norm here and a part of everyday life in Vietnam. So, this could all change overnight and the ticket validity or requirements could change. It’s all a bit of a lottery, but nothing that needs to overwhelm you.
Hidden Hint: If you are entering the old town with a Vietnamese guide or friend, you will most likely be stopped by ticket inspectors near the ticket stall entrances as the town Statute for Managing Tourist Activities in Hoi An City states tour guides are responsible for ensuring all visitors have obtained a ticket.
Where to Buy Hoi An Old Town Tickets
Old Town tickets can only be bought at specific ticket stalls, and not at individual heritage sightseeing places. There are 11 ticket stalls located around the outskirts of the old town’s designated walking area. Ticket stalls are generally small yellow huts so, unfortunately, they aren’t so easy to spot, as they blend in with all the other yellow buildings and don’t have any clear writing or signage to make them stand out (you may not even realise you’ve walked past one).
Locations of ticket stalls:
- Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street and Hem 19 Hung Vuong street intersection, near Wellspring Cafe
- Cong Nu Ngoc Hoa street, across the intersection from Cabanon restaurant
- Duong Cao Hong Lanh street on An Hoi island, near Song Hoai Square Bridge
- Duong Cao Hong Lanh street on An Hoi island, near An Hoi bridge
- Phan Chu Trinh street and Hai Ba Trung street intersection
- Tran Phu street (northwest end of the street), south of Phan Chu Trinh street intersection
- Tran Phu street and Bach Dang street intersection, near the Japanese Bridge
- Tran Phu street and Le Loi street intersection
- Tran Phu street and Nguyen Hue street intersection
- Tran Phu street and Hoang Dieu street intersection (Tourist Information Centre)
- Bach Dang street and Hoang Van Thu street intersection
When you purchase a ticket, you should also receive a map indicating the location and sights around the Ancient Town district.
Ancient Town Designated Areas
After being granted UNESCO heritage status, the city brought in a ticket system to help fund the restoration and upkeep of the designated heritage sights and buildings.
Hoi An was inscribed as a United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in 1999 due to it being an extremely well-preserved example of a historic city.
The old town contains numerous well-maintained heritage buildings, artefacts, documents, artworks, and shrines, that have been preserved to their near original condition.
The old town area is the central hub of Hoi An and the location most tourists will visit. The streets are picturesque with their historic yellow and wood buildings, whimsical hanging lanterns, and delightful narrow streets, as well as the many shops selling handcrafted wares. There is also an amazing range of restaurants and bars to suit everyone’s tastes.
The designated old town area isn’t so clear when you’re physically walking the streets in Hoi An—it’s not obvious where the old town begins or ends, or which streets are included. There are signs mounted in various locations around the town indicating the area and it is also shown on any town maps or brochures from the ticket stalls. One of the biggest indicators of being in the designated areas is the lack of motorbikes.
Getting Around the Old Town
Travelling by bike or walking is the best way to explore the old town area. From 8:30 – 11 am and 3 pm – 9 pm (extended to 9:30 pm in summer) scooters and motorbikes are prohibited through the streets of the old town. The streets are cordoned off with large, movable signs to prevent vehicles from entering due to heavy foot traffic at these times.
Ticketed Sightseeing Places in the Old Town
The Centre for Culture and Sports of Hoi An City has deemed a number of heritage buildings and structures as sightseeing places that require ticket entry. Each old town ticket gives you access to five places. Opening hours differ between each place and many will close for lunch.
A number of these heritage buildings are private homes, assembly halls, temples, and museums. Traditional Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese, architectural styles and cultural values, can be seen throughout the historic structures in the old town, representing the city’s multi-ethnic history. Oriental design philosophies were often combined in one building, such as the triple beam structure, representing heaven, earth, and humans, as well as the five blocks to honour of the five natural elements—metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.
There a number of old houses in Hoi An, which are private family residences that have been well-preserved through the centuries and are now open to share with the public.
Trần Family’s Chapel
Address: 21 Le Loi – Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily
This is one of the oldest houses in Hoi An, built at the beginning of the 19th century by the Tran family. It was originally commissioned by a prominent mandarin Tran Tu Nhac to worship family ancestors and honour family traditions. The house, which was designed and built using traditional rules of Feng Shui, sits amongst a garden of ornamental plants, including fruit trees and flowers. The home contains relics and items of historical interest, such as an original sword and seal, and it remains in similar condition to two centuries ago.
