Used to be one of the key trading port in Vietnam, Hoi An is now becoming a rustic and tranquil town where you can relish traditional architecture. Not only is Hoi An well-known for incredible sceneries and laid-back atmosphere, it is also famous for its most lovely souvenir – lanterns. When visiting Hoi An, you can come across many lantern stores which add the vibrant beauty to this city. Attending Hoi An Lantern Festival is a cannot-miss part of your trip to Vietnam. This is the only chance for you to admire local artistic creation and dazzling products made by our skillful artists in sublime surroundings.

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What is Hoi An Lantern Festival?

Hoi An Lantern Festival is a monthly event to celebrate the full moon. It is held on the 14th day of each lunar month when the moon is at its fullest and brightest.

In Buddhism, a full moon is one of the most sacred events because not only was the Buddha born at that time but he also attained enlightenment on a full moon. Nowadays, we celebrate the full moon as our time to reflect on our lives and worship our ancestors.

Dazzling lanterns in Hoi An
Dazzling lanterns in Hoi An

Lanterns are the focus of this event. Lanterns are beautifully lit and candles are placed at the bottom of the colorful paper lanterns which convey our wish for health and peace. They are placed to Hoai River as an offering to the God as well as our ancestors. Along the river bank, there are folk performances with music (bamboo flutes, drums, and fiddles) and poetry readings.

The festivities start at dusk and finish at around 8-9pm. The fun concentrates on Japanese Covered Bridge and Cau An Hoi Bridge. Electricity use is kept at a minimum level so that the lanterns can illuminate Hoi An and create the most romantic scene ever. Hoi An Lantern Festival is the ideal time for your family trip to Vietnam since there will be a lot of exciting activities here.

Some Tips when Attending Hoi An Lantern Festival

Children enjoy Hoi An Lantern Festival
Children enjoy Hoi An Lantern Festival
  • Are there many people at Hoi An Lantern Festival? Yes, it will be very crowded so don’t expect a good photography spot if you arrive late. Japanese Covered Bridge and Cau An Hoi Bridge are places where you can take stunning candle-lit water. Also, keep an eye on your camera and precious belongings. You don’t want to lose them or accidentally drop them in the water
  • Consider a sampan ride: If you want to escape the chaotic streets, consider a sampan ride on the river – this is an opportunity to take stunning pictures of lanterns on the water’s surface. The price for a sampan ride is around VND 100,000 dong (about US $5), so negotiate at your peril.
  • Negotiate the lantern price: One lantern usually costs around VND 5,000 but the sellers always tell you VND 10,000 dong. Use your negotiation skill!
  • You will have to walk a lot: All vehicles will be banned in old town area during the festival, so make sure that you wear a high-quality pair of walking shoes.
  • Best time to travel to Hoi An: Hoi An will be the most beautiful from February to August. We recommend you attend Hoi An Lantern Festival in February – the first full moon of our lunar new year is the biggest celebration. Rainy seasons from October to December are not advised since the old town is prone to flooding. The water may rise up to 2 meters high and mud is everywhere. Unless you want to travel around by boats, don’t visit Hoi An that time!

Things to Do at Hoi An Lantern Festival 2018

1. Relish a serene sampan ride

Colorful lanterns on Hoai River
Colorful lanterns on Hoai River

Releasing lantern on Hoai River is believed to bring fortune and love. If you want to place your own lantern on the water’s surface, the best way to do it is taking a sampan ride. Your lanterns will not be caught by a traffic jam and you can authentically enjoy Hoi An’s atmosphere on a sampan ride.

A sampan is a Vietnamese traditional canoe. Take your time to talk to local friendly ferrymen who will provide you with more knowledge about this ancient town.

2. Watch traditional Bai Choi performance

Bai Choi is an interesting folk game of Central Vietnam which combines music, poetry, acting, painting and literature. Originated among peasants in Quang region, Bai Choi has a complex set of rules which involves card drawing and folk singing. Bai Choi songs are about daily life and work, which represent our patriotism and connectivity of the community. This game brings a lively and sparkling atmosphere to Hoi An Lantern Festival.

3. Enjoy delicious street foods

Cao lau is the must-try food in this dreamy city. This food is influenced by Japanese and Chinese cultures that were brought by foreign traders when they settled in Hoi An. You will see some unique feature in this dish compared to other food in Vietnam: the thick noodle is the same as Japanese udon, the rice crackers and porks are in Chinese style, and the broth is Vietnamese.

There are plenty of delicious cuisines at street food stalls here, for example, banh bao (steamed rice dumplings with pork and mushrooms), banh vac (steamed rice dumplings with ground shrimp and veggies), banh dap (rice crackers with steamed rice pancakes and anchovy sauce), banh xoai (mango cake) and xi ma (black sesame pudding).

4. Take photos of stunning lantern view

Beautiful Hoi An Old Town
Beautiful Hoi An Old Town

Besides the miraculous water filled with lanterns, there are many places for your photo shoot here, such as Japanese Covered Bridge, Fujian Assembly Hall (Phuc Kien), Cantonese Assembly Hall (Quang Trieu), and Old House of Tan Ky. These places look even more fantastic under the illuminating space of colorful lanterns.

5. Visiting a temple

A full moon is a time for the locals to honor their ancestors by offering fruits, flowers and incense to them. Temples and pagodas in Hoi An are strongly influenced by the Chinese. A single ticket which costs VND 120,000 dong will allow you to visit all houses, temples, and museums here. In Hoi An Lantern Festival, you will see the local tourists gather at Quan Cong Pagodas or other assembly halls to Hoi An to wish for luck and happiness.

Hoi An Lantern Festival 2018 dates

Hoi An Lantern Festival
Hoi An Lantern Festival

Customize your Vietnam tour to enjoy monthly Hoi An Lantern Festival!

January30th January 2018
FebruaryThere isn’t a Hoi An Lantern Festival in February 2018
March1st March 2018 & 30th March 2018
April29th April 2018
May28th May 2018
June27th June 2018
July26th July 2018
August24th August 2018
September23rd September 2018
October22nd October 2018
November20th November 2018
December20th December 2018

Start planning your tailor-made Vietnam tour by contacting one of our specialists…

A Hanoian lover of art, cuisine and culture, Chi Nguyen enjoys exploring all elegant aspects of this city as well as discovering off-the-beaten-track destinations in the beautiful S-shaped country.

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