Vietnam: Chúc Mừng Năm Mới | Happy Lunar New Year

Tet holiday in Vietnam or in some other countries will call it as Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Now, the whole country is in the climax part of Tet preparation before the actual date on 10th of February 2013. You will see more police on the street, big goods delivery services running crossing the busy street during the heaty day and shopping streets getting more crowded than normal.

Don’t Travel to Vietnam during Tet

If you are planning to travel here during this10th to 14th of February, it’s a big no, or you will home alone in a big city such as Ho Chi Minh City. Most of Vietnamese will head to their hometown since few days prior to Tet holiday, restaurants and shop also will close at least for one day during this festive season.

Even worst, every public transportation, busses, trains and planes will be packed with local who are heading home. The price also will skyrocket high and 2 hours journey from one to another point will take you up to 5 hours instead. Plus, some local bus operators will double their passenger capacity against the actual seat number per journey. So, 16 seater buses might result to 30 passengers at one time.

Travel by flight? Ah! You might face some first-timer flyer with unnecessary excitement, not to say flight delay and overcrowded people and luggage on the floor.

Accommodation & Sight-seeing

Basically, hotels in big cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi will have many rooms available with reasonable price. But travel to other cities few days after tet will be another problem as this is a Vietnamese holiday time and many Vietnamese will travel with big family members and most of resorts along the coastal area and highland will be pack with people. With this in mind, early booking is advisable.

There are many tour companies which operate during Tet holiday. Just be aware that most of tourist site will be surrounded by local Vietnamese crowd.

Traffic Rule during Tet

This is something unofficial. If you are taking a bike or bus from one city to another, you will see many unique views of the country people. Everybody plan to go back to their hometown and wish to bring a lot of things for their family members. Craft things, toys, cloths, even vegetables and chicken are possible to bring home by bike.

Not to say, few days before Tet, you will some delivery man on the bike carrying a massive lucky tree on the back seat to their customer’s house. Some others are delivering flowers or gift to their clients too.

What to wear?

Well, Vietnamese normally will do a massive shopping for Tet celebration. At least some cloth, pairs of shoes and pant, not to say other accessories. Funeral related colour such as black and white are prohibited, and red and yellow is the lucky colour. As this year is a snake year, snake printed or motive is a good choice to wear. If you are visiting friend’s house during Tet holiday, stick with the same rule to ban black and white colour for your attire.

My personal Tet experience in Vietnam

I used to celebrate Tet in Ho Chi Minh City alone and with my Vietnamese family (I can call the as my family anyway). Tet is city is absolute boring and empty. You can even play a roller skate or skateboard on the quite street of Nguyen Hue or Dong Khoi Street in District 1 and most of restaurants and shopping mall will be closed. I remember on 2012, the massive shopping mall, Vincom Centre was closed  from few days, the same with Coop mart but luckily Parkson still open after 1st day of Tet for me to grab some instant foods.

Unlike celebrating in Ho Chi Minh City, Tet holiday in countryside is more fun. All family members will work together to clean up the house, painting the grilled door, changing curtain or maybe re-arranging things at home. In the morning of Tet, they will pray for ancestors and some of them will go to pagoda for some prayer or meeting monk for luck.

Tet 2011 with Vietnamese Family

Banh Tet, is a must have traditional food on the table, besides other Vietnamese dishes. For consecutive 3 days, there will be foods and more foods to be served.

We always see Tet is related with wealth, but sometimes we need to remember that not everybody can afford to spend and live in difficulty during the holiday season. Besides praying for our good for the New Year, don’t forget to pray for other people who are not having the same luck like us.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi | Happy New Year


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