Vietnam TravelVietnamese Lunar New Year: Should You Go?

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Lunar New Year, also known as Tet, is one of Vietnam’s most important holidays. Celebrated at the end of January or early February (depending on the lunar calendar), Tet signals the start of spring and is a time for family reunion, giving thanks, and remembering ancestors. If you’re thinking of traveling to Vietnam during this festive period, here’s what you need to know.

vietnam tet festival

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photo: Huynh Phong

Is it worth visiting Vietnam during Lunar New Year?

Lunar New Year is an exciting time to visit Vietnam. The streets are adorned with lanterns and flowers, dragon dances are performed in front of temples, and there’s a festive atmosphere in the air. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that many businesses close down during this period so you may have trouble finding somewhere to eat or sleep. If you do decide to travel during Tet, be sure to book your accommodation and transport in advance.

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Where should I go?

If you’re looking to escape the crowds, head north to Hanoi or Sapa. These areas tend to be quieter during Lunar New Year as many people from other parts of the country head south to Ho Chi Minh City or Nha Trang. Alternatively, if you want to experience the festivities firsthand, Ho Chi Minh City is the place to be. Here you’ll find elaborate displays, lion dances, and firework shows. Just be prepared for large crowds!

What should I expect?

In terms of weather, Tet falls at the end of winter so it can be quite cold in some parts of the country (especially in the north). However, it’s typically dry during this period so you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting around. When it comes to food, specialties such as sticky rice cakes and steamed buns are often eaten during Lunar New York so be sure to try some while you’re there!

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Why shouldn’t I go?

vietnam tet 2023

photo: Huynh Phong

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If you’re not a fan of crowds, Tet may not be the best time for you to visit Vietnam. Additionally, many businesses close down during this period so you may find yourself short on options when it comes to food, accommodation, and transport. Furthermore, many people return to their hometown to live with family during Lunar New Year so you may find yourself feeling a bit isolated if you’re traveling to Vietnam alone.

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So, should you go?

Whether or not you decide to visit Vietnam during Lunar New Year is up to you. If you don’t mind crowds and are keen to experience the festivities firsthand, then go for it! However, if you’re looking for a quieter trip, you may want to consider travelling at another time of year.

Whether you’re looking for a festive atmosphere or a quiet getaway, there’s somewhere in Vietnam that’s perfect for you during Lunar New Year. Just remember to book ahead if you’re planning on traveling during this busy period!

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Dear_Bae
Member

Does the cost of everything for travel and such go up during this time of the year? I had never been to Vietnam in January. I have gone in February but near the middle to end of the month.

homeg1rl
Member

I think this is one of my favorite celebrations around the world and while I have not been to Vietnam during it, I know how much fun it can be. I am hoping to one day be a part of it.

MrZero
Member

I have never gone nor considered it as I tend to avoid any major holidays when it comes to travel. It doesn’t matter if it is local or in another country, I don’t want to travel in the height of busy occasions and people looking to visit family. 

1988TQ
Member

Some of my family celebrate it outside of Vietnam. I think it would be great if this expanded more. It seems like there are no holidays in January in the western world anyways. 

Caphezilla
Member

I agree with you. Lunar New Year is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a great time to get together with family and friends, and it always feels like everyone is in a good mood!

NhimXuXu
Member

Everyone I talk to about this say it is one of the hardest times to travel and to be a part of the festivities because everywhere is packed. It seems if you are going to be a part of it, you want to head out to Vietnam 2 or 3 weeks ahead of time and plan for a 3 or 4 week stay!

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