A traveler´s guide to Tet in Vietnam
If you are a traveler to Vietnam during the Tet holidays, you may need some tips on what that means for your holiday, what traditions are associated with it, where you can celebrate and which places you should definitely avoid.
Tet is the Lunar New Year in Vietnam and takes place between January 21 and February 21 (this year from January 23, 2020 - January 29, 2020) The turn of the year is celebrated at the same time as the Chinese New Year. Just like Christmas, those who are separated from the family come home for a reunion after a busy year. Therefore big cities like Saigon or Hanoi will be almost empty in the first week of Tet. For me, this special festival in Vietnam is always a great experience.
Vietnam travel during the Tet holidays
As a traveler have in the time of the Tet festival the great advantage that they can experience the diligent preparations. Throughout the day, large pots of flowers, flowering branches and gifts are transported. Richly decorated buildings give the cities a unique picture.
At midnight (starting this year from midnight on January 24th, this marks the beginning of the new lunar year), public fireworks are launched in many cities.
Many restaurants and shops are closed
In larger cities with tourist infrastructure (such as Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi), are better off as a traveler than in the countryside. Please note that many places are closed in the evening before the new year and on the first days. Some restaurants charge holiday surcharges.
Due to the very large selection of restaurants, cafes and shops in large cities, the supply is guaranteed during the Chinese New Year in Vietnam.
Tet holidays and travel planning
Even if you can take special impressions from Vietnam during these days, you should take into account that the days during the Tet festival are not the ideal travel time. During the Vietnamese New Year you have to expect some restrictions when traveling. Therefore, start your travel planning well in advance.
Here are some tips for planning your trip to Vietnam during the Tet Festival:
Shortly before the Tet festival it is very difficult to get tickets. Bus companies often charge surcharges during the holidays.
Train and bus tickets for Vietnam can be bought online. So that you do not experience nasty surprises during your trip or strand in a place you should book trains, buses and your flights well in advance.
Many Vietnamese spend the Tet holidays with the family and drive home. Even days before the turn of the year, tickets are no longer available for the Trains in Vietnam, Planes and buses available.
Two reliable online train ticket or bus ticket providers in Vietnam, with whom I have had very good travel experience in Southeast Asia so far, 12Go Asia and Baolau, There you can book tickets for Vietnam online. Please note that online booking may not offer all train classes or trains.
Many authorities and museums are closed
Who needs documents for the onward journey, e.g. For example, if you want to apply for a visa for another country in Ho Chi Minh City, you should organize this in good time before the holidays.
Government offices and state-owned companies will be closed until January 29. Schools and other businesses across the country typically take the same break as government offices.
Visa extensions should also be organized in good time. Many consulates and embassies have closed for the New Year in Vietnam.
Many museums and attractions are also closed during the holidays in Vietnam.
Banks are closed
Banks are closed during the holidays and ATMs are not refilled. This means that you might not get cash when Tet approaches. We recommend withdrawing money at least 2 days before Tet and ensuring that you can survive 4-5 days with it.
Places to avoid during Tet
Although it is tempting to visit the Perfume Pagoda, one of the most famous Buddhist shrines in Vietnam, during Tet, these types of places can be totally overcrowded and the visit a nightmare.
How to wish the locals a happy new year in Vietnamese.
When you wake up on New Year's morning, greet your host with the traditional tet greetings from Happy New Year (Chúc Mừng Năm Mới.)
If you want to surprise your host with your language skills, practice and wish some of the following sentences:
- An khang thịnh vượng (security, good health and prosperity)
- Sống lâu trăm tuổi (long life of 100 years) - often used by children for their grandparents
- Sức khỏe dồi dào (good health)
Where to go during the Tet holidays in Hanoi?
Hanoi will host fireworks in many places, accompanied by cultural and artistic activities to greet the New Year.
Some streets and main roads such as Trang Tien, Trang Thi, Hang Bai, Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung, Phan Chu Trinh, Ngo Quyen, Thanh Nien, the Dien Bien Phu and the Nguyen Thai Hoc Road are lovingly decorated.
Where to go during Tet Holidays in Hoi An?
Hoi An is a popular place to enjoy the festivities as many shops and restaurants stay open during the holidays. The old town is the right place, it has a dynamic atmosphere with lively festivals and street vendors along the lantern-lit paths.
Where to go during the Tet Holidays in Saigon?
In Ho Chi Minh City you will be able to admire fireworks in the tunnel area above the Saigon River, and at these places:
Dam Sen Cultural Park (District11),
It will take place on January 25th from 0:00 a.m. to 0:15 a.m. (1st day Lunar New Year).
Dam Sen or Suoi Tien - amusement park
Two very good places are z. Suoi Tien Park, where a fruit festival takes place every year, and Dam Sen Park hosts a street carnival.
Suoi Tien Park, District 9
Opening hours: 8:00 - 17:00
Dam Sen Park,Distrikt 11
Opening hours: 7.30am to 6pm
Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street, District 5 China Town
Whether you are looking for Chinese lanterns, silk flowers or confetti cannons, here you will find everything. Many locals go to Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street in D5 to buy ornaments. There are numerous shops selling seasonal decorative items here.
Nguyen Hue Street, District 1
Take a stroll through Nguyen Hue Street in Ho Chi Minh City during Tet Holiday to admire the street's annual flower festival. From January 22nd to 28th, this pedestrian zone will be equipped with elaborate flower presentations, works of art and LED lights.