After dark, Hoi An becomes exceptionally spectacular. If planning to stay overnight or visiting this ancient heritage town, at least travelers know that it’s “decorated” by so many colorful lanterns. Lanterns are hung up at every house, in every street, in markets and the paper ones float randomly on the river every night. This is one reason to make the town well-known all over the world. In the busiest year, nearly 10 million Vietnamese and foreign people visited Hoi An. On Instagram, 4,700 posts were tagged #hoiannight and on Google, the number of results on search “hoi an night” is 27,000. Yes, a night experience in Hoi An is very popular and somehow, it is exactly a perfect reason to skip Da Nang (for staying, not visiting).
In addition to some of the best things to do in Hoi An, in this article, there are other activities travelers can do in the night.
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Hoi An Ancient Town: City of Lanterns at Night
There are so many lanterns in Hoi An’s old quarters, especially within pedestrian streets, so this lovely town has a nickname “the lantern town”. Chinese people brought them here several centuries ago when they migrated for living and business. Today, the culture of hanging red lanterns (to pray for fortune) and making lanterns by hand are still alive. In the evening, most families light up lanterns, and by that, their hometown is really colorful, romatic and shimmering. Lanterns themselves vary in size, shape and materials. That’s so perfect for visitors to see and photograph some memorial pictures. In addition to lanterns, the town also provides a diversity of delicious street foods, atmospheric restaurants, nightlife spots and traditional local entertainments (singing, games, etc). There are reasons why nobody misses a night experience in Hoi An.
Read also: Things to Do in Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An Full Moon Lantern Festival
Traditionally, locals in Hoi An celebrate the full moon every month, on the 14th day. They light and hang up lanterns in their houses to pray for fortune, peace and happiness. By the river, they also release paper lanterns down the water and make wishes for themselves and beloved persons. Candles are used instead of electric lights. Today, when so many tourists visit Hoi An, this point is one of a few differences between it and the rest of the month. In the moonlight, locals wander around to enjoy the lanterns, take pictures and play folk games. See further information and official dates of the year in Hoi An’s lantern festival.
Note: Hoi An’s lantern festival on full moon is a must see and sure, among the best cultural events in this world heritage city.
Read also: Hoi An Night Tour from Da Nang
Nguyen Hoang Night Market (aka the Hoi An Night Market)
A night experience (tour) in Hoi An can’t be complete without the Night market. Located on an island opposite to the Ancient town, in Nguyen Hoang street, this vibrant place is the largest of its kind in Hoi An. There are around 150 stalls selling foods, souvenirs, clothes and lanterns here. By the entrance, so many visitors stop at lantern shops and wait to take pictures with a perfect backdrop (a small fee is charged by owners!). Street foods for sale include some town’s specialty dishes, such as cao lau noodle, mi quang noodle, banh mi sandwich, pho noodle soup, grilled pork and rice papers, and sweet soup. Read our Hoi An night market guide for further details.
Read also: Hoi An’s Markets
Lantern Boat Ride on Hoai River
Cruising the Hoai river by a lantern boat is one of favourite things to do in Hoi An at night today, for many travelers. It’s the latest fascinating activity that locals “design” for visitors. Every single night, by Hoi An’s ancient town heritage, many boats leave Bach Dang quay to carry passengers to enjoy the gorgeous beauty of the town. In addition, they also light up candle paper lanterns, release and make wishes. That is a perfect experience and an opportunity to take nice shoots, including ones for social media. Tickets are sold by the river, at different locations. The price doesn’t cover paper lanterns but visitors can buy them easily from nearby vendors. See everything you need to know in Hoi An lantern boat ride on Hoai river.
Note: From 1 to 3 people, adult passengers pay 150,000 VND for one lantern boat; Between 3 and 5 people, it’s 200,000 VND; Five people are maximum and the tickets are sold in small booths by the river;
Read also: Thu Bon River Cruise
The Hoi An Memories Show
The Hoi An memories show is the highlight of the Hoi An Impression theme park (now the Hoi An memories land). First introduced to the audience in March 2018, this world-class show is a series of amazing performances carried out by around 500 artists. It’s the largest outdoor visual art performance in Vietnam. It seems that there will be no competitors in the near future. On the stage, male and female artists will tell the viewers different stories about Hoi An, its people and its history. From 15th to 19th centuries, the town was busy with merchants and their boats visiting for trading. The ticket price is quite high, from 600,000 VND for adults but it’s actually worth it to watch. You can see more information in Hoi An memories show.
