Travel Like a Local in Hoi An: New Year Celebration, Tet in Vietnam

When we travel, some of our most interesting and fulfilling experiences happen to be when we are invited to a local families home, allowing us to learn first hand about their own culture and traditions.

After just a couple of short weeks of living in Hoi An, we were invited by Sam who we met whilst she worked at her mothers market store. She invited us to her families home during TET Vietnamese New Year celebrations.

TET runs for 3 days from 16th February, its an extremely auspicious time with lots of family gatherings and ceremonies taking place, we felt privileged to be invited. Visiting Hoi An during TET celebrations is wonderful experience, firstly because the town is filled with beautifully hand painted lanterns and there is also a very festive mood around town, which is similar to Christmas time in Europe.

When we arrived at Sam’s family home, we weren’t sure what to expect, but they made an amazing lunch for us and showered the girls with sweets, it was a really lovely experience to be welcomed with open arms to their family home and meet all of Sam’s family. Even though we were strangers to Sam’s family they welcomed us like long lost friends, with such generous hospitality. Sam admitted she loved to meet western tourists to practice her english and also learn about our culture.

Also in the video we show you Hoi An on the only day of the year that the Old Town market is closed for a day of rest for all. Then during the evening the town comes alive with huge festivities and influx of local people arriving in Hoi An to celebrate TET with, eating, drinking and games.

Watch the video to find out all about our own unique experience of celebrating TET in Hoi An and what locals do, to celebrate Vietnamese New Year.


Gili Meno with Kids – Video

We had already spent a week on Gili Air we were intrigued to see what Gili Meno had offer, it sits between Gili Air and Gili Trawangan we’d heard rumours it offers the finest beaches of all the Gili islands and is a real escape to paradise.

We were eager to find out whether it lived up to be the island of our dreams. More importantly I (Felicity) had still not seen a turtle whilst snorkelling, Marco had already seen a couple, to say I was jealous was an understatement! I wasn’t going to leave these islands until I had spotted at least one turtle.

Watch the video to find out whether my dream of swimming with turtles came true

We were staying at the Seri Resort which commands one of the best spots on Gili Meno for seeing turtles. On our last day at the resort we decided to be a little adventurous and take the girls out in the Kayak and Marco wanted to get some drone photographs. Once Marco was finished taking photos, he joined us in the kayak with the snorkelling gear. We paddled out to the reef, the girls were squealing with excitement saying they had spotted a turtle.

Kayak and snorkelling

What started out as a initial 1hr jaunt in the kayak turned into a 3hr snorkelling adventure to find turtles. Once we spotted the first one, we kept seeing more. Bella and Maya were also helping even able to see the silhouette of them through the clear water.

This is how I had envisaged island living, tourism has yet to take hold of the island, so I would recommend visiting now whilst it is still relatively low key. The development of resorts moves at a much slower and thankfully a more controlled pace than Gili Air. I would say you probably have slightly more high end resorts here, making the range of of accommodation a little more expensive than Gili air.

What we loved most about the island, was the fact there were no cars, so wandering around was so relaxing as there was little danger of being hit by anything, well maybe a coconut falling from a tree. The beauty was in the simplicity of our days, wake up, breakfast, snorkelling, swimming, beach combing and lunch and then repeat.

Tips and advice 

Sleep – we stayed at the Seri Resort 

Eat – Food options are limited and expect to pay Eruopean prices for decent meal.

Play – Get out on the water kayaking, scuba diving and snorkelling.

Watch out for  – trigger fish they are swimming near the reefs and can sometime attack if you swim over their territory.

When to visit – visit in October or November which is the end of the peak season, just before rainy season starts, you will find good weather and fewer people.

Uluwatu with kids (and the beaches in South Bali for families) – Vlog

Uluwatu was our first stop in Asia, obviously it famed for its surfing beaches and perfect waves and isn’t the first choice for most families.

However if like us you relish a bit of adventure and enjoy exploring unspoilt beaches with not many tourists check out the beaches in the Vlog. We had so much fun exploring the beaches even with our two little ones.