Upon sunset, hundreds of silk lanterns are lit up, giving sufficient light for visitors to Hoi An to safely walk the streets. Here and there on street corners or on the sidewalks sit old women at their food-selling bamboo frames whose baskets are surrounded by customers eating and talking excitedly.
This is part of Pho Dem Hoi An in the ancient town of the central province of Quang Nam.
The idea of Pho Dem Hoi An became a reality in 2004 as the town’s authorities sought a way to add interest to tourists’ stay in the central region. Tourists experience a night in Hoi An as it was a few centuries ago when the town was a bustling port of traders coming from China, Japan and Portugal.
In addition to folk music performances, the tasting of ruou hong dao (a special locally-made rice wine), a food fair and a poetry contest, those who like legends can dress up as their favorite characters from Vietnamese folk tales and join a fancy-dress party on boats on the river.
The pace of life is pleasantly slower so that visitors can get away from hectic activities and daily concerns. Hoi An is trying to preserve cultural values and historical features in a living way so that visitors can come, explore and discover so much that is fascinating. It is as if everything in town has been kept on hold, enabling visitors to take a stroll and delight in all they see – especially at night.