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Lanterns are commonly found in Vietnam, and they are often used in religious rituals and celebrations or for a more practical purpose: lighting up the streets of Hanoi with a timeless charm.
Originating in China, the lantern travelled through history and made its way to Vietnam, where they are commonly used during festivals or for decoration. They come in different shapes, sizes and colours, and make for great souvenirs to take back home. Here are four places in Hanoi where you can purchase lanterns.
Home to votive paper offerings and kids toys, Hàng Mã is one of the most colourful streets in Vietnam, let alone Hanoi. For more than 500 years, from store to store, this street has been consistently selling paper goods that have remained unchanged over time.
Here, you will find dozens of different kinds of lanterns. From those made for kids that come printed with cartoon images with plastic handles and musical tunes, to those with religious and decorative significance, you can find them all in endless shapes, sizes and colours. During the mid-autumn festival and before the Lunar New Year, the lanterns in these shops get lit up, adding a beautiful red hue to the street. Take a walk along this vibrant street and you will find not only souvenirs, but beautiful photo opportunities to serve as a colourful reminder of your time in Hanoi.
This shop stands out among its neighbours down Hàng Trống street thanks to its bright colours that spill out onto the sidewalk. Inside, you will find two special kinds of lanterns – fabric and rattan. The fabric ones are often used as décor, whereas the rattan ones serve a more practical purpose in households as bedside lamps. The price for a fabric lantern starts at around 10,000 VND (USD $0.5), while the rattan is a little more expensive, ranging from about 100,000 VND ($4) to 200,000 VND ($8) per lantern.
Son Son Enterprise is a Vietnamese traditional handicraft export company that supplies most of the country’s handicraft products to the outside world. Countries exported to include the US, France, Sweden and even Egypt. The lanterns sold here originate from traditional Vietnamese villages, and are created using materials such as lacquer, bamboo, and silk.
Head over to their shop located on Hang Hom street, which is again an easy find thanks to the stark contrast created by the bright colours. The store is quite large, with two floors of handicrafts for sale.
41 Hàng Hòm, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam, +84 24 3928 7871
Huong Dang is another lacquer manufacturing company, renowned for its international export quality. The lanterns by Huong Dang are made from bamboo, paper, silk, and sometimes even wood. They also sell other lacquer products, seashell handbags and even bamboo furniture.
While most of the shops selling lanterns are found in the Old Quarter, Hoàn Kiếm district, Huong Dang’s showroom is on Minh Khai street, Hai Bà Trưng district. If you don’t have time to go lantern shopping during your Hanoi visit, no fear, just head on over to Alibaba.com where you can submit a custom order.