Old House of Đức An
Address: 129 Tran Phu – Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily
The current owner is a direct descendant of the founding family, who has maintained the home in superb condition, keeping the original furnishings and antiques, but resisting the typical tourism approach of using the family home to sell souvenirs. The family has lived on the land for centuries, though the current structure was built in the 1850s. Early on, it was a prominent bookseller in the region, selling foreign philosophical texts, as well as local Vietnamese and Chinese literature. Later, it was used as a medicinal dispensary and a central meeting point for various political groups through the decades.
Nguyễn Tường Family’s Chapel
Address: 8 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai – Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily
This place of worship was built in 1806 and is a combination of Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese architectural styles. This chapel was commissioned by Nguyễn Tường Van, Headmaster of the Royal Army. The house is still maintained and managed by a descendant of Nguyễn Tường Van. It contains relics and historical items, is a home to a selection of rare books, and has souvenirs for sale.
Old House of Phùng Hưng
Address: 4 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai – Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily
Built in 1780, the style is typical of a commercial house of the era when Hoi An was flourishing. The ground floor of the building used to be a shop space, trading in popular items such as silk, ceramics, and spices. The second floor of this building is still used as a space to worship ancestors. The building also holds many historical records documenting trade and business in the region throughout the decades.
Old House of Quân Thắng
Address: 77 Tran Phu – Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., daily
This private residence was home to well-to-do Captain Quân Thắng. This historical house was built over 150 years ago and has been extremely well preserved. Many of the wooden beams and furniture throughout the building display details of incredibly skilled wood carving. It exhibits traditional Chinese style architecture and decoration and is a fantastic example of how wealthy merchants lived in previous centuries.
Old House of Tấn Ký
Address: 101 Nguyen Thai Hoc – Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., daily
This house is a great example of a typical merchant’s home in the 18th century and was one of the first three buildings to be certified as a national heritage building. The structure displays historical Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese styles of architecture, and has been well maintained over the centuries to preserve the original materials. There are four small areas in the house, including a traditional courtyard, which display many lovely antique items and furniture.
The museums are managed by the Center for Cultural Management and Preservation and each requires an Old Town Entrance ticket to visit. Hoi An has four museums that display a range of artefacts detailing the rich history of the region. For an in-depth review about Hoi An museums, click here.
Hoi An Museum
Address: 10B Tran Hung Dao Street – Business hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily
The Hoi An museum is home to artefacts from the past 2,000 years and is organised into three areas: history and culture, revolutionary history, and Hoi An’s ascent from hardship.
Museum of Trade Ceramics
Address: 80 Tran Phu St. – Business hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; closed on the 15th of every month
The Museum of Trade Ceramics displays a collection of antique ceramics dating from the 16th to 19th centuries which are housed in a restored wooden building dating back to 1858.
Museum of Folklore
Address: 33 Nguyen Thai Hoc St. – Business hours: 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily; closed on the 20th of every month
This museum is within a large two-storey historic house and displays artefacts about traditional folk arts, handicrafts, fishing, weaving, and silkworm farming practices. The entry ticket also includes a performance of traditional Vietnamese folk dance and music.
Museum of Sa Huỳnh Culture
Address: 149 Tran Phu – Business hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily; closed on the 10th of every month
This small museum provides a glimpse into the lives of the ancient Sa Huynh and Champa cultures. The museum exhibits a range of artefacts from 1000 B.C.E. to 300 A.C.E, including tools, jewellery, bowls, and weapons.
Temples & Pagodas
Quan Công Temple & Quan Am Pagoda
Address: 24 Tran Phu
Originally built in 1653, this temple honours Quan Cong, a high-profile mandarin of the Han Dynasty. The temple was built as a place of worship, where merchants could come and pay their respects to their ancestors, and pray for luck. The temple is home to two 10-foot high statues, one representing Quan Cong and his adopted son, as well as many other detailed statues and ancient artworks. The building is made of multiple rooms in traditional Chinese architectural style, has been kept in amazing condition over the centuries, and looks very much it would have originally looked.
Hoi An Traditional Art Performance Theatre
Address: 39 Nguyen Thai Hoc – Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., daily – Showtimes: 10:15 a.m., 3:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m.
This small theatre holds live performances three times a day, showcasing a range of traditional folk dance and music. Your old town ticket allows you to attend one of the sessions using one of the five entries to sightseeing places. You watch the performances up close and enjoy traditional music while the performers reference various relics and legends of Hoi An.
If you enter from 66 Bach Dang, you will also have the opportunity to admire the handicrafts at the Timing Masks workshop, where traditional theatre masks are created and painted. You can try your hand at painting a mask for an extra fee. Additionally, you can read our in-depth article on craft workshops here.
