Hoi An Lantern Festival: Insider Tips for Travelers in 2024

Hoi An Lantern Festival

Hoi An Lantern Festival has become a much-loved tradition, inviting both locals and tourists to enjoy the warm, magical atmosphere of glowing streets and traditional festivities. In this guide, let’s uncover the festival’s origins and provide essential tips for experiencing this magical event firsthand.

The Origin Of Hoi An Lantern Festival

Hoi An Lantern Festival is a must-see for both locals and tourists, highlighting Hoi An’s vibrant culture and past. Its origin began back in the 16th and 17th centuries, when settlers, mostly from Fujian, Guangdong, and Chaozhou China immigrated here and brought with them the tradition of lantern-making. They hang the lanterns outside their homes to feel connected to their homelands.

Hoi An Lantern Festival

With time, making lanterns became a family business and a big part of celebrations in Hoi An. Vietnamese locals joined in, believing the lanterns brought luck and happiness. These bright lanterns soon became a symbol of Hoi An’s identity.

In 1988, the city started organizing the lantern festival every full moon day of the month. During the festival, everyone is encouraged to swap electric lights for lanterns, creating a warm and magical atmosphere. This tradition has continued throughout the years, becoming a must-see attraction for visitors to Hoi An.

Where And When Does Hoi An Lantern Festival Take Place?

Hoi An Lantern Festival happens right in the middle of the Hoi An Old Town where the streets are lit up with colorful lanterns. Most of the activities center around two spots: the An Hoi Bridge and the banks of the Hoai River.

If you stay in the Hoi An City Center, it is just a short walk from your hotel to join the festival fun. But if you stay nearer to the beach, you need to hop in a taxi or shuttle for a quick 10-15 minute ride to get to the festival.

The lantern festival is held on the 14th day of the lunar month, when the moon is at its fullest and brightest, from 6 pm to around 10 pm. Check out the upcoming dates for the Hoi An Lantern Festival in 2024 in the table below. Do not miss out on this unique event!

Month Hoi An Lantern Festival Dates
January January 24th, 2024
February February 23rd, 2024
March March 23rd, 2024
April April 22nd, 2024
May May 21st, 2024
June June 19th, 2024
July July 19th, 2024
August August 17th, 2024
September September 16th, 2024
October October 16th, 2024
November November 14th, 2024
December December 14th, 2024

How To Get There

To get to Hoi An for the Lantern Festival, you will need to travel by road since there is no airport or train station in town. The closest airport is Da Nang, which is about an hour away by car. Da Nang Airport serves both domestic and international flights. From there, you can catch a taxi to Hoi An or consider using Grab, which is usually cheaper.

Best Time To Visit

Hoi An is at its most beautiful between February and August. We suggest attending the Hoi An Lantern Festival in February, especially during the first full moon of the lunar new year, as it is the grandest celebration. However, it is not recommended to visit during the rainy season from October to December. The old town is prone to flooding during this time, with water levels rising as high as 2 meters and mud covering the streets.

What To Expect At The Hoi An Lantern Festival?

Admire the vivid beauty of Hoi An at night 

During the festival’s special day, you can freely wander around the charming old streets when they turn off vehicles and electric lights. When the night gradually falls, Hoi An begins to glow with thousands of colorful lanterns shimmering along the streets. While strolling around, treat yourself to street food, listen to the live music show, and admire the stunning sight of the hanging lanterns that light up Hoi An. This would be a captivating nighttime experience that leaves a lasting impression and makes your visit to Hoi An truly unforgettable.

Hoi An Lantern Festival

Take part in traditional folk games

During the festivals, a variety of traditional folk games have been organized by the local authorities right on the streets and sidewalks. One of the most popular games is blindfolding and hitting the pot. The player will be blindfolded, walk based on their memory to find the place where the pot is hung, and strike it hard. Though the gameplay is so simple, most of the players fail. Therefore, the spectators all cheer enthusiastically for the players and create a festive atmosphere, creating a lively and festive atmosphere.

