Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays in Vietnam that all Vietnamese people pay their heart to. And talking about Vietnamese Lunar New Year or Tet holiday, it is all about the special activities, cultures and traditions that you couldn’t found in any period of year.
Of course, there will be some inconvenient things when travel to Vietnam on Tet. But you will surely have unique experience that you will never forget. Below are some tips helping you better plan your Vietnam tour on Tet 2016:
Dates: Vietnamese Tet holiday 2016 will last from 23rd Dec to 14th Jan of Lunar Calendar meaning from 01st Feb to 14th Feb of Solar Calendar. But you will see the most interesting things of Tet from 06th Feb to 08th Jan at big cities like Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh. Then it is advised to end your trip in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh to see the Tet atmosphere on last days of old year and first days of New Year.
Activities: There are a lot of interesting activities during Tet that you can join in:
Flower markets: Flower markets are so amazing and colorful on Tet with various types of flowers. Especially, you will see unique flowers symbolizing for Tet only like Peach Flower, Apricot Flower or Kumquat tree that Vietnamese people often use for house decoration on Tet.
Peach Flower (pink color) and Apricot Flower (yellow color)
Fireworks on New Year Eve: Fireworks are organized at big cities that attract both local people and foreigners. You can also see many salt sellers as a small bag of salt symbolize for a “tasty” energetic year, otherwise, you may have an insipid, boring year. Even you are foreigners you can buy a small bag but never bargain with salt sellers.
Local markets: Local markets are so interesting on the 2 last days of old year as all local people will busily prepare foods for Tet.
Cao Thon incense making village in Hung Yen Province: Cao Thon village is about 50Km far from Hanoi capital and it is one of the largest incense making village in Vietnam. To all Vietnamese, incense plays an important role in their life as it is considered as a sacred bridge to connect the visible life of human beings and the world of heaven, earth and gods. And incenses are especially used a lot on the first days of New Year as the local people want to send their prayers to gods. That is the reason why you can see busy works in Cao Thon with colorful Joss Sticks, Incense Coils and Incense Pieces everywhere.
Trung Cake making village: As usual, since the fifth of the lunar December Tranh Khuc hamlet in Duyen Ha village, Tranh Tri district, Hanoi has been very busy making a large number of Chung cakes for domestic consumption and export.
Wandering at Hanoi Old Quarters on first day of New Year: All Vietnamese avoid going out on first day of New Year as they don’t want to get any bad omen. And all streets seem to be empty of people, cars, motorbikes, street vendors… It is a good moment to take photographers of old streets as the chaos traffic will be back soon.
Vietnamese people believe that their family will have a happy new year if all family members can gather on Tet. Then they all try to be out of work during that holiday or their family will be very sad. Moreover, they also believe that if they do anything wrong on New Year, it will be bad omen for the whole year. That is the reason why all Vietnamese people stop working on 3 first days of Lunar New Year including both State-owned enterprises, privately held companies, restaurants, shopping stores… Then your Vietnam travel on Tet will be sometimes uncomfortable with few hotel staves, closed restaurants, closed tourist sites… It is advised to plan your tour to Vietnam on Tet with a local agent as they know exactly which should be included or which not.
Please be aware that all services on Tet will be double charged which make your tour prices much higher than original. However, it is still worth to visit Vietnam on Tet.
Regarding tips for tour guides and drivers on your Vietnam holiday on Tet, they should be higher than normal days which are considered as lucky money.
Vietnamese people wish to visit pagodas on first days of new year to pray for a new year of health, happiness and luckiness, in which Perfume Pagoda is one of the most interesting sites. Then you should avoid visiting to Perfume Pagoda or it will be really crowded.
The local people will be very happy when receiving your wishes in Vietnamese like: Chuc Mung Nam Moi (Happy New Year) or Nam Moi Vui Ve (Happy New Year). Try to learn by heart those words and send it to all local people you meet.