Impression Theme Park: Hoi An Memories Show

The Hoi An Memories show is an incredible spectacle. The sheer scale of it is comparable to an Olympic Games opening ceremony. Spread over 25,000 square metres, the stage itself is more like a Hollywood set. Boasting a cast of 500 actors and dancers using beautiful imagery so as a viewer, you are invited along a 400-hundred-year journey of the town’s growth.

Hoi An Memories is the key component of the Impression Theme Park, which celebrates Vietnam’s rich cultural history. The park has themed villages, complete with stunning pagodas and bridges. They play host to well-produced minishows and informative workshops where guests learn all about Hoi An’s history as a vibrant trading port. The theme park is a large interactive show in itself. Easily enjoyed as the sole performance or as a pre-show warm-up before the main Hoi An Memories show.

Hoi An Memories Show Stage set
The vast set of Hoi An is part of Hoi An Memories show

 

Hoi An Memories Show Review

This grand cultural performance sweeps you up and takes you on a journey. You see the town grow beginning as a small farmer’s house with his new family, then around them, Hoi An springs from the earth. The show moves through the ages portraying Hoi An’s construction, royal marriage alliances, the introduction of lanterns and trade and foreign influence.

However, the star of the show is the town itself. There are no characters, no plot points, no twists. Also there is no narrator. Instead, the story is held together by a common thread: the tapestry of our lives is woven on the loom of time, each person is a string, and each event the strands, are joined to form a pattern. It is with this image and message Hoi An Memories begins. As the lights rise, the audience sees an actress working an ancient loom; the sounds of her work, the signature slide and clunk of weaving, are a steady beat that marks the passing of time during the show. So in other words, if this show was a ball of yarn it would make a great jumper!

The Stage

The show itself is on a purpose-built island on the Thu Bon River. Carved from a massive triangle at the tip of the island and assembled to look like two opposing river banks in Hoi An. It is literally full of actors. “Extras” far off in the distance chat, perform chores or otherwise go about daily life in a way that makes it seem as if you were gazing into a window to Hoi An in the 18th century.

The set also has merchant ships, huge moveable structures, and even a giant rolling elephant. Every scene makes use of different props, effects, and choreography to provide a feast for the eyes—appealing to all ages. The entire stage area has strips of light under the set that stretch in eight different directions. Throughout the performance, these lights illuminate to show the passage of time and the changing of the seasons. At the front of the set are two screens with subtitles in Vietnamese and English. Used only a dozen times during the performance, mostly to introduce a new scene. Above all, as the show transcends language barriers, they are non-essential as it is the imagery that does the talking.

Hoi An Memories Showtimes and Ticket Prices

The park closes on Tuesdays. Otherwise, the Hoi An Memories show runs every night from 7.30-8.45 p.m. The only drawback of having such a large outdoor venue is that it has to close during bad weather. However, in light showers during Hoi An Memories, ponchos will be provided and there is a covered area for VIP guests.

The Hoi An Memories show has tiered pricing based on seating zones. Tourist prices for children range from 300,000 to 450,000 VND (13 to 19 USD). For adults, prices range from 600,000 to 900,000 VND (26 to 39 USD). Combo tickets which include entrance to the theme park can be bought for an extra 30,000 VND (1.20 USD). Tickets for the theme park alone cost 100,000 VND (4 USD). Local residents can enter the theme park free of charge.

Hidden Hint: Pre-purchase your tickets online at booking.hoianimpression.vn and receive discounts of up to 10% (not valid for combo tickets). To change the site to English click the icon in the top right corner changing “Tieng Viet” to English.

Buy your ticket at the entrance if you don’t already have it because the show’s 3,000 seats rarely sell out.

The Hoi An Impression Theme Park

Admire the giant colourful water fountain and enter the theme park through the turnstiles. Here you are instantly transported back in time to Hoi An’s golden era. Walk through the Silk Village, visit the Vietnamese Pagoda, and cross the beautiful Love Bridge, all while regular street performances add to the magic of the park. The stunning scenery provides great photo opportunities and the small selection of shops offer a whole host of traditional goods from tea leaves to musical instruments.

