Posted By : Threeland Travel / Vietnam Cambodia Travel Tips
As you know, each region, each ethnic has its own customs and habits, therefore, it will take you endless time to discover and understand through them. Vietnam and Cambodia, where humans settled thousands of years ago, still remain and practice thousands of traditional festivals during the year. Are you vague about what festival is the most appropriate for your family to behold the grandeur experience among them for a Vietnam Cambodia tour? Surely, you will have a clearer visualization after finishing the blog with details and explanation of why they are worth joining. Let’s start now.
New Year Celebration in Vietnam and Cambodia
Vietnam and Cambodia celebrate New Year in different months so that you do not need to be hurry and afraid of missing one of them when your vacation time is limited.
Vietnam New Year ( Tet Holiday )
The Vietnam traditional New Year holiday is often called Tet holiday or Lunar New Year. All Vietnamese regard this festival is the most important occasion to come back to their hometown, especially to visit their family, relatives, and friends.
Time for Tet holiday
Following the lunar calendar, it often falls in late January or early February (Solar calendar). You should check with the tour operator whether what is best time to travel on this occasion as all shops and service places will close out in 2-3 main days.
Weather during Tet holiday
Tet holiday often happens in spring, when nature has great vitality with flourishing buds and colorful blooming flowers from the north to the south, from the high mountain to the immensity of deltas. These stunning landscapes are wonderful backgrounds for nice and memorable shoots. Moreover, the temperature is not too hot as well as not too cold and the rains are not ominous for every trip. You and your family will definitely have no disruptions due to weather.
A stunning landscape in the mountainous Vietnam
Activities on Tet holiday
In that ideal weather condition, it is very interesting to join and contemplate the hustle and bustle of local’s activities at Tet.
Following the lunar calendar, from 23rd to New Year’s Eve, Vietnamese prepare to decorate their house. You will see abundant types of goods such as home appliances, decoration objects, fresh fruits, etc… in every market during this time. Especially, it’s such a gorgeous scene when the whole markets are covered with crimson of peach blossom, bright yellow of apricot blossom, bouquets of fresh flowers, etc.
Right after welcoming new year's moment at home, Vietnamese start giving best wishes for family members and relatives, enjoy new year meal together with traditional dishes, go sightseeing, go to pagoda for praying and so on.
A traditional new year meal of Vietnamese
Undoubtedly, the Tet holiday is an ideal occasion to discover Vietnam culture. But, please bear in mind that there are some must-read notes before you get your Vietnam tours because of a long vacation.
Cambodia New Year
Different from Vietnam, Cambodia’s New Year happens at the same time as Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and SriLanka. Choul Chnam Thmey is the official name of the festival, which means “enter new year”. Like Tet Holiday in Vietnam, Cambodia New Year is the time to gather with family and to come back to the homeland.
Time for Cambodia New Year
The holiday lasts for three days beginning on the first New Year's Day, which usually falls on April 13 or 14th (solar calendar) to mark the end of a harvesting season and enjoy the fruits of their labor. If you wish to travel to Cambodia in this time, please check the travel time in lunar calendar with your tour operator.
Weather during Cambodia New Year
You might aware that this is a transition period between dry and rainy seasons in Cambodia, the dry weather will help you to enjoy abundant exciting traditional games during festivals such as dropping sky lanterns, watching traditional art performance, etc.
Activites on Cambodia New Year
Choul Chnam Thmey has been rooted in Buddist traditions for years and years.
Before the New Year Day, they go shopping for a new formal traditional costume of Khmer and everybody is busy to clean and decorate their house.
Trot Dance welcoming Cambodia New Year
On the first day of Khmer New Year called Maha Songkran, people put fruits in front of their houses as an offering to the gods. They believe that the new gods will come to take nourishment from the fruits and give their blessings to their homes.
The second day called Virak Vanabat, you will see people visit their relatives, give gifts to their parents, and have a new year lunch with them.
The last day, Vearak Loeng Sak, people bathe statues of Buddha and their parents and grandparents with water blessed by monks. This is a way to pray the Buddha and ancestors for health and long life and ask their forgiveness for past wrongs.
See more: Cambodia New Year in 2020
Full-moon Festivals in Vietnam and Cambodia
Vietnam Full-moon Festivals or also called Mid-Autumn Festivals
Time for Full-moon Festivals
In Vietnam, this festival is called Mid-Autumn Festival or Tet Trung Thu because it falls on the 15th, August following the Lunar calendar. For some next years, in the solar calendar, they are 01/10/2020, 21/09/2021, 10/09/2022.
