Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage city just half an hour outside of Da Nang is home to a monthly lantern festival. Be sure to visit this beautiful, charming, and atmospheric city on the night of the full moon so that you can launch a lantern in the river and make a wish.
The Hoi An Lantern Festival is held every month on the night of the full moon. It's the most popular time to visit this colorful little city, so plan ahead and book your hotel in advance, otherwise you may end up staying in Da Nang.
Getting to Hoi An:
You can reach Hoi An from Da Nang by local #1 Yellow Bus (supposedly only 25,000d, but foreigners are often charged at least double that) or by taxi. We recommend using the Grab app to book a metered car or taxi. This usually costs around 200,000d (about $10) for the 30-minute trip.
Explore the historical UNESCO World Heritage walking down during the day. As the sun goes down, head across the river to the night market where you can find cheap and funky souvenirs, and lots and lots of delicious local food.
Hungry? How about barbecued frog on a stick? Not your thing? Try a whole grilled octopus. Yum!
If frog or octopus doesn't quite make you hungry, order a banh trang trung, a "Vietnamese pizza". A grilled rice paper is topped with tons of yummy and savory ingredients, and cooked with a fried egg. Banh trang trung is a central Vietnamese delicacy.
Have some ice cream or beer, or pick up a local dessert. Browse through the fascinating and colorful night market as you wait for the sun to go down. Once it starts to get dark, that's when the festival begins!
You'll need to barter at the riverside to hire a boat. You can take a boat out for a 10-30 minute ride up and down the river. A 30-minute ride cost us about 200,000d for three people, including lanterns.
A boatman will row you up and down the river, past the beautiful and historical shops of the old town. When you are ready, light a candle, place it inside a paper lantern, make a wish, and send your lantern off down the river.