If you’re in Hoi An, it’s better that you don’t miss the Lantern Festival. Besides the famous old town, flavorful dishes and good tailors, Hoi an is also considered as the land of lantern of plentiful kinds, shapes and sizes of color. During the Lantern Festival in Hoi An, you’ll get a chance to witness such a beautiful scene that cannot be experienced elsewhere. These are a few thing you might want to know before get going.

Why should you join in the Hoi An Lantern Festival?

The Hoi An Lantern Festival is on of the greatest festivals in Vietnam and is for celebrates the full moon. As a country based on Lunar Calendar, this time is considered to be one of the most sacred time in Vietnam. People believes that it’s when the earth attained the enlightenment and energy of the full moon. Traditionally, people take this time to meditate, perform rituals, and worship their ancestors. This is done in various ways from offerings made at family shrines to burning incense and candles. In recent years these traditions have morphed into the popular Hoi An Lantern Festival.

In these days, Hoi An bustled with travelers and locals to participate in the celebrations. As the name suggests, the biggest feature of this festival is the lanterns. Multi-coloured mini floating lanterns are lit up with candles and put on the Thu Bon river with all wishes for happiness, luck and love. All fluorescent lights from nearby shops are turned off so that the floating lanterns can creating a magical glow. You can wander around and enjoy the atmosphere without fear of walking into the path of a motorist.

There are usually folk music and poetry reading performances held along the river. Locals will play board games outside their homes while others gather for a folk musical version of bingo called Bai Choi. Street food stalls pop up all along the river selling delicious food. Some local dishes available are Cao Lau (a famous Hoi An noodle dish), Banh Bao (steamed dumplings), mango cake and also Xi Ma (a unique black sesame pudding). All street foods are worth a try with cheap price. It’s also a great time to try cute little moon cakes and go shopping at the busy night markets.

Where does the Hoi An Lantern Festival take place?

The festival is celebrated at the heart of UNESCO-listed town of Hoi An which recently has become one the most popular destinations for travelers in Vietnam. The best place to witness most of the actions is the area between the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Cau An Hoi Bridge. There you will be able to see lanterns released onto the river beautifully reflected the lights of surrounding buildings.

For those of you staying in the Hoi An City Center, it will be a short walk from your hotel. For those of you staying closer to the beach or in Da Nang, it will take around 10-20 minute taxi/shuttle ride into the city center.

What time does it start and finish?

The lantern festival technically commences quite late, between 9-10PM. However, from 8PM all the buildings located within start to turn off their electricity to allow soft lights from the lanterns to create a magical glow. Most people however begin to gather in the Ancient Town at sunset. There they can have dinner and then relax with some drinks waiting for it to begin.

When does the Hoi An Lantern Festival 2020 take place?

Hoi An Lantern Festival is held on the 14th day of each lunar month when the moon is at its fullest and brightest.

2020 LANTERN FESTIVAL DATES: January 19th, February 18th, March 19th, April 18th, May 18th, June 16th, July 16th, August 14th, September 12nd, October 12nd, November 10th, December 9th.

2021 LANTERN FESTIVAL DATES: January 26th, February 25th, March 26th, April 25th, May 25th, June 23rd, July 23rd, August 21st, September 20th, October 19th, November 18th, December 17th.

Travel Tips

  • You can enjoy the Hoi An Lantern Festival all times of year, however, there are 2 biggest celebrations. The first one is on February which is the first full moon of the lunar new year. While the second one is on September that is also the Mid-Autumn Festival.
  • This is one of the best opportunities to take stunning photos in Vietnam if you’re into photography. Prepare your camera to capture the luminous glow as the lights shimmer from the river.
  • Home-made lanterns will be sold for around 10-20,000 VND (0.5-1 USD) each. You might want to try your bargain skills here.
  • If you want to escape the walking crowds, consider a sampan ride on the river. You might get a better chance to take stunning pictures of lanterns on the water’s surface. The price for a ride is around 100,000 VND (about 5 USD).

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