Impressions of Hoi An Lantern Festival Vietnam

When the lights are turned off and the old streets are brightly lit up by colorful lanterns, carrying wishes for peace and luck, it’s time for the Hoi An Lantern Festival. Taking place every month, this has become a unique cultural feature of the city, with many special activities and performances, attracting a large number of people from all over.

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lantern festival hoi an
Source: Internet

Referring to Hoi An, it is impossible not to mention the old town shimmering with brilliant lanterns, creating a charming fantasy scene, particularly on special days. Not only preserving the beauty of local culture, but the Hoi An Lantern Festival also contributes to promoting the image of the city and developing tourism. Having a trip to Hoi An, you cannot miss participating in fun activities and watching extremely attractive performances at this festival.

I - An overview of the Hoi An Lantern Festival 

1 - When is the Lantern Festival in Hoi An?

hoi an lantern festival


Lanterns are a common feature in the old town, but on the night of the Lantern Festival Hoi An, and especially around the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the town becomes much more sparkling than usual. Every month on the 14th day of the lunar calendar, the festival is held, starting from about 6pm, when the lights begin to show their full beauty in the dark falling, until around 10pm. In the past 2 years (2020 & 2021), because of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Lantern Festival in Hoi An has been affected, canceled, or happened on a smaller scale. Therefore, after the country had basically controlled the situation, starting from the evening of December 24, 2021, to January 2, 2022, a special “Hoi An Lantern Festival 2022” was held with many special programs. This is one of the unique cultural and tourism activities in the chain of events in the program “Hoi An welcomes the New Year 2022”, with the purpose to stimulate tourism demand after the closure period.

2 - Hoi An Lantern Festival location

The busiest and most crowded part is usually on the riverside section between the Japanese Covered Bridge and An Hoi Bridge with many exciting activities. During the Lantern Festival in Hoi An, from every house and shop, people will turn off all electric lights, accompanied by a blockade to prevent vehicles from circulating in the festival area.

During the usual monthly festival, you will be able to participate in many interesting activities and watch various art performances, completely free of charge. The atmosphere is extremely lively with traditional music, lion and dragon dances, martial arts performed by members of professional dojos, and skilled artists. If you join the Hoi An lantern festival on the occasion of the Lunar New Year, you can also participate in the extremely interesting lantern and fireworks decoration contests. Meanwhile, on the occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival, you can’t miss joining in the display of ancient trays to worship the moon and fun folk games such as tug of war, bai choi...

II - What are there to experience at the Hoi An Lantern Festival 2023? 

1 - Strolling around the old town in a romantic vibe

Coming to the lantern festival in Hoi An, you also have the opportunity to gain unique experiences that cannot be found anywhere else. In the area of Hoi An Old Town, the traffic will stop circulating and the electric lights will be turned off during the festival, so you can comfortably walk in the poetic scenery of the town. On the occasion of the Hoi An Lantern Festival, the whole space is filled with the colors of thousands of brilliant lanterns and the shimmering, dim full moon, giving a feeling of excitement and peace. Just stop, hold up your camera or phone and press the button and you can create yourself a beautiful photo that can attract thousands of likes on social networks. Because there are many lanterns, the frame will be quite “blurry”, if you want it to be more clear, bringing your own lighting devices is a need.

2 - Street performances, games & food at the Hoi An Lantern Festival

lantern festival in hoi an


You can also watch special art performances of the lantern festival in Hoi An such as lion dance, folk dances... or participate in traditional games including tug of war, chess, singing, and so on. In addition, you should come a little early to be able to spend time enjoying the local cuisine, which is extremely unique. You can enjoy many delicious cultural dishes such as Cao Lau or Quang noodles, or buy a Banh mi and a glass of “mot” water to refuel after a walk at the Hoi An Lantern Festival. Hoi An specialties are all sold at cheap prices, you can enjoy them at roadside shops or famous restaurants without worrying about making a “budget deficit”.

3 - Buying the lanterns

It would be a big omission to come to the “town of lanterns” without buying one for yourself, as a souvenir or just holding it while wandering the streets. Lanterns are products of various designs, sizes, materials, and colors, especially on the days of the Hoi An Lantern Festival. You can freely buy them on the main roads such as Nguyen Thai Hoc, Nguyen Hue, Le Loi, Tran Phu... with prices usually ranging from 15,000 - 150,000 VND / lantern ($0.66 - 6.6). You can also order custom lights, but for this service, the price will usually be higher and the waiting time will, of course, be longer. There are some reputable lantern workshops and factories you can visit such as:

- Huynh Van Ba Lantern Factory: No.15A Phan Dinh Phung Street, Cam Son Ward, Hoi An City.

- Ha Linh Lantern Factory: No.71 Tran Nhan Tong Street, Cam Chau Ward, Hoi An City.

- Viet Lantern Factory: No.57 Ba Trieu Street, Minh An Ward, Hoi An City.

4 - Releasing the Flower garlands and colored lanterns at the Hoi An Lantern Festival

hoi an lantern festival vietnam

A unique experience - Source:

In the framework of the Lantern Festival Hoi An, the most awaited activity is releasing the Flower garlands and colored lanterns on the Hoai River. According to the cultural concept of the local people, each of the flower garlands and colored lanterns is a prayer for health and good things, to remove all sorrow and suffering. Handmade lanterns shaped by the meticulous hands of old town artists are often sold along the riverside for only 5,000 - 10,000 VND / item ($0.22 - 0.44). On the occasion of the Hoi An Lantern Festival, you can also rent a boat and cruise on the Hoai River, in the shimmering space like a fanciful picture with hundreds of flower lanterns floating on the water surface. The rental price for each excursion boat, rowing by hand, is only from 30,000 - 50,000 VND / 30 minutes ($1.32 - 2.2), and you can freely enjoy the panoramic view of Hoi An in a poetic festival atmosphere. This is really one of the most interesting nightlife in Hoi An

Hoi An Lantern Festival Vietnam is not only a unique cultural activity of local people but also a form of tourism that attracts many participants of Hoi An Cỉty, especially after the Covid-19 epidemic. Coming here, you can experience fun activities, learn to understand more about the beauty in the daily life of the people, and keep good memories with relatives and friends. We hope that the article can help you in arranging the time to attend Hoi An Lantern Festival 2023 on the right day to fully enjoy the festival.

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Being born and living here in Vietnam, I got a chance to see lots of beautiful places, try countless great dishes, & experience many interesting things in places I visited. And It's so great to share all things I know about Vietnam to you.

Giang Pham — Giang Pham



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