All you need to know about Tết, Vietnamese New Year

Tết Nguyên Đán, or Tết for short, is the biggest festival of the year in Vietnam. Celebrated on the first day of the first month in the Lunar Calendar, the Tết celebrations are the longest in the country, lasting up to seven days!

It is when the Vietnamese show their respect for and remembrance of their ancestors as well as welcoming in the New Year with their family and friends. It is a time when families gather for feasts and to decorate their homes with flowers.

Mứt Tết

Traditional Celebrations

The Vietnamese will typically begin their preparations well in advance of the New Year. To banish the bad luck of the past year, people will clean their homes from top to bottom, and decorate it with kumquat trees, peach blossom. Special attention is paid to the ancestral altar, with offerings of fruit and votive papers. New clothes will be bought, debts will be paid and arguments resolved!

It is believed that what you do on the dawn of Tết will determine your fate for the whole year, hence people always smile and behave as well as they can in the hope of a good year to come. Gifts are exchanged between family and friends, while children receive ‘lucky money’ in red envelopes.

Red Pockets

Traditional Food

The diet of the people of Vietnam changes during Tết, with more elaborate dishes than normal, the most typical of which are:

Bánh Chưng, a square steamed cake, is made from glutinous rice, mung beans and pork, and is wrapped in banana leaves for cooking and preserving.

Giò and Chả, a Vietnamese ham/sausage, is usually served with Xôi (sticky rice) and Bánh Chưng. Giò is made from lean meat and fish sauce, covered with leaves and boiled, whereas Chả is deep-fried instead.

Thịt Gà, is a boiled or steamed chicken, and as all feasts remembering ancestors must contain chicken, this dish plays an important part in Tết holiday cuisine. The meat is traditionally served with sliced lemon leaves, a salt-and-pepper sauce and accompanied by Xôi and Bánh Chưng.

Mứt Tết is a snack offered to guests during the holiday period. Kept in beautiful boxes and placed on the living room table, it is the main sweet treat consisting of seeds, nuts and candied fruits.

Tet altar fruit

Traditional Flowers

In a similar way to the Western custom of decorating a Christmas tree, the Vietnamese decorate their homes during Tết with bright and fragrant flowers. The three main plants are the delicate pink Peach Blossom, golden yellow Ochna Integerrima and the main symbol for wealth and happiness, the Marumi Kumquat.

Traditional Wishes

Tết is a time for family celebration and the Vietnamese have many sayings to wish their nearest and dearest well. Here are six of the most popular ones:

1 – Năm mới dồi dào sức khỏe: I wish you a healthy New Year

2 – Năm mới tấn tài tấn lộc: I wish you a wealthy New Year

3 – Năm mới toàn gia bình an: I wish that the New Year will bring health to all your family

4 – Vạn sự như ý: All wishes come true

5 – Chúc hay ăn chóng lớn: Eat more, grow rapidly (for children)

6 – Chúc mau chóng tìm được người yêu: New lover will come in the New Year (for single people)


Finally, Vạn sự như ý from everyone here at Vietnam Links Travel!

Tet flowers
Tet Fireworks in Hanoi
1 week in Cambodia, Cambodia travel inspiration

1 Week in Cambodia Travel Inspiration

Cambodia is an amazing country to travel, here are some ideas for you to spend 1 week in Cambodia.

Bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia welcomes visitors with open arms. This delightful country boasts ancient temples, UNESCO World Heritage sites, colonial architecture, floating villages, dense forests and white sandy beaches. Its mix of tasty cuisine, historical treasures, friendly people and a bustling capital, Phnom Penh, makes Cambodia a truly wonderful cultural experience.


Day 1 Phnom Penh
Start at the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, the most sacred shrine in the country and where 5,000 silver tiles cover the floor. Continue to the National Museum exclusively to Khmer art and sculpture.





In the afternoon visit the Genocide Museum, a reminder of the Khmer Rouge regime and offering an insight into how the country has developed.  End the day with a stroll along the Mekong and a cocktail with scenic views.





Day 2 Phnom Penh and to Battambang

Morning drive to Battambang located 291km to the north-west of Phnom Penh. On the way, stop to visit a floating village of Kompong Luong/ Kompong Chhnang by boat as well as a local pottery village. Visiting the Cambodian floating village is a unique cultural and relaxing experience. You can see the local’s daily lives hopping from boat to boat and children waving, smiling and excited to see a visitor to the village.




Day 3 Battambang

Enjoy a ride aboard the Bamboo Train.  Each bamboo train – known in Khmer as a nori  – consists of a 3 metre-long wooden frame, covered lengthwise with slats made of ultra-light bamboo, that rests on two barbell-like bogies, one of which is connected by fan belts to a gasoline engine. Enjoy a half-hour journey aboard the train. In the afternoon, visit a vineyard and winery and taste the “wine” or brandy beloved by the locals. Be noted that the “wine” does not taste like any “wine” in our mind, but it is definitely a fun experience.




