Tet Flower Festival at Tao Dan Park, Saigon
Yesterday was the first day of the Lunar New Year in Vietnam, so we ventured out to the city center in Saigon to see what people were doing.
The roads were quiet. It took about half the time it usually does to get to the corner of Truong Dinh St. and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St. The taxi dropped us off at the entrance of Tao Dan Park, one of the most popular locations for the annual Tet flower festival.
We weren’t sure if people would be out, as I’d read that the flower festivals are open leading up to Tet, and it was already the first day of Tet. However, we were happy to find that the park was open and busy with lots of locals taking photos with the flower displays.
Some people were dressed in fancy ao dai (say a-wee ai), and everyone we passed smiled at our son Gabriel who was also dressed for the occasion. You can wear jeans and casual clothes, as many Vietnamese people were also not dressed up. We saw several incredibly cute babies in gorgeous silk ao dai or pretty dresses; their parents were making all sorts of funny noises and faces trying to get them to smile for photos in front of the flowers.
Taking pictures with flowers wasn’t the only thing to do. We saw the steel drum performers catching a nap, most likely between afternoon and evening shows. A large playground suitable for young children is on end of the park, and at the other end a large screen was set up and dance music was pumping.
You could also eat at the park. Western and Asian options were available as well as ice cream and other snacks.
Several displays of rock sculptures and bonsai trees were set up around the park. They were all labeled with names, so it seemed to be some kind of contest or gallery.
It cost 20,000 VND to get into the park, which is a little less than US $1. Gabriel is two years old and his admission was free.
The flowers were gorgeous and it was a fun place to take a toddler, however next year when our son is better at walking we’ll leave the stroller at home because there are some stairs and other obstacles (like garden hoses) that weren’t easy to maneuver with the stroller.
Chuc mung nam moi! Happy new year!