Ideas For Tet Travel Closer To Home

Tet is a blursed time to travel. While it’s a great time for a quiet staycation, hanging out with friends and enjoying the blissfully empty streets, staying home feels like a bit of a waste of precious time off. Unfortunately, the alternative is dealing with crowds and jacked up prices if traveling anywhere in Vietnam, or shelling out extra to go to somewhere that doesn’t observe Lunar New Year. However, here are some recommendations for traveling within Vietnam while still avoiding the crowds.

Halong Bay Your Way. Yes, Halong Bay is Vietnam’s busiest tourist destination after Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and it’s often packed even during nonholiday periods. But one way to get away from the Tet crowds in Halong is to cruise a different itinerary from the norm. The very pretty Au Co ( has two identical steelhulled ships that sail true 3-day / 2-night itineraries. The best part is that because Au Co’s parent company has several charitable projects on Cat Ba Island, it’s currently the only ship permitted to sail from Halong Bay’s Tuan Chau Marina through Halong Bay and on to the less-developed yet equally stunning Lan Ha Bay to the south. Sailing farther means it’s off the normal “cookie cutter” route which most other overnight boats take, hitting up less-touristy caves and beaches, and with more time for kayaking and swimming. On a recent cruise, there were several spots where we were the only ship in sight. It’s also a true two-night itinerary, meaning no offloading to a small day boat.

Trinh Nu Cave – Image by Bhaya Cruises

Bhaya Cruises ( is also worth looking into for its reasonable charter options. With 19 day and overnight boats, it has the largest fleet in Halong, including Bhaya Legend with 1-3 cabin ships available for charter. Grab some friends and book out an entire boat to yourself. Guests are invited to work with the captain to come up with a completely personalized itinerary, taking in lesser-visited spots timed when no one is around. The next best option is Bhaya Premium, available on a charter or join-in basis. The ships are smaller (3-7 cabins) and feel more intimate. Bhaya also exclusively manages an island with a hidden beach, accessible only by walking through a cave. Few other companies go to this spot which means you very well might have the whole beach to yourself.

Lan Rung Resort Phuoc Hai – Image by Lan Rung

Take to the Skies. Another way of enjoying quieter travel moments is by seeing familiar destinations in a new way. Hai Au Aviation ( operates 12-seater Cessnas on scenic and scheduled flights all around Vietnam. They’re best known for their sightseeing flights over Halong where from 300 meters up, the islands look completely different, almost as if they connect to form the undulating body of a dragon. The water take-offs and landings are pretty cool, too. Hai Au has recently expanded to Hue and Danang with a few more destinations in the works. Sightseeing flights are surprisingly reasonable, coming in at around USD100 for a bucket list-worthy experience. Best of all, you’ll only be sharing your bird’s eye views with fewer than a dozen other passengers.

Danang – – Image by Hai Au Aviaton

Castaway in Vung Tau. Going to the beach is always a popular choice for a Tet holiday. However, instead of busy Vung Tau or glitzy Ho Tram, consider the lesser-known stretch of Phuoc Hai, located right in the middle of the two. A relatively new property here is Lan Rung Phuoc Hai. Designed by the same architect as Vung Tau’s Imperial Hotel, Lan Rung has that same quirky feel to it—a European palace by the sea. While there isn’t much else to do right in the walkable vicinity, the gorgeous seaside swimming pool and wide stretch of beach are a true tonic. The property has its own well-stocked minimart (think: cheap snacks) and the wonderfully kitschy Elvis Café connected by a passenger bridge pays homage to both the King and his Vietnamese counterpart, Elvis Phuong. There’s a stage for karaoke and Elvis himself (the Vietnamese one) is known to pop in from time to time for nostalgic performances. Toan Thang ( offers transportation between District 1 right to the resort in just two hours for VND160,000 per person in a 9-seat limousine van.

Victoria Mekong Cruise – Image by Victoria Mekong Cruise

River Cruising through the Mekong Delta. While there are around two dozen ships sailing across the Mekong Delta, the Victoria Mekong ( is the only one that leaves out of Can Tho (rather than the closer My Tho). While it’s a bit further to get to (passengers can either meet the boat in Can Tho or pay a bit extra for a transfer from Saigon), the newly launched 35-cabin ship sails the Hau River (rather than the Tien River), opening up whole new shore excursion possibilities. I was on the inaugural sailing in mid-December, and waking up right in the middle of the Long Xuyen Floating Market was a real treat. The four-deck ship is one of the most spacious river cruisers I’ve ever seen, complete with a small pool, putting green, and even a movie theater (with real theater-style bucket seats). The leisurely four-night cruise ends in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. While the ethnic Chinese Khmers take off for Lunar New Year, it’s not an official holiday (Cambodian New Year is in April, the same as Thailand’s), meaning most shops and tourist attractions remain open. So feel free to stay a couple extra days after the cruise and when you’re ready, the return bus trip to Ho Chi Minh City will only set you back around USD12.

Share this story, choose your platform!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on vk
Share on email
About the author:

Leave a Comment

Royal Heritage: Best Castles in Central Europe

Central Europe is mainly famous for its castles, vineyards, palaces, cathedrals, and beaches. The region also shows a variety of architectural pieces, culture, and influential designs of art. The world’s most beautiful palaces are built there which will give you umpteen opportunities to enjoy!  Now, the most important part is to enjoy the trip! nd

Read More »

Four Seasons Resort Hoi An and the Cult of Well-being

With the end of the pandemic coming into sight, travel in 2021 is going to be all about getting back to Nature, touchless tech, health and wellness, and smaller footprints and bigger hearts, all while maintaining a comfortable distance from fellow guests. If there ever was a property tailor-made for the pandemic world and beyond,

Read More »

Dressed to Impress in Hoi An

Hoi An is arguably Vietnam’s most photogenic town, with its artfully peeling ochre-colored walls, colorful silk lanterns, and centuries of history starting out as a bustling seaport on the Silk Maritime Route. As if that weren’t enough for epic photos, in summer 2020, friends Leo and Van opened up Viet Phuc, a costume rental shop

Read More »

5 great places to visit on New Zealand’s South Island

Arriving in New Zealand, one is immediately confronted with the country’s dedication to the conservation of nature. Permits may be required for a multitude of items, ranging from animals, plants, seeds to ginseng roots. Before starting your exploration of the pristine wilderness of the South Island, one needs to be aware of the strict DOC

Read More »
Quy Nhon Beach

Why Your Next Beach Getaway Should Be to Quy Nhon

If you’ve never heard of Quy Nhon (pronounced kwee nyohn), you’re not alone. Situated on Vietnam’s South-Central coast, sandwiched between the tourist meccas of Hoi An and Nha Trang, this pretty, laid-back city of about 500,000 doesn’t get a lot of press outside of Vietnamese-language media, and even then it’s mostly limited to striking drone

Read More »


Regarded as one of the most splendid resorts in 2020, Movenpick Resort Waverly Phu Quoc made a mark with its astonishing achievements. Recently, the first international five-star resort on Ong Lang beach has set a new record as “the Best Luxury Family Resort in Asia” at the 2020 World Luxury Hotel Awards. Despite the hotel’s

Read More »