10 Best Places to Take Photos in Hoi An Old Town

Hoi An Old town morning reflection

Morn­ing reflec­tion on the Thu Bon Riv­er in Hoi An Old Town.

The 10 Best Places to Take Photos in Hoi An


1. The Yellow Wall in Hoi An


2. Japanese Bridge


3. Rooftop View of Hoi An


4. An Hoi Island — Across the River


5. Hoi An Market


6. Any facade in Hoi An Ancient Town


7. Thu Bon River


8. Hoi An Alleys


9. Lanterns at night in Hoi An


10. Merchants in Hoi An

Want to know where to take pho­tos in Hoi An Old Town? Here is a list of 10 of my favorite places to pho­to­graph in the UNESCO “Yel­low City” of Viet­nam, Hoi An Ancient Town.

A few years back I wrote an arti­cle on the 10 best Insta­gram loca­tions in Hoi An. That post high­lights areas that are nice for the aver­age Insta­gram­mer. How­ev­er, I want­ed to make a list more geared toward pho­tog­ra­phers. There are cross-overs with that list, but this one is per­haps more use­ful for pho­tog­ra­phers want­i­ng to pho­to­graph in Hoi An Old Town.


1. The Yellow Wall in Hoi An

Hoi An Yellow Wall Reflection

An invert­ed view of The Yel­low Wall in Hoi An after a storm

About The Yellow Wall in Hoi An

This is one of the longest, “clean­est” yel­low walls in Hoi An. It is also rel­a­tive­ly open as it is along the waterfront/Thu Bon Riv­er. This makes it eas­i­er to pho­to­graph peo­ple going by. It’s also a favorite place for locals who pose for pic­tures like Dai. 

Finding The Yellow Wall in Hoi An

Where is The Yel­low Wall in Hoi An? The yel­low wall is along the water­front on Bạch Đằng Street in Hoi An. It’s the oth­er side of the Old House of Tan Ky and Reach­ing Out Arts and Crafts (both places that are wor­thy of a visit).

2. Japanese Bridge

Japanese Bridge Hoi An

Two ven­dors walk­ing near the Japan­ese Bridge on a warm after­noon in Hoi An Old Town.

About the Japanese Bridge:

The Japan­ese Cov­ered Bridge is an icon­ic sym­bol that defines Old Town Hội An. This beau­ti­ful arched bridge was built in the 1590s to con­nect the Japan­ese quar­ter to the Chi­nese quar­ter, back dur­ing a time when Hội An was a bustling inter­na­tion­al port town. Take a look inside at the mon­key and dog pro­tec­tors on either end of the Japan­ese Cov­ered Bridge for some close-up pic­tures, as well as the tem­ple inside the bridge.

Where is the Japanese Bridge?

The Japan­ese Bridge can be found on Goole Maps as “Japan­ese Cov­ered Bridge”. It is on Tran Phu Street not far from the water­front on the West­ern end of Hoi An Old Town.

Don’t for­get to also see it beau­ti­ful­ly light up in the evening. And, like the rest of Hoi An Old Town, there will be few­er peo­ple ear­ly in the morning.

3. Rooftop View of Hoi An — Faifo Coffee

Hoi An Rooftop View Faifo Cafe

The clas­sic view of the rooftops of Hoi An can be found at Faifo Coffee.

About the best rooftop view in Hoi An:

Views over the ter­ra­cot­ta rooftops of Hoi An offer a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive of the old town. My favorite is at Faifo Cof­fee. No need for a drone. Just order a cof­fee and head through the nar­row stair­case to the roof.

Where is the best rooftop view in Hoi An?

Faifo Cof­fee is locat­ed at 130 Tran Phu Street in Hoi An Old Town. The hours are 8:00 am to 9:30 pm 7 days a week.

You must first order on the ground floor. The view is on the rooftop (3rd floor).

4. An Hoi Island — Looking Back at Hoi An Across the River

Hoi An Old town morning reflection

Morn­ing reflec­tion of Hoi An Ancient Town

About the view from An Hoi Island:

Prob­a­bly my favorite view of Hoi An Old Town is from across the Thu Bon Riv­er look­ing back at Hoi An. From here you can get the widest view of the Old Town with the most build­ings. The reflec­tion in the riv­er is also nice. My favorite time in Hoi An is ear­ly in the morn­ing and the view here is no different.

Where is the view from An Hoi Island?

To get to An Hoi Island you must cross the Thu Bon Riv­er. The Thu Bon Riv­er is the focal point of the Old Town and where you’ll find all of the float­ing lanterns and boat rides at night. The bridge to cross the riv­er is close to the Japan­ese Bridge. On Google Maps it’s called “Cau An Hoi” (Bridge An Hoi) or “Bridge of Lights”. There are many places to shoot from across the river.

5. Hoi An Market

About the Central Market in Hoi An:

The open-air mar­ket in old town Hoi An is a per­fect place to pho­to­graph the col­ors and chaos that are the mar­kets of Viet­nam. If you’ve nev­er been to a local mar­ket in Asia then you’re in for a treat. Just approach it with an open mind and respect the ven­dors. This is their job and they are there to sell their food/wares.

Where is the Central Market in Hoi An Old Town?

 The Hoi An Mar­ket in on the East­ern end of the Old Town. On Google Maps it’s labeled as “Hoi An Mar­ket”. The liveli­est part of the mar­ket is on Bạch Đằng Street (the street that runs along the river/waterfront). Fol­low this street East all the way down until it turns into the market. 

