It’s always a good time to visit China and Vietnam. Both countries have been popular destinations with Australian travellers for many years and visitor numbers continue to grow. Whatever the season, there is always something happening in China and Vietnam. Festivals are celebrated throughout the year, so no matter which month you choose to travel, you will find a festival or three.
One of Vietnam’s main Festivals occurs between late January and February. Depending on the Lunar Calendar, this four day national holiday falls on a different date each year. Tet, the Lunar New Year, is Vietnam’s biggest holiday. The festivities begin on New Year’s Eve and the first three days of the Lunar New Year, but most people celebrate for a week or more. It’s a time to be with family members.
February 3 each year sees the Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party. Celebrated nationwide, visitors can expect to see cultural displays and the waving of massive red flags in open air shows.
In China, the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year, is held nationwide on the day of the first new moon after January 21 and no later than February 20. January 31, 2014 will see celebrations begin for Year of the Horse. Lion dances, fireworks, the giving of red envelopes, visiting friends and relatives and enjoying family meals are just some of the many ways Chinese people enjoy this time of year.
The Lantern Festival, which falls fifteen days after the Spring Festival, concludes celebrations for the Chinese New Year. A main feature is the carrying of brightly lit lanterns and lighting lanterns on towers or floating sky lanterns.
Popular with tourists is the Water Splashing Festival, held in mid April. Dai New Year is ushered in with a large market on the first day, dragon boat races on the second and copious amounts of water splashing on the third day. Apparently, the wetter you are, the more luck you will have.
Celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese, the Mid-Autumn Festival is held during a full moon in September or early October. The festival was a time to enjoy the successful reaping of rice and wheat with food offerings made in honor of the moon. Today, it is an occasion for outdoor reunions with friends and relatives, eating mooncakes and watching the moon, a symbol of harmony and unity.
An Asian specialist for 26 years, Helen Wong’s Tours, is now making it even more appealing to visit Vietnam by shaving up to $500 a couple off the price of some of their selected group tours and up to $600 a couple on selected group tours to China.
These money saving deals apply to packages involving Cathay Pacific air fares, making the starting price of a 12 day China Discovery itinerary $3,690 per person, twin share from Australia.
The 12 day Glimpse of Vietnam tour visiting Saigon, Mekong Delta, Hoi An, Hanoi and Halong Bay is now priced from $3,200 per person, twin share from Australia.
Both deals apply to bookings and full payments by August 30, 2013 for travel between February 1 and April 30, 2014 in China and from February 1 until March 30, 2014 in Vietnam.
Founder and Managing Director, Helen Wong, said “If you want to travel at other times of the year, we are offering savings of up to $400 a couple on China group tours from Australia and from $300 a couple on Vietnam tours from Australia, providing you fly with Cathay Pacific”.
Sandra Tiltman Photos: John Pond & Helen Wong