Christmas in Vietnam: Overview

How is Christmas celebrated in Vietnam?

Christmas, popularly known as “Noel” from its French translation, isn’t an official public holiday in Vietnam. The holiday is now enjoyed not only by the Christian community across the country, but is also seen as an occasion to spend family time for many Vietnamese.

Starting December, you can spot hotels, movie theaters and even shops decorated with dazzling lights, stickers and Christmas trees. Christmas songs are on the playlist of many shopping malls for this year-end sales peak. In bigger cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city, where a large community of expats lives, the festive atmosphere is real. 

Why spend Christmas in Vietnam this year?

Sure it’s time for coming together for many travellers in the Western countries, time for holiday sweaters and snuggling up binging Christmas movie list. But why not making it different this year? Many people are spending this precious time of the year in a foreign countries like Vietnam. Warmer weather, inexpensive accommodation, a relaxed atmosphere and a whole new adventure of dining and sightseeing, why not give Vietnam a try for the holiday this year?

Here is the list of our suggested destinations if you wish to stay in the North region of Vietnam for Christmas.

#1. St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi.

Photo by Vagabond Travel Tales

Located in downtown Hanoi, St. Joseph’s Cathedral is one of the oldest colonial buildings in the city, and is routinely visited for its nearby lively cafes and shops.  This beautiful neo-Gothic church was built in 1886 by the French colonial government, resembling the Notre Dame in Paris. It remains active in the present day thanks to the capital city being home to a large community of local Catholics. 

Every year on Christmas Eve of December 24th, thousands of people, including both locals and foreign residents gather at the church for the musical and spiritual wonder.

#2. Sapa stone church

Photo by Lộc Nguyễn on Unsplash

If you’re in need of the foggy, frosty feeling of Christmas week, Sapa would be the perfect choice. The town is famous for its unique rice terraces, massive FanSiPan peak, and peaceful ethnic villages. Sapa Church, the iconic feature in town, is a must-visit for anyone visiting this mountainous town. Constructed in 1895, the Sapa Stone Church still retains its gothic French architecture through the test of time, remains intact until today. Orginical culture traits of the ethnic people, seen in its cuisine, clothes and practise, had been signature of Sapa for years and travelers from across the world continue to me amazed. 

#3. Phat Diem Cathedral, Ninh Binh.

Photo by Chang Ju Wu

The limestone complex of Ninh Binh had attracted an increasing number of travelers in recent years, due to its pristine nature and proximity to Hanoi. Visiting the site in December, travelers can enjoy the off-season, high-quality service. Besides a chance to indulge in the stunning limestone mountains, a boat trip in Ninh Binh also takes you to Phat Diem Cathedral. Father Tran Luc, a Vietnamese priest designed the church in 1892. It’s an elegant combination of European and Vietnamese architecture, with pagoda style roofs. You should take a walk around the Kim Son district which is surrounding this stunning place of worship, giving you a look into the heavenly setting of Ninh Binh mountains.

#4. Halong Bay 

Photo by digitalarbyter 🙂 on Unsplash

If you love the beach for a change of scene, consider this iconic complex for this Christmas. Winter makes a killer time of the year to cruise around Halong Bay as the weather is much drier. By celebrating Christmas on the bay you can immerse in the breathtaking scenery with limestone karsts of multiple shapes and sizes, as well as sandy tropical beaches. Onboard experience also adds highlights to all cruises in Halong Bay. Enjoy your Christmas dinner with fresh seafood, served with top-notch cocktails. The crew are often super friendly and attentive, ready to show you the beauty of the land they take pride in. There are various exciting activities to finish the experience, from kayaking, rowing boat and cycling to cooking class. The temperature might not be ideal for swimming, but you can maximize your experience with modern and high-quality facilities such as spa, bar, and gym.

Feeling excited? Hope you enjoy the trip here in Vietnam!

Thanks for reading!

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