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-   -   Chineese New Year in Vietnam (https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/chineese-new-year-in-vietnam-791478/)

ArizonaShyGuy Jun 22nd, 2009 08:48 AM

Chineese New Year in Vietnam
 
Need a bit of advice, I am planning a trip to Vietnam from Jan. 19 thru Feb. 10th. I understand the Chineese New Year is on Feb. 14th in 2010. I heard a lot of Vietnamese travel during this time and was wandering when the travel period begins. When I check for airfare on Vietnam Airlines for early Feb., it states no fares available. Should I plan my trip a few weeks earlier or does the heavy travel period start after the New Year? Thanks for any help.

Cicerone Jun 22nd, 2009 08:39 PM

Tet, which is the Vietnames name for the Lunar New Year celebrations (popularly known as “Chinese New Year” in many other places), is a time for travel home to be with family. It’s not a travel time for vacation. The public holidays in Vietnam are three days from Feb 14-16. Traditionally the day <i> before</i> the first day of the Lunar New Year, i.e. February 13, would be a heavy travel day, as people are trying to get to their home villages to have their reunion dinners on the 13th (the last day of the old year), and also to be at home for the rest of the days of celebration. Traveling on the 13th would be similar to traveling on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in the US. As the 13th is a Saturday in 2010, you may get people traveling on Friday the 12th as well. However, if you are leaving Vietnam on the 10th, you should not encounter any significant increase in people traveling; it’s mid-week and too early IMO.

Why you can’t get a price for flights on the website is most likely unrelated to the holiday and more likely related to the fact that it is Vietnam Airlines and you are trying to book 8 months out.

You might want to consider staying to see some of the celebrations, although you will undoubtedly see a good bit of the lead-up to it, including seasonal foods on offer, buildings decorated, etc. so perhaps you will feel you have had enough by leaving on the 10th.

landineen Jun 22nd, 2009 10:23 PM

ASG, check expedia.com for airfare. Forget Vietnam Airlines.com. It was 2 years ago that bf and I went and I think, THINK gorilla.com gave us the tickets from Hanoi to Cambodia.

daawgon Jun 22nd, 2009 11:57 PM

Many overseas Vietnamese (Viet Kieu) return to the mother country for Tet, and will travel both before and after the holiday. As to when you should book, be aware that early Jan can be rather cold in the north, and travel close to Tet can also mean inflated pricing. You should wait a few months before purchasing air tickets to get a better price in the late part of summer or fall. I swear by Asiana Airlines via Seoul for good prices and superb five star service. Connect with Asiana at LAX for Arizona.

bniemand Jun 23rd, 2009 06:40 AM

I believe Vietnam Airlines website starts showing schedules 6 months out. So if you check again in August you may start finding flights for your dates.

When I was planning my Feb 2009 trip in spring 2008 I practiced using dates on the same day of the week -- for example if you know you want to fly on a Tuesday in Feb 2010, you could look today for schedules for Tuesday flights in Oct 2009. I found the times and schedules quite similar no matter which month I searched. (Sometimes the flights would change number, or the time would shift by an hour.) However I'd guess there will be many more flights to choose from during/around Tet than any other month.

Vietnam Airlines was great for flying between cities in Vietnam. We had zero problems. The only downside is I don't think you can book tickets yourself on their website (unless this has changed since last year.) We used a travel agent in Hanoi to make our reservations.

Smeagol Jun 23rd, 2009 11:25 AM

you can book tickets now on their website, its been updated BUT it still didnt list all the flights available so i got Tonkin Travel to do instead

crellston Jun 23rd, 2009 11:39 PM

We were in Vietnam for about a month last year which included Tet. Be aware that these days TEt does tend to drag on for 2/3 weeks.
We stayed in the Old Quarter in Hanoi for Tet itself and most of teh shops and restaurants were closed (for 4/5 days). We were on a long trip and booking travel and accomodation as we went and it was a real organising trains, planes and buses. We ended up stuck in a very wet Hue for a week - (our intention was 3 days) because we simply could not book any travel. Also over tet itself many of the tourist sites were closed.

We also had problems getting a flight back to Bangkok when our visas ran out and had to buy business class tickets. IMHO it would make more ssense to avoid the Tet period if poss


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