|A coach station south of Vientiane, Laos. Many of the passengers waiting are Vietnamese people travelling home for Tết. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Late in the afternoon at a coach station south of Vientiane, Laos, hundreds of passengers wait for their bus to arrive. Many of them are Vietnamese nationals far from home who are looking forward to celebrating Tết (Lunar New Year) with their loved ones.
This year Nguyễn Thế Vinh, a Vietnamese national living in Laos, and his family will return home for Tết.
After two years of being unable to return due to COVID-19, the whole family are filled with excitement at the prospect.
Laos and Việt Nam share a border of more than 2,000km and crossing by coach is a popular option.
Vinh said he called coach operators a few days in advance to secure tickets home.
“This year, it’s not difficult to buy the coach tickets,” he told Vietnamplus.
Lê Văn Bốn, a representative of Hoàng Giang coach operator on the Vientiane-Hà Nội route, said more coaches would be added to the schedule to meet the demand created by Vietnamese people returning home. Ticket prices remain unchanged at VNĐ80,000.
The last trip from Laos to Việt Nam was on January 19, which fell on December 29th of the lunar calendar.
Phạm Thị Hà, hailing from the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế, has been living in Vientiane for ten years. This will be the first time she has returned home.
“I gave birth during the pandemic and could not return to Việt Nam. This is the first time I’ve been back after many years of living far from home,” she said.
Nguyễn Tiến Huệ, another Vietnamese living in Laos, said it had been three years since his last trip home.
“I feel excited and look forward to returning home to reunite with my family and enjoy traditional dishes cooked by my mother,” he said.
Preparation made months ago
Kim Ngân, a Vietnamese living in Virginia, US, is so excited to celebrate Tết in Việt Nam this year that she booked a flight ticket early to avoid high prices.
“I bought two-way US-Việt Nam tickets with a South Korean airline in May last year at the price of US$1,800, instead of the higher price of nearly $3,000 in December,” she told Người Lao Động (The Labourer) newspaper.
|Kim Ngân's family reunites for Tết. Photo nld.com.vn|
Thư Trần, a Vietnamese living in Poland, booked tickets back to Việt Nam last summer.
She said two-way ticket prices by year-end were so high that many people instead chose to wait until after February (and Tết) to return. But this year, she decided to return early after eight years of living far from home.
She even asked permission to work remotely to have more time with her family in Việt Nam.
Danny Lê, a Vietnamese living in Sydney, Australia, also looks forward to the trip back to Việt Nam.
His first time home in three years, he has bought foods like cherries, beef and macadamias to give as gifts.
He plans to visit friends and relatives as well as travel to different destinations to enjoy traditional Vietnamese dishes. — VNS