See Vietnam Differently hopes you had a fantastic end to 2013 and is looking forward to being part of 2014 with you. Our website is now up and running and we are taking bookings for our new and very exciting itineraries, which we have spent a lot of time putting together to give you original opportunities that you can’t find anywhere else.
Whilst for many our year is on the way, for Vietnam their celebrations begin at the end of January, this year January 30th to February 3rd, the time of the Vietnamese New Year simply known as ‘Tet’ and properly known as ‘Tet Nguyen Dan’. It is a great time to visit the country as the festival welcomes tourists to its celebrations, taking place in the big cities of Saigon and Hanoi, to rural villages in the north and communities on the coast.
Tet is all about starting the year afresh with good intentions, beginning with cleaning the house and paying off all debts. Those that can afford it buy new clothes and have a haircut. The first few moments of the year are crucial as they set the pattern for the whole of the following year – people try to avoid arguing, swearing or breaking anything especially on the first three days when a single ill word could tempt bad luck into the house for the whole year ahead.
The week-long festival is celebrated with feasting on special foods, symbolic to Tet, such as candied lotus seeds, pickled vegetables and sugared fruits. The most famous delicacy, which is only prepared for this time is banh chung, a thick cylinder or square of sweet, sticky rice which is wrapped around a mixture of green-bean paste and marinated meats which are boiled in banana leaves. A delightful treat that is certainly worth trying.
If you spend it in the larger cities of Vietnam you will get the opportunity to wander around the flower markets which grace the city in order for homes to be decorated with spring blossoms. You will find peach blossoms in the north, apricot in Hue and mandarin in the south, as well as Plum and kumquat which lie alongside the more modern blossoms of dahlias, roses and gladioli.
Vietnam is always such an exciting and vibrant city but over this period it really comes into its own, so if you need an excuse to continue festivities into 2014 join the parties and feasting all over the country!