Leading up to Christmas in Ho Chi Minh City, decorations start to appear and people looking to experience the yuletide festivities come out in force to bask in the glow of the lights or take pictures of the Santa’s who roam the area.
Although a mainly Buddhist country, Christmas in Vietnam is still one of the main religious festivals and the fun-loving and sociable Vietnamese people like to join in the celebrations. Christmas Eve is deemed more important than Christmas day and you can expect a grand party on the 24th December.
Vietnamese children are also excited at this time of year with many believing in Santa Clause. They often leave there shoes outside the door on Christmas Eve, hoping to have their shoes stuffed with gifts from the visiting Santa.
Where to Go?
The main area for celebration is in District 1. It can become extremely busy here on the eve of Christmas and you can expect large crowds around the areas of Le Loi, Nguyen Hue and in front of the Rex Hotel.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is also exceptionally busy as people come to see the big nativity crib scene which has life size statues of baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds.
Certain roads will be closed off on Christmas Eve to traffic, allowing you to venture around the streets and take in the festivities.
Where to Eat?
If you are an expat living in Ho Chi Minh City, no doubt you will be craving some Roast turkey and all the trimmings over the festive season.
Below is a couple of venues where you can go and enjoy a good Christmas Dinner:
Pullman Saigon Hotel
Located on Tran Hung Dao Street in the heart of the city, the Pullman Saigon is offering a special gala dinner this Christmas Eve in the hotels rooftop restaurant. This is the perfect spot to enjoy your meal with fantastic views across the city. The Christmas Eve dinner is priced at $94 per adult and $47 per child.
Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers
For Christmas Eve you can enjoy a traditional Christmas buffet in the Sheraton Saigon Café. You will be surrounded with beautiful festive decorations and carol singers to help get you into the Christmas spirit. The buffet includes a free-flow of wine, beer and soft drinks.
The dinner is priced at VND 1,930,000 for adults and VND 965,000 for the 5pm seating. The next seating at 8pm is priced at VND 2,310,000 for adults and VND 1,155,000 for children.
Santa will also be making an appearance during the dinner.
If you would prefer a Christmas brunch rather than dinner then the Saigon café also offers a buffet on December 25th.
If you are on a tight budget, or cannot get out of the house for any reason, there are a number of restaurants that do home delivery Christmas dinners. These restaurants can be found in Districts 1, 2 and 7 and will deliver turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings allowing you to enjoy your Christmas dinner in the comfort of your own home.
If you have recently settled into Ho Chi Minh City and are yet to experience the festivities of Christmas and New Year, you are in for a treat.
With the whole city celebrating and joining in the celebrations, you will be bound to meet lots of new friends and connections, all while having a great time!