Tet Nguyen Dan in Vietnam

Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall is on a mission to discover 52 of the most awe-inspiring places to visit across the world. This week he discovers the delights of the lunar new year in Vietnam.


Vietnam explodes into colour, noise and celebration for Tet Nguyen Dan, the most important date in the nation’s calendar.

What is Tet Nguyen Dan?

Tet marks lunar new year and is a time of reunion for families, who come together in the hope of good fortune in the coming months. The holiday is celebrated on varying dates according to the lunar calendar, but falls between mid-January and mid-February each year.

Tet celebrations begin a week before new year. Offerings are made to benevolent spirits and dead relatives are visited in cemeteries. In Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi giant annual flower and plant markets suddenly appear.

On New Year’s Eve, in towns and villages throughout Vietnam, local people see out the old and usher in the new with a cacophony of music, drumming and celebrating. Once Tet itself arrives the streets are quiet as families spend time together, awaiting the first visitor of the new year and enjoying feasts.

Vietnam's Climate

Vietnam has a monsoon climate, with rains coming from the northeast between November and March cooling the north of the country. Summer rains fall everywhere from April to June. It’s a great value destination with accommodation, transport and dining for everyone from backpackers to high-end honeymooners.

Planning your trip to Vietnam

In addition to the Vietnam Tourist Office site, you’ll find Vietnam Adventures Online an excellent source of information and inspiration.

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