Both residents and visitors in Hanoi have chances aplenty to make this Lunar New Year one to remember.
Catch the fireworks on Hoan Kiem Lake
On Lunar New Year’s Eve, Hanoi authorities are organizing firework displays in 30 spots, six of them with high-level shooting and 24 lower level ones. Each display will last around 15 minutes, starting at midnight on February 5. The Hoan Kiem Lake is still the top place that draws a lot of locals and tourists. People should get there at around 8 p.m. to find a satisfactory viewing position. Making a reservation at ideally located restaurants or cafes is a good idea, too. Photo by Giang Huy
The Old Quarter on the first day of the year
Imagine no traffic jams, no car horns, no street vendors - the morning of the first day of the Lunar New Year in the Old Quarter is an experience worth waiting a whole year for. To see all the inner city streets void of traffic and people is a direct throwback to the noiselessness that must have existed centuries ago. The best time to experience this is the morning of first and second day (February 5 and 6). The exodus of people from other provinces who live and work in Hanoi, who leave to visit their hometowns to celebrate Tet makes this experience possible. Photo by Giang Huy
Watch and buy calligraphy art at the Temple of Literature
From January 29 to February 17, a calligraphy exhibition and sale is held in the vicinity of the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university. Calligraphers from the city and many other provinces attend this festival that also includes performances of folk theater, recreation of traditional village spaces, food fairs and photo exhibitions. Activities mainly take place on the banks of the Van Lake opposite the Temple of Literature. Photo by Ngoc Thanh
Walk and take pictures at Phung Hung mural street
The Mural Street stretches from Phung Hung - Hang Ma intersection to the Hang Luoc flower market in Hoan Kiem district. The street section with 17 old bridge arches is painted with reimaginations of department stores, street vendors, trains and calligraphers by talented artists. Visitors can take photos here for free, no vehicles are allowed. Photo by Giang Huy
Pray at Tran Quoc Pagoda
Tran Quoc Pagoda on a peninsula adjoining the Thanh Nien Street is 1,500 years old, older than the city itself. This was the Buddhist center of Thang Long Citadel under the the Ly and Tran dynasties. The pagoda has many artifacts of great historical, cultural and spiritual values, including a set of statues of idols, especially the statue of Buddha. During Tet, this is one of the most popular destinations in Hanoi, attracting a large number of locals, Buddhists and foreign visitors who want to pray on the auspicious day, and watch beautiful sunsets on the West Lake. Tran Quoc Pagoda has been mentioned as one of the most beautiful temples in the world by Daily Mail and Thrillist. Photo by Anh Trung
Get a sense of national history at the Thang Long Citadel
This is a complex of architectural buildings built by kings in over historical periods. "Thang Long Imperial Citadel, the spring heritage destination of 2019" is the theme of many exhibitions, cultural and traditional activities at the citadel organized by the Hanoi Heritage Preservation Center and related agencies.
Many activities including performance of dragons welcoming the new spring, calligraphy and exhibition of models of ancient wine-making will take place between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. from January 26 to February 13, except for February 3-5. The Thang Long Citadel is located at 19C Hoang Dieu, Ba Dinh District. Entry tickets cost VND30,000 ($1.30) per adult; and VND15,000 for students and senior citizens. Photo by Ngoc Thanh
Get among the blooms at West Lake Flower Valley
The flower valley on Nhat Chieu Street, next to the West Lake in Hanoi, is an awesome sight, with millions of flowers of many varieties and colors painstakingly grown and displayed in designs by talented gardeners on an area of 70,000 square meters. At peak times, thousands of visitors visit this valley of flowers to take pictures of flowers, and of themselves among the flowers. Entrance tickets cost VND80,000 ($3.45) per person. Photo by Ngoc Thanh.
Take a walk in the Nhat Tan flower gardens
One of the busiest locations in Hanoi at all seasons, but particularly during Tet, is the Nhat Tan flower garden village. Garden owners here grow a wide variety of flowers in addition to those traditionally in demand for the Lunar New Year festival, like peach blossoms and chrysanthemums. During this season, garden owners spruce up their gardens and sell entrance tickets. Flower gardens near the main road charge VND30,000 to 50,000 per person, while smaller ones deeper in the village charge VND20,000. Photo by Nam Chay