Hoi An has been long known as lantern town due to beautifully attractive lanterns. However, it is definitely not the only thing to watch at night there. If you have a chance to visit this ancient town, this article suggests some activities that might brighten your nightlife in Hoi An.
1. Visit Japanese Covered Bridge at Night
Japanese Covered Bridge, which looks like a pagoda on the river, is located in the center of Hoi An as a symbol. It attracts a number of couples who would love to take wedding pictures in rustic style because in daylight, the pagoda brings both sacred and ancient manner.
At night, the colorful LED lights illuminated it with yellow sparkling dragon patterns on the roof, cozy orange color in the main altar and mysterious dim blue on the stone pillars underneath and the whole structure reflects itself on the water. It would be nice to walk along and take some pictures with your loved ones in such a romantic ambience.
2. Walking Around Hoi An Ancient Town
Hoi An is not so big; therefore, taking a walk around the whole town would be a great idea to see its true spirit at night. All the brick walls in town are naturally decorated with bushy bougainvilleas and palm tree; houses are riverside and seem to be connected by strings of lanterns hanging on.
When the darkness starts to cover the little town, all these colorful lanterns are lit, replacing white bulbs, which brings about a reminiscence of Vietnam back in the 17th century. Just take a camera or fully-charged phone, you will get amazing ancient town- themed pictures.
No vehicles are allowed to get in and bother your enjoyment after 6p.m. Why not strolling around, hand in hand with your partner, bet you will feel the irresistible Asian elegance and nostalgia.
3. Cruise Along Hoai River and Float Coloured Lantern
If you desire to spend your evening in a special way, one of the best things suggested is to have a panorama of the scenery from a special spot. It’s time to get on a wooden cruise, get yourself served a delicious dinner on board and slowly authentically showcase the rustic daily life of local people.
You see floating little lanterns on the Hoai River, good news is that you can join in and buy some colorful ones to release from the cruise though it is just a normal day. This has become a unique part of culture in Hoi An, people light up their flower lanterns and drop them onto poetic Hoai River as a ceremony of dispelling all stress and difficulty and praying for glory, joy and peace. It’s like a totally different world from outside when there is no hustle and bustle, just peace in soul and tranquility flow along little sparkling dots on the water. On the 1st and 15th of the lunar month, Buddha’s Birthday and Lantern Release Festival, the vibe is much more sacred, spectacular and gorgeous.
4. Visit Hoi An Night Market
The night falls is when street vendors take their roofed- trolleys or set up tiny table and chairs, ready to bring the most typical dishes in Hoi An closer to you. Eating street food on the sidewalk must be a once-in-a-while experience that you ever have when visiting Vietnam.
An endless range of noodles, Cao Lau, Banh Beo, sweet mango cakes, stick ice-cream, snacks, grilled pork or even Thai crepes will draw your attention with nice fragrances and strange shape. If the weather in Vietnam is too hot for you, take a seat and order a glass of Bia Hoi (local draft beer), which is newly fermented and light at only 6000 VND (25 cents). Just get out with an empty belly and have it fulfilled with the enticing food and your satisfaction.
Besides food, Hoi An night market is believed to demonstrate the most symbolic souvenirs of Central Vietnam, such as handmade bracelets, earrings, paper lanterns, embroidered handbags and keychains or frames with pictures of exquisite Hoi An in. You will definitely get something to bring back home as a present for relatives and friends.
5. Take Part in the Traditional Game – Bai Choi
Bai Choi appeared around 400 years ago but lost its popularity until Hoi An old town was recognized as a World Heritage site. Bai Choi has been revived and brought a lot of excitement and warmth for both local people and visitors who are free to join in the game.
On every Saturday evening, people of all ages get together on the bank of Hoai river and focus their look on the center stage where an MC, some actors and actresses are preparing for the game. The rule is simple and it’s somehow like Bingo.
There are 10 types of cards, each is drawn with names of 3 chess pieces and the players can buy the cards they want. Then, the dealer delegates the bamboo sticks (cards) to start the game. After that, the MC randomly takes the sticks out and sings out loud a folk song representing each of the chess pieces on the sticks. The players once hear the song, have to shout and show their chess piece for checking. The winner must receive 3 right chess pieces on the same bar and receive a prize, which is more of spiritual value rather than material value, like a lantern. Despite that, all people there are super fascinated and enthusiastic as the songs praise human nature, parental affection and friendship and stop outdated customs, which expresses the educational and charming side of traditional games.