6. Any Building Facade in Hoi An Ancient Town

Hoi An French Quarter buildings

The build­ing facades in Hoi An are like an out­door studio

About the Buildings in Hoi An:

Hoi An real­ly is like an out­door stu­dio. In places, it reminds me of the small towns con­struct­ed on the back­lots of stu­dios in Hol­ly­wood. But real. I rec­om­mend hav­ing a stroll through the town and just look­ing at each of the build­ings. There is lots to shoot and lots of inter­est­ing and unique details to discover.

Where to find the best Old Buildings in Hoi An?

There isn’t a par­tic­u­lar loca­tion in the Old Town that has bet­ter old build­ings than anoth­er. The beau­ti­ful thing about Hoi An is that there are so many unique build­ings, with so much to dis­cov­er. Pic­tured here is a build­ing in what is typ­i­cal­ly referred to as the “French Quar­ter”. The Hill Sta­tion Cafe, which inci­den­tal­ly is a great place to stop by for hap­py hour and  2‑for‑1 glass­es of wine. 

7. The Thu Bon River

Hoi An Sunrise on the Thu Bon River

Sun­rise on the Thu Bon Riv­er in Hoi An

About the Thu Bon River:

The Thu Bon Riv­er is what I con­sid­er the focal point of Hoi An. For hun­dreds of years, ships from around the world sailed through here to dock in what was once a thriv­ing trad­ing port.

What used to be the pri­ma­ry access point to Hoi An, is now busy with a dif­fer­ent kind of mer­chant. You might find fish­er­men in the ear­ly hours of the morn­ing and as the day pro­gress­es locals offer­ing boat rides. At night the riv­er is the most active and light up with float­ing can­dle lanterns and boats cov­ered in a daz­zling dis­play of elec­tric lights.

Where is the Thu Bon River:

It’s hard to miss as it runs right through Hoi An Old Town. On the oth­er side of the Thu Bon Riv­er is An Hoi Island. There are many places to shoot the activ­i­ty on the riv­er includ­ed 3 bridges that con­nect An Hoi Island to Hoi An. Have a stroll along the banks at dif­fer­ent hours of the day to see how things change.

Sun­rise is my favorite time to pho­to­graph here (If I haven’t men­tioned it yet).

8. Hoi An Alleys

Hoi An Alley scene

Hair with Grand­ma. A scene in the alleys of Hoi An

About the Alleys in Hoi An:

The alleys in Hoi An are quite nar­row and on a first vis­it to the old town can seem a con­vo­lut­ed war­ren to get lost in. And I rec­om­mend you do just that; get lost in the alleys of Hoi An. You nev­er know what kind of trea­sures you’ll dis­cov­er, whether it’s a hid­den restau­rant or cof­fee shop, a ‘secret’ tem­ple, or just a friend­ly local who knows a few words of Eng­lish and greats you with a smile.

Where are the Alleys in Hoi An?

The alleys in Hoi An gen­er­al­ly run North-South con­nect­ing the main streets of Hoi An which run East-West. To give you an idea as to car­di­nal direc­tions, the Thubon Riv­er runs East-West and the main streets run more or less par­al­lel to it. The alleys clos­er to the riv­er tend to be quite nar­row and straight, while the alleys fur­ther North of the Old Town are wider and more cir­cuitous. Explore!

9. Lanterns at Night in Hoi An

Hoi An Lanterns at night

A cou­ple pos­es for pho­tos in front of the lanterns in Hoi An

About the Lanterns in Hoi An:

Anoth­er sym­bol of Hoi An is the lanterns at night. Walk through Old Town Hoi An at sun­set as the lanterns begin to turn on. They are strung between build­ings and in front of shops.

Along the water­front in the old town women and chil­dren will sell can­dle lanterns which you can release on the riv­er (most, but not all, get cleaned up the fol­low­ing morn­ing). You can also take a boat ride, on a boat cov­ered in LED lanterns.

Where are the Lanterns in Hoi An?

Lanterns are strung up all over Hoi An Old Town in the evening. For the walls of lanterns on dis­play (pic­tured), head across the bridge to An Hoi Island where the Hoi An Night Mar­ket is full of ven­dors sell­ing lanterns, food, clothes, and var­i­ous souvenirs.

There are lots of lanterns strung up around the streets of the Old Town. The high­est con­cen­tra­tion of lanterns is prob­a­bly on Nguyễn Thái Học Street near the Morn­ing Glo­ry restau­rant (one street up from the waterfront).

About the Merchants in Hoi An:

There are many mer­chants in Hoi An. Some mer­chants cater more to locals, while oth­ers like Đại (pic­tured) cater more to tourists. In the ear­ly morn­ing, you’ll often find mer­chants going to and from the Hoi An Cen­tral Mar­ket. If you’re patient you might be able to pho­to­graph them as they go about their busi­ness. Oth­er mer­chants have made a busi­ness sell­ing fruit and pos­ing for pho­tos. These mer­chants are catered more toward tourists. 

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Where are the Merchants in Hoi An?

In the ear­ly morn­ing, the mer­chants in Hoi An are typ­i­cal­ly going to and from the mar­ket. Lat­er in the morn­ing and through­out the day there is usu­al­ly a small group of Viet­namese women who sell fruit and pose for pho­tos. Many times, like Đại they can be found at The Yel­low Wall or some­where along the water­front. They are usu­al­ly quite friend­ly and if you take a pho­to you should sup­port them by buy­ing some fruit (the fruit will of course be more expen­sive than usu­al as you are pay­ing the per­son for a photo). 

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