As Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) is the most important occasion of a year to Vietnamese, just like Christmas and New Year combined to Westerners, there are some notes for travelers who want to travel to Vietnam during period and enjoy it to the fullest.
1. Many Shops/Stores/Companies are closed for Tet
Nowadays, there have been more and more shops/stores opened on Tet holiday, but travelers still have to be aware of the fact that a number of shops would not do so, especially on the first day of the Lunar New Year 2016 (This year from Feb 7-14, 2016). Normally they will reopen stores on the third day of lunar new year or few days later. So please check carefully before shopping or visiting somewhere.
2. Book long in advance
Traditional Tet in Vietnam is an interesting experience with many foreigners travelers, it would be not easy to get rooms in some most popular destinations in Vietnam during Tet including Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City..), especially high-quality ones, if you didn’t book in advance. Tet holiday (which included 8-9 days off) means that the locals also have so much plenty time to travel through their country so please make sure to book rooms or tickets in advance as those might be filled up shortly.
Transport is another matter to be concerned. Without doubt, it is quite difficult to plan your trip when air, trains are mostly fully booked because a lot of people booked tickets to come home for family reunion. Reserve your airplane tickets and train tickets as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.
4. High prices than usual
This is one big concern that seems to occur to most holiday travelers. On Tet holiday, everything might involve a holiday surcharge, from a bowl of Pho (noodle soup) to a suit made to order. Moreover, many restaurants may not have full menu either. Accept this as part of your holiday will relieve you from unnecessary stress. If you book a tour package, extra fee might be incurs as travel companies need to pay extra for transportation and guides.
5. Be careful when buying or bargaining
When you want to buy something during Tet holiday, be careful, especially with bargaining. Local Vietnamese sellers have strong belief that if their new year starts strong with the generating of many sales this will determine a prosperous outcome for the year. Hence it can be very disappointing and annoying to a merchant if you inquire about an item to later not buy it or you bargain so much. This is a sign of loss prosperity through-out the year, to their opinions. In order not to get their anger, try to buy at least one thing in their shops, even the smallest and cheapest one, in case you have entered their shops and asked for goods. The advice is to look at the item carefully from outside before getting inside.