Every full moon the old town of Hoi An celebrates the moon deity with limited use of electrical lighting, using silk lanterns to illuminate the houses and streets instead. The historical centre thus transforms into a spectacular fairytale from sunset to moonlight. The festival attracts both tourists and locals and features traditional food, poetry and different events happening throughout the night.
The celebration takes part in the old district, to be more precise in the area between the Cau An Hoi Bridge and the Japanese Covered Bridge connecting Hoi An with An Hoi. The festivities spread onto the neighbouring streets but the main highlight is definitely the flow of hundreds of colourful lanterns down the Thu Bon river. Locals traditionally light the lanterns with a wish for happiness and prosperity. Tourists may join in—the lanterns are offered for purchase at 5,000 to 10,000 VND which is 25 to 50 cents.
Some of the best spots along the banks are located at the Cau An Hoi Bridge on the An Hoi side. You may choose any of the numerous street cafes lining the river as a good viewing point. The panoramic views from the Cau An Hoi Bridge are unbeatable, but the bridge usually gets too crowded.
Hoi An Lantern Full Moon Festival takes place monthly—on the 14th day of each lunar month. The festivities kick off at dusk and continue until around 9 or 10 pm.