Planning your time

Accounting for time to shop, sightsee, and relax on the beach, two to three days should be plenty of time for you to absorb Hoi An. Set aside one day for a cooking class, some beach or spa time, or a culinary tour and another to explore the surrounding countryside. This 48-hour window will also give your talented tailor time to create that custom suit you ordered. If at all possible, time your visit to Hoi An to coincide with the first or 14th day of the month according to the lunar calendar. On this night the streets of the old town are restricted to pedestrian traffic, paper lanterns replace electric lights and locals from the surrounding area flood to the Old Town temples and pagodas to burn incense and place floating, candlelit lanterns into the river in respect of their ancestors. The effect is magical. Danang City, despite its growing reputation as a holiday destination, still lacks much beyond the Cham Museum, bridges, market, and lively dining and nightlife scene to keep visitors amused for more than a few days, though if you intend to add a tour of the Cham temples at nearby My Son, it’s worth adding an extra day. For those looking for a relaxing beach break at a luxury resort, however, it’s an easy place to spend a week. Hue is easily navigated—the Citadel, Imperial Palace, and museums can be covered in a day, leaving plenty of time for a sunset river cruise along the Perfume River. There is so much to see and do at Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park that it’s worth planning for three days, which is enough time to fit in a visit to Phong Nha Cave, an organized tour, and a bit of countryside cycling and kayaking.

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