Known for its quiet back streets and beautifully preserved Ancient Town, Hoi An, on Vietnam’s central coast, also lights up in colour once a month when locals and curious travellers join together to celebrate the lantern festival. The monthly institution in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An bursts to light on the 14th day of every lunar month when the moon is brightest.
As a complement to the monthly lunar lantern festival, Anantara Hoi An Resort is celebrating the town’s luminous appeal with a Full Moon Lantern Festival package.
Situated a short walk from the old town, Anantara Hoi An is offering guests the chance to sample a truly unique and authentic experience with a one-hour cruise down the Thu Bon River in a lantern-decorated sampan through the town. Guests will be given the opportunity to light a candle in a paper lantern and make a wish as they set it afloat down the river, and later make lanterns of their own to take home.
During the festival guests can watch the multicoloured lanterns snake through the canals and alleyways of the ancient town. Hoi An’s streets come to life as locals switch off their lights and leave the town to bask in the glow of the candlelight, providing a glimpse of what life may have been like when Hoi An was a booming and affluent port town some 400 years ago.
The event sees Hoi An’s streets throng with Vietnamese – including those from outlying communes – and travellers keen to soak up the lively atmosphere. Traditional music and games come into play, with bands performing on bamboo flutes, drums and fiddles and Chinese chess and Vietnamese bingo matches unfolding by candlelight.
Area temples and pagodas fill with worshippers while troupes of dragon dancers roam the streets to bestow good luck on revellers. On the sidewalks festival-goers huddle together on mini stools, indulging in delectable local delicacies such as cao lầu (Vietnamese pancakes), banh vac (white rose dumplings), cơm gà Hoi An (Hoi An chicken rice) and banh mi (French-inspired sandwiches).
Adding to the mystical atmosphere, clouds of incense emanate from homes and businesses. The town’s residents also adorn their family altars with flowers, fruit and other offerings. They burn fake money for good fortune.
The festivities are clustered around iconic spots including the Cau An Hoi Bridge, Japanese Covered Bridge and Fujian Assembly Hall, and play out along the riverbanks where the views take in a watery world of floating lanterns.
Anantara Hoi An’s two-night Full Moon Lantern Festival package also includes buffet breakfasts for two people by the Thu Bon River, accommodation in a room or suite, airport transfers, and food and beverage credit that can be enjoyed at the resort’s aptly named Lanterns Restaurant.