6. Enjoy Hoi An Specialties
When the sun goes down, Hoi An streets become more crowded and offer a lot of delicious local dishes. Nighttime is the perfect time to immerse yourself in some food stalls in a maze of bustling markets or venture into narrow alleys.
Digging into the tasty food scene, you may be confused about what is the best to sample first? So, we highly recommend some signature dishes of Hoi An such as “cao lau”, “banh trang nuong”, “banh xeo”. These dishes will satisfy you with the explosive flavors and the typical local taste.
Places to find the best dishes at night:
► Little Faifo Restaurant
Address: 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc street, Minh An ward, Hoi An
► Hi Restaurant
Address: 01 Nguyen Phuc Chu street, Hoi An
► Streets Restaurant Cafe
Address: 17 Le Loi street, Minh An ward, Hoi An
7. Café and Bars
This Vietnam’s ancient town is famous for its laid-back and slow style, in fact, it does not mean you are unable to find any modern bars or cafés in Hoi An. On the other side of the town, nightlife can last from sunset until sunrise in the next morning, plenty of fantastic bars and pubs along An Bang beach, with DJ playing the most up-to-date songs of many genres, fine cocktails and amazing wines. These places are way more spacious, well-decorated and air-opened than ones in the old town, while sipping your drink, you can feel fresh breezes from the sea and contemplate the mysterious beach at night. For ones seeking for a different taste of late night fun, those bars and pubs are extremely suitable to come and dance, meet new people and enjoy a relaxing evening.
Needless to say, Hoi An offers everything that an old town- lover expects. It is both romantic and quiet with sparkling lights from lanterns and candles, but also lively and crowded with markets and pubs.
8. Stroll along Lantern Street and Take Photos
You may know that Hoi An is the most beautiful at night with colorful lanterns lit up. There is nothing more peaceful than strolling through the lantern streets. Some visitors to Hoi An said that it gave them the feeling of walking back in time. The best time to visit lantern street is on the 14th night of the lunar month. The electric lights are all turned off and all the lanterns are lit, which makes Hoi An look magical and atmospheric. There are so many photo opportunities waiting for you in this lantern street also. So, don’t miss your chance to visit the street at night during your stay in Hoi An.
9. Drink Beer & Coffee at Hoi An
If you are wondering what to drink in Hoi An, beer and coffee are the best options. You can find a lot of beer stalls along the river which offer the best view. These stalls are ideal places for taking a rest after a long day wandering around the ancient town, grabbing a cheap beer, and also enjoy the most authentic feeling of the local streets. For those who are looking for a more luxurious beer experience, there are also a number of bars scattered around. Among them, we suggest Q Bar which is the most favorite of the expat community in Hoi An.
Besides, coffee in Hoi An is also a wonderful experience to try. There are so many kinds of coffee you can try in this little town such as milk coffee, egg coffee, coconut coffee, iced coffee with condensed milk, and phin coffee. The best coffee shop to try must be Faifo Coffee which provides customers with authentic cups of coffee and best famous rooftop view overlooking Hoi An.
10. Join a Night Cooking Class
So many visitors spend their daytime visiting the famous destinations in Hoi An and use their nighttime for night cooking classes. With a deep culinary tradition and amazing seafood and organic produce, the cooking classes will surely be an amazing experience and give you a better understanding of local cuisine. Existing within the beautiful city of Hoi An, there are many options for classes which suit all your interests, expectations and needs.
11. Visit Sa Huynh Museum at Night
Sa Huynh Museum is a hidden gem in town where you can learn and explore the traditional culture of Vietnamese people which is also the foundation of Vietnamese culture. With items dating back several thousand years, it gives you a lot of information about ancient peoples who were the first owners of the Hoi An trading port in Sa Huynh civilization. Here, you can find old weapons, jewelry, and useful implements like axes which were well preserved and exhibited.
There are a lot of things to do in Hoi An at night time, instead of staying in your hotels or homestays, heading out in the ancient town will prove to you why it deserves to be in the list of 50 must- visit towns in the world. Leave a comment below to tell us about your impression of Hoi An.