Hoi An lanterns – the symbol of Hoi An in central Vietnam

In the 21st century, Hoi An Vietnam maintains the features of traditional architectures; and becomes more and more popular for travelers. It is famous for beautiful view, local cuisine and full of Hoi An lanterns which is the reason why Hoi An is called “City of lights”. 

About Hoi An – the town that is frozen in time

Hoi An is a small city located in Central Vietnam. It’s known as a peaceful city which seems frozen in time with no airport, no train station, a number of Chinese Assembly Halls; such as like Tan Ky Assembly Hall, Quang Dong Assembly Hall, Fukian Assembly Hall, etc. There are also Buddhist shrines, French colonial houses, art galleries and old canals. In addition, this old town offers travelers a great chance to explore an ancient architecture which is hardly found in almost anywhere else in Vietnam. Especially, Hoi An Town keeps you to stay away from  the hustle and bustle of the big city. 

The most glamorous Hoi An’s moment is in the evening; when it turns to dark, all the beautiful silk lanterns light up, which makes a charming hectic old town. It’s such a popular events that if you can’t visit on the full moon date, you still have other chance to join in the glamorous of Hoi An lanterns. If the magical scene is what you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed. At about 8 pm, they turn off the electricity in all houses and restaurants located within here to make the lights from the colorful silk lantern stand out. Most of the streets and alleys are decorated by colorful lanterns and the river is covered by many painted wooden boats. All of this bring you back in time to the bustling trade port in 17th, 18th century. 


Hoi An At Night
Hoi An At Night

>> Suggested Hoi An tour: Hidden Beauty Central Vietnam 6 Days

Schedule of Hoi An lantern festival

Hoi An lantern festival is taken place on the every 14th day of the lunar month while the moon is the fullest and brightest. Especially, in 2019, from June to the end of year is the time to celebrate Vietnam Cultural Heritage Day; and 20th anniversary of Hoi An Ancient Town is recognized as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The dates of 2020 lantern festival are as following: February 8th, March 8th, April 7th, May 7th, July 5th, August 4th, September 2nd, October 1st, October 31st, November 29th, December 28th. The best time to visit Hoi An is in the first full moon of the lunar new year; or Mid-Autumn Festival, which are the most important celebration in the year. The former lasts from the 1st to 14th of lunar calendar (in February of solar calendar) and the latter is in October.


Hoi An silk lanterns
Charming hectic old town with colorful silk lanterns

Activities in Hoi An lantern festival 

It will be held in Hoi An Old Town area from dusk to about 9 pm and 10 pm. At the An Hoi Bridge and along the Hoai River, a plenty of activities are organized, spending your time for participating in these ones is a good choice. You also can enjoy the best world outdoor-staged performance for free. In the festival, you are definitely attracted by the charming traditional performances; such as lion dance, carnival, chantey and poetry readings held along the river by skilled dancers and artists. Moreover, art lantern decoration competition and art firework can also display; but art firework usually shows up for Lunar New Year. Festival offers travelers a chance to join in the Vietnamese traditional games in Hoi An; such as the art of Bai Choi, Chinese chess, O an quan (Mandarin square capturing), Tug of war, etc. 


Bai Choi
The art of ‘Bai Choi’ is recognized as UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity

One of the most unique activities lasting for thousands year is releasing the lotus flower lanterns on the Hoai river. Although the lanterns are not made from luxury material, they are handcrafted carefully from the old town artists. Their meaning is for good fortune and love. Vietnamese people believe that lighting on and floating those lanterns on the river can bring the health and happiness. A lotus flower costs for 25 cent to 50 cent. What a magical experience is when leasing a small wooden boat, lighting a candle and putting on the romantic river and pray!


Hoi An lanterns
Each night, Hoi An lanterns are lighted up by candles at the bottom and released on the river

>> Suggested Hoi An tour: Classic Central Vietnam 5 Days

Eating around in Hoi An

One more thing that attracts travelers is Hoi An food. Some of them are Quang noodle (noodle with pork, chicken and veggies); com ga (chicken rice); banh vac (ground shrimp, garlic, spring onion, lemon grass, and spices). Moreover, it would be a great loss if you passed over street dishes such as Cao lau, Banh mi Hoi An (Hoi An bread), Vietnamese Crepe, Vietnamese sweet dessert soup, etc. Especially, although you’re on a budget, you’re totally possible to enjoy all the traditional food in this ancient town.

Eating around Hoian

Tips for Hoi An private tours

Don’t forget some tips to stay away from crowds and have authentic experiences when choosing Hoi An to be your next destination in your Vietnam tours. If you would like to enjoy Hoi An which is cool and less rainy, you are recommended to travel from February to April. Spending 1 to 2 days is enough to explore all about the town. Hoi An ancient town is small enough for visitors to walk or ride a bike easily around the town center. ‘Xich lo’, a traditional transport in Vietnam is also a good option to travel in Hoi An with the cost of about US$7 for 45 minutes.

However, it is certain that you have to do exercise by walking a lot because vehicles and bikes are not allowed in Hoi An Old Town; so, preparing comfortable shoes is compulsory. This city is a wonderful destination for everyone, it’s peaceful enough for single, romantic enough for couples and interested enough for families. 

Suggested Vietnam tours including Hoi An


Nguyen Ngoc Huyen – Travel Lover

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