Day 4 Battambang and to Siem Reap

Can spend the morning in Battambang to join a cookery course, learning to make Cambodia’s national dishes like bamboo leaf-infused fish amok and chicken loc lac.

Drive to Siem Reap after lunch(170km around 3 hours).

You can choose to learn Khmer wood and stone carving or visit a silk farm or simply take a break after a long journey.





Day 5     Siem Reap

Visit the impressive Angkor Wat Temple complex. Spend time exploring the temple before heading to a quiet corner of the complex where you can enjoy a nice picnic lunch. In the afternoon, travel around the rural countryside of Siem Reap by vintage army Jeep to witness daily rural life. Return to your hotel. In the evening you should go see the renowned Phare Circus Show.





Day 6     Siem Reap and Temples

In the morning, visit Banteay Srei, made of red sandstone magnificently carved, the jewel of Khmer art. There we meet our chef who takes us on a cookery adventure. Visit the market, learn about ingredients and cook some traditional Khmer dishes in a beautiful garden villa. Afternoon visit to Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm Temple, unlike most other Angkor temples, it has been left just it was when discovered, overgrown by the jungle.





Day 7 Depart Siem Reap
Time at leisure until your transfer to the airport.





You are always welcome to give us a call at 020 8543 8133 or email us at for more information.

More ideas to travel Cambodia…

Grand Indochina

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Essential Vietnam and Cambodia

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Best of Indochina

16 Days from £3198

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Top 5 things to do in Vang Vieng

Top 5 things to do in Vang Vieng

Visit Vang Vieng when traveling Laos and pass by some breathtaking scenery and refreshing lagoons.

Vang Vieng is a small town north of Vientiane, located on the banks of the Nam Song River. The town is surrounding by dramatic limestone karst hills, rice fields and dense jungle. Also, Vang Vieng boasts a natural beauty and very easy to get around on foot with just three main streets. The local restaurants cater for a range of tastes serving a selection of Lao, Chinese, Thai, American and Italian food. A big drawn to the area is the stunning countryside. Here you can enjoy popular activities including hiking, rafting, tubing, kayaking, mountain biking, caving and rock climbing. Outside of the raining season (June – September), the Nam Song River is a popular place for swimmers.

1. Cross the bridge over Nam Song River to explore Tham Jang Caves and Blue Lagoon


2. Enjoy a short trek through breathtaking mountain landscapes


3. Visit the ethnic minority villages of Hmong, Souay and Taidam, meeting the warm and friendly hill tribe and observing their traditional tribal costumes.

4. Drive through paddy field areas

5. Tham Phu Kham caves, a beautiful limestone cavern surrounded by natural forests. Explore the small natural pool in front of the caves where you can take a refreshing swim and explore.

Related Tours to Vang Vieng

Laos Tour

7 Days from £1099 (Land only)

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Laos & Cambodia Tour 

11 Days from £1799 (Land only)

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Best of Indochina

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Hotel and Resorts

XiengThong Palace Hotel (4 stars hotel)

Villa Santi Resort (4 stars)

Vientiane Plaza Hotel (4 stars)

You are always welcome to give us a ring at 02085438133 or email for more inspiration from our Laos experts.

Top 5 things to do in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang is a mountainous city located at Nothern Laos between Mekong River and Nam Khan River. It is listed under the UNESCO world heritage in 1995. The main historical landmarks are lying between Sakkaline Road and Sisavangvong Road, Khem Khong Road, Kingkitsarah Road along the Nam Khan river.

There are 5 things you should do in Luang Prabang

1. Visit the Wat Xieng Thong

This temple is the biggest and the most glamourous well respected golden temple in Luang Prabang, it was built in 1560 with more than 450 years of history.

The famous “The Tree of Life” mosaic at the back of the temple wall and dhammackakka symbol is crafted at the roof of the temple. There is a building that hold royal grand funeral and a 12 metre high hourse-drawn carriage used by the royal family for funeral ritual is on display. There are many small temples around the main Wat Xieng Thong temple and it is worth exploring while you are visiting the site.

Visitors need to be barefooted when you go inside the temple as a respect to the Buddha. Visitors cannot show your shoulders or wear shorts to go inside the temple.


2. Admire the Royal Palace Museum

This is the home of the last royal heir in Laos and it is turned into a museum for people to visit. You can see the glamourous southeast asian architectural style and you will learn the history of Laos in the exhibitions. The royal religious tools and the important Buddhist statues Prabang are standing in the museum and it is also the name of the city Luang Prabang.
Bags and cameras are not allowed in the museum and visitors can not wear shorts and sleeveless shirts. There will be scarf rental to cover your flesh at the entrance of the museum.

