Don’t monkey around this year
Factor in fun-filled events and experiences and hit these Vietnam festivals, with InsideVietnam Tours
From impressive processions and luminous light displays, to vibrant street-art performances and blessing the souls of the dead, take a look at these incredible Vietnam festivals happening across the country during the year of the Fire Monkey. Interested? Why not join in…?
Throughout 2016: Hoi An Lantern Festival – boasting magnificent architecture and riverside settings, Hoi An’s ancient town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Vietnam’s central coast. Every month, when the full moon shines, fluorescent lights are switched off, roads are closed to traffic and the streets are illuminated with thousands of colourful lanterns. Join in with the festivities: full of old-fashioned games, delicious food and tuneful music.
How to experience it: The 12-day Highlights of Vietnam small-group tour coincides with the Hoi An Lantern Festival, and stops at Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City, too. Departing on 26 October, it costs from £1,595 pp, including the full-time services of an InsideVietnam tour leader.*
10-12 March: Chu Dong Tu Festival
named after one of four immortal gods in the Vietnamese pantheon, the festival takes place in Chu Dong Tu Temple in Da Hoa and Da Trach, near Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. A dragon procession, martial arts competition, powerful lion dances and soulful Cheo (traditional music) performances commemorate Saint Chu Dong Tu, who introduced the practice of agriculture into Vietnamese society.
How to experience it: The 17-day Northern Vietnam Overland Adventure fully-tailored journey allows guests to discover the delights of North Vietnam and learn the stories of old during a local homestay. Costing from £2,375 pp, plan the trip to overlap with the festival.*
11-13 April: Thay Pagoda Festival
A celebration of Buddhist monk Tu Dao Hanh’s life in Quoc Oai (just below Hanoi),
with water puppetry performances and a procession of monks from Thay Pagoda. During his life, Tu Dao Hanh made many advances in medicine and religion, and invented the Vietnamese water puppet show.
How to experience it: The 16-day Indochina Encompassed small-group tour comprises a water puppet show in Hanoi, with a small orchestra and singers. Departing on 27 March or 1 December, it costs from £2,495 pp, including the full-time services of an InsideVietnam tour leader.*
29 April-3 May: Hue Festival
The biennial cultural event honours the social values of Vietnam’s former capital city, Hue (Hanoi became the capital of Vietnam in 1976 after the North’s victory in the Vietnam War). Enjoy the wide variety of poetry, exciting street art performances, colourful exhibitions, drum and percussion concerts, and historical films.
How to experience it: The 13-day Classic Vietnam fully-tailored journey stops Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hanoi and Halong Bay, plus visits the Imperial City of Hue and the floating markets on the Mekong Delta. Costing from £1,825 pp, plan the trip to coincide with the Hue Festival.
30 April: Liberation Day (or Reunification Day)
…marks the event when Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops captured Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) on 30 April 1975, signifying the end of the Vietnam War. The anniversary is marked by several festivals across Vietnam, and the big cities such as Hanoi, Hue and Da Nang are decorated with colourful banners, flags and lights. Because it is a national holiday, many people head home and spend the day with their family.
How to experience it: The 20-day Vietnam Discovery fully-tailored journey sees guests board the iconic Reunification Express for an atmospheric journey from Hanoi to Dong Hoi, and the opportunity to explore the historic Cu Chi tunnels. Costing from £2,750 pp, organise the trip to correspond with Liberation Day.*
15 August: Vu Lan Festival
Celebrated throughout the country, friends and family gather together to bless the souls of their lost loved ones, making offerings of food and flowers. One of the most renowned meeting places is at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City.
How to experience it: The 14-day Golden Vietnam fully-tailored journey gives visitors the opportunity to explore Ho Chi Minh City and see the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda. Costing from £1,695 pp, book the trip to overlap with the festival.*
15 September: Mid-Autumn Festival
One of the most important festivals for celebrating family relationships in Vietnam: it is thought to date back as far as 20,000 years ago as a way for parents to make up for lost time with their children after a busy harvest. Nowadays, gifts are given to school children, and farmers are congratulated for harvesting the crops. Held under the full moon – which represents fullness and prosperity of life – local delicacies such as Mooncakes (a round pastry filled with meat, egg, dried fruit and nuts) are eaten.
How to experience it: The 12-day Culinary Vietnam fully-tailored journey offers an insight into the origins of Vietnamese cooking and a chance to try the delicious Mooncakes. Costing from £1,875 pp, plan the trip to coincide with the festival.*
*Prices are based on B&B accommodation, some extra meals, airport transfers, domestic transport, and guided tours and excursions for two sharing. International flights extra.
For further information about InsideVietnam Tours, please go to insidevietnamtours.com or speak to an expert on 0117 244 3370.
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