As dusk falls and Hoi An’s silk lanterns light up, a mesmerizing glow comes over the streets of the Ancient Town. Exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site after dark is a completely different experience from daytime. From spectacular cultural shows to shimmering boat rides – check out these top things to do in the evening in Hoi An.

Boat rides on the Hoai River are fun for all ages.

Take a magical boat ride

One of the best ways to see Hoi An is by boat. Wooden boats can be rented by the half hour from the old ferry quay behind the market. Go in the golden hour to catch the sunset and see the Ancient Town light up from the water, or climb into one of the lantern-lit sampans after dinner and glide softly over the dark water surrounded by hundreds of colorful lanterns.

Mezcal Cocteleria is hidden up a stairway on Phan Chau Trinh St.

Sip a strong one in Hoi An’s best bars

Hoi An may be ancient, but it also has a number of contemporary bars serving fine spirits and creative cocktails. Taste the gin infusions at Market Terrace, an open-air lounge perched above the Hoi An Market, nurse a cocktail with views of the Japanese Bridge at Mango Mango, or sample an array of mescals and tequilas in the handsome booths at Mezcal Cocteleria.

TIP: For those hoping to catch some tunes on their holiday, Barconcu just outside the Ancient Town offers live music on selected nights and open mic night every Sunday.

Catch a world-class cultural show

Vietnam’s lauded bamboo circus stages a mesmerizing show at Hoi An Lune Center several times per week. ‘Teh Dar’ celebrates the culture of ethnic minorities from Vietnam’s south west highlands in an unforgettable 60-minute performance. Be transported to another world with jaw-dropping stunts, gorgeous costumes, and enchanting live music.

Alluvia sells premium chocolate from all around Vietnam.

Shop and browse Hoi An’s boutiques

An evening stroll after dinner is the perfect excuse to check out the many small boutiques and stores that line the streets of the old town. Shop for tailor-made clothing, delicate jewelry, or local crafts to bring home. You can find a fitting memento for your Hoi An holiday in shops such as Sunday in Hoi An, Metiseko, Artbook, Gingko, and HART Souvenir House.

Cafes and restaurants line the streets of the Ancient Town, perfect for people-watching.

Relax like a local on the sidewalk

In a town where so much happens on the streets, and with so many sidewalk cafes to choose from, Hoi An is perfect for people-watching. Grab a wooden stool on the curb and sip a tea or something stronger as you watch the action unfold: shop owners selling wares, vendors peddling snacks, lanterns twinkling in the dark, and cyclos weaving through the streets.

TIP: Take a seat at Chu An Cafe facing the busy intersection at An Hoi Bridge, or head to the balcony at Faifo Coffee for a view from above.

hoi an by night: join a folk game with a history
The games begin around 7:30 in the evening and are open to anyone who wants to join.

Join a folk game with a history

In 2017, Hoi An’s art of bai choi was listed as one of the world’s intangible cultural heritages by UNESCO. You can find this game played after dark on Bach Dang St. by the river. The game is similar to bingo, but involves bamboo huts, large playing ‘cards’ on bamboo sticks, small prizes, and Vietnamese sung poetry. English translations make it possible for travelers to join the fun.

hoi an by night - visitquangnam
Nguyen Thai Hoc is one of the prettiest streets to see after dark, with hundreds of glowing lanterns.

See the ancient streets by cyclo

Give your feet a rest and hop on a cyclo to explore the Ancient Town the old way. A short cyclo ride will take you at a leisurely pace along the breezy riverbank, beneath softly glowing lanterns, and past the beautiful assembly halls and shophouses of Hoi An, built many decades ago. You can find cyclo drivers near the Japanese Bridge and the Museum of Folk Culture.

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