3. Alms giving ceremony

Monks in bright orange saffron robes are going to start walking down the street opposite to Wat Sen, the city’s oldest temple, every early morning between 5:45am to 6:30am. Local people who practice Buddhism will wait in line to offer the monks sticky rice and other food on the straw mat they prepared.

4. Take a dip at Kuang Si Falls


Kuang Si Falls has the breathtaking scenery and it is hard to resist to take a dip into the naturally formed clear blue lagoon. The hike to the main waterfall is beautiful and relaxing as it seems in the pictures.Watch out for the Garra Rifa fish, the doctor fish in the ponds, they will give you a fish spa for free.


5. Watch sunset in Mount Phu si

The mountain is about 100 metre high but it is localted in the heart of Luang Prabang and it is the religious mountain in the area. There are a few stunning temple along the way to the peak. You can enjoy a spectacular sunset along with the view of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan River from That Chomsi, the top of the peak.



Other honourable mention

Cruise along the Mekong River and explore Pak Ou caves

The caves crammed with thousands of golden buddha status and you can enjoy the spectacular views of Mekong River.

Night market in Luang Prabang

The night market usually takes place between 5pm to 11pm in the area around Wat Mai and from the Sisavangvong Road to the town centre in Settathilat Road. You will find many hill-tribe handcraft products and silk products in the market. You will find some great souvenirs to bring home from here.

Related Tours

Luang Prabang Tour 3/4 Days

Price from £380/£460

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Best of Indochina 16 Days Tour

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Grand Indochina 20 Days 

Prices from £3598

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You’re always welcome to give us a ring at 020 8543 8133 or email for more inspiration.

Why is it a good time to visit Laos in April/May?

Why should you visit Laos in April/May?

Boun Pi Mai (14 April -16 April)

It’s Laos New Year “Boun Pi Mai” on 14 April to 16 April this year in 2017 and it is a year of Rooster!

“sôk di pi mai!”

It is the time when the Lao celebrates the start of their Lunar calendar year and this festival makes one of the best time to visit Laos.

The celebration last for three days in mid-April, houses are cleaned, perfume and flowers are prepared for the celebration, people wear new clothes and Buddha images are polished with holy water. This is the celebration of the Laos New Year and is a combination of merriment and meditation. Laos New Year is celebrated with parades, dancing, singing and enthusiastic water splashing. The festival celebrated in Luang Prabang have the strongest religious aspect of Buddhism and the new year is celebrated for 3 weeks, where Buddha images are worshiped with water pouring ceremonies. Offerings are made at temples and small sand Stupas or stone are built in temple courtyard and on the banks of the Mekong River to request health and happiness in the New Year.

Boun Visakha Bu Saar – Full Moon (1st May )

Starting on the day of the sixth lunar month, this celebration commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and parinirvana (death) of Buddha. Visitors can participate in chanting and sermonize at night followed by beautiful candlelight processions.


Boun Bang Fai “Rocket Festival” (May to June)

Various villages throughout the country take part in one that most boisterous festivals on the Lao calendar. This festival dated back to pre-Buddhist times and featuring home-made rockets that are fired into the clouds to ask for rain as well as it amidst a great deal of raucous

Chanting, religious instruction, and candlelit processions highlight this temple festival in celebration of the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Lord Buddha.

With its origins in pre-Buddhist rain-invoking ceremonies, this festival now coincides with the Laos Visakha Puja celebrations. Parades, songs, dances and partying all lead to an explosive climax as huge, ornate, homemade bamboo rockets are blessed and fired into the skies to seek for rains. Rocket-makers earn both merit and honour if their creations fly high, otherwise, the fail rocket makers will be thrown into the ponds and muds for punishment.


Always welcome to give us a ring at 020 8543 8133 or email us at for more information about Laos.



Hoi An Full Moon Lantern Festival

Hoi An Full Moon Festival

Hoi An Full Moon Lantern Festival is one of the must see festival if you happened to visit Hoi An in Vietnam.

Japanese Bridge in Hoi An. Vietnam, Unesco World Heritage Site.

The festival take place in the UNESCO old town area where colourful candlelit lanterns provide lighting on the streets. The festival is in the area between the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Cau An Hoi Bridge, which connects Hoi An with An Hoi, and spills onto the surrounding street and river banks.

Releasing lantern on the river is said to bring good fortune and love. It is a tradition in there to release lantern to hope for happiness and health.

You can buy lanterns along the river from the local sellers where there are also pop up street food stores, souvenir stalls and ancient game stalls. Night market in there is busy and full of smiley and friendly face.

