Cycling In Hoi An: Self Guided Routes
Sandwiched between beautiful white sandy beaches and the Thu Bon River, Hoi An is the perfect place to jump on a bicycle and pedal your way around Hoi An. The quaint old quarter in the centre of town is very cycle-friendly. A very short ride out of Hoi An’s Old Town soon has you cycling through rice paddies and traditional villages.
Hidden has done the “legwork” for you, testing out the plethora of different cycling routes in and around Hoi An. In this article, we provide you with our best Hoi An cycling (self-guided) tips and useful information for getting you comfortably out on your bike. We then send you out on the road along the best self-guided routes that we know. If you are looking for a guided tour then read about Hoi An’s best cycling tours here.
Numbered bicycles for hire in Hoi An. Photo: Agnuush
Bicycle Rental In Hoi An
When you arrive in Hoi An you will see bicycles everywhere. Cycling is a popular mode of transport for tourists wanting to explore Hoi An and for locals to get around. There are two main hire options: fixed gear town bikes and mountain bikes.
The majority of hostels and hotels will have bikes that can be rented either free or for a very small fee—usually less than 25,000 VND (1 USD) a day. They can also be hired from countless places around town. These will all be fixed gear town bikes, some of them in a better state than others.
These bikes are great if you are planning on cycling around Hoi An’s Old Town or to the beach. However, because they don’t have any gears or suspension, they are not so good if you’re going further afield. If you’re planning on cycling into the countryside or anywhere outside of the city of Hoi An then we definitely recommend getting a mountain bike.
Get the best one
Hiring a standard fixed gear town bicycle in Hoi An is easy. If your hotel doesn’t offer one they can be found for rent on pretty much any street and are cheap to hire. However, if you want a proper mountain bike, then the choices are a bit more limited.
Check that a bike lock is included, the brakes work properly and that the gears (if any) change smoothly. Ensure your tyres are fully pumped up and give it a short test ride ensuring it doesn’t fall apart. If you are above average height make sure that they have a large or extra-large bike frame. Hidden recommends the following places for mountain bike hire:
The best quality, range and best-maintained mountain bikes in Hoi An can be found at Grasshopper Adventures. All their bikes are meticulously cleaned and looked after and you can rely on them to work . They have a good range of sizes and also have kids bikes and child seats. Bike hire for the day is 150,000 VND (7.50 USD) and they also require a passport or 5,000,000 VND (250 USD) for a deposit.
The Help Expat Services have a small range of mountain bikes for hire starting at 60,000 VND (3 USD) a day or 300,000 VND (15 USD) a week. They are well maintained and the owner is very friendly also offering motorbike hire and a range of other useful services.
Geared bikes are rare in Hoi An, hire yours from The Help or Grasshopper Adventures. Photo: Blake Owers
General Cycling Tips
The roads in Vietnam can be more than a little bit crazy. Thankfully, Hoi An is relatively small and the traffic is much more manageable than in the big cities. However, there are still some things you need to know to keep yourself safe when you’re cycling on the road.
Vehicles in Vietnam drive on the right side of the road. This is particularly important to remember when crossing roads because you might be looking for traffic in the wrong direction. Take care when crossing intersections especially four-way intersections. Many locals on motorbikes will come around corners on the wrong side of the road. If you have a bell on your bike ring it as you approach the intersection to let others know that you are coming through.
Best tips about safety
We strongly discourage cycling in Hoi An at night as some motorcyclists do not use their headlights and can be very difficult to see. Many traffic lights are also turned off after 10 pm at night adding to the risk. If you are cycling at night wear reflective clothing and try to have a front and a back light on your bike.
When you’re out and about and you need to leave your bike somewhere that you can’t see it use a bike lock to make sure that it doesn’t disappear. At night bring the bike inside the fenced area of your hostel or hotel and lock it.
Start Your Day With a Bike Ride
While the sun might be shining when you start cycling the weather in Hoi An and Vietnam, in general, can change very quickly. Take a small backpack with your water and a raincoat or poncho when you’re cycling into the countryside in Hoi An.
While many locals and tourists in Hoi An don’t wear helmets when cycling it can’t hurt to have a bit of extra head protection. You might be very grateful for it if you take a tumble. Ask for a helmet when you hire the bike. If you get a flat tire while cycling in Hoi An pull up to any of the myriad of places offering bike hire and if they can’t help you they will know someone close by who can.
If you are a bit further out don’t worry. Make your way to the nearest village and ask one of the locals for help. Again, if they can’t help you they will know who can. Fixing a puncture shouldn’t cost more than 80,000 VND (4 USD). But it would be a bit more if the tube needs replacing.
Bicycles parked on Hoi An’s riverfront
Where To Cycle
There are many different places to cycle in Hoi An both in and out of town. If you want a relaxing morning or afternoon ride interspersed with great food and shopping then look no further than Hoi An’s Old Town. The Old Town is small enough to walk from one end to the other in 20 minutes but a bike is a great way to get around and gives you more freedom to backtrack or get sidetracked.
The Old Town is closed to motorbikes from 3 pm onward but it starts to get very busy and weaving through hordes of people can be a little stressful. We recommend cycling in the morning before the crowds have arrived and the heat of the day has set in.
Explore the historical sites scattered around the streets (tickets available at all the entrances to the area), do some shopping then sample some delicious Vietnamese food at one of the many restaurants before heading back to your accommodation to escape the afternoon heat.
While the Old Town is a wonderful place it is most definitely set up for tourists. If you want to experience the traditional Vietnamese way of life you will only need to cycle a short distance into the countryside. There are many guided tours and a couple of self-guided tours that highlight the best of the Hoi An countryside.
Some of the best places to visit in Hoi An are Cam Kim Island, Tra Que Vegetable Village, the surrounding rice fields and the beautiful beaches. We cover the self-guided cycling routes below but for guided tours check out our article here.