Essential Guide to Traveling in Vietnam During Tet

Apr 19


Nguyen Manh Dung

Nguyen Manh Dung

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Traveling to Vietnam during Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, offers a unique cultural experience as it is the most significant holiday in the country. This period is not only a time for local family reunions and festive celebrations but also an excellent opportunity for tourists to immerse themselves in rich traditions and vibrant festivities. However, to ensure a seamless and enjoyable journey, meticulous planning and preparation are crucial. This guide provides detailed insights and practical tips to help you navigate the Tet holiday in Vietnam effectively.

Understanding Tet: The Heart of Vietnamese Culture

Tet Nguyen Dan,Essential Guide to Traveling in Vietnam During Tet Articles which translates to "Feast of the First Morning", marks the first day of the lunar new year and is a symbol of renewal and hope. It's a time when families gather, ancestral spirits are honored, and the home is filled with festive decorations. The holiday typically lasts for about a week, but preparations and the festive atmosphere can extend for much longer.

Key Dates and Events

  • Tet Eve (Tat Nien): The last day of the old year, filled with preparatory rituals.
  • First Day of Tet: Focuses on family, with visits to paternal relatives.
  • Second Day of Tet: Dedicated to maternal relatives and teachers.
  • Third Day of Tet: When people visit temples and friends, and some start returning to work.

Travel Tips for Tet: Planning and Preparation

1. Booking Travel and Accommodation

  • Flights and Trains: Book at least 2-3 months in advance. According to Vietnam Airlines, ticket demand can surge by up to 50% during the Tet season.
  • Accommodation: Secure hotel bookings early. Platforms like Agoda and offer reliable booking options with clear cancellation policies.

2. Packing Essentials

  • Documents: Ensure you have your passport, visa, and necessary travel insurance.
  • Medications: Include a travel health kit with remedies for common ailments.
  • Cash and Cards: While ATMs are widespread, having some local currency (Vietnamese Dong) is advisable for smaller transactions, especially in rural areas.

3. Cultural Insights

  • Festive Activities: Engage in local customs like flower markets and lantern festivals.
  • Cuisine: Try traditional foods such as Banh Chung (rice cake) and Xoi (sticky rice).
  • Respect Traditions: Be mindful of cultural norms and practices, especially during family-centric times.

Transportation During Tet: Navigating the Rush

During Tet, transportation within Vietnam can be challenging due to the high volume of domestic travel. Here’s how to manage:

  • Internal Flights: Coastal cities like Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc are popular, so book early.
  • Trains and Buses: These are often fully booked days before Tet. Check operators like VNR (Vietnam Railways) for schedules and availability.
  • Motorbike Rentals: A popular choice for the adventurous. Ensure you have the proper license and insurance.

Accommodation: Where to Stay During Tet

Hotel rates can spike during Tet, and many smaller establishments may close. Cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hoi An offer a range of options from luxury to budget. Booking through reputable sites ensures that you avoid scams and last-minute cancellations.

Dining and Shopping: Tet Specialties


  • Street Food: A great way to experience local flavors. Look for dishes like Pho, Bun Cha, and seafood.
  • Restaurants: Many high-end restaurants offer special Tet menus but book ahead as they might close for the first few days of the New Year.


  • Markets: Markets like Ben Thanh in Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Xuan in Hanoi are bustling with activity before Tet.
  • Souvenirs: Look for handicrafts, traditional clothing, and Tet-specific items like decorative kumquat trees.

Conclusion: Embrace the Festive Spirit

Traveling to Vietnam during Tet can be a profoundly enriching experience if planned well. It’s a time to witness the country in its most colorful form, bustling with energy and steeped in tradition. By following these tips, you’re set to have a memorable journey exploring the depth and beauty of Vietnamese culture during its most important festival.