Hoi An is famous for its lanterns, they hang from almost every shop in the charming old town.
We’d had a tip earlier in our trip that we should try taking a lantern making workshop while we were here and a recommendation of a small but excellent course that we should try out.
If you are wondering about the same decision then this post is first-hand advice of our experience and some of the best places to do a lantern making workshop in Hoi An.
Any questions then drop them in the comments at the bottom and I’ll get back to you.
Hoi An Lantern Making Workshops
There are a number of places offering lantern making courses in Hoi An, most of which receive excellent reviews.
It seems you can’t go wrong with most of them, but we’d received a word-of-mouth recommendation.
Which Lantern Making Class Did We Choose and Why?
We chose to go with a local business called The Lantern Lady.
We chose The Lantern Lady on the recommendation of another traveller we’d met earlier in our trip. Whilst it wasn’t the most reviewed on Tripadvisor it still has 236 reviews all of which are 5 stars with some fantastic comments, so we decided to go with the word-of-mouth advice we’d been given, which so often turns out to be the best thing to do while travelling.
Other Lantern Making Options
Here are some of the other lantern making workshops in Hoi An and how to book them.
At the time of writing there were five different lantern making workshops in Hoi An with the most popular the Lantern Making Class by Hoi An Handicraft Tours which has 692 five-star reviews.
You can also combine a lantern making class with a Tour of the City for not much more than the cost of the lantern making class alone.
If you’re in Hoi An, here are some other great things you could also look at doing:
Lantern Making Class in Hoi An With ‘The Lantern Lady’
Lantern Workshop FAQs
How Much Does the Lantern Making Workshop Cost?
We paid 135,000đ Vietnamese Dong per person which works out to be roughly $6USD or £8.50.
How Long Does the Class Take and at What Times?
The class took just under two hours.
We started at 1030 and finished at 1230.
Send her a message via her Facebook page for times over the following days, but at the time we visited Hoi An she was running three or four classes a day.
How to Book a Class?
We booked via her Facebook page, sending her a message, agreeing a time and then paying when we arrived.
She also has a WhatsApp number advertised +84799482335 or you can book online through TripAdvisor.
Where to Find ‘The Lantern Lady Class’?
The Lantern Lady is located east of the main attractions of Hoi An, something we loved as it got us walking away from the main tourist attractions to see a different area.
It’s also worth taking note of the message below as it seems there can be some confusion with a local lantern shop. Her premises are down an alleyway on the right-hand side.
Do I Get to Keep the Lantern?
Yes, you do!
We made two and still have them at our home.
Because the bamboo was bent by us it was fairly easy to flatten them back down and they survived in our backpacks for another three weeks as we made our way up to Tam Coc and Hanoi before heading back to the UK.
The Lantern Making Process
We had great fun making these lanterns with a mixed group of people. There was a family from Australia (the kids seemed better than anyone at this!) and a couple from Scotland who were living in Hong Kong.
Led by our patient and hilariously sarcastic guide Theum, we forged forward together trying to build something resembling the wonderful lanterns hanging around the inside of this humid workshop.
My one piece of advice – lay off the Vietnamese coffee before you start, shaky hands certainly didn’t help!.
Step 0: Choose the Style
Before we started it was time to choose our material. Everyone was issued with lengths of wire, sticks of bamboo and two wooden rings to attach them to, but to make the lanterns personal to us we were allowed to choose a combination of fabric colours and tapes from a wall display at the back of the workshop.
Becca opted for a blue and turquoise look, I went with orange and grey to match the African artwork we had in our living room back home.
Step 1: Bend Bamboo Sticks
Step one was to bend the bamboo sticks to give them a lantern shape. This was done by manhandling the bamboo around a piece of metal pipework (see the photo above). This gave the bamboo some flexibility and allowed us to start making the frame.
Step 2: Attach Sticks to the Lantern Ring
We then had to attach our sticks to the pre-made lantern rings by clipping them through a piece of wire which we then secured and cut on one side.
Step 3: Create a Wire Frame
The final part of the frame construction involved bending thickened bits of wire into a wire hanger which slotted on the inside of each of the lantern rings. With the rings pulled further together this kept the bamboo bent and gave the lantern its shape.
It also highlighted any of the bamboo sticks which had been bent in a different place, which meant there were some very lop-sided lanterns on display!
Step 4: Cut the Fabric to SIze and Glue to Lantern
With the frame made it was time to cut and attach the fabric to the frame. I didn’t get any photos of this. Probably because I managed to get glue on absolutely everything and didn’t want to go near the camera!
Whilst the first stages were fiddly, this was the bit I found most frustrating as getting the fabric cut perfectly to size and then stuck down without having huge dollops of glue forever freezing up the lantern proved very difficult.
Step 5: Glue the Band to the Lantern Top and Bottom and Attach a Tassel
With the hard work out of the way, it was just a case of wrapping tape around the top and bottom to hide those unsightly fabric cuts and then adding the final flourish of a tassel to the bottom. Easy!
Step 6: Take ‘I Made This!’ Photos
And now time for the big reveal!
The workshop had bulbs hanging down on which we could attach our finished lanterns and a backdrop which was perfect for photos (and a great advertising ploy, despite the spelling mistake as I’ve seen the images all over Instagram).
We were given little bags to store our lanterns in and shown how to collapse them back down so they wouldn’t get damaged on the rest of our adventures through Vietnam.
We said thank you and headed out with smiles on our faces, glue on our shorts and another wonderful story to share.
If you’re in Hoi An and have a couple of hours to kill, this is a great activity and I would highly recommend taking a workshop with The Lantern Lady.
It’s little moments like this that make travel special for me, a new experience and an unexpected story to tell from an adventure.
As a bonus, we both had lanterns made with our own hands which are hanging in our homes as a permanent memory of this fun morning out.