Foreign tourists receive lucky money, make Vietnamese Tet cakes

By Bich Phuong   February 9, 2024 | 05:00 pm PT
Vietnam tours are offering international visitors the opportunity to make their own Tet sticky rice cakes, receive lucky money and enjoy other holiday staples, according to travel agents and resorts.

Around 80% of Phu Quoc's Tet guests are foreigners and the island’s tourism industry has launched various programs to promote the Vietnamese holiday.

A representative from Salinda Phu Quoc resort said most of its customers during the one-week Tet break, from Feb. 8 to 14, are from China, South Korea, Kazakhstan, the U.K. and other European countries.

The resort will organize a lion’s dance and a solemn ancestors’ worshiping ceremony at midnight on Lunar New Year’s Eve – 12 a.m. Saturday morning.

It has been holding lucky envelop making workshops, as well as classes on making traditional Tet sticky rice cakes like banh chung and banh tet. Workshops on paper peach and ochna mai flower arrangement, Tet's most typical decorations, are also on offer.

Each guest is also gifted a brochure about Tet programs that explains Vietnamese Lunar New Year traditions and the meaning of the zodiac animal this year, the dragon.

Some tourists are especially interested in the making of banh chung and banh tet.

Aran from the Netherlands said he has been to Phu Quoc five times, and has been to Vietnam twice during Tet.

"Every time it feels like returning to visit my family," Aran said.

Aran and his friend Jeroen participated in the sticky rice making workshop, saying they felt lucky to visit Vietnam during the country's biggest holiday, which has given them the chance to learn about its traditions.

"We would like to wish all friends in Vietnam and our families in the Netherlands a Tet full of health, happiness and prosperity," the duo said.

Pullman Phu Quoc, which is hosting mostly Korean tourists and those from Russian-speaking countries, has also allocated an outdoor space for a banh chung making workshop, while organizing traditional games associated with Tet as well.

A Korean tourist said it was the first time his family has stayed in Phu Quoc for Tet.

They attended the banh chung workshop together and made their first cake by their own hands.

"The hotel helped boil that cake and served it to me the next day. I really have had many interesting experiences and got to learn more about Vietnam’s traditions," the Korean man said.

Du khách nhí Hàn Quốc được hướng dẫn gói bánh chưng. Ảnh: Pullman Phu Quoc resort

A Korean girl learns how to wrap a chung cake at Pullman Phu Quoc resort. Photo courtesy of the resort

Several travel agents in Ho Chi Minh City have also designed special Tet programs for foreign tourists.

Tran Thi Bao Thu, director of marketing and communications at Vietluxtour, said the company is receiving 50% more foreign tourists this Tet than last year, most of them from Australia, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Thu said besides regular tours that take tourists around the city's downtown to learn about its history and culture, and company has introduced tours where foreign tourists get to try Vietnamese Tet meals and receive lucky money.

Khách nước ngoài nhận lì xì khi đến Việt Nam đúng dịp Tết, ảnh chụp ngày 7/2. Ảnh: Vietluxtour

Foreign tourist receive lucky money during a Tet program by Vietluxtour, on Feb. 7, 2024. Photo courtesy of Vietluxtour

Tran The Dung, general director of Vietluxtour, said the company has always received positive comments from foreign tourists about its Tet programs.

"They helped bring tourists beautiful impressions about Vietnamese culture," Dung said.

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