Churches, religious neighborhoods, Hang Ma Street, China town, shopping centers, etc. are considered as most romantic destinations for this Noel season. Below are some interesting suggestions for your Christmas in Sai Gon and Hanoi.
1. St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi
(Address: 40 Nha Chung Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi)
As a Catholic center in Hanoi and the surrounding areas, St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi is always the most splendid place when it comes to Christmas decoration. If you plan to spend your Christmas Eve at this place, it is crucial to get there really early as the Cathedral can become extremely crowded from early evening.
Due to the location convenience, you can also enjoy a variety of delicious snacks after a cheerful Christmas Eve. Good food is available just around the corner, including Au Trieu Street, Ly Quoc Su Street, Nha Tho or Nha Chung Street, etc.
2. Ham Long Church
(Address: 21 Ham Long Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi)
Ham Long Church, facing both Ham Long St. and Ngo Thi Nham St., is deemed one of the most gorgeous churches in Hanoi. In every Christmas season, it is quite familiar to see flows of people flocking toward the church, or young couples celebrating their Christmas by lightening romantic candles around them. Thanks to its appealing architectural design as well as the dazzling and sophisticated decoration, Ham Long Church is always an interesting destination for the youth at Christmas.
Following are a number of churches and chapels that are also well-known attractions in Hanoi at Christmas:
– Cua Bac Church (56 Phan Dinh Phung, Ba Dinh District)
– Thinh Liet Church (111 Giap Bat Street, Hoang Mai District)
– Phung Khoang Church (50 Trung Van, Tu Liem District)
– Sainte Marie Church (37 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem District)
– Hang Bot Church (162 Ton Duc Thang Street, Dong Da District)
– Nam Dong Street (178 Nguyen Luong Bang Street, Dong Da District)
3. A sparkling Christmas by Hoan Kiem Lake
Christmas coming seems to cast an astonishing atmosphere around Hoan Kiem Lake (or Sword Lake). Wandering around the lake you can easily catch sight of hand in hand lovers or the night market with interestingly unique items. Many foreigners confess that they are extremely impressed by bountiful counters placed side by side on a long walking street flooded with endless flocks of people.
Hoan Kiem Lake, already a beauty in the heart of the capital, magically turns into a sparkling pearl at nights when Christmas comes, majorly thanks to hundreds of lights are lit in the air. It is highly recommended to visit a small coffee shop called “Café Pho Co” (Ancient Town Café) and enjoy a cup of charming hot egg coffee which is incomparably unique in Hanoi.
4. Hang Ma Street, Luong Van Can Street
Christmas always coats the streets with a bustling and vibrant atmosphere from flocks of people visiting and shopping. Especially in Hang Ma and Luong Van Can streets where decorating items for Christmas are sold, new products with various colors, vignettes and textures are constantly updated and introduced. Apart from buying Christmas gifts, you can also window shopping or even posing beautiful photos there.
In Sai Gon
1. Notre Dame Cathedral – Dong Khoi Street
The elaborate and luminous Notre Dame Cathedral, locating right at the city center, is really a must for Christmas destinations. Surround Notre Dame Cathedral are a variety of entertainment centers such as Diamond Plaza, Kumho Asiana Saigon, the Turtle Lake and some others on Nam Ki Khoi Nghia and Ton Duc Thang Streets.
When sightseeing at this area, you have a great chance to “hunt” stunning photo shots, having a pedestrian coffee chat with friends (this is especial only Sai Gon when you sat down in the park and have coffee without tables or chairs) or enjoying hot snacks such as roasted rice-paper, grilled corns, grilled sweet potatoes, etc.
2. Center of District 1 – Nguyen Hue Street
At the center of district 1, especially on Le Loi and Nguyen Hue Street, thousands of lights are lit almost every building, on tree twigs and trunks or even hung cross the street.
Additionally, this is also the hub of various restaurants, hotels and grand shopping plazas such as Rex or Tax, etc. Each place has its own style of decoration which contributes to a truly “Western” Christmas atmosphere. A plus for this area is its vicinity to many elegant coffee shops, cinemas and delicious diners that is extremely convenient for a night sightseeing trip on Christmas.
3. The religious neighborhood, District 8
The Catholicity in District 8 locates on Pham The Hien Street, from the Nhi Thien Duong Bridge to Ward 7 of District 8. This neighborhood extends for 3 kilometers and crosses a number of famous parishes such as Binh An parish or Binh Thai parish. Every house, pedestrian and street are decorated with hundreds of stone caves, pine trees covered with white snow, Santa Clause statues, Our Lady statues or Jesus statues, etc. This colorfully wonderful decoration makes you feel the Christmas atmosphere really in the air.
In case you want to celebrate the Christmas Eve in your neighborhood, there are number of choices such as Tan Dinh Church, Huyen Si Church (District 1), Hanh Thong Tay Church (Go Vap Distruct), Một số giáo đường khác ở TP HCM cũng tổ chức canh thức Giáng sinh như nhà thờ Tân Định, Huyện Sĩ (quận 1), Hạnh Thông Tây (Gò Vấp), The Savior’s Church (District 3), Cha Tam Church (District 5), Ba Chuong (Three bells) Church (Phu Nhuan District), etc.
4. China Town, Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street
In Hanoi, you can always find your favorite decoration items at Hang Bai or Luong Van Can Street. Likewise in Sai Gon, the China Town is famous for a variety of shops with countless colorful decorations for Christmas. The items here are not only appealing but the price is also quite reasonable. This street is highly recommended for window shopping, sightseeing and posing photos.
5. Shopping Centers
From early December, decorations with colorful pine trees, and shimmering reindeers can be found at every large shopping center of the city such as Times City, Royal City, Vincom, Parkson, Saigon Center or Diamond Plaza, etc. Each shopping center chooses a different theme for their decorating coat which appeals you to visit every one of them to pose hundreds of gorgeous photos.