Read also: Hoi An Self Guided Walking Tour
Hoi An Lune Center for Performing Arts
The Lune center provides world-class performances and experiences in Hoi An, after great successes in Ho Chi Minh city. The team got many international awards and their productions are praised to be one of most worthy shows in the country. Vietnamese signatures and highlights in culture, history and art are all depicted. The audience can expect to see professtional, exceptionally-trained artists performing with bamboo, basket, fishing traps, rice trays, from countryside. City images are also put into the show, in order to emphasize the future of Vietnam. Created by distictive instruments from different ethnics, the music is really loved by viewers that supports their emotion. Located in An Hoi island – by the Old town and Night market, it’s very convenient to get Hoi An center’s theatre. For those who would like to make a fantastic evening journey, add one of the performances into the plan!.
Read also: Hoi An Countryside: Villages, Rice Fields and Tours
Hoi An Evening Walking Street Food Tour
Hoi An boasts its unique culinary culture thanks to diversity of local cooking ingredients and exchange of local and foreign cuisines. In this town, visitors have so many choices of delicious foods to try, especially in the evening. A guided walking food tour is suitable for those who love tasting different dishes and learning about them. The local guide will share what he or she knows about tastings, including their name, origin and meaning of their name, how to pronounce, ingredients, how to cook, how to eat like a Hoianian. Besides photo opportunities, foodies also have a chance to watch how makers prepare the dishes and chat with them. In the itinerary of our Hoi An evening walking food tour, some hidden historical sites, links between them and local gastronomy are shown.
Read also: Hoi An’s Food Specialties
Pubs and Bars in Nguyen Phuc Chu Road
On the other side of An Hoi bridge to the Ancient town, Nguyen Phuc Chu road is a riverside road and designed for walking at night. All venues here face lightful and colorful Hoai river, including many restaurants, pubs and bars. After trolling for a few hours in the town or night market, they are nice spots to stop for food and drinks. Happy hours and cheap beers are provided around the sunset there. At some places, live music, DJs, fun games and other activities are organized until midnight when local authorities request it to close. If looking for an oasis to chill, have alcohol and make friends, don’t forget to visit the Nguyen Phuc Chu road.
Read also: Hoi An Night Tour from Da Nang
Play Bai Choi with Locals
Bai Choi is a Vietnamese traditional game that people organize in rural villages to celebrate the spring or a new year. It has been alive for many centuries. In 2017, this form of folk culture was declared by Unesco as an intangible cultural heritage of our humanity. So, recently, Hoi An’s local authorities decided to introduce it to visitors in the Ancient town. Any people can join, including foreigners (English is also used today to make sure they understand what is going on). It’s a wonderful chance to know better one of the long-standing traditions in Vietnam.
By An Hoi bridge, at the crossroad of Hai Ba Trung, Nguyen Thai Hoc and Bach Dang streets, an outdoor stage is set there. Bamboo huts stand around an yard where the hosts of the game are. They hold a bamboo tube, filled with cards and each card has some words. Players sitting in the huts or around them, also have three cards. The hosts shake the tube, to select a card that dropped out. Then, they have singing and dancing performances, as long as the ones are linked to words on the card. One round ends when a player has all cards matching.
Read also: Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage in Vietnam
Learn How to Prepare Vietnamese Foods
A cooking class is amongst the most popular activities for tourists in Hoi An. Instead of learning in the daytime, it’s possible to book a class in the evening and the learners will prepare food for their dinner. In the menu, there are Vietnamese classic dishes, such as fresh and fried spring rolls, pancakes, noodles, salad, and fish in a clay pot. Locals eat them with steamed rice. The recipe that the chief shares is authentic. Within a couple of hours, learners have a fun time with new cooking ingredients and utensils, especially childrens. Some classes are arranged in the Ancient town, and by that, conveniently they can enjoy other experiences and activities. Text us in whatsapp number +84968009827 to know more details about an evening cooking class in Hoi An;
Read also: Cooking Classes in Hoi An
Da Nang: Dragon Bridge Fire Show, Fireworks Festival
Da Nang is 30 kilometers away from Hoi An (or 45 minutes drive). If traveling by airline, visitors definitely know this city because the nearest airport to Hoi An is in it. By night, its Han river and waterfronts turn into a special focal point for both locals and tourists. Five bridges, different in design and the 115-meters-tall wheel mark an iconic image of the city. The most unique bridge is the Dragon bridge. Here, every weekend, the dragon breathes fire and water in turn, attracting so many watchers. Before the show time, the Son Tra night market is a good place to stroll around, in order to taste local street foods and buy souvenirs. Read details in the Dragon bridge travel guide.
Each summer, the city authorities celebrate an international fireworks festival, aiming to build a signature event. During its time, people are excited to see great performances in the air and by the river, from different country candidates. Those who stay overnight in Hoi An also buy a ticket and ride to Da Nang, to see. Recently, competitions have been held every week or every month. Read Da Nang international fireworks festival for further information.
Read also: What to Do in Da Nang at Night?
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