This year, Saigon-Phu Quoc Resort & Spa, an affiliate of Saigontourist Holding Company, continues to launch tours for foreign tourists to enjoy Tet (Lunar New Year) with local people. This kind of tour is an opportunity for foreigners to study the Vietnamese culture with customs and traditional rituals.
On these days, when Tet is approaching, Saigon-Phu Quoc Resort & Spa adds an ochna tree to make its dinner buffets more attractive. The ochna tree is six meters tall and is lit with 1,000 bulbs with golden light. Its trunk, branches and twigs are made of waste plastic pipes and painted dark brown, and its flowers are lanterns. At the New Year’s Eve dinner party (February 2), this ochna tree will be placed on a floating stage for the countdown festival. A giant string of firecrackers made of 1.5-liter waste mineral water bottles will shine at midnight while fireworks are also shot at Cau Temple, 500 meters from the resort’s beach.
More than 150 foreign tourists will participate in this party with champagne, Tet dishes and folk games. They will pick “lucky flowers,” pose for photos with Than Tai (God of Wealth) and Ong Dia (God of Earth), take a boat trip along the western coast of Phu Quoc Island, where resorts and hotels are concentrated, as well as dance and sing karaoke on the floating stage.
The dinner buffet, adapted from Tet market sessions, displays la dong (a kind of leaf) and glutinous rice for wrapping banh chung (square glutinous rice cake), roosters and fruits, especially watermelons and fruits such as custard apple, coconut, papaya and mango.
The New Year’s Eve dinner party costs adults US$69 and children (under 12) US$35.
On the occasion of Tet, Saigon-Phu Quoc Resort & Spa offers a series of special tours from February 2-5.
To the tour on February 2, tourists will be taught how to wrap and boil banh day (flat round glutinous rice cake) and banh chung. They can choose a cake in the list and materials available to wrap, cook and enjoy it.
Taking another tour on February 2, tourists will visit an ancient house at the fishing village and learn how to wrap and boil banh tet (cylindrical glutinous rice cake) and prepare a tray of traditional foods to offer to ancestors. Visitors are advised to bring along lucky gifts to donate to the house owners.
The tour on February 3 includes a boat trip to Cau Temple. Here, tourists burn joss-sticks to pray for good luck, prosperity and longevity before going offshore to fish. For fishermen, getting fish at sea at the beginning of a new year means having good luck during the year.
On the tours from February 3-5, tourists will visit Sung Hung Pagoda, Su Muon Pagoda, Cau Temple, Duong Dong Market and other places of interest.
To welcome the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Cat, Saigon-Phu Quoc Resort & Spa offers a free night stay for five consecutive nights booked online via its website and Iphone from now until February 28. Its room rate is from US$131, including breakfast.
Saigon-Phu Quoc Resort & Spa: 1 Tran Hung Dao St., Duong Dong Town, Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province.