Below is a detailed list of events that will take place in Ho Chi Minh City before, during and after Tet holiday
At District 1
1. Nguyen Hue Flower Street: the flower street this year is themed “Vietnam – My homeland”, held from 7 p.m Jan 20th 2012 till 10 p.m Jan 26th 2012. Combined with Street Lighting (light decoration on 4 main streets of the city: Dong Khoi, Le Loi, Nguyen Hue and Le Duan, from Dec 26th 2011 to Feb 3rd 2012), the whole center of Ho Chi Minh City will become a big exhibition of flowers and lighting.
2. Door Shows - Window Shows: these shows will take place from Jan 20th 2012 to Jan 26th 2012 at Saigontourist properties, including: Rex, Majestic, Continental, Grand, Sheraton, Caravelle, Bông Sen, Palace, Kim Đô, Oscar. The shows consist of: drum performances, dragon dance, outdoor concerts, model-shaping dance, pantomimes, magic tricks, juggling, flamenco music, classical music prformances, comics, window show puppet performances, circus acts, vaudeville, folk games, etc.
3. Street book festival themed “Tradition – Present - Future” celebrating the Tet holiday season will open in Ho Chi Minh City from January 20 to 26, 2012. The book festival will be held along the main city streets namely, Mac Thi Buoi, Nguyen Hue and Ngo Duc Ke in District 1.
4. New Year Countdown – Music Show on Lunar New Year’s Eve: from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight Jan 22nd 2012 on Le Duan Street. The music show named “Viet Nam Ngay moi” (Vietnam’s new day) will take place in front of Reunification Palace. Fireworks will be displayed at 6 major locations at 12:00 midnight Jan 22nd 2012, namely: Thu Thiem Tunnel, Go Vap Cultural Park, Ben Duoc Memorial Temple, National Culture and History Park, Can Gio District Football Ground and Dam Sen Cultural Park.
5. Tet cake making Contest: from Jan 16th 2012 to Jan 10th 2012 in all districts of the city. 10.0000 Tet cakes will be given to charity on Jan 20th 2012 at Dam Sen Cultural Park.
6. Vietnamese Tet Festival is held in HCMC Youth Culture House from Jan 12th to Jan 27th, with an abundance of activities such as exhibiting pictures about the changes and developments of the city, Saigon’s Tet. Cai luong music performances and calligraphy are also indeispensable parts of this very interesting and exciting festival at 4 Pham Ngoc Thach St., District 1.
At Suoi Tien Theme park
7. At Suoi Tien Theme Park, there will be “Century Fairy Dragon Festival” with the special programs, such as: Unicorn- Lion- Dragon dances welcoming New Year at Golden Unicorn Mountain, “Jade and gem fairy festival” marching along streets in the festival, impressive music performance & variety show on 3 large stages at the same time, performance of “Son Tinh- Thuy Tinh”- Mountain God and Sea God at Water Dragonish Turtle, several plentiful and attractive folk games which have prizes.
8. Tet Lunar New Year Flower Festival 2012 will be organized from Jan 18th to Jan 28th at Cong truong Quoc te, popularly known as the Turtle Lake, in District 3, and at Tao Dan Park in District 1. These flower displays consist of exhibition zones of bonsai, flower, artistic rocks and aquariums by artisans nationwide. The event will also include other several cultural and artistic activities, including traditional art performances, folk games, a human chess contest, calligraphy, paintings and food stalls.
9. In addition, 4 flower markets are available at September 23 Park, Gia Dinh Park, Le Van Tam Park and an area along the canal and Phu Dinh Port in District 8, featuring 1,400 booths together with 56 other flower spots across the city. The flower market, where city residents shop for flowers and plants to decorate their homes for the New Year, will be open from January 16 until midnight January 22.
Restaurants which open during Tet holiday
Many restaurants close during Tet Holiday and will not open until Jan 26th. Luckily, some in District 1 and big chains still serve, and you will sure have plenty of options when it comes to food in Ho Chi Minh City
1. New York Steakhouse & Winery (25 - 27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, District 1)
Time: 11:00 – 14:30 and from 6:00 until midnight
2. Cuc Gach Quan (10 Dang Tat, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1) opens daily, except for Jan 22nd
3. Pho 24 opens daily, with the exception of the following branches: 25 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Binh Thanh District; 23-25 Tran Nhat Duat, District 1; 399 Su Van Hanh, District 10; Vinatex ½ Lanh Binh Thang, District 11, 9C No Trang Long, Binh Thanh District.
5. Barbecue Garden Restaurant (135A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 1) will be open and serving guests with healthy Vietnamese food choice
6. Pizza Inn Restaurants Opening time: 9:00 – 22:30
7. Al Fresco and Pepperonis Restaurants
Opening time during Tet: Jan 23rd: 14:00 – 22:00 & Jan 24th – Jan 30th: 12:00 – 21:00
From Jan 24th, there will be more restaurants opened, including: Pendolasco (24 Nguyen Hue, Distric 1) and Ngoc Suong Marina Restaurants (11 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan District; 106 Suong Nguyet Anh, District 1; 172 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, District 1)
Most restaurants will be open from Jan 26th, including: Hoa Tuc (74/7 Hai Ba Trung, District 10), Au Parc (23 Han Thuyen, District 1), Temple Club (29-31 Ton That Thiep, District 1), Villa Romaine Resturants and Bar (197 Nguyen Van Huong, District 2), Au Manoir de Khai (251 Dien Bien Phu, District 3), to name a few. From January 27th on, things are likely to be all back to normal except public services which will not be up and running until January 29th.
Read more about Tet in Vietnam and Tips for travelling to Ho Chi Minh City during Tet