Hoi An is beautiful no matter the time of the day, but it’s especially spectacular at night. When the sun sets, the pedestrian-friendly streets of Hoi An turn into a sparkling display of colorful lanterns, as well as folk dance and live music performances. Watch as candle-lit lanterns float down the Thu Bon River. Here are our favorite things to do in Hoi An at night.
The Hoi An Ancient Town is beautiful at night. There is nothing more peaceful than strolling through the big and small alleyways of the town, each unique and colored by the lanterns strung above from wall to wall. Explore the streets and hop in and out of shop houses. There are no vehicles to bother you—just other curious souls.
An emblematic symbol of Hoi An, The Japanese Covered Bridge is located in the heart of the Old Quarter. It was built in the 17th century by the Japanese as a way of getting to the Chinese quarter. When darkness falls, the bridge gets illuminated by colorful lights which get reflected on the water, making it an even more beautiful spectacle. It’s also a popular spot for engagement photo shoots.
The rivers and canals in and around Hoi An are full of life and color, and what better way to explore this than on a sunset cruise around the Thu Bon River? There are plenty of options, but we recommend Cinnamon Cruises, a traditional local barge that has been refurbished to the highest standards. The tour consists of a five-course meal, juicy cocktails, mellow music, and of course, incredible scenery.
The Night Market is just across the bridge over the Hoai River, in An Hoi island. This is where you find most dining and drinking venues. The market is full of stalls, stacked high with souvenirs, from clothes, to accessories, shoes, handbags, lacquer wear, lanterns, and jewelry. If you’re looking to buy some gifts for your friends back home, buy them here. There are plenty of street food vendors around too, so grab some snacks such as a banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwich) as you jump from stall to stall. Make sure to try the famous coconut popsicle ice cream too!
Bai Choi is a traditional Vietnamese game. By the Hoi An bridge, there’s a wide yard with a daily crowd playing what looks like a card game. If this ignites your curiosity, join them; they are very welcoming. Buy in and get some cards, and they will teach you how to play. All you have to do is listen to the Hoi An folk songs the locals sing. At the end of each song, you’ll hear the name of the card you have to play. If you get three, you get a gift!
Take a Cooking Class for Dinner
Hoi An’s cooking classes are some of the most popular in Vietnam. Instead of just getting dinner at a restaurant, why don’t you try to cook dinner? Head over to Hai Café. They offer a fantastic introductory level cooking class in the evenings. The class is only 20USD. You will learn to cook some of central Vietnam’s favorites, and then, of course, eat the food you prepared. Hai Café is also located in the heart of the Ancient Town, so a stroll afterwards under the starry night sky will be the cherry on top of your evening.
After 6:00 p.m., you will see street vendors of all ages starting to sell paper lanterns by the river. A common tradition is to buy these, light them up, and make a wish as you set them afloat on the water. It’s thought to bring you luck and happiness. The river twinkles with hundreds of these lanterns floating away into the distance.
Squeezed between the river and the Hoi An Market on Bach Dang Street is a row of simple beer stalls that have some of the best river views in town. If you’re a little broke and can’t afford the sunset cruise price tag, then this spot is ideal. After a long day of being a tourist, you can grab a few cheap pints and watch as the sun sinks below the hills. You will most likely be surrounded by locals, as this spot is relatively unknown by tourists, so it’s as authentic as it gets.
In a peaceful countryside town, you don’t expect the party scene to be great. However, Hoi An attracts many tourists and now has a small expat community, so there are a fair share of bars scattered around.
Q Bar is a favorite among the expat crowd; it’s an opulent bar, serving an extensive list of drinks and finger food for affluent customers looking for a sophisticated night out. Despite being categorized as an affluent bar, the prices are not too expensive; for example, a pizza is just 5USD.
Everybody loves going to the beach at night—the weather is cool, the sounds of the waves are extra soothing, and you’ll have the beach all to yourself! Grab a bicycle and cycle your way through Hai Ba Trung Street into An Bang Beach. Find an entrance where you can be alone. There is barely any light pollution in Hoi An, so you will see plenty of stars. Sit on the sand and contemplate the amazing journey you just had.