For those wishing to take home a piece of Hoi An’s lanterned charm, the Night Market on An Hoi Islet (across the river from Hoi An Old Town) provides a large array of inexpensive souvenirs and snacks from which to choose. Though largely similar to countless souvenir markets found across Vietnam, Hoi An’s signature lanterns light up the booths lining the entrance to the market, providing a beautiful warm glow. At the Night Market you will find mass-produced trinkets, t-shirts and toys with a selection nearly unchanged from booth to booth. So, when you’ve got loose VND burning a hole in your pocket, the decision of which booths to buy from comes down to price and personality.
Many of the booths have caught on to tourists’ dislike of the cacophony of voices pleading, “Lady, buy something from my shop!” or “Look here! Buy this!”, and have erected signs that (somewhat inaccurately) claim “No Pressure! No Pushing!” or, my personal favorite, “No Mucking Around!”. Still, in an effort to stand out from their peers, shopkeepers will guide you to their selections claiming a special price for you and you alone. Don’t be fooled! The prices of the Night Market are heavily inflated, even compared to the souvenir storefronts scattered around the Old Town. Be prepared to barter down by at least half of the initial quoted price, and even further if you are buying a collection of gifts.
Overall, the Night Market provides a pleasant setting to shop for goods that can be found in nearly any tourist destination in Vietnam. One exception being the inclusion of Hoi An’s ubiquitous lanterns. Walking around the Night Market, I saw no fewer than three ‘brides to be’ posing sweetly with their grooms amongst the flattering glow of the colorful lantern shops. Armed with a camera and a cup of fresh mango purchased from one of the market’s snack stalls, a stroll around the market is a colorful way to spend an evening. And, when you’re done with the shopping, bartering and banter, An Hoi’s nearby bars and restaurants provide plenty of options to either put your feet up and relax or get the party started.
Hours: 6 pm – 10 pm
Add: Nguyen Hoang, An Hoi Islet