Xứ Đàng Trong
Address: 9 Nguyen Thai Hoc
Although this venue is listed in the information brochure, it no longer provides a ticketed performance experience. The building itself is large and traditional Vietnamese-styled with dark wood decor. They sell designer wares and souvenirs, and for a fee, they conduct lantern making and mask painting workshops for those who may be interested. They also offer henna body art.
This bridge is one of the most popular attractions in Hoi An and is also known as Cau Chua Pagoda. Originally constructed in the 1590s, the bridge is a lovely example of traditional Japanese architecture, and was built to connect the Japanese and Chinese quarters of the city. The roof on the bridge was added so the structure could also be used as a shield from both sun and rain. There’s also a shrine inside the bridge dedicated to the god of weather, Tran Bo Bac De, where sailors, merchants, and locals, could come to worship against inclement weather and natural disasters.
In previous centuries, communal houses were used in Hoi An as administrative centres and meeting places, as well as places of worship. Cultural activities were also held at communal houses, which sometimes included people from neighbouring villages, which made them important hubs of communication. The architecture and artefacts within the communal houses tell the story of cultural exchange and commercial business trading in the area. Hoi An has a number of communal houses, two of which have been classified as sightseeing places in the old town district.
Cẩm Phô Communal House / Cẩm Phô Temple
Address: 52 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai
Built over 200 years ago and restored in 1817 this communal house is built in the shape of a Chinese character. It has a large courtyard and magnificent Banyan tree and we found it to be humble yet interesting and much quieter than the other attractions.
Minh Hương Communal House / House of Tụy Tiên Đường
Address: 14 Tran Phu – Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Built by Chinese settlers in the late 18th century to worship ancestors who founded the Minh Huong village. This communal house has been restored five times to the present day. Chinese people would acquire Vietnamese citizenship in order to worship their heroic ancestors here.
Chinese Assembly Halls
When the Chinese migrated to Hoi An and other regions in Vietnam, they would build assembly halls as places to conduct business, socialise, and keep Chinese traditions alive. They usually followed similar architectural design and layout, including monumental gates, delightful gardens filled with ornamental flora, a large central hall, and an altar room honouring the particular gods and goddesses of that community. The buildings contain many antique items and are elaborately decorated with murals, statues and ornate artwork. There are four assembly halls, all located along Tran Phu street, in Hoi An old town, which are included as ticketed sightseeing places.
Quang Trieu (Cantonese) Assembly Hall
Address: 176 Tran Phu – Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Built in 1885 by Cantonese merchants, this impressive ornate structure is brightly decorated and contains a peaceful courtyard, in stark contrast to the busy streets outside, and an impressive traditional dragon statue.
Phúc Kiến / Fukian / Fujian
Address: 46 Tran Phu – Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Constructed in 1757, this is one of Hoi An’s grandest and most famous assembly halls. Initially built for social reasons, it was later changed into a temple in honour of the Fujian goddess of the sea, Thien Hau, who protects sailors from danger.
Triều Châu / Chaozhou Assembly Hall
Address: 157 Tran Phu – Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This decorative assembly hall honours a water god and was constructed in 1887. In contrast to the other halls in the old town – this one is suitably understated – but with some gems inside. The skill and craftsmanship of the woodwork is breathtaking and there’s a delightful miniature water garden tucked away that’s worth hunting down.
Hải Nam / Hainan Assembly Hall
Address: 10 Tran Phu – Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This assembly hall was built in 1875 in honour of Chinese merchants who were mistaken for pirates and wrongfully killed; and, as a result, were granted deity status.
Hidden Hoi An’s thoughts
Essentially a walk-through museum, Hoi An’s ancient town requires constant maintenance and upkeep. This is not cheap, and with the number of tourists flocking to Hoi An, the small cost of a ticket goes a long way to preserving this lovely old town for future generations.
Hidden’s Pick of Historical Sites Covered in the Ancient Town Ticket
- The Japanese Bridge is a 16th-century gem, a majestical beauty with an interesting history, don’t miss it.
- If you had to choose just one of the old houses go to Duc An’s – it’s the least touristy with the added bonus of a direct family member being on site.
- Cam Pho is our pick of the communal houses. Its understated design is intriguing plus it’s also quiet here, providing some respite from the crowds at other sites.
- We recommend you make it to the Hoi An Museum. It has the best all-encompassing collection, and the 360-degree view from the top floor over Hoi An is stunning.
It’s quite remarkable how Hoi An has remained unchanged over the past couple of centuries, and that so many of these old structures and sites are still around for you to enjoy today. Drift back to times past, surrounded by this fascinating mix of cultural architecture, which both tells the history of the town and acts as a perfect backdrop for some unforgettable holiday photographs. Submit your photographs to be part of Hidden Hoi An’s Photography Showcase