A diverse group of expats living across Vietnam share their unique Tet plans for this year, offering a fascinating insight into how foreigners embrace and celebrate this special holiday.

Their responses have been edited for clarity and coherence.

“Captivated by Tet Festivities”

Jade Tornquist enjoys Tet festivities with her granddaughter.

I’ll be immersing myself in the vibrant Tet atmosphere by visiting the flower and dragon displays in Vung Tau and Saigon. The streets come alive with colorful flowers and fruit trees, and I adore the eye-catching and intriguing Tet exhibits. After soaking in the local celebrations, I’ll be traveling abroad for a week to explore new places and spend some quiet time.

My decision to travel during Tet isn’t due to boredom but rather the loud and busy atmosphere in apartment blocks. My first Tet in Vietnam was spent in an orphanage in Vung Tau, where we took the children to the beach, showed them the displays, and treated them to ice cream. It was a heartwarming experience.

This year, my granddaughter, who is almost four and has a Vietnamese mother, is excited to wear her ao dai and join in the Tet festivities. Through my daughter-in-law, I’ve learned about the significance of ancestor worship during Tet, the origin of bánh chưng, and the tradition of apricot blossoms to welcome guests.

My previous Tet celebrations with my daughter-in-law included delicious watermelon, bánh chưng, fish, pork dishes, and an array of seeds and cakes. It’s a wonderful time for family bonding and creating cherished memories.

Jade Tornquist, Australian, based in Vung Tau

“Embracing Tet with a Heart for Charity”

Jake Noris, an Australian expat, poses for a photo.

My Tet plans revolve around a charitable cause. We are walking to raise funds for the Thanh Loc Project and the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, aiming to support underprivileged children in Vietnam. By the time you read this, we would have walked 1,600 kilometers and reached Da Lat.

For the Tet holiday, we’ll be stopping in Di Linh District in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, eager to celebrate with the friendly local community. I’ve spent four to five Tet holidays in Vietnam, and I cherish the celebrations and the emphasis on family gatherings.

My first Tet experience in Hanoi was memorable, as the city was quiet and peaceful with stores closed. Now, I either travel with friends to celebrate as a family or ride my motorbike to rural areas, always welcomed into the homes of Vietnamese strangers for storytelling and rice wine.

Tet, to me, is about the excitement it brings to the Vietnamese and the opportunity to strengthen family bonds.

Jake Norris, Australian, based in Hanoi

“Tet: A Time for Family and Fun”

Jim Reischl and his wife pose for a photo.

I’ve been fortunate to experience Tet almost every year since 2014, when I first arrived in Vietnam, escaping the bitter cold of my previous home.

Initially, I noticed the quietness of Ho Chi Minh City during Tet, but now I’m part of a vibrant family celebration. I live with my Vietnamese wife, and her family, including her brothers and sister, gather together for Tet. We eat, play music, and simply enjoy each other’s company. It’s a joyful and fun-filled time.

Jim Reischl, American, based in Da Lat

“Tet: A Time to Recharge and Reflect”

Daniel Ansel Tingcungco, a Filipino expat, shares his thoughts on Tet.

My introduction to Vietnam coincided with Tet in 2019, and I was struck by the festive warmth and the unexpected quietness of Ho Chi Minh City. I soon realized that most people return to their hometowns to celebrate with their families, leading to many closed businesses.

While it might seem boring to some, I found peace and tranquility in the city during this time. Tet, to me, symbolizes new life and a chance to slow down and recharge, something we often neglect in our busy lives. I usually stay in the city during Tet, but this year, I’ll be visiting my family in the Philippines.

During Tet, I embrace the calm and sometimes do almost nothing. But when restlessness sets in, I go for long walks, visit cafes, draw, read, or simply observe the city. I also celebrate with Saigonese friends, indulging in delicious Thịt kho trứng and bánh tét/bánh chưng.

Perspective is key when it comes to enjoying Tet. I hope that many will find joy in the simple act of being present during this holiday season.

Daniel Ansel Tingcungco, Filipino, based in Ho Chi Minh City