Events, Festivals and Exhibitions

Hoi An Lantern Festival, Vietnam

23 March

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The Hoi An Lantern Festival is celebrated once a month on the full moon, and most significantly on the first full moon of the lunar new year. On these days the pretty little town of Hoi An Vietnam cuts the electricity and is lit by candles and lanterns alone.

It is a very popular event for both domestic and international visitors and the town is typically packed full of tourists so be prepared for crowds. You can float paper lanterns in the river, either from the shore or while enjoying a gentle boat ride.

Hoi An riverside

The old town of Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in addition to turning off the electric lights, the area is pedestrianised for most of the evening adding to the ambience.

Peaceful early morning in Hoi An ancient town on the day of the lantern festival
Peaceful early morning in Hoi An ancient town on the day of the lantern festival

When is Hoi An Lantern Festival?

While the Hoi An Lantern Festival happens monthly, the biggest celebrations are the first full moon of the lunar new year which typically falls in February.

Hoi An Lantern Festival 2024 Dates

The dates for the full moon lantern festival in 2024 are:

  • 24th January 2024
  • 23rd February 2024
  • 23rd March 2024
  • 22nd April 2024
  • 21st May 2024
  • 19th June 2024
  • 19th July 2024
  • 17th August 2024
  • 16th September 2024
  • 16th October 2024
  • 14th November 2024
  • 14th December 2024

Lion dances through the streets of Hoi An ancient town on the full moon

Lion dances through the streets of Hoi An ancient town on the full moon

What to expect at the Hoi An Lantern Festival?

The festival is an assault on the senses with colourful lights, drums and crowds. Chinese lions dance their way through the crowds as parades make their way between different temples. People take boat rides in the river, and float small paper lanterns in the water. Shops sell countless souvenir paper lanterns and food stalls line the streets. You will find most shops and food outlets on the southern riverbank opposite the old town itself. The whole town has a lively and festive atmosphere.

Most of the celebrations are focused around the iconic covered bridge and An Hoi Bridge that connects the ancient town to the river island.

Ancient Japanese covered bridge in Hoi An ancient town
Ancient Japanese covered bridge in Hoi An ancient town

What time of year is best to visit Hoi An?

The best time to visit is during the dry season, from around February to August. Temperatures are cooler earlier in the year and rise to 40 degrees or more around May. The town does suffer from flooding most years, this can happen any time during the rainy season but most often in October or November.

Paper lanterns float in the river at the Hoi An Lantern Festival
Paper lanterns float in the river at the Hoi An Lantern Festival

How to get to Hoi An Vietnam?

Hoi An is a small town located around 20 minutes south of Da Nang in central Vietnam. Da Nang can be reached by international airport with many flight connections around the region. You can then take a taxi directly from the airport to your accommodation in Hoi An. Large cruise ships also dock at Da Nang port and often make a day trip to Hoi An, but the crowds start to thin in the evening as the day trippers return.

Da Nang boasts attractions of its own and is also worth a stop. A little further north you will the famous Hai Van Pass, Hue city and the DMZ that divided North and South Vietnam before reunification. The whole region is well worth a visit.


Read more about Joe & Amber’s visit to the Hoi An Lantern Festival in the article Dodging Tourists in Hoi An Ancient Town.


Details

Date:
23 March

Venue

Hoi An Ancient Town
Cau Temple, Hoi An
Hoi An,Viet Nam
+ Google Map

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Joe Ogden

Joe Ogden

Joe is one of Travel Begins at 40's founders, webmaster and resident photographer. As a career freelancer and lifelong traveller he was a "digital nomad" before they had a name for it. He's based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from where he travels the region while keeping an eye on website alerts. With a keen interest in photography and a newfound love of hiking, he is always searching for a spectacular viewpoint atop a mountain.

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