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Travelers considering a Vietnam getaway may want to think about spending some time in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An, a well-preserved historic town on the country’s central coast. Those looking to see the attraction at one of its cultural peaks should schedule a visit around the town’s Full Moon Lantern Festival, which happens the 14th day of every lunar month.
Noel Cameron, general manager of Anantara Hoi An Resort, which is just a short walk from the old town, notes that the lively monthly event not only attracts visitors, but also many Vietnamese residents from surrounding areas.
“Laden with multicolored lanterns, the ancient town’s canals and alleyways are a sight to behold during the lantern festival,” he said. “The locals turn off their lights, leaving the town bathed in candlelight.”
Although much of the festival’s focus surrounds the colorful paper lanterns — which contain a small candle and are lit by people who, traditionally, set them afloat with a wish — Cameron says visitors should also expect all sorts of live music, excellent local delicacies and a range of temples packed with worshippers.
“The myriad floating lanterns dotting the water’s surface make for an incredible view, but the festival’s atmosphere is lively, romantic and mystical,” he said. “I recommend U.S. travelers mark it high on their bucket lists.”
The 93-guestroom Anantara Hoi An Resort, meanwhile, is a luxury boutique property sitting on the northern bank of the Thu Bon River, which also flows through the nearby UNESCO town. Featuring French-colonial design themes, the resort is home to a tranquil outdoor swimming pool, a high-end spa and two restaurants. Last year, it was voted one of Asia’s Top 25 Resorts by “Conde Nast Traveler” readers.
“We also offer a host of activities, including Vietnamese cooking classes, in which guests learn how to whip up authentic fare step by step at the resort’s Spice Spoons cooking class,” Cameron said. “Fresh produce is sourced from the nearby Tra Que farming village, an organic vegetable and herb farm run by the people and owned by the people, supplying not just the resort’s fresh produce, but also much of Hoi An’s.”
Cameron says other activity options include organized excursions to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage-listed My Son temples, built by the Champa kingdom between the fourth and 13th centuries.
Anantara Hoi An Resort has also launched a two-night Full Moon Lantern Festival Experience package, beginning at $200 per night. which includes daily breakfast for two, round-trip transfers between Da Nang International Airport and a $50 U.S. food and beverage credit at the property.
“The package also features a one-hour cruise on the Thu Bon River for two, a lantern-making class at the resort in which guests create their own lantern to take home, and the opportunity to light a candle in a paper lantern and make a wish as they set it afloat down the river,” Cameron said.