We are travelling through Vietnam for the first time later this year but I haven't been able to find any dates for when TET is going to be celebrated and I've heard it can make things really difficult so it would be good to know!
We're travelling in Vietnam from the 29th of december until around the 26th of January. So if anyone knows if it's going to affect us let me know, Thankyou!
#1 kendoll has been a member since 29/9/2009. Posts: 2
So Somtam, in your opinion, on the back side, would stand-by travel in and out of Vietnam (rather than just within the country)in early March be more than normally difficult?
#3 gogohanneson has been a member since 19/7/2009. Posts: 9
To be safe travel at least 1 month before and after Tet but never the period in between! Problems are mostly that public transport to and from major cities like Hanoi & Saigon are fully booked for at least this period of time with people going home for annual holidays. If you are lucky and willing to pay permium etc. then 2 weeks either side of Tet should be OK - but no guarantees! this is the time of the year when inflation kicks in and everyone is busy making money to finance their own Tet! over Tet period of at least 3-5 days (depends on lunar calendar predictions and could be as many as 10 days!) do not expect many restaurants, etc. to be open . If you come to VN over Tet then stay still in one place for a few weeks and you will be OK - or have your own motorbike transport etc. so you have more freedoms of movement! to me this is NOT the time to be touring VN.
#4 Pablot has been a member since 4/5/2009. Posts: 102
Dear kendoll,travelling in Vietnam from the 29Dec-26Jan is okie because it does not fall into the lunar Vietnamese Tet Holiday. But before the Tet of Vietna, it is the peak of tourism season so if you choose this time for travel, you may pay more.
#5 bristol has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 13
Thanks,Pablot, very helpful.
#6 gogohanneson has been a member since 19/7/2009. Posts: 9
First week of February is our target date, which means we would be having in trouble, though we haven't booked yet. We have already reset that date from our original target of which is the second week of January. Do you think it is best to come there before the Tet?
#7 tigershark15 has been a member since 14/12/2009. Posts: 11
Yikes. I am planning to travel from mid Feb to mid March, with little flexibility. This appears to hit Tet right on. My other option is beginning Feb to March... I have a few questions, and any input would be helpful.
I know from reading other threads that transportation and lodging prices go up and become extremely busy. Should I be worried about booking in advance right now? How desparaging will it be? I also am not super picky about accommodations. As long as it's relatively clean, I guess. Should I book train tickets now or soon?
Since it looks like I won't be able to avoid Tet, I am ok with riding it out during the trip. Will the chaotic effects of Tet be more apparent in the weeks leading up to it or afterwards? In other words, should I aim to arrive after Feb. 14th, ride out the week or so by staying put in Hanoi or Saigon, and then be able to enjoy relative calm in the 2 or 3 weeks following?
Again, any input is much appreciated. Thanks!
#8 kimtoronto has been a member since 26/12/2009. Posts: 2
Been reading Travelfish for about the last 7 months whie planning our trip to SE Asia and got some really useful advice from you all - thanks!
I got quite a fright when I read this post, we were due to arrive in Vietnam on February 12th, spending 2 days in Halong Bay before travelling onward (flying) to Hoi An and leaving to go to Cambodia around the 20th. Will we have trouble moving around, finding accomodation etc during Tet? I'm finding it difficult to find anymore information aboutthe impact of the festival on travellers
#10 shandy has been a member since 29/7/2009. Posts: 2
This TET traffic is making me a bit nervous. I will be doing a 5 week runaround of mainland SEA Jan 21 - Feb 25. My first time in the area.
If I did Vietnam first, say from Jan 21 - Feb 4, would that help me stay clear of TET related traffic jams on buses, trains?
I don't mind prices being a bit higher, or booking all my train tickets as soon as I land in Hanoi, I just want to get stuck anyplace for too long as it will eat up travel time in other areas.
#11 anthonology has been a member since 3/1/2010. Posts: 1
As Pablot mentioned, the main issue is public transport -- the trains and flights will be booked solid in the immediate period before and after the festival. I'd venture if you don't have a reservation already, chances are you won't get one. However, I'm not sure how this will effect the bus system -- especially the Open Bus system (the tourist minibuses) After all the majority of travellers to Vietnam over Tet will not have booked all their transport in advance.
tigershark15: If you can, shift back to January.
kimtoronto: I'd be surprised if you could get a train ticket now across Tet. Accommodation, I wouldn't worry about -- especially if you are not too picky. I've spent Tet in Hanoi in the past -- I enjoyed it.
shandy: Yup, you'll be right in the middle of it. As long as you're reasonably flexible re accommodation, you should be ok. Trains and planes forget it, you'll be on the bus -- though I'm not sure how that will be affected.
anthonology: Yes, if you can, shift it to earlier.
#12 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,789
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Most VN nationals will catch trains or local buses, and if they can not catch local bus then by neccessity they will catch a tourist bus which is more expensive; so expect almost all transport to be full at the peak.
Before Tet exodus is everyone is getting out of centres of Hanoi or Saigon to go home; after Tet it is the reverse (everyone gettiong back to work). If you are generally going opposite direction of the annual exodus then you should be OK provided it is not the last day or first few days of the new year.
#13 Pablot has been a member since 4/5/2009. Posts: 102
Hey folks, looks like my first Vietnam trip will get me caught up in this same Tet-transport problem and I'd like some advice.
I arrive in Hanoi on 3-Feb to begin an indefinitely backpacking trip (working on my laptop along the way) and my preference was to train it down to Hue on 10-Feb and then the train down to Hoi An on 12-Feb. From there I figured I'd chill at a hotel with in-room Wi-Fi until the coast is clear. Looks like finding a hotel room won't be a problem, and I already have a place booked (by e-mail) in Hoi An.
So even if I go to the Hanoi train station on the day I arrive and try to get a seat for 10-Feb to Hue, this is likely to be impossible? Maybe a minibus instead?
I'm not in a hurry so I could even stay in Hanoi until after Tet or until I can find a train or minibus seat.
Instead of that, can anyone suggest another possible town between Hanoi and Hue where I might find a hotel with Wi-Fi? Or would I be better off just resigning to stay in Hanoi until late February?
We went to Vietnam last year right at the end of the main part of Tet, end of January. I have just been told that we will be arriving there again right on Tet this year, 17th Feb.
Last year though we had no problems at all. We only missed the floating market on the Mekong and could not get a seat on the train from Hoi An to Hanoi on the last weekend, a Saturday night. We took the sleeper bus instead. We had no problem with accommodation only booking on-line from the town before we moved on.
So, I have my fingers crossed for this years trip! The lovely part of being there during Tet is the flowers everywhere and all the Happy New Years!
#16 roznkaz has been a member since 23/1/2010. Posts: 8
Rawjer, I think you'll be fine.
Normally about 10 days before Tet, people from Sai Gon or the South going home in the Center and North. And 3 days after Tet people start going back to their job in the South. So, I advise traveling against the main flow.
#17 paulle has been a member since 31/1/2010. Posts: 1