- Sort out your visa in advance
- Book your transportation early
- Book your accommodations ahead of time
- Be mindful of the closing time at the famous attractions
- Know where to find food
- Check which shops are open
- Be prepared for congested traffic
- Get ready with the fireworks spectacle and possible noise
- Be informed of the traditions
- Beware of the superstitions
Visiting Vietnam during Lunar New Year? Indeed, traveling during this peak season can be difficult but if you are well prepared and informed, it is not as challenging as you might think. Here’s our Top Ten Survival Tips when Visiting Vietnam during the Tết Nguyên Đán which is Sino-Vietnamese for “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day” or simply Tet.
1. Sort out your visa in advance
Since Lunar New Year is the peak season in the travel industry, it will be most likely that some embassies will be closed early or even have their offices shut down for a few days. If you are arriving from major international airports in Vietnam, there is a service to support all Immigration procedures and fast track service. From Vietnam immigration fast track in Tan Son Nhat Airport Visit Vietnam Immigration.
You can also avail for Ho Chi Minh city Airport Meet and Assist: There are 2 kind of services:
- Normal service or standard service: Assist visitors get visa on arrival fast without queuing.
- VIP or CIP service: Assist visitors get visa on arrival fast without queuing + Escort visitors going through VIP or CIP gate for fast checking at the passport control
For a fuss-free entry to Vietnam visit Vietnam Airport Support for more details. Before your intended arrival, make sure to sort out your visa. Visit Vietnam Immigration to check if you can enter Vietnam without a visa or get a visa on arrival for a small fee.
2. Book your transportation early
Securing a seat in all types of transportation can be difficult before and during the holidays. Be it planes, trains or buses, expect that there will be big adjustments with availability and prices. There are some private transportation options for hire during the holidays but expect to pay double the normal fare.
3. Book your accommodations ahead of time
Just like transportation, accommodations can be an issue. Plan months ahead as budget and other low-cost hotels will be much more likely to be fully booked in the touristy spots. However, depending on your destination there are still plenty of accommodation types available such as homestays, Airbnb, guest houses, resorts. Expect to pay surcharges as the nightly rate is higher than the rest of the year.
4. Be mindful of the closing time at the famous attractions
Most museums, galleries and indoor exhibitions are closed for at least 2 days. Make sure to check the operating hours to save time.
5. Know where to find food
If you are coming to Vietnam for gastronomic tours, you are in for a good surprise as the operators (those who are open) offer cuisines specially made for this season. Most of the restaurants and food stalls stop operating during the Tet Holiday. International food chains will most likely be open, but It’s better to take note of which ones are open near your accommodation since only some of both locally owned and foreign-owned The shops will be open.
6. Check which shops are open
Most of the shops are supposed to be closed for the first three days of the Vietnam Lunar New Year, some shops are even closed down for 2 weeks. There are few shops remain open to serve tourists but it depends on your destination. If you are lucky, the open ones would likely be offering affordable prices for a great start in sales for the new year.
7. Be prepared for congested traffic
As many people return home to spend their holidays with their loved ones. South-North routes get crowded before and during the Tet Holiday. So, if you are traveling by land, please be prepared for congested traffic. Stock up on water bottles and snacks. Make sure you bring a portable charger for your gadgets to be entertained while en route to your destination.
8. Get ready with the fireworks spectacle and possible noise
Who doesn’t want to hear beating drums and witnessing the spectacle of orchestrated fireworks? Pack a dust mask to fully enjoy the display! Smoke and dust will surely be around during the festive season. It will save you from unnecessary visits to the doctor.
9. Be informed of the traditions
Aside from the feasts, it’s good to know the traditions and be able to enjoy the festivities. Here are some traditions worth knowing during Tet:
- The whole preparation and celebration of the Vietnam Lunar New Year usually last for 14 to 15 days from 23rd of the last lunar month to the 7th of the first month of the lunar year.
- Each Vietnamese household will decorate their altar with fruits and flowers, and during mid-day, they will offer incense with respect to the memory of the beloved departed.
- Most Vietnamese gather in their respective places of worship (Christians or Buddhists) to give praise and thanks for the coming year ahead.
- Everybody wears new clothes with mostly red and bright colors. Vietnamese give anything red in color, such as watermelon, li xi, dried fruits in a red box, etc. The color red is associated with luck and good fortune.
- Giving red envelopes (Li Xi) Lucky Money for Tet, it is an act of showing your generosity and wishing the recipients luck throughout the year.
10. Beware of the superstitions
- Vietnamese steer away from bad luck, sweeping, lending money and breaking items are considered taboo. They are not to take things that are related to water out of somebody’s house such as: bottles of water, water containers, water dispensers, drinking cups, glasses, People usually wish each other “Tai Loc Nhu Nuoc” or “Money and success coming in like water”.
- Most Vietnamese don’t wear dark clothing or just black and white. Dark, black, and white clothing is believed to be associated with death and funerals
- There are some foods considered to be unlucky such as squid because they produce black liquid, which is considered to be dirty and harmful. Ducks are also considered to be stupid and are dark meat.
- Vietnamese don’t talk about negative topics such as accidents, deaths, or funerals. In case, there is a recent loss of family members in the last 3 years, they are not supposed to visit family and friends.
- Vietnamese families invite persons with good temper, morality, and success in favor of securing the fortuitous and blessed year ahead.
Bonus Tip: Be in the mood for the festivities. Say “Happy New Year” in Vietnamese, it is “Chuc Mung Nam Moi,” and say it with a huge smile!
Tet 2020 Key Facts: Year of the White Metal Rat
- Vietnamese Lunar New Year 2020 officially takes place from January 25th to January 27th.
- Zodiac Sign: Rat
- Personality of a Rat person: They are believed to be very industrious and thrifty, diligent and positive.