Hoi An was one of the places I had most been looking forward to in Vietnam, who can’t resist lanterns the size of your head in every colour under the sun?! What I didn’t bargain for however was how beautiful this city really is, especially at night.
We arrived into Hoi An at around half 4 in the afternoon and decided to make the most of the good weather and remaining sunlight by exploring the ancient city on foot. Our hostel was located right outside the night market and riverside so we were in a perfect location and we spent a couple of hours wandering around the many shops that line the streets of the old city. It was when we left our hotel to go for dinner though that this place showed it’s true colours. Lanterns genuinely light up every restaurant, street and market stall in every single colour and pattern you can think of. Paper lanterns float ideally down the river and soft spot lights illuminate the ancient Japanese bridge that is the focal point of the city. You could stand and watch this place for hours after nightfall; and I often did.
During the remaining days we had in Hoi An we got unlucky with the weather and it rained on and off. We spent our time chilling in coffee shops, spending way more than we should in the shops and night market and enjoying some of the historical sights.
On our last night it was a full moon, which means one thing in Hoi An – the lantern festival. Between dusk and 10pm, all street lighting is turned off and restaurants keep their electricity to a minimum, allowing their diners to eat by candlelight. The effect is even more breathtaking than an average Hoi An evening, with hundreds of floating lanterns on the river and a feeling of celebration among the city. If you are lucky enough to be in the area around this time, make sure you stay for the full moon!
Hoi An has to be my favourite place to stay so far on this trip. The city is just so dainty, romantic and characterful, with just the right amount of uniqueness to remain in your memory for a long time afterwards!