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Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Best Places to Visit in Vietnam for Christmas Cheer

By Betsy Burlingame

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Summary: Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to get some holiday cheer. This article highlights the best places to visit in Vietnam for Christmas cheer.

As the holiday season approaches, Vietnam transforms into a festive wonderland, offering expats and digital nomads a unique blend of traditional Vietnamese celebrations and Western-style Christmas cheer. From the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the charming old town of Hoi An, there are plenty of places to soak up the holiday spirit. Here are some of the best places to visit in Vietnam during December to experience the joy and festivities of the season.

Ho Chi Minh City's District 1

In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, District 1 is known for its spectacular Christmas decorations and lights. The streets around Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon and the Central Post Office are adorned with festive lights and nativity scenes that create a magical atmosphere. Malls like Vincom Center and Saigon Centre go all out with their decorations, often featuring giant Christmas trees and Santa Claus meet-and-greets. The city's international community contributes to a lively holiday vibe, with various events and parties taking place throughout the month.

We Recommend: Don't miss the chance to try the seasonal Bánh Mì Noel, a festive twist on the classic Vietnamese sandwich, available at street food stalls and cafes around the district.

Hanoi's Old Quarter

Hanoi's Old Quarter is a delightful place to experience Christmas in Vietnam. The area around St. Joseph's Cathedral becomes a focal point for holiday festivities, with the cathedral itself beautifully lit and decorated. The streets are lined with vendors selling Christmas ornaments and traditional Vietnamese treats. In early December, you can often find choirs performing carols in the evenings, adding to the festive ambiance.

We Recommend: Warm up with a cup of traditional Vietnamese egg coffee, a rich and creamy treat that's especially popular among locals and visitors during the cooler December weather.

Da Nang's Dragon Bridge Area

Da Nang is known for its modern vibe and stunning light displays, and the area around the iconic Dragon Bridge is no exception during the holiday season. The city hosts impressive light shows and decorations, particularly along the Han River. The Dragon Bridge itself is often illuminated with festive colors, and the nearby streets are filled with Christmas markets selling holiday crafts, souvenirs, and delicious street food.

We Recommend: Sample the local delicacy of Banh Xeo, a crispy Vietnamese pancake, at the night markets while enjoying the festive lights and ambiance.

Hoi An's Ancient Town

The UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An Ancient Town is enchanting year-round, but it takes on a special charm during the holiday season. The town's lantern-lit streets are complemented by Christmas lights and decorations, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The riverside becomes a hub of activity with holiday markets and traditional performances. The blend of Vietnamese culture and Christmas traditions makes for a unique holiday experience.

We Recommend: Try the local ginger tea, a comforting and spicy beverage that's perfect for sipping as you stroll through the lantern-lit streets.

Nha Trang's Tran Phu Street

Nha Trang, a coastal city famous for its beaches, also celebrates Christmas with enthusiasm. Tran Phu Street, the main seaside promenade, is decked out with festive lights and decorations. Luxury hotels and resorts along the beach often host Christmas events and buffets, offering a mix of international and Vietnamese holiday cuisine. The city's vibrant nightlife is enhanced with themed parties and special holiday entertainment.

We Recommend: Indulge in a seafood feast at one of the beachfront restaurants, where you can enjoy fresh catches with a festive twist.

Dalat's Central Market Area

The cool climate of Dalat makes it a perfect place to get into the Christmas spirit. The Central Market area is transformed into a winter wonderland with holiday decorations and a large Christmas tree. Known as the "City of Eternal Spring," Dalat's flower gardens are also a sight to behold during this time, with poinsettias and other seasonal blooms adding to the festive color palette. The city's French colonial architecture provides a picturesque backdrop for holiday photos.

We Recommend: Warm up with a bowl of Bánh C?n, a type of savory mini pancake made with quail eggs and served with a variety of toppings.

Hue's Imperial City

The historic city of Hue offers a more subdued but equally charming holiday experience. The Imperial City and other landmarks are subtly decorated with festive lights, and local churches hold special Christmas services. The tranquil ambiance of Hue provides a reflective space to enjoy the season away from the more commercial celebrations found in larger cities.

We Recommend: Attend a Christmas Eve mass at the Phu Cam Cathedral, a serene and spiritual experience that highlights the cultural fusion of East and West.

Vung Tau's Front Beach Area

Vung Tau, a popular seaside getaway, celebrates Christmas with a laid-back, beachy vibe. The Front Beach area is known for its Christmas displays and the local community's festive spirit. Beachside cafes and restaurants offer holiday specials, and the city's promenade is a great place to take a leisurely walk under the twinkling holiday lights.

We Recommend: Enjoy a glass of mulled wine or a seasonal cocktail at one of the beachfront bars as you take in the ocean views and festive atmosphere.

Whether you're looking for a vibrant city celebration or a quiet, reflective holiday experience, Vietnam has something to offer every expat and digital nomad during the festive season. The blend of local traditions and Christmas cheer creates a unique and memorable December in this beautiful country.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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