Hoi An Lantern Festival

Traditional performances 

During the Hoi An Lantern Festival, one of the beloved traditional performances is Bai Choi. Bai Choi is a vibrant blend of music, poetry, and acting, captivating audiences with its rich cultural essence. Recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2017, Bai Choi offers tourists a chance to immerse themselves in smooth and melodious folk songs. Through this experience, visitors also feel the excitement, anticipation, and joy that accompany the performance.

Hoi An Lantern Festival

Learn to make your own traditional lanterns

Crafting your lantern is an amazing experience that offers more than just a special souvenir—you will also develop a greater appreciation for the vibrant lanterns scattered throughout the city and the talented artisans who craft them. You can find many lantern workshops along the old town streets. At these workshops, you will be greeted by a skilled lantern-maker guiding you through the process.

Hoi An Lantern Festival

Buy local gifts 

After walking around the ancient streets, do not forget to stop by a few souvenir shops. You will feel delighted as soon as you come across wooden sculptures, handbags, masks, bas-reliefs, Buddha statues, or simply the traditional handmade Tò He figurines. Some souvenirs from Hoi An would make great gifts for your friends after a long trip.

Hoi An Lantern Festival

Get on a sampan and release lanterns

The highlight activity of the festival is releasing lanterns on the Hoai River. Each lantern carries a prayer for health, happiness, and the banishment of sorrow, following local beliefs and customs. Visitors can purchase lanterns for 5,000 VND each from vendors lining both sides of the river. Then, find a sampan waiting at the Bach Dang wharf section, located at the base of the An Hội bridge. Numerous boats are available, and there is no requirement to book ahead of time. The cost typically ranges from $1,18 – $2 per person.

Hoi An Lantern Festival

Try local dishes 

When you are in Hoi An, do not forget to try the local food! Some must-try dishes include Cao Lau, Quang noodles, com ga, and Banh my Phuong. Cao Lau, especially, is a favorite here and has been influenced by Japanese and Chinese cultures from traders settled in Hoi An. Alongside Cao Lau, there are plenty of other tasty street food options like banh bao, banh vac, banh dap, and banh xoai. You can easily find these delicious dishes at small roadside stalls or well-known restaurants throughout Hoi An, and they will not break the bank!

Hoi An Lantern Festival

Attractions Nearby

  • Beaches in Hoi An: Hoi An boasts beautiful beaches such as An Bang Beach, Cua Dai Beach, Ha My Beach, and Tam Thanh Beach which are perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying the sea.
  • Japanese Covered Bridge: The Japanese Covered Bridge is a famous symbol of Hoi An’s history and culture. Built in the 18th century, this picturesque bridge is a must-visit spot, showcasing intricate architecture.
  • Cam Thanh Coconut Village: In this village, you can experience traditional Vietnamese village life. Take a boat ride through coconut groves, try your hand at fishing, and enjoy local cuisine in this serene setting.
  • Cham Island: Cham Island, an idyllic destination for a day trip or overnight stay, offers clear waters perfect for snorkeling and diving, as well as secluded beaches and historic temples to explore.
  • Tan Ky Old House: Tan Ky Old House, is a well-preserved 18th-century merchant’s residence in Hoi An’s historic district. Marvel at the detailed architecture and cultural blend that make this historic home a top attraction worth seeing.

Tips When Visiting Hoi An Lantern Festival

  • Expect there to be lots of people, so it is a good idea to arrive early to find a good spot.
  • Because vehicles are not allowed, make sure to wear comfortable shoes or sandals for walking around.
  • Since the lighting might not be great for taking photos, it’s a good idea to bring along some photography lighting equipment if you want to capture great shots.

Plan your holiday to Hoi An Lantern Festival with us and create memories that will last a lifetime. Visit our website to start planning your unforgettable journey to Hoi An today!

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