I'm noticing dates for the 2014 Tet Festival & & Perfume Pagoda Festival and am wondering whether these represent great opportunities or whether local celebrations make life too hard for a traveller. I'd welcome comment on each separately, so I can decide whether to pick travel dates.
Re Tet, is this a time when transport comes to a standstill & hotels get all booked up? How long does it last? What are the cultural activities at the time, which would be good to witness?
Re Perfume Pagoda Festival, the Perfume Pagoda is one of the places which I am most keen to visit. Would the Festival enhance a visit or would it make the place so crowded that it's hard to visit the shrines at leisure?
#1 EdwardTrunk has been a member since 7/9/2013. Posts: 35
In Vietnam, Tet is a family holiday, and not a commercial one. Tourists traveling at that time report that transport is near impossible since it's been booked up for months, and prices double or triple. If you stay in luxury resorts, you probably will do better if you stay put until it's over (one week B4 and 10 days after). Tet in 2014 is Jan 31st.
I've been in Vietnam around Tet three times. Once, we were there during the entire festival, once was a week before and once a week after. Before Tet can be really nice as everyone is getting ready for the festivities, you've got dragon dances and flowers everywhere. If you organize yourself to be somewhere like Phu Quoc for the 3 main days of the holiday you should be fine. Just stay at your bungalow and swim and get coffee there while the cities are all shut down -- relax and enjoy. As long as you've got a return air ticket booked off the island you shouldn't have any problem. In the days after Tet it can be a little difficult to get the ideal bus, but there are so many buses in Vietnam that you won't really get stranded. We arrived in Can Tho from Ha Tien on the very last day of Tet (it took some bus hopping but we made it).
Tet also give you a great opportunity to soak up a happy atmosphere. It's a holiday season and people are happy and looking to celebrate. There were a number of times I've been invited to join a gathering with food and drinks while just walking around on the streets in the days around Tet.
Although there are a couple nice aspects of TET (mainly the flower displays) they aren't worth the endless hassle that comes with it.
I arrived in Vietnam a few days before TET since that is what worked with my itinerary and I wanted to experience the celebrations since some people seem to think it is worth it. Take my word, it is definitely not worth it... Accommodation in certain towns can be very difficult to come by, I ran into other travellers that had slept in chairs or floors and some even outside since they couldn't find anywhere with room. If you do travel make sure you have a set itinerary and book rooms far in advance(at least a week, don't wait till a couple days before). The few rooms available are often double or even triple the price they should be and the same can be said for bus prices. The trains actually shut down for a while and then are sold out for a long time as locals pre purchase their tickets.
I was noticing effects of TET as long as 2 weeks after the actual date, bus prices were just starting to drop to near normal at that time. Absolutely not worth it just to see a few nice flowers...
Tet is vietnamese new year. We clean up, decorate the house and prepare foods, fruits, candy,... For visitors.
My family and i always visit my uncle, aunt,... For Tet and i get some lucky money.
The older give lucky money for the younger and the youger give the wishes to the older only if they know each other like members in a family, neighbor, friend,...
We have fireworks for the Tet, dragon dance, lion dance,...
We Play cards, lo to (same as bingo),... For fun with small money bet, or big money if you are a gambler (with other gamblers).
Many people go to pagoda for Tet also, some pagoda open all night for Tet.
Tet only for 3 days but we have 1 week to 2 weeks or no holiday, depend on ours job.
the Perfume pagoda's festival officially begins on February 15 on the lunar calendar, but the peak in visitors lasts from the middle of January to the middle of March. The Festival is seen by some as a good opportunity for young people to find romance and begin courtships