As a year is coming to an end, streets are teeming shops with Christmas ornaments and the melody ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ seemingly ringing everywhere. You might be blessed if you can feel the cool breeze blowing on the street, and there are fun ways to heat up your Christmas in Vietnam!
Coming to Vietnam at this time of the year, you’re sure to learn more on how Vietnamese celebrate Christmas with warmth. What are you waiting for? Just choose your favorite destinations and go!
Christmas in Vietnam celebration
In the country with the dominance of Buddhism, many may wonder, “Do Vietnamese celebrate Christmas?” The answer is Yes. Though Christmas is not an official public holiday in Vietnam, it is still one of the most important events in the country, apart from the significant Tet Holiday.
Not only for Christians but people all around the country also celebrate the cheerful atmosphere of the holiday, especially in big cities like Ha Noi or Ho Chi Minh City. Choosing Vietnam as your next Christmas destination, you’re to take in rich traditions and customs from different parts of the country.
History of Christmas in Vietnam
Christmas is commonly called Noel and celebrated in the evening of December 24 or December 25 in the solar calendar. Traditionally, the event was celebrated by Christians to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. However, Christmas in Vietnam nowadays has become an international festival whether you are a Christian or not.
It is said that the very first Christmas was held in Vietnam by a woman named Maria Madalena Minh Duc, the Princess Consort of Lord Nguyen Hoang under the Nguyen Dynasty. Through many historical events, western ideals and influences affected life in Vietnam, which inspired the great comeback of Christmas. Now you can see that Christmas is a crucial part of Vietnamese culture.
How do Vietnamese celebrate Christmas?
There is no chance you can witness snowflake during Christmas in Vietnam, except for a trip to Sa Pa, but many still find fun in enjoying activities filled with warmth and cheer. Going beyond religion meaning, Christmas is a significantly important occasion to gather together and celebrate with gusto.
Companies, stores, hotels and shopping malls are decorated with sparkling lights and ornaments. In some areas, people create lively crib scenes in front of their houses, turning them into interesting photoshoot spots. What can you shoot there? A crib scene with life-sized statues of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the shepherds and animals. Whether you’re a photography lover or simply want to experience the carnival atmosphere, just wander on the street! You can even wear all velvet to look like a Santa or “Ong Gia Noel” who always brings a fulness of joy and happiness.
On Christmas Eve, Christians attend a midnight mass and then return home for dinner with their families. As influenced by Western countries, some may exchange gifts and share best wishes to each other.
What special about Christmas in Vietnam is the dense appearance of Santa on the streets. As children really love getting gifts from the Santa, parents may make some surprises by getting the Santa deliver ordered gifts to their children. On the other hand, many charity organizations also hold various programs distributing gifts free of charge to orphanage children, homeless people and people with disabilities. These activities somehow are like what happens on Tet Holiday or Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam.
Best places to spend Christmas in Vietnam
You should travel to Vietnam to see how the country celebrates Christmas and be a part of this holiday. Some celebrations are absolutely worth the price of a plane ticket. Here are 7 options to perfect your trip.
1. Ha Noi – Festivals in The Old Quarter
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Ha Noi is wonderful any time of year, but winter makes it all the more so. The Old Quarter, the historic civic urban core of Ha Noi with its ancient style has never failed to attract tourists who are looking for a timeless experience.
When Christmas comes, the capital city of Vietnam turns itself into a unique blend of antiquity and modernity. Guilds are decorated with simple lights while big shopping centers boast themselves in elegant ornaments and nativity crib scenes. People flocks to the city center to wait for the historical moment when Jesus was born.
» Where in Ha Noi?
Ha Noi is blessed with endless places of interests, but here are some of the best places where you’re to get the best experiences on this Christmas holiday.
The majestic St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hoan Kiem District is commonly crowded during Christmas in Vietnam. Come and admire how gigantic this cathedral is! Or choose from the list of places that fit your taste: Hang Ma Street (the street famous for selling paper goods) with glistening lights, luxurious Sofitel Metropole or enormous Royal City.
2. Da Nang – The ‘Golden’ Spot
Another of Vietnam’s best places to visit for Christmas in Vietnam is Da Nang in the Central. The city located at the mouth of the Han River is where you can witness the energy everywhere in the cold days of winter.
Though best known for the magical Golden Bridge, Da Nang has more golden places to embrace you at Christmas. As the cold wind may force you to wear warm clothes, take a walk to see how Christmas transforms the city into a sparkling golden star by the river.
» Where in Da Nang?
If you want more than the traditional way to celebrate Christmas in churches, why not heading over to bridges? Sounds strange, huh?! It will be awesome to visit Nguyen Van Troi Bridge to admire the city at night or stop at Dragon Bridge to see the bridge breathe fire and water.
Don’t forget to spend time walking at a tourist attraction on cloud – Ba Na Hill. The charm of Ba Na Hill will be even more intensified when it is added finishing touches with smiling Santa Claus figures and other Christmas adornments.
3. Ho Chi Minh – Fun Never Ends
December may be a magical time for you to travel to Ho Chi Minh City to avoid the boiling heat in summer days. Christmas travel does not only allow you to take full advantage of pleasant weather, but also offers you the great chance to take in the very different face of the city.
