Suggestions for Christmas activities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City

The atmosphere is less hectic than in previous years, but in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, there are special activities for Christmas day.


The dry and cold weather resonates with the shimmering lights from the buildings and Christmas trees make the Christmas atmosphere in Hanoi become more pronounced. However, as noted, the number of pine trees in front of shopping centers – photography attractions – this year is less or more minimalist than usual.

Hang Ma area is still visited by many people in the capital to shop for decorations and take pictures. The street is bustling from the beginning of December, rush hour starts from dusk to 10 pm, regardless of weekdays or weekends. To go for a walk, visitors can park their car at many points for 20,000 VND.

Young people take pictures to check in at Hang Ma.  Photo: Thuy Hien
Young people take pictures to check-in at Hang Ma. Photo: Thuy Hien

Famous churches in Hanoi such as Cua Bac, Ham Long … have decorated Christmas brilliantly, but the number of visitors still mainly focuses on the door of the Cathedral, although this place has not been repaired. On the evening of December 21, the Cathedral will hold a Christmas concert organized by the Operaphilia group, open to those who like to listen to sacred music. Under the Gothic dome, Bible-themed hymns and choirs will play during Christmas. Visitors who come to listen to music support discretionary expenses. If not arranged in time, visitors can listen to Sacred Music from Operaphilia at Vincom Center for Contemporary Art (VCCA) in Royal City on the evening of December 25.

Not only the streets but also the cafes decorate Christmas, serving the needs of the capital’s people to celebrate the occasion. Visitors can refer to a number of shops decorated in European style here. However, due to the complicated epidemic situation, shops in Dong Da and Hai Ba Trung districts and some wards in Tay Ho and Hoan Kiem districts are only allowed to sell take-out.

Although the Great Church has not been repaired, it has been decorated splendidly for Christmas.  Photo: Trung Nghia
Although the Great Church has not been repaired, it has been decorated splendidly for Christmas. Photo: Trung Nghia

Art lovers can visit the exhibition “Hanoi is…” at the Hanoi French Institute at 24 Trang Tien. The exhibition is open for free from 8 am to 6 pm from Monday to Saturday, from December 18 to January 2, 2022. Here, you can admire the works depicting the city through the lens and emotions of young people: Hanoi is a land of legends, journeys, plastic chairs, floods, and capital. votive paper… The exhibition is part of a series of Creative Week events organized by UNESCO in collaboration with the Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports and the French Institute of L’Espace, bringing a new breath of life in the Christmas week. .

Ho Chi Minh City

From the weekend of December 18-19, the city center had tourists hanging out and taking pictures to welcome Christmas, but the atmosphere was not as bustling as in previous years. The commercial center areas with beautifully decorated miniatures are quite attractive to visitors such as Diamond Plaza, Le Duan street, or Saigon Center on Le Loi street. Visitors can combine sightseeing in other nearby places such as Notre Dame Cathedral, walking street, and book street in the evenings during Christmas week.

In addition to the city center area, Pham The Hien religious neighborhood, District 8 is also a suggested address for you. Three major churches in the area, Binh Thai, Binh An, and Binh An Thuong, have lit up their caves and miniatures to celebrate Christmas. The scale of the decoration is smaller and not as grand as in previous years, but it is still loved by the city people. Along Pham The Hien route, there are also stone caves of parishioners and bright lights, beautiful roadside Christmas decorations. To limit mass gatherings, churches only accept visitors until 20:00, especially from December 23 to 25, opening hours will last until 22:00.

If you want to feel the cozy Christmas atmosphere, you can join Christmas music nights in Ho Chi Minh City organized by choir groups. The Lumen Choir choir group will perform two nights of music with the theme of Miracle of Love at Cau Kho Church, District 1 and Vinh Son Church, Tan Binh District on December 21 and 23 at 19:30.

After taking a photo tour, you can stop at Christmas decorated cafes to chat with friends. InFact Coffee Saigon, Oromia Coffee & Lounge, Le Petit Marron, De Olla Café, Vom Coffee, The Seat Cafe, Khom Coffee & Tea, My House Cafeteria… are suggested addresses.

Inside a Christmas decorated cafe in Ho Chi Minh City.  Photo: Huynh Nhi
Inside a Christmas decorated cafe in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Huynh Nhi

If you want to have a quiet space, enjoy the beauty of Ho Chi Minh City at night, avoid the busy streets, you can join the new night river bus experience . The route goes from Bach Dang wharf to Binh An side and vice versa, operating time from 5pm to 9pm daily, with 4 flights. On the journey, there will be a cultural program with emotional Christmas songs sent to visitors