On my recent travels in Vietnam, I fell head over heels in love with Hoi An the moment I stepped off the bus and into its beautiful, bright streets. While the whole of Hoi An is magical, it was Hoi An Ancient Town that completely captured my heart with its rustic yellow-walled shops and vibrant decorations strung about. As you’re walking through the Ancient Town, you’ll likely stumble upon a handful of quaint temples. Before you actually make it into the Ancient Town, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to pay an “entrance fee”. Here’s how to not get conned like the dozens of other tourists I saw.
After I had dropped my luggage off at the hotel after arriving in Hoi An, I set about exploring the streets with my trusty “CityMaps2Go” offline map app (a must for travelers on the go). As I went about my way, winding through the busy streets (though nowhere near as busy as Ho Chi Minh, as I would later find out), I went down a small street with a few leather and souvenir shops on either side to get through to Hoi An’s Ancient Town. At this point, after I had passed the shops, I was stopped by a few locals who told me I had to buy a ticket to get into the Ancient Town. There was a professional-looking kiosk set up along a narrow path leading out to the town and the lady at the desk said it would cost $150,000 VND (about $7 USD) for a ticket. This sounded like complete rubbish to me – the hotel didn’t mention a thing about paying a fee and there was no way that every little alleyway had these booths set up to make people pay to get through – so I turned back around and walked down a different street and into the Ancient Town.
Do you need to buy a ticket to get into Hoi An’s Ancient Town? NO.
I later realized this ticket was for entry into certain temples throughout Hoi An’s Ancient Town, though they didn’t advertise it as such. Instead, they made naive tourists believe you need to actually pay to get into that part of town. What they also don’t tell you is that many of the temples throughout the Ancient Town are free to walk into and browse about, while only a handful of the temples required a ticket to get into.
Given the number of temples that were free, the ticket was certainly not worth the $150,000 VND (unless, perhaps, you’re a die hard temple fan). Ultimately, it’s completely up to you whether you feel it’s worth it or not, just don’t be scammed into thinking you need a ticket to enter the Ancient Town.
Side note: If you walk through this entrance way into the Ancient Town without batting an eye (ie walk confidently and don’t slow down), no one will say anything. And if they do, just ignore them and keep walking, because there’s really nothing they can do.