With just over a week until Tet, Vietnam’s biggest and most important festival, here is a list of seven holiday destinations worth consideration.
Staycation in Ho Chi Minh City
InterContinental Residences Saigon, Sheraton Saigon and Renaissance Riverside Saigon are offering staycation packages with room prices starting from $155 a night, in which guests can enjoy a private gym, swimming pool and other luxury entertainment services.
An outdoor swimming pool inside InterContinental Residences Saigon in HCMC's District 1. Photo courtesy of the hotel
HCMC is now a green zone, deemed at low Covid risk, with a series of tourism and cultural activities run during Tet like the Nguyen Hue flower street, spring flower market at Binh Dong Wharf in District 8 and a lion dance for luck in the Chinatown.
Glamping in Da Lat
Glamping, a luxury version of camping that includes facilities and accommodation far more comfortable than traditional camping – has become a growing trend among tourists and Da Lat in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, famous for green pine forests and fresh air, is an ideal destination.
Twin Beans Farm, CampArt, Dala Waterfall Camping and Dalat Camp that are isolated from crowded residential areas and surrounded by pine forests with peaceful natural landscapes should be added to your itineraries if you plan to visit Da Lat during Tet.
Da Lat currently requires no quarantine for domestic tourists except for those arriving from red zones (very high Covid risk areas) who need to furnish negative Covid results from tests done 72 hours before arrival.
Escape at one of Southeast Asia's top camping spots
Once voted by U.K. travel site Rough Guides as one of most ideal camping spots in Southeast Asia, Lak Tented Camp in Lak District is nestled on a small hill surrounded by the tranquil Lak Lake, the second largest in Vietnam after Ba Be in the north.
Tents are designed with modern furniture and overlook Lak Lake. Photo courtesy of Lak Tented Camp
The campsite offers 15 safari-style tents, four luxury lakeside bungalows, a dorm, and a restaurant in a handsome wooden longhouse – only accessible by boat. Visitors are able to explore Lak Lake by boat, fishing, and mountain biking.
Each tent can accommodate up to two guests, at VND850,000 per person.
Luxury cruises in heritage bays
Five-star cruise ships in Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province or Lan Ha Bay in Hai Phong are available throughout Tet.
On Jan. 31 (Lunar New Year’s Eve), Heritage Cruises will have an exhibition displaying 30 paintings highlighting Hang Trong folk arts, considered a symbol of traditional culture and aesthetic value in Vietnam, and an event for guests to try wrapping banh chung (square sticky rice cake), an indispensable dish during the traditional Tet.
There will be a dinner party the same night with a live music program on the cruise ship.
The price is VND3.05 million, including a five-star room, four meals on the yacht and other experiences.
Quang Ninh and Hai Phong only allow in tourists from green and yellow zones meaning low and medium risk levels.
Rustic homestays in Moc Chau
Moc Chau, a popular highlands town in the northern Son La Province, is also an ideal choice to enjoy the holiday break as the town is now painted the white color of plum trees. In Mu Nau and Na Ka valleys, plum blossoms are in full bloom.
White plum valleys in Moc Chau Town are in full bloom, January 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quang Kien.
However, visitors should keep in mind that the road to Moc Chau is narrow and steep, you should book a motorbike taxi service with prices of VND120,000 per round trip.
There are many beautiful rustic homestays to choose from like Bo House, Nha Ta, The November, Hillside House, and Mama’s House. To stay overnight in Moc Chau, visitors need to furnish a negative Covid test result done within 72 hours.
Homestay services cost from VND700,000 a night while budget hotels cost about VND200,000 a night.
Ethnic treats in Ha Giang
Spring blankets the northern Ha Giang Province’s mountain paths with the light pink of peach blossoms and the vibrant yellow of cabbage flowers. Spring is the most ideal time of the year to visit Dong Van Town as peach and plum trees are in full bloom.
There are many homestay facilities and resorts in Ha Giang, especially in Dong Van and Meo Vac districts such as H'mong Village, P'apiu, Hoang Su Phi Lodge, Lo lo Ancient homestay with room prices ranging from VND300,000-2.4 million a night.
In the spring, visitors can see H’mong locals in traditional costumes gather to drink corn wine and join them to enjoy unique dishes only be found in Ha Giang.
H'mong people gather to drink to celebrate spring in 2021. Photo by Nguyen Huu Thong.
Due to the long distance - Ha Giang Town is 300 kilometers from Hanoi - the most popular method of transportation is an overnight sleeper bus that cost VND200,000-350,000 or $8.84-15.47, which helps save a lot of time.
When you arrive in Ha Giang, you can rent a motorbike for VND150,000 a day to continue your journey.
Ha Giang allows visitors from orange or red zones but requires them to be fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid and furnish a negative test result.
Slow life at Phong Nha-Ke Bang
Only about 20 kilometers from Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park, Chay Lap Farmstay is a very convenient base from which to explore. The bungalows here are surrounded by green trees and located far from busy residential areas suitable for those escaping the crowds over Covid fears.
Inside a room at Chay Lap Farmstay in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Quang Binh Province. Photo courtesy of Chay Lap Farmstay
In addition to bungalows for you to enjoy the slow life, Chay Lap Farmstay also has rooms for families. The facility has a swimming pool, a large veranda for people to gather or have a barbecue.
Staying here, both adults and children have the opportunity to participate in different experiences such as camping, boating, river cruises or cycling to explore countryside villages, or trekking the cave system in the national park.
Quang Binh also requires no quarantine for fully vaccinated domestic tourists.