Hidden Hint: Look out for the shows Trai Ho Fighting Against Tiger and Happy Forest for the most exciting productions.

The theme park is open from 4.45 -9.30 p.m. on operating days. There’s an opening ceremony at the main gate at 5 p.m. So get to the park as early as possible for the full experience. The minishows, interactive games and live music performances continue simultaneously in various themed locations all around this beautifully-decorated park up until around 6.45 p.m. Some get repeated so you don’t miss out. Helpful staff, or rather characters, are on hand to guide visitors to the next shows.

With its interesting architecture, impressive attention to detail and mesmerising mini theatrical shows, Hoi An Impression Theme Park works as a stand-alone attraction.

Gardens at Hoi An Impressions
Visitors enjoy the landscape gardens at Hoi An Impressions

How to get to Hoi An Impression Theme Park

Home to the Hoi An Memories show, the Hoi An Impression Theme Park is located in the area of Cam Nam on an island on the Thu Bon River. It is very close to the Old Town but can be a little tricky to access. However you can always catch a cab, and if you do, you should pay roughly 30,000 VND (1.25 USD) from the Old Town.

Driving or Cycling to Impression Island

If you’re driving, the easiest way to get there is to follow Hoang Dieu road straight through the Old Town and across the bridge on to Cam Nam island. After crossing the bridge, take your second left and follow the road until you see large signs for the show and security waving people through. MAP

But if you’re riding a bike, after you cross the bridge you can take the scenic route. Take your first immediate left after crossing the bridge and ride along the riverbank path. Follow the water until you link back up with the main road for the cars and buses. Security guards will show you where to park.

Hidden Hint: There is a free shuttle boat service included in the price of a show or park ticket.

The Free Boat to Impression Island

A lesser-known option of getting to and from the theme park is by boat. The short distance travelled is just a ten minute walk away from the Old Town directly onto Cam Nam Island. Look out for the gas station on Tran Quang Khai – you can’t miss the large Hoi An Memories signs guiding you to the pier.

Hidden Hint: The island is off the main “cab route” and it can be difficult to find transport at the end of the show. If you do take a cab request a return trip from your driver.  Alternatively ask one of the many staff to arrange a taxi 

Vietnamese gong carving
An artisan carves designs onto a Vietnamese gong

Food, Drinks, and Restrooms

Through the turnstiles, there is a concession stand and restrooms on your right and left. The concession stand offers a variety of snacks and drinks, including a huge draught beer for 30,000 VND (1.25 USD).

For visitors with combo tickets, there is delicious and very reasonably priced local food available in restaurants in each of the Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese themed villages within the theme park. There is also a fully-fledged bar and street-food-style vendors making it the perfect place for a pre-show meal. Without a ticket that includes entry to the theme park, audience members should think about grabbing a bite to eat in the Old Town before the show to avoid a limited menu of popcorn and light snacks.

Hidden Hint: Given the later start time of this show it pays to eat an early dinner. Don’t get caught out searching for a meal after the show. Options are limited as most of the Old Town closes at 10 pm.

Coming Soon

Since the park is a relatively new development, as of early 2019, at the time of updating this article some areas are still under construction. The large birds nest  restaurant at the centre of the park has just opened. The Hoi An Impression Resort and Spa, located just outside the park, is ‘coming soon’.

Hidden’s thoughts

Hoi An Memories is a grand spectacle of such phenomenal scope – there are not many shows like this in the West. It really is a once in a lifetime experience, sitting outside taking in this visual extravaganza on a balmy Hoi An evening. It discards many of the things westerners are familiar with from Broadway or the Globe; there are no attempts to make the show true to life and no great character development. Instead, Hoi An Memories invites you to be captivated by a colourful romance tale, the story of you falling in love with Hoi An.

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