The highlight of our two week visit to Vietnam, Hoi An is unlike anywhere else we’ve been. A window into old-time Vietnam, this town is quaint, memorable and absolutely gorgeous. Known as the ‘peaceful meeting place’, this is the perfect place to fall in love with this incredible country.
To help you plan your visit, we’ve put together this list of fantastic things to do in Hoi An at night (in no particular order). Just be sure you book yourself enough time in the city to really make the most of it!
Whilst you’re in Hoi An, you’ll also want to explore during the day. Why not check out 10 awesome ways to spend a day in Hoi An?
Wander Through Hoi An’s Ancient Town
If Hoi An is the Vietnam of your dreams then the Ancient Town is ground-zero.
With its old yellow buildings and glittering lanterns, it’s unlike anywhere else in Vietnam. Thanks to varied influences from China, Japan and France, this port town is as unique and it is beautiful.
Whilst in the Ancient Town, you may like to consider the following stops on your night-time itinerary (or better still, book a guided tour, as we did):
- Japanese Covered Bridge
- Fukian Assembly Hall
- Phung Hung House
- Cantonese Assembly Hall
- Old House of Tan Ky
- Tran Family Chapel
To enter the Ancient Town, you’ll pay a one-off fee of VND120,000 (USD5.10/NZD7.70). This includes entry to the old town itself and to up to five historic sites within the city walls. The majority of this money goes towards restoration and preservation work within the Ancient Town of Hoi An so it’s money well spent.
Be sure to hang onto your ticket too as you can use it multiple times to re-enter the old town.
Admire the Thu Bon River
With temperatures soaring at times in Hoi An, there’s no better place to be at night than cooling off beside the canal. With its glittering lanterns, stunning reflections and fabulous buzz, this is the lifeblood of Hoi An.
Why not stop a while and pull up a seat at one of the many riverside bars and restaurants? With cheap local beer and perfect views, it’s hard to go wrong.
Time Your Trip to Catch the Hoi An Lantern Festival
Once a month, in line with the full moon, Hoi An becomes a whole new kind of magical (as if it could get any better!)
The lights are turned off around the Ancient Town, the few remaining streets are closed to traffic and the town comes to life with Vietnamese silk lanterns and flickering candles.
Don’t worry if you can’t make it during the monthly lantern festival though as you’ll be able to get a taste of the festivities every night of the year. Granted, the lights around the city won’t be turned off but you’ll still enjoy seeing lanterns flickering throughout the city and drifting along the river.
We didn’t manage to make it during the lantern festival but the city by night was still everything we could have asked for and more!
Pick up Souvenirs to Take Home at the Hoi An Night Market
Whether you’re looking to fill your suitcase or just soak up the magic of Hoi An, be sure to venture out at night to the night market (just be sure to take an umbrella so you’re prepared for the odd tropical downpour that comes out of nowhere).
With snacks, pottery, souvenirs and amazing Vietnamese lanterns, you won’t be short of ways to part with your money!
The vendors at Hoi An’s night market are generally friendly but, as in all of South-East Asia, you should go in expecting to barter. Most vendors will start high and as a rule of thumb, we suggest you counter at approximately a third of their suggested price. Bargain your way up and expect to pay around 50-60% of their initial price.
With that said, use your common sense – some vendors will start at a surprisingly reasonable price and because of that simply won’t come down.
Whatever price you’re offered, enjoy the process and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ and walk away – either a fair price will emerge or you’ll wander off reconsidering your decision.
Book in to See Vietnam’s Very Own Cultural Cirque Show
Perched alongside the canal, Lune Production do an incredible job of combining ancient culture and topical elements with amazing modern circus arts.
Not only will you leave the show with a new understanding of the history and culture of a certain part of Vietnam but you’ll be picking your jaw up off the ground! The performers are strong, flexible and graceful and without doubt, make a Lune Production show a highlight of any evening in Hoi An.
Rent a Bike to Explore Hoi An as the Sun Sets
With flat, pedestrian friendly streets, Hoi An is the perfect spot to explore by bike.
Take your camera and keep your eyes peeled – you don’t want to ride right on past that perfect photo op!
Get a New Wardrobe Custom Made
In a country like Vietnam, the cities never sleep. Thankfully, this means that you can pop into a tailor practically any time, day or night and have something whipped up.
If you have a favourite item at home, you might like to take it in (to have a spare made up). Alternatively, go prepared with some photos to inspire the tailors or flick through their suggestion books.
With skilled tailors and affordable prices, great new pieces are well within reach – just visit them nice and early in your stay to allow them plenty of time to work their magic (and to make alterations should they need to).
Chow Down on Amazing Food
The food in Vietnam is fantastic and Hoi An is absolutely no exception!
There are hundreds of little bars, restaurants, cafes and hawker stands to choose from but there are three spots that you really should hunt out whilst in the Ancient Town.
- Vy’s Market. With an amazing selection of fresh Vietnamese food, this is a great spot to try traditional favourites. The crispy pancakes there were especially amazing!!
- Bale Well Restaurant. An infamous BBQ restaurant in Hoi An; here you’ll find beautifully cooked meat, served up in a relaxed setting.
- Banh Mi Phuong. Our guide told us that this was the best spot for banh mi in all of Vietnam and having tried it, I can’t say I disagree!
Hoi An is sure to be a highlight on any Vietnamese itinerary.
Whether you choose to visit by day or night (or better still, both over a number of days), be sure to swing by to see this incredible town for yourself.