Vietnam // The central coast //

Arts and festivals

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With the influx of tourists, Hoi An is becoming a centre for the arts. A delightful hour-long medley of traditional music and dance is performed most evenings in a cramped room rather grandly known as the Traditional Arts Theatre, 75 Nguyen Thai Hoc (Mon–Sat 9pm; 50,000đ). Folk musicians also play short concerts at the Hoi An Handicraft Workshop, 9 Nguyen Thai Hoc (Mon–Sat 10.15am & 3.15pm; included in ticket scheme).

Once a month vehicles are banned from the town centre, coloured silk lanterns replace electric lights and shopkeepers don traditional costume to celebrate the Full-Moon Festival (fourteenth day of the lunar calendar). It’s a tourist event, but a great occasion nonetheless: there are traditional music performances, with food stalls selling local specialities by the Japanese Bridge and on the waterfront.

During the Mid-Autumn Festival, a much bigger affair celebrated nationwide on the fourteenth day of the eighth lunar month, people also float lanterns on the river. In recent years – usually in spring but dates vary – Quang Nam province has also staged a week-long cultural heritage festival in Hoi An and My Son, including Cham dances and folk songs.

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