Visit Vietnam During Tet: Your Essential Handbook to Everything You Need to Know

Visit Vietnam During Tet: Your Essential Handbook to Everything You Need to Know

Tet Holiday, or Vietnamese New Year, is the most significant public celebration in Vietnam, marked by unique traditions and cultural richness. In 2024, Tet will be celebrated from February 10 to February 14, following the Kitchen God festival on February 2. Experience the two distinct phases of Tet: before and after New Year's Eve, witnessing a transformation from the bustling and serene to a jubilant atmosphere. Explore our articles to discover the captivating aspects of this traditional celebration and gain insights into what to observe during your visit.

Things to know about visiting Vietnam on Tet holiday (Vietnamese Lunar New Year)


1. Weather during Tet holiday in Vietnam

The weather during the Tet holiday in Vietnam can vary depending on the specific location within the country. Typical weather in each region of Vietnam will be different across the country.

  • Northern Vietnam (Hanoi and the surrounding areas):

During Tet in the north, the weather is often cool and sometimes chilly. This period is in the midst of the dry and cool season, changing from Winter to Spring. Daytime temperatures may range from 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F). It can get colder in the evenings, dropping to 15°C or lower. The skies are generally clear and sunny, making it a pleasant time for outdoor sightseeing and mountainous adventure.


  • Central Vietnam (Hue, Danang, Hoi An and surrounding areas):

Central Vietnam experiences a more temperate and relatively dry climate during Tet.

Daytime temperatures in cities like Danang and Hue can be around 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F), making it a comfortable time to visit temples and pagodas. Travelers feel free to bask in the sunlight. The weather is less humid and rainy compared to the previous months of the year.


  • Southern Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta and surrounding areas):

Southern Vietnam, encompassing Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, enjoys warm and dry weather during Tet, with temperatures ranging from 28°C to 32°C (82°F to 89°F). This creates a tropical and sunny atmosphere, perfect for outdoor gatherings and festivals. The diverse climate mirrors a diversity in culture and customs. While the North embraces warm layers, the South opts for shorts and skirts. Different flowers, like the yellow apricot blossom in the central and south and peach flowers in the north, characterize the regions. Consider traversing the country during Tet to fully immerse yourself in the varied local cultures from one end to the other.


2. Traffic here and there

You will be amazed by seeing two contrasting pictures of transportation in Vietnam before and after New Year's Eve.

Transportation in Vietnam one week before New Year can be quite challenging due to the massive movement of people as they travel to their hometowns to celebrate the Lunar New Year with their families. There is a significant increase in travel demand before the main days of the Tet holiday, with many Vietnamese people returning to their hometowns. This means that almost all modes of transportation are in high demand.


If you plan to fly during Tet, book your flights well in advance to secure your seats. Major airports like Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi can be especially busy during this period. In addition to planes, trains are a popular mode of transportation during Tet.

Transportation fares can rise during the Tet holiday due to high demand. Even though the fares are higher, tickets for trains, buses, and flights often still sell out quickly.

Before New Year’s Eve, in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, traffic congestion can be more frequent as people move around for year-end parties or back to their hometowns. Just be calm when the roads become clogged and travel times between sightseeings might be longer than usual.

On the main days of Tet, you will see the scene change from hustle and bustle cities to tranquil ones. There are none of the usual crowded and noisy scenes. The urban city is different from itself on normal days. On the first day of the Vietnamese New Year, the area is quiet with fresh air.


Despite that, some transport providers may close or operate on a limited schedule. This can impact your travel options, so it's better to confirm your schedules in advance.

3. Tourist attractions during Tet

Tet, the paramount traditional festival in Vietnam, brings a temporary closure to many businesses and attractions as people take a short break. The pre-Tet period witnesses vibrant decorations across cities and towns, with streets adorned in flowers, lanterns, and colorful displays. Exploring these festive streets offers a delightful experience.

Leading up to Tet, flower markets emerge in cities, and flower gardens burst with vivid colors. Visiting renowned spots like Tao Dan Flower (HCMC), Hang Luoc Flower Market (Hanoi), Nhat Tan Flower Village (Hanoi), and Sa Dec Flower Village (Dong Thap) provides a lively and colorful glimpse into the festive spirit.


Witness calligraphers creating auspicious words and phrases at Museums or Temple of Literature during Tet, symbolizing good luck, prosperity, health, and happiness on red paper or banners. The color red holds significant symbolism in Vietnamese culture, representing luck and happiness. Consider obtaining one to embrace the Lunar New Year spirit.

As part of Tet customs, many individuals visit temples and pagodas to pray for a prosperous year. Explore renowned places like Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi during this time, but remain vigilant against theft.


