Hoi An - the sparkling city of lanterns
Posted on 01/10/2020

CultureVietnam

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Hoi An is the most romantic city in Vietnam, with its typical stores, its restaurants overlooking the river, and its Japanese style bridges. But it becomes even more intimate at night thanks to its iconic silk lanterns that decorate every corner of the city, creating a breathtaking scenery...

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Nirut Saelim/123RF

Since 1999, Hoi An has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is the best preserved example of a southeastern commercial port. The facades of the houses represent a striking fusion between local tradition and foreign influence. Its narrow, characteristic streets are home to typical Vietnamese markets and craft stores selling fabrics and ceramics, while its temples give off an irresistible scent of incense and fresh flowers. The pastel colored buildings are almost as striking as the famous Japanese Covered Bridge, dividing the two sides of the city - the Chinese on the east side and the Japanese on the west.

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1tomm/123rf

Its atypical everyday life makes Hoi An particularly beautiful, and it flows like a river - you can immerse yourself in Vietnamese life just walking through the streets, going to fish markets, looking at people shouting and rushing on bicycles. And you can admire the elegance of traditional clothing, smell traditional soups, or listen to the melodies of the place. It's an intimate and comfortable city, perfect for tourists. To preserve its historical heritage, the entrance to the city is worth 120,000 dong (about 5 euros).

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Islander/123RF

When you visit Hoi An, you should enjoy the Old Town, as well as the temple of Chua Cao. The city is completely worth the entrance fee, and it resembles nothing else. It is a sort of village-metropolis, chaotic and traditional at the same time, with lively streets and laughter. You can enjoy a delicious lunch in the restaurants located on the banks of the river - from meat specialties, noodles and vegetables, and a romantic view that is even better at nightfall.

Illuminated lanterns

Illuminated lanterns
Anthony Shaw/123RF

But Hoi An really comes true at sunset, when illuminated lanterns start glowing. The city then sparkles with coloured lights in every shape and size, in stores, restaurants, and on the streets, bringing a very unique, emotional and relaxing atmosphere.

The ideal thing is watching it while dining in one of the little restaurants on the riverside, where you can also admire the Vietnamese boats adorned with lanterns passing by. Hoi An has become a kaleidoscope of lights and colours, but it is also home to night clubs and bars where you can see traditional dancing. Hoi An is as lively at night as during the day, but it is a different atmosphere, with a particular rhythm, and the hypnotic glow of lights.

The best time to visit Hoi An is during the full moon (the 14th day of the lunar cycle), when the soft light from the lanterns reflects the rays of the night star, becoming truly enchanting.