Lantern Making in Hoi An

Hoi An is a beautiful, picturesque city on the central coast of Vietnam, halfway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Walking through the Ancient Town, I saw lots of beautiful silk lanterns strung across the pedestrian only streets and at night, they looked even more incredible lit up. The lanterns first made their appearance in Hoi An in the 16th-century when the Chinese and Japanese settled there. They were originally used for lighting up homes but these days they are now a popular tourist attraction, and make beautiful souvenirs.

A trip to Hoi An wouldn’t be complete without a lesson in making these traditional lanterns. After a bit of Googling, I came across The Lantern Lady who offered one-to-one classes for an extremely small charge. There were two options for me to choose from – Option 1 which would take approximately 1 hour, where I would be gluing the silk onto ready-made lantern frame for 90,000 VND (approx. £3.00) per person or Option 2 which would take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes, where I would make the lantern from the beginning for 135,000 VND (approx. £4.50). I went for the latter option, and spent about 2 hours making my lantern.

Once I’d arrived in Hoi An and had worked out what I wanted to do there, I messaged The Lantern Lady through Facebook Messenger to arrange my lantern making lesson. The workshop was easy to find (thanks to Google Maps) within the Ancient Town. When I arrived, I was welcomed into the ladies home and offered an iced coffee before we started our lesson.

I started off making the frame from bamboo, before gluing the silk fabric to the frame. Once the glue had dried, my lantern was ready to be tested out with a light.

I highly recommend this lantern making workshop if you’re ever in Hoi An, and it was a refreshing break from the Vietnamese heat. Don’t worry about not having room to transport your lantern back home; they fold down so you can pack them in your backpack/suitcase without them getting damaged.

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