Things to Do
Being bright and cool, January is a good time to visit Hanoi. It’s also the Vietnamese New Year period. During this period, however, a large number of Vietnamese traveling home for the holiday makes finding space on buses, trains, and planes very difficult.
Many museums, mausoleums, shops, and restaurants will be closed and the two-way migration from northern provinces to southern provinces will also result in heavy traffic jams.
But if you don’t mind, you can appreciate the atmosphere and soak up the traditional culture during the New Year festivities.
Celebrate Vietnamese New Year
Vietnamese New Year, or Tet, is considered to be the biggest and most popular festival of the year in Vietnam. It celebrates the arrival of spring based on the Vietnamese calendar. In this festival, Vietnamese people will express their respect to their ancestors and welcome the new year with their families.
The celebration for the lunar new year can last from a day to an entire week.
In the pleasant weather, local people celebrate with food, firecrackers, fun, and families. Brimming with activities, there will be lion dances, an ao dai contest, traditional dances and ceremonies, a pho challenge, a talent show, carnival games and rides, and so much more.
If you are lucky enough to be invited to spend time with a local family after the parade, you can have a feast of traditional Vietnamese dishes with them.
Take Part in Some Special Activities
Enjoy the Firework Show and Happy Atmosphere Afterward
At midnight, at the start of Tet, Hanoi will begin a firework display over Hoan Kiem Lake. It is an amazing experience to listen to everyone cheering, and to watch as the fireworks light up the Hanoi skyline.
Once the fireworks end, the noise continues as drivers honk their horns and people are laughing, cheering, and celebrating. At that moment, you will realize that being in Hanoi for Tet is an awesome, festive experience.
Visit Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism
During this time, you can join in with a tour of the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism and learn the New Year culture of the minority people.
In the village, you are invited to take part in all kinds of folk games and enjoy a traditional cultural show staged by 16 ethnic communities.
Thai people will perform the “Xen Ban” festival, the “Nao Pe Chau” festival will be performed by the Mong people, and goat fights will be displayed by ethnic groups in Hoang Su Phi District.
Just Go Out and Celebrate
Go shopping at the markets, buy Tet decorations to hang in your hotel room, send “lucky money” in red envelopes to children, and join in the festivities around the city. You will see how happy and excited everyone is.
Tips for traveling during Tet:
Make all the arrangements in advance, especially those for 1 week before and 1 week after Tet. The worst days to travel are 2 days before and 3 days after Tet.
Do not plan on doing much for the 2 days before Tet and the 3 days afterwards, as many tourist sites close during this time.