As the weather gets cooler, some people have dressed warmly with scarves and coats, which are different from the days when they also wear thick layers of clothing but to avoid heatstroke. While the majority of Christians love to celebrate Christmas in churches, many choose to take a photoshoot inside and outside well-decorated shopping malls.
» Where in Ho Chi Minh?
Having Christmas in Ho Chi Minh, you shouldn’t skip the iconic Duc Ba Church or Notre Dame De Saigon – one of the best Catholic churches in Ho Chi Minh City. Or just let yourselves lost in magic at Takashimaya where fun never ends with abundant activities to join.
And if your legs are still not falling asleep, go straight forward to Nguyen Hue Walking Street and immerse yourselves in the street parties. Yet, if you’re tired of the city center, just go far to District 8 to sightsee Xom Dao – a Christmas style decorated area stretching nearly 2 km on Pham The Hien Street.
4. Sa Pa – The Colder, the Merrier
For true winter lovers, Sa Pa is among the best places to travel for Christmas in Vietnam. With its streets and villages covered in mysterious foggy and freezing cold, Sa Pa is like a mini Western town, exuding a specific type of snow-covered magic at Christmas.
Sapa in winter days is contrasting to the hustle and bustle you may have in busy cities. You will not solely admire the magnificent mountainous landscapes but to enjoy the finest and plainest local food.
» Where in Sa Pa?
Sa Pa is dotted with numerous sites decorated with Christmas trees, from the town center to café, restaurants, gas stations such as Muong Hoa, Hoang Lien. Don’t forget to stop at Cat Cat Village and Sapa Stone Church, these places will be no longer filled with sadness as usual since they are lighted with vibrant crib scenes and lines of people flock in to discover the hidden charm of this mountainous area.
5. Da Lat – Romantic Vibes for Lovers
The best Christmas vacations for people in love are definitely in Da Lat – Home of Dreamers. The freezing cold is just perfect for couples to hold hands walking around Xuan Huong Lake or Valley of Love.
Even if you can’t arrange a trip to Da Lat exactly on this holiday, no worries: romantic vibes are here all year long. Choose a cozy homestay or a luxurious detached villa to experience the natural beauty and heat up your relationship.
» Where in Da Lat?
You’re missing out on one of the best parts of Christmas in Da Lat if you do not visit Cock Church. The Roman-style church is located on the main road of the city, attracting a great number of visitors every year. For tranquillity seekers, there are many other significant churches worth your visit, including Mai Anh Church, Cam Ly Church or Vinh Son Church.
When you’ve had enough of churches, head to Da Lat Night Market or ‘Hell Market’ for a relaxing shopping tour to buy one-of-a-kind gifts for your friends and families. Or feel free to taste local treats such as grilled corn, soya milk, snails, dried squid…
6. Vung Tau – Cool Breeze Sea Parties
Vung Tau is another place to experience the best Christmas in Vietnam. Going beyond the common beaches, Vung Tau at Christmas is a totally striking spot. Many practising Catholics yearn to see how gorgeous Bai Dau Church will be with lines of LED bulbs and Christmas decorations.
Hotels, restaurants, recreational facilities do not only welcome Christmas with lights and ornaments, they also make a heartwarming effort by holding various activities. You can choose from endless food festivals, light exhibitions or music shows to completely get lost in cool parties, listen to the waves and smell the sea breeze.
» Where in Vung Tau?
Picture this for your December holiday: Statue of Jesus Christ, Back Beach, Front Beach, Ho May Cultural and Ecological Park, Long Hai Beach. See 9 things to do in Vung Tau.
If you’ve had enough must-see destinations, head to the main roads in the heart of Vung Tau City to see how locals enjoy the winter coming. Right in front of many restaurants and hotels stand statues of Santa Claus, reindeers and crib scenes that amazingly light up the whole area.
7. Phu Quoc – The Pearl Island Exploration
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Heading to Phu Quoc, you’ve got yourselves a Christmas vacation to remember. The place truly knows how to liven things up during this frigid time of the year with lots of twinkling lights.
Phu Quoc at Christmas is more exciting than ever with EDM and rock music shows every night. If the boisterous music confuses you for a while, calm your nerves at adorable scenes and take some photos to save your good days on The Pearl Island.
» Where in Phu Quoc?
Holidays on an island make for the best Christmas vacations if you want something extraordinary, for both individual and group travel. Why not opting for a peaceful resort to get away from the hasty world and fall in love with stunning scenes at sunrise and sunset? Salinda Resort, Famina Resort & Spa, Saigon Phu Quoc Resort & Spa, Tropicana Resort Phu Quoc would be ideal to warm your heart at Christmas.
What’s more, wander at Sonasea Shopping Center and immerse yourselves in unique festivals and carnivals. Whether you’re to shoot hundreds of photos or go shopping, keep going until you get the best treat.
Christmas in Vietnam is meaningful, multicultural, inclusive, and filled with interesting things that will make you a part of this mega celebrations. Get going to these best places to spend Christmas in Vietnam. Best. Christmas. Vacation. Ever?
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