The Hoi An Full Moon Lantern Festival is a stunning experience and you will have a great time with the colourful, lantern filled evening in Hoi An.


The full month Lantern festival takes place on the 14th day of each lunar month and markets along the riverbanks gets busy when the sun start to set.

2017 Hoi An Lantern Festival dates:
February 10, March 11, April 10, May 9, June 8
July 7, August 5, September 4, October 3, November 2,
December 1, December 31

2018 Hoi An Lantern Festival dates:
30 Jan, 1st March, 30th March, 29th April, 28th May, 27th June, 26th July, 24th August, 23rd September, 22nd October, 21st November, 20th December



You’re always welcome to give us a ring at 020 8543 8133 or drop us an email at to plan your journey to Vietnam with us.

Tours that go to Hoi An

Grand Indochina

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Essential Vietnam and Cambodia

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Classic Vietnam

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5 ways to travel Halong Bay

Halong Bay is a UNESCO Heritage Site, majestic and mysterious, thousands of small islands rise from turquoise waters, dotted with beaches and grottoes created by wind and waves. Besides, there are also beautiful caves to explore.

1. Overnight Cruise

Halong Bay cruise

Cruises in Halong Bay is not just your typical cruises tour where you lie on the sunbathing chair on a large sundeck. Our tours in Halong Bay will get you on a cruise vessel, a traditional wooden sailing junk, cruising past beautiful rock formations and limestones peaks. Besides, you will be enjoying the beauty of Bai Tu Long Bay at sunset, sailing through the small floating village of Vung Vieng and enjoy the facilities on board including beloved cooking classes, Tai Chi classes and other workshops on board.

This journey is recognised as a must do experience by many of our customers in the past. It is an amazing journey to enjoy the UNESCO designated natural scenery in Halong Bay while learning some culture about Vietnam in a relaxing way.

However, there are always some of you seeking for alternatives and do not like to follow the flow.

What can you do differently to make you journey suit your own preference?

The answer is……

2. Seaplane Tour


You can get on a flight from the Hanoi to see one of the world greatest landscape from a completely unique angle high up the air! You will see some of the 1,600 islands scattered across the Halong Bay area, Gulf of Tonkin, along with beaches, ponds and towering sea cliffs. This is the aerial photography enthusiast’s favourite way to travel in Halong Bay.




3. 5-star luxurious cruises

5-star luxury cruise

While, with those of you who like to spoil yourself in every possible way because you deserve it, you can choose to cruise along the Halong Bay with the 5-star luxurious boutique vessel with only 10 cabins in the style of French- Indochina design.




4. Kayaking

Kayaking Halong Bay

Kayaking in Halong Bay is definitely one of the popular choices in visiting the caves in Halong Bay and you can go to some area where the cruises can not take you to.





5. Snorkeling and Scuba diving

Caves in Halong Bay

Halong Bay is a fabulous place for you all “mermaid” divers as it has a very diverse ecosystem including both tropical evergreen bio-system and oceanic and sea shore bio-system. Halong Bay is home to about 120 hectares of coral reeds with more than 100 species within the area.







Give us a ring 020 8543 8133 or email and tailor your journey to Halong Bay with us.



New Vietnam E-Visa Program for 40 nationalities travellers

New Vietnam E-Visa Program

From 30 June 2017 onwards, 40 countries’ passport holder, including all UK travellers with a ‘British Citizen’ passport are eligible to apply for the electronic visa (E-Visa) of Vietnam and makes your journey a lot more convenient to Vietnam with the help of the new system!

The Vietnamese visa is granted by Vietnamese competent authorities, providing permission to travel and enter Vietnam. The Vietnam e-visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days, single entry. Besides, the granting of normal visa will be implemented in line with the regulations of the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence for Foreigners in Vietnam.

For visits that are longer than 30 days, you must get a visa from your nearest Vietnamese embassy before travelling to Vietnam. Furthermore, you should apply for a multiple entries visa if you are planning for multiple visits in a short period of time to Vietnam. However, if you want to make a second visit within 30 days of leaving Vietnam, you’ll need to get another visa or e-visa to re-enter the country.

The e-visa can be applied online personally or through an inviting/guaranteeing agencies and organisations.
The list of nationalities that are eligible for the program is listed below.

  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bulgaria
  • Belarus
  • Bruney
  • Chile
  • China (Not apply to Chinese e-passport holders
  • Colombia
  • Cuba
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • Spain
  • Finland
  • France
  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • South Korea
  • Luxembourg
  • Myanmar
  • Mongolia
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Phillippines
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Slovakia
  • Sweden
  • Timer Leste
  • Uruguay
  • United States of America (USA)
  • Venezuela