Where to celebrate Tet 2019

Tet is coming - people shopping to prepare for Tet

Tet is the Vietnamese New Year and is the most important holiday in Vietnam. The locals usually gather in their hometowns to spend it with their family and friends. This year, Tet is on the 5th of February and the celebrations usually last around 3-5 days. If you are traveling in Vietnam during this period, you will want to plan your trip well since transportation might be fully booked and accommodation prices may rise. Most restaurants and shops are closed during this holiday as well, or have restricted restaurant hours. But this does not mean that you should not join in on the celebrations. Tet is a unique opportunity for you to immerse in the Vietnamese culture and customs, and get a glimpse into the locals life.

Banh tet - Vietnamese traditional rice cake
Banh tet – Vietnamese traditional rice cake

It is advisable to stay in one place during Tet since transportation will get tricky during this period of time. Instead, skip the Tet travel rush, experience the traditional Vietnamese celebrations, get to know some locals and join in on the fun. Here are the places that throws the best Tet celebrations:

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Tourists enjoy Tet Flowers Show at Nguyen Hue Blv, Ho Chi Minh city
Tourists enjoy Tet Flowers Show at Nguyen Hue Blv, Ho Chi Minh city

The biggest city of Vietnam is a great place to celebrate Tet if you want to get a more extravagant experience. Imagine streets being closed off to traffic and flower displays everywhere, people on the streets and fireworks at midnight. If you are not a big fan of the chaotic traffic, Tet is a good time to visit this big city since most of the locals will travel to their hometowns so traffic will be more calm. Do not miss out on the fireworks on the eve of Tet, which lights up in six areas across the city: Nga Ba Giong Memorial in Hoc Mon District, Cu Chi Tunnels in Cu Chi District, Rung Sac Square in Can Gio District, Lang Le-Bau Co historical site in Binh Chanh District, Thu Thiem Tunnel between district 1 and 2 and Dam Sen Park in District 11. During Tet you should try to pay a visit to temples as well and go to District 8, which becomes the site of a flower market. The good thing about celebrating Tet in Ho Chi Minh City is that there will always be something to do, even if most shops are closed.

Hoi An

If you prefer to be in a smaller place, Hoi An is a very good alternative. This little town is beautiful to visit all year round but during Tet it becomes even more stunning. The Vietnamese spares no expensive during this holiday and you will notice that everything becomes more colorful and festive. In Hoi An you can see the lantern parade, flowered car parade, lion dances and fireworks, which completes the celebrations. The town will also offer a ton of street food so come here with an empty belly – it will surely fill up during Tet!


Hue Festival
Hue Festival

Hue is probably one of the best places to celebrate Tet. This old imperial city wakes up during this celebration and many activities takes place here such as traditional games, performances, reenactments, etc. If you want to see a very traditional celebration of Tet, this is the place to be. And when the fireworks light up above the city, you will be happy you spent it here.


A Woman photographer in Hanoi Old Quarter when Lunar New Year

The capital city of Vietnam is another place to spend Tet if you prefer a more calm scenery. It is almost fascinating to see how the big city turns quiet and you can wander around on the streets without all the hustle and bustle. But this does not mean that you will miss out on all the action of Tet. Visit temples where you can see the locals praying, wander around the Hoan Kiem lake and watch the locals take photos in their Vietnamese traditional clothings. If you want to see the fireworks light up the sky in Hanoi, there are about 30 sites where you can visit to see them but try to go to one of these sights for some amazing views: Van Quan Lake, Hoan Kiem Lake, Lac Thong Quan flower garden or My Dinh National Stadium.

Tet is one of the best times to visit Vietnam if you want to get a unique local experience. If you are planning on traveling here during this season, you have to remember to apply for a Vietnam visa before entering the country. Some countries from Europe and Asia are allowed to stay in Vietnam for 15 days visa-free, but to be absolutely certain, you should contact your embassy. You have two options to choose from: either you get a Visa on Arrival, which is by far the most popular way to get a visa, or you go to your local or nearest Vietnam Embassy or Consulate. There is also the third option, which is limited to only certain countries, and it is the E-Visa.