Things to Do
As mentioned before, the New Year events are the most attractive activities if you travel at this time. There are a lot of celebrations that you can experience.
Celebrate the Vietnamese New Year
Considered to be the largest and most popular festival of the year in Vietnam, Vietnamese New Year (also known as Tet Nguyen Dan or Tet) is celebrated on the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar. This festival normally lasts for 7 days and is as important as Christmas is in Western countries.
People all over the country will celebrate and welcome the new year with their beloved family members. It is also a good time for people to relax after a busy year.
During this important festival, the Vietnamese will make preparations in advance, such as cleaning their rooms to get rid of bad luck, decorating the house with a kumquat tree and various colorful flowers, and buying new clothes and shoes to wear on the first few days of the new year.
Apart from that, great meals are shared and gifts are exchanged between family members. 'Lucky money' is another tradition, which is mostly for children. The lucky money expresses best wishes from their family and friends.
Many great activities are provided outside; you can find firework displays or religious activities in various pagodas during this time.
Although the festival is very appealing, it is not very convenient for traveling compared with other periods. Transportation is a big concern as most Vietnamese people return home, making the ticket prices incredibly expensive.
Flights, trains, and coaches are all fully booked, so buying tickets in advance is definitely required. Many restaurants, resorts, and shops are closed, so please research carefully before embarking on your journey.
New Year’s Eve Dinner in Saigon
Saigon is a really good place to try some delicious food. You will have various opportunities during the New Year festival to try great traditional food there.
Dining Room Restaurant is one of the best choices. It is located on the first floor in the busy street of Hai Ba Trung and serves a wide choice of traditional Vietnamese dishes.
The interior has light decoration with contemporary canvas art, exposed bricks walls, and chunky wooden seats and tables. You can really relax having dinner in such a great atmosphere. The price may be a little higher than in other restaurants but it is worthwhile on such a special day.
Apart from this, you can also choose other restaurants or bars to celebrate. Rooftop bars are definitely the 'venues of the moment' when it comes to a good New Year’s spot. There are a great amount of New Year's Eve parties that can make your evening unforgettable.
A grill buffet is also a good choice. There is one in the Liquid Sky Bar that you can go to. And there are plenty of restaurants – just remember to book early – and each of them has its own special style.
Enjoy the New Year’s Atmosphere in Chinatown
Ho Chi Minh City has been home to Vietnam’s largest Chinatown since 1778. It is a popular site full of locals and visitors who want to see classical Chinese architectures and to try delicious and traditional Chinese food.
The center of Chinatown is Binh Tay Market, which is always crowded and messy. Compared to other markets, the products you find in this market may not be that varied but it is a really good place to enjoy the Chinese atmosphere that has existed for hundreds of years.
Apart from the market, you can also find temples in this area, which are worth visiting.
During the New Year celebrations, Chinatown will be full of people doing various activities to celebrate the festival, such as a dragon dance.
You can also try various types of Chinese food as Chinatown is full of authentic local restaurants as well as incredibly cheap street hawkers. With food such as roasted duck and pork, noodles, and dried seahorse, you will never feel disappointed if you are able to spend some time there for a meal.
During the evening, as Chinatown is not far away from the downtown area, it is very convenient to drink some beer and enjoy the great nightlife in the downtown area.