While some tourist sites may close during the actual Tet holiday, historical sites and museums remain open leading up to and after Tet. Plan your visits accordingly to make the most of your trip. You should check on each attraction's website, and official fan page Facebook for exact open hours during Tet.

>> See more about The Best Locations In Mekong Delta To Take Beautiful Photos During The Tet Holiday.

4. Local restaurants

During Tet, numerous businesses, especially restaurants, may adjust operating hours or temporarily close to enable staff to celebrate with their families. Availability depends on factors like location, restaurant type, and local customs.

In major cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Danang, some restaurants may stay open, especially those catering to tourists. However, smaller family-run eateries and street food vendors may close, especially in the initial days of the holiday. Consider a street food tour before or after Tet.

Hotels and international chain restaurants usually remain open, providing a reliable dining option. Booking hotels in advance and checking their restaurant offerings can be convenient.

For an authentic Tet experience, explore special Tet markets or food stalls offering traditional holiday dishes like banh chung. Most closed restaurants typically reopen gradually after the first 3-4 days of Tet.

5. Accommodations: hotel or homestay

During Tet, Vietnamese traditionally gathered at home, but modern life has seen a shift toward utilizing time off for travel. Popular destinations like Hoi An, Da Nang, Phu Quoc, and Nha Trang expect increased domestic travelers, leading to high demand for accommodations, potentially resulting in limited availability and higher prices.

Many businesses, including accommodations, may close or operate with reduced services during Tet as staff takes time off to celebrate with their families. Despite this, accommodations, especially in tourist areas, may feature festive decorations and activities, enhancing the Lunar New Year experience.

Consider staying in local guesthouses or homestays for a more culturally immersive Tet experience. This offers the chance to participate in traditional celebrations with the host family, gaining insights into Vietnamese traditions and customs from a local perspective.


6. Let's go shopping

Shopping during Tet is a unique experience. The period leading up to Tet is marked by bustling markets, special sales, and a festive atmosphere as people prepare to celebrate the most significant holiday in Vietnam.


In the weeks before Tet, markets buzz with heightened activity as people prepare for the holiday by purchasing food, decorations, and gifts. Families stock up on ingredients for traditional dishes and buy symbolic flowers like apricot blossoms and peach blossoms. New clothes are also customary for a fresh start in the new year.

Leading up to Tet, markets and malls become bustling hubs, creating a joyful atmosphere. Special promotions and discounts are common, encouraging holiday purchases. Traditional markets continue to play a significant role, offering a wide range of goods and a more traditional shopping experience.

Brands release Tet-themed products and limited-edition items to celebrate the holiday, making Tet shopping a cultural and social experience. Travelers can immerse themselves in Vietnam's shopping paradise during Tet but should be cautious about potential overcharging.


7. Banking & money exchange

During the Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year), banks usually close for several days, and the exact closure dates can vary from year to year as Tet is based on the lunar calendar. Banks typically close a few days before Tet and remain closed for a few days after the holiday, with services resuming once the holiday period concludes. In 2024, banks such as Vietcombank, BIDV, VietinBank, TPBank, Agribank, etc. will close from 08/02/2024 until 14/02/2024.


When dealing with banking services in Vietnam during Tet, be sure to check the specific holiday schedule and operating hours in advance. While Internet Banking and ATM services remain available, it's recommended to have sufficient cash on hand due to potential issues like high demand and cash shortages that may affect ATMs.

For currency exchange, consider exchanging a small amount before traveling or at the airport, although rates there are less favorable. More advantageous exchange rates can often be found at jewelry shops in Hanoi Old Quarter or near Ho Chi Minh City's Ben Thanh market.

8. How to say Happy New Year in Vietnamese?

Vietnamese believe that New Year's blessings signify fortunes for the entire year. If the family experiences good things on New Year's Day, it's believed that the entire following year will be filled with similar blessings.

To wish "Happy New Year" in Vietnamese, use the phrase "Chúc Mừng Năm Mới," pronounced as "chook moon numb moy." While Vietnamese tones can be challenging, a big smile and this pronunciation will convey your New Year's greetings effectively.

Besides, people commonly wish each other luck, health and prosperity for example:

  • An khang thịnh vượng: peace, good health & prosperity

  • Vạn sự như ý: all your wishes come true

  • Sống lâu trăm tuổi: live up to 100 years

  • Sức khỏe dồi dào: good health & strength

  • Tiền vô như nước: money comes in like water


Tet is a special time in Vietnam, and experiencing it firsthand can be a memorable and culturally rich travel experience. By planning ahead and understanding the unique aspects of Tet, you can make the most of your time and enjoy the festive activities surrounding the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.

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