This might be a very common question for many travelers when Vietnam comes to your mind as the next destination. So why don’t we spend a little time looking at this topic seriously for both good things and negative facts when traveling to Vietnam during this period?
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For Vietnamese, Tet is the biggest holiday of the year. It is the time for everyone to gather with their family, return to hometown and have a long time for relaxation without any worries of life, honestly. Tet is considered as the time of happiness all over Vietnam. And yes, the traditions and habits affect the traveling services.
Vietnamese will have some days off during Tet but they do not travel much during this time. Everyone has a tendency of coming back home to reunite with family (just like Christmas in many other countries), so hotel rooms are usually available. Some hotels even organize special New Year events like dinner or Countdown night. Traveling to Vietnam during the Tet holiday, you have a wide range of choices for accommodation.
Hotels are available
You might hear about the traffic in some Asian countries, there are too many motorcycles and people here join the traffic with no rules, no orders, no clear directions, or something like that. Yes, things like that usually do happen in Vietnam. You might find it is pretty freaked out while crossing the road in Vietnam or hard to walk on pavement. The traffic on days before Tet will still be very crowded. But during the holiday, you will see almost empty roads, there are very few people and vehicles, not many opened stores or restaurants in Tet. Vietnam's cities in Tet look like going back time to the old days of many years ago, a bit sad but quiet and in peace.
You might hear that it is hard to find something to eat during Tet: restaurants are closed, no market, no supermarket, every local have to prepare food for the whole Tet holiday. But don’t worry because as time passes, things have changed. Nowadays many restaurants still open during Tet (except for the 1st Jan in Asian Lunar Calendar as it’s time for family), fast-food stores are always ready to serve, coffee shops are available for you to chill and enjoy the days. What could be better?
Restaurants are opened during Tet
One or two weeks before Tet is the most bustling time of the year in all country's regions. Only at this time, you can see the peach blossoms or kumquat trees are sold on many streets or directly in gardens. In the south of Vietnam, there are apricot blossoms in bright yellow color. Everyone will want to prepare for their sweet home one Tet’s decoration carefully. For peach blossom and apricot blossom, people choose basing on their outlook. But for the kumquat tree, there is a standard to choose according to the opinion of the Vietnamese. A tree that contains all 5 elements (strong trunk and branches, has many leaves, has green kumquat, has orange kumquat, has young white flower) will bring full of luck and wealth for the incoming year.
Making Chung cake (sticky rice cake) is also a unique highlight of Tet. Many families will prepare ingredient and wrapping the cakes and cooking it together. The special point of this activity is that the boiling cake time takes several hours, sometimes through the whole night long, and all members of the family will have a chance to sit together not only to cook Chung cake but also to talk and recall memories.
Otherwise, houses and streets everywhere are decorated colorfully; and Tet's spirit will be brought to areas with difficult circumstances. Tet is definitely not a routine; it’s a special time of year!
You may also like: The Vietnamese’s Biggest Festival – Lunar New Year
In contrast to the status of accommodation, it won’t be too easy to plan a trip by air, train or bus/van because they are going to be fully booked in advance due to the high demand of the people who work far away from home and wish to return in this holidays. Some popular routes like Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi – Sapa, Hanoi – Da Nang, etc. will be fully booked. So the solution for you is to plan your trip soon since every service now is easy to reserve in advance.
All means of transportation will be full on the street
Many main sightseeing points will close during Tet’s time. If you travel with the purpose of admiring historical places, knowing about stories of many years ago then Tet is not perfect timing for you. The advantage of this occasion is the streets are very clear and wide, the beaches have no people, super suitable for those who want to enjoy the tranquility and relaxation. You can read about 5 marvelously unspoiled islands in Vietnam to choose one for yourself.
This is not a scam for visitors or foreigners but a common thing even for locals. Everything seems to be double priced for Tet, even when you go buy 1 rose in the local market it will be much more expensive than normal. So in resume, almost all services are surcharged. Did not mention accommodation such as cruise, the hotel they organize special New Year night and it will be applied in the reservation price, not optional. A local coffee on normal days is $1.2 but in Tet, it will be $2.3. I’m willing to pay for that to enjoy the holidays!
Coffee with a high price but it's not a scam
In a few more years, things might change and the Vietnamese Tet might be different, but the traditions and beauty are always be maintained by the next generations. Traveling to Vietnam during Tet is not a bad idea. Will you?
(Image sources: BestPrice Travel)