If Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) are all about family gathering and food, New Year’s Eve tends to be a bit more trendy, edgy, and all about going out and having a good time. While Hanoi definitely will fall into a sleepy rhythm during Tet, on a regular New Year’s Eve, it will surely be up for an all-nighter. Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Hanoi can also be as expensive or as cheap as you’d like to be. So if you happen to end up in this city, check out these many low cost or free options:
This year fireworks show seem to be reserved for Lunar New Year only in Hanoi. So there will be no fireworks this week for regular New Year’s Eve.
Most crowds will then gather at the two major countdowns in Hanoi:
1. Heineken Countdown Party
This is a yearly event that has become a tradition for Hanoi. Backed by the major beer brand, the party is never without good music and a lot of beer cans passing around.
There are free beers to be snatched up (very quickly) but it’s so hard to find that I start to believe these free beers are just pure mythical. Vendors will also show up to sell you drinks if you’re not one of the lucky ones. Remember, there is no restriction on open alcohol in Vietnam, so chill with your bottle on the sidewalk and take a picture to show the folks back home in the States.
The mood is like a weird massive club. Half of the crowds will try to prove that they are frequent clubbers and breakout provocative dance moves. The rest of them are just passing by visitors who were just there for the spirit and the (unexpected) show around them. Expect a lot of staring and bumping.
Traditionally held by the Opera house, this countdown draws the biggest crowd. This year, it will be held by Thien Quang Lake (Halais Lake) instead. It will still be a fun spot, but the location away from major nightlife areas will probably draw a different crowd this year.
2. Yamaha Countdown
Taking over the prime spot in front of the Opera House this year is the Yamaha Countdown. This is the first countdown by Yamaha (that I know of), so not quite sure how this will goes down.
While Heineken tries to please everyone with House, Techno, and Dance music, Yamaha sets its target straight on the young biker crowd with only Rock, mainly represented by Vietnamese artists.
The location guarantees a big crowd, rock fan or not. Even if rock is not your taste, situating yourself near the central area is not a bad move either: all the hottest bars and clubs are no more than a quick 15 minute ride away.
New Year Party in Hanoi
If hanging out in the open air is not your cup of tea (or champagne), and if you want to be comfortable in some closed area where the bartender can be reached easily, there are New Year events scattering around the city, organized by local pubs and bars.
The cost, of course, depends on what you will spend on drinks. Most local spots often do not have a cover charge so come pre-gamed and dance the night away for a budget-friendly night. Just look up the long list of bars and clubs in Hanoi and pick one (or few!) that suits your taste.
We haven’t got a chance to finalize our New Year’s plan yet, and most likely can’t do much because we both will work the next day. I myself will start work at the crack of dawn on New Year’s Day so it’s either go to bed early, or pull an all-nighter, literally (Bummer!).
If we go out though, we might be at our favorite spot that we just found recently: ATK Pub at 73 Mai Hac De. The spot happens to feature free entrance and reasonably priced beers. If you want to go fancy, impressive cocktails are also available for higher prices.
All in all, it has been a good year, and may we all have a better one to come!
Happy new year guys!