POINTS OF INTEREST
Late January to early February is a good time to visit if you want to breathe in the excitement of Tet, the lunar new year, a movable date based on the Chinese lunar calendar. In preparation for Vietnam's largest festival, the Old Quarter comes alive with floor-to-ceiling displays of moon cakes, red banners, joss sticks, and red envelopes for giving lucky money (mung tuoi) to children. Beware: when Tet does arrive, many shops and restaurants close for up to a week—although some restaurants have discovered the financial benefits of staying open. If you're planning to conduct any business, this is definitely not the time to do it.