Weather during Mid-Autumn Festivals
Mid-Autumn Festival happens when Vietnam is in Autumn, the temperature is around 28 – 33 degrees Celcius. Although rains occur suddenly, it is possible to join abundant exciting activities organized on streets or at attractions.
Activities on Full-moon Festivals
Tet Trung Thu is a festival for kids so that when strolling on streets, you will capture kids playing happily as a clam. They laugh and amuse together while skipping ropes, finding each other in hide and seek, playing blind man's bluff or Mandarin Square Capturing, etc. All of these are traditional Vietnamese games.
Children are playing Blind man’s bluff together
Handmade toys such as star lantern, turning lamp, To He, pinwheels are the most favorite items, they are sold along the streets with vibrant colors. On the night of 14th or 15th, kids often carry their items settled light inside, tandem parade through the streets and sing aloud mid-autumn songs. Thanks to them, we feel happy when having a chance to back to childhood.
Eager and cheerful atmosphere during the children's light procession in the Mid-Autumn Festival
Every Vietnam traditional festival has its own special food, so does the Mid Autumn Festival. Have you heard about Moon cake? Inside the round or square shapes, it can be added a lot of ingredients with diverse flavors such as mixed staff, green bean, red bean or the baked eggs.
Time for full-moon festival in Cambodia
Different from other Asia countries, Cambodian hold full-moon festivals on the 15th, October (lunar calendar). The official name is Ok Ombok, in the Khmer language, it means putting young rice. This is the end of the crop, the Khmer practice a ceremony to wish the good things with the witness of the elders and the Moon God.
Weather during this full-moon festival in Cambodia
This festival marks the end of the rainy season in Cambodia and the dry weather is an ideal condition for you to enjoy featured activities on this occasion.
Activities on full-moon festival in Cambodia
The “putting young rice” action is the main ritual in the annual Ok Ombok festival. This ritual is usually performed at the temple, sometimes in the yard or the place where the moon is clearly visible. Also, other products that have been harvested such as coconut, bananas, potatoes, fruits, and candies are used.
Ok Om Bok Festival
Ok Om Bok Festival is also held in temples and pagoda with bustling and joyful activities such as dropping sky lanterns, playing folk games, performing arts, singing songs and dancing together under the light of the full moon. In particular, the boat competition is one of the most exciting activities that everyone expected.
Gorgeous sky lighted by lanterns
The vibrant atmosphere of sailing competitions in Phnom Penh
Other Outstanding Traditional Festivals
Other tradditional festivals in Vietnam
Spring Festivals: After Tet holiday, people throughout Vietnam pilgrimage to pagoda, temples to contemplate natures, go sightseeing and pray for good things in upcoming months. To help you have the most wonderful experience in Vietnam and Cambodia tours, Threeland suggests must-see lunar festivals below:
- Perfume Pagoda Festival, Hanoi capital, from 6th, January
- Hung King Festival, Phu Tho province, 10th, March
- Lim Festival, Bac Ninh province, 13th January
- Sinh Village Festival, Hue, 9th January
- Dong Da – Tay Son festival, Binh Dinh province, 4th January
- Ba Den Festival, Tay Ninh province, 10th January
See more: Check it out to find your tours to Vietnam
A parade in a traditional Vietnamese festival
Other tradditional festivals in Cambodia
Khmer in Cambodia still keep organizing a lot of traditional festivals during the year:
- Bom Chaul Chnam - Festival of New Harvest, 13-15, April
- Vesak Bochea – Birthday of Buddha, 17th, April
- Pchum Ben – Ancestor Day, The first 15 days of the 10th month in the Khmer calendar
Asia in general, Vietnam and Cambodia in particular still remains a lot of valuable traditional festivals. With the New Year holiday and full-moon festival in these two countries, you can completely explore the local customs and habits without worrying about time overlaps. Besides the list above, abundant typical holidays of different ethnics, different regions are definitely worth enrolling in your Vietnam Cambodia tour. If you have any other requests or inquiries, Threeland is always willing to help and offer you the best deals. Meet your best local friend here by contact directly via Threeland website or via email firstname.lastname@example.org or What’s App: +84342620068 or call +842439262056.