Halong Bay is a treat to visit at any time of year, but if you're organizing a cruise vacation during the Tet Holiday or simply a chance to be there, there are a few things you should know ahead. As you might expect, a Halong Bay overnight trip during this period will be a little different from the rest of the year.
Best Guide to Halong Bay Cruise During the Lunar New Year Celebration
1. What is the Tet holiday?
Tet, or Lunar New Year, is the most important and popular celebration of the year in Vietnam. Many people leave big cities to spend time with family and friends in their hometowns, and plenty of businesses are closed for several days or even a full week. This particular event is commemorated by eating holiday delicacies, doing spring cleaning, adorning peach blossom trees, and giving lucky money to family and friends.
Tet is typically celebrated around the end of January or the beginning of February every year. The exact date depends on when the new moon appears in January or February, which changes by a few days each year.
Tet 2024: Saturday, February 10
2. Why should you celebrate the Tet holiday in Halong Bay?
A Halong Bay cruise tour provides a special fusion of cultural experiences, stunning scenery, and exhilarating activities. If you travel to Halong Bay during the Lunar New Year, there are more benefits to savor from authentic celebrations.
Full-Board Cruise Package
Tet is a very sacred holiday for the Vietnamese. For a full week, a lot of stores and eateries will shut down as people come back to their hometowns and enjoy the celebration with their families. Though there are still shops opening, you will not have many options, and the prices may get a little high. For all of these reasons, taking a Halong Bay cruise during Tet is absolutely the perfect idea. With a full-board cruise package, you don't need to worry about where to eat or what to visit while soaking in the magical beauty of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Halong Cruise Party and New Year’s Countdown
After a long day of exploring around the majestic wonders of the bay, like Luon Cave, Sung Sot Cave, Titov Island, or Tien Ong Cave, it’s time to savor an exquisite dinner at the cruise's restaurant, sip on cocktails, and on some cruises, await the countdown to midnight and welcome the new year of Vietnamese people. You can also receive and give lucky money in red envelopes to others for good luck and prosperity in the next year.
The first thing that springs to mind when you think of Halong Bay is its amazing natural beauty, with limestone karsts, emerald lakes, and lush greenery. The stunning scenery provides an exceptional and memorable atmosphere for welcoming the new year.
As many cruise lines stop running during Tet, the Bay seems less crowded, with fewer ships in your line of sight. You will have a more private and intimate cruise experience and get more of the heritage bay to yourself.
Cultural Vietnamese Performances
Various cultural and traditional performances are held around the country during Tet, including in Halong Bay. While the region is most renowned for its natural wonders and cruise tours, it also provides an opportunity to enjoy Tet festivities with a distinct coastal touch. Vietnamese traditional music, such as Quan Ho folk singing, đàn bầu (monochord), and đàn nguyệt (two-stringed instrument), can be heard in public areas or cultural events at Halong Bay during Tet. These performances deliver insight into Vietnam's rich musical legacy.
Special Holiday Treats
If you travel to Vietnam during the Tet holiday, you might expect to try traditional Tet dishes like Banh Chung, Banh Tet, and candied fruits, as well as a variety of activities to help visitors learn about Vietnamese culture.
Banh Chung is a typical Vietnamese Tet holiday dish. It consists of rice, mung beans, pork, and other items wrapped in a square form with bamboo and banana leaves, or something similar. This is a must-try when celebrating the Lunar New Year in Vietnam.
3. Recommended Halong Bay Cruises During the Tet Holiday
There are still a plethora of cruise options for the Lunar New Year. If you’re considering one, here are some choices with good service quality without surcharges:
Paradise Elegance is a standard five-star vessel that provides a wonderful experience in Halong Bay. Featuring 31 well-equipped cabins, this cruise ship has an intimate atmosphere with a mix of traditional Vietnamese characteristics and modern conveniences.
Peony Cruise is one of the Big Bay Group's luxury cruises, which takes travelers through the breathtaking and pure beauty of Lan Ha Bay. With 20 artfully designed cabins, this cruise offers exciting trips with a professional crew and quality cruise services.
With 39 stylish, modern cabins and a capacity of 120 guests, Ambassador Signature Cruise provides everything you need for a comfortable stay in the middle of the sea. This 5-star floating hotel also offers a premium Asian-European culinary experience and a full array of modern amenities, such as a spa, piano lounge, and restaurant and bar.
Inheriting and improving the best features of Paradise Vietnam Cruises, Paradise Grand is the first vessel in the fleet to sail through the breathtaking beauty of Lan Ha Bay. The cruise houses 39 elegant, spacious cabins and a range of modern facilities, such as a floating restaurant with high-class menus, 5-star speedboat service, spa and massage, and a Jacuzzi pool.
4. Other activities of Halong Bay Cruises
Onboard cooking class is another joy to test your cooking level and delight your taste buds. This will undoubtedly be a great way to explore the culinary culture of Vietnam and bond with new pals on a far-from-home voyage.
Kayaking in Halong bay
Kayaking is a must on overnight Halong Bay cruises. With jade green waters and limestone islands and islets, Halong Bay is ideal for a kayaking excursion. Most cruise itineraries offer kayaking time to explore tunnel caves, gorgeous beaches, and hidden lakes.
Tai Chi Class
Most cruises offer Tai Chi classes in the early morning to start a new day in the heritage bay. This activity promotes relaxation and energy while connecting with nature. Practicing Tai Chi exercises on the sundeck as the sun rises over the limestone outcrops is certainly an experience like no other.
Night Squid Fishing
Night squid fishing is an exciting and unique activity available on some Halong Bay overnight cruises. After a sumptuous dinner, you can receive fishing equipment from the cruise staff and practice squid fishing. It's not only a fun experience but also an excellent opportunity to admire the magical bay after dark.
Visiting Floating Villages
There are only a few floating villages in Halong Bay where tourists can get a glimpse into the locals' floating lives. Some cruises will include a floating village visit in their 3-day, 2-night itineraries. It's a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get to know Halong Bay's heart and spirit.
And there are many other entertainment activities on board Halong Bay cruises, such as dipping in the Jacuzzi, Mini Golf Course, Cigar & Poker Club, Cinema, etc. Each cruise ship will have different leisure and recreational activities; please contact our sales for detailed information.
5. Notes for Halong Bay Travel During the Tet Holiday
Expect larger crowds
Almost everywhere will be a little bit busier than it would be; travelers should anticipate longer lines and an overall increase in people when visiting tourist destinations like Halong Bay. The same holds true for accommodation and transportation, so make sure to reserve your services well in advance.
A few cruise lines will close
When booking your cruise, keep in mind that some cruise operators close during the Tet holiday. So, to avoid a dearth of cruise options or the fact that your cruise will book up faster, you should make a reservation with plenty of time.
Expect higher prices
Many businesses, like restaurants, cafes, and bars, will add a surcharge for services during the Tet holiday. For several Halong Bay Cruises, the prices will also be higher with a surcharge per person from December 30th to January 3rd in the lunar calendar. Check out carefully with our consultants for better deals.
Not all stores will be closed
You may find advice on the internet that businesses will be closed on Tet, but don’t worry; many establishments will remain open in popular tourist destinations like Halong Bay.
Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Halong Bay is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. From attending vibrant parties to enjoying the gorgeous landscapes, there’s something for all ages. So why not make your voyage special by visiting Halong Bay during the Lunar New Year holiday? Book your vacation today with Halong Bay Cruise and prepare for an amazing celebration in this marvel.