Should or shouldn’t arrange a Vietnam trip during Tết festival is a question posed for travelers. Based on the post for Tips for a journey to Vietnam during the Tết festival, you might easily have your final decision.
A journey to Vietnam during Tết festival will bring unforgettable experiences for travelers who are looking for traditional & cultural values. The following information and tips related to this national festival help the tourist make a Vietnam trip plan during this special time.
What is the Tết festival?
Tết/Tết Nguyên Đán or Vietnamese Lunar New Year is the biggest public national holiday in Vietnam as well as contains the significant values of culture and spirit of Vietnamese people. It is commonly said that Tết comes, spring comes, and this sentence has a profound meaning expressing a desire and an expectation for a new year of lucky things. Moreover, Tết is a special occasion for the family reunions, heading back to the homeland and visiting relatives. So Vietnamese Tết brings great spiritual and traditional worths which are remained and inherited from generation to generation.
When is the Tết festival?
Vietnamese Tết is the intersection of Old and New Year based on the lunar calendar. There are no set dates applied for all years, the festival dates will be varied every year according to the moon calendar. Tết usually falls around in January and early February. It lasts four days inclusive of one last day of the old year and three first days of the New Year.
What are the things to prepare before the Tết festival?
As Tết is the most important yearly traditional festival of Vietnamese people, everyone is busy to prepare the necessary things to welcome Tết for their family about two weeks in advance. They clean and decorate their houses with the yellow apricot blossoms, peach blossoms, Kumquat trees, and many other colorful flowers and always have a five-fruit tray on the ancestor altar. They also buy new clothes and shoes to show off on the Tết holiday.
Then the typical foods for Tết are required being prepared in advance. One of the traditional and irreplaceable dishes of Vietnamese Tết is Chung Cake. Chung cake is made of sticky rice, pork, green beans, and some spices which all are wrapped in the green leaves before being boiled in about twelve hours. And according to the traditional concept of the Vietnamese, making Chung Cake is one of the good ways to express gratitude and reverence to the deceased ancestors. So this special dish becomes the soul of the Vietnamese New Year.
Besides, some other foods are needed a beforehand preparation such as Pickled Onions (hành muối), Vietnamese sausage (giò chả), Frozen Meat (thịt đông), and the necessary ingredients to make spring rolls and other dishes as most supermarkets and local markets/shops are closed during this special time.
What do the Vietnamese people usually do at Tết festival?
Tết Eva is the time to chill out, gather, and spend time with family. It’s also the chance to visit the family of friends, relatives and send/receive the best wishes for the New Year. For the kids, they especially love this time because they wear new clothes/shoes, receive the “lucky money” in the red envelopes, hang out, and play traditional games/entertainments.
Besides in the first days of New Year, people often go to the local temples and pagodas to pray for a year of good luck, prosperity, and plenty of health.
What are the difficulties for travelers during Tết festival?
Being a traveler to Vietnam before/in/after Tết festival might become unforgettable memories. However, you might have some inconveniences during your Vietnam trip, and below are some pre-warning you may need to update to be well prepared for your safe and smooth journey:
• Overcrowded streets/transportation before Tết (about 2 weeks)
• Closure of many local restaurants, shopping malls, stores, and banks
• Not a good time for the fan of culinary tour
• Delay or cancellation of the flights without prior notice before and after Tết (about 2 weeks)
• Closure of many sightseeing spots
• High prices for goods and services with limited options
What are the tips for touring in Vietnam during Tết festival?
In case you will travel in Vietnam during Tết – Vietnam national holiday, it would be more convenient if you book a packed tour through a local travel agency and have your local tour guide who will assist whenever you need 24/7.
In case you don’t have a booked package tour via a local travel agency and plan a trip by yourself, here are some tips that you might need to have a smooth journey.
• Local accommodations/flights/transportation/local tour guides: You should reserve all these services prior to your trip at least one month as Tết is the public holiday. And you should reconfirm the services before your trip from 1-2 days to avoid any mistakes on arrival.
• Flights/Airports: Most airlines now permit online check-in for flights within 24hours before departure, so you should do the online check-in to save time at the airports. Otherwise, before and after Têt is the busy time with overcrowded transportation, you should be at the airports at least 2 hours for domestic flights and 3 hours for international flights.
• Shopping: In Tết, there’s a shortage of ingredients and employees, so most prices are higher than normal days. Thus, be careful when you shop for anything.
• Local restaurants: Highly recommend to have meals at the hotel restaurant. In case of having meals outside, you should ask the hotel receptionist to suggest, check the opening restaurants, and pre-book table.
• Sightseeing spots: The opening /closing schedule of the visiting places are available on the official website of each place; you should check it in advance.
Traveling in Vietnam during the Têt holiday will be an unforgettable experience. You will discover more the local culture and customs of Vietnamese people in this special time. However, with the aforementioned inconveniences you might get on your tour, I honestly recommend avoiding this busy time and should plan a trip to Vietnam before and after Tết about one week.