When to Visit ?
The weather in Vietnam is like a beautiful girl with an elusive character, and makes the country special, different from neighboring countries such as Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam weather is varied. The North, Center and South of Vietnam all have different weather patterns and can be very different from each other even at the same time of year. This sounds like it will be difficult to figure out the best time to visit Vietnam. But we’ll break it down for you here and help you decide the best itinerary that allows you to see and do the most no matter what month you travel.
HANOI, HA LONG BAY, SAPA, MAI CHAU, HA GIANG, BA BE
Hanoi and other provinces in the North of Vietnam have the 4 distinguishable seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Spring is from February to April, and often comes with drizzles and high humidity. The temperature is from 9-19 C (48-66 F) and even lower in the mountain regions such as Sapa, Bac Ha, Dien Bien, Ha Giang, Ba Be, Mai Chau, Moc Chau, Pu Luong...it is also the most beautiful, when trees burst their green buds and flowers cover the mountains. Spring is ideal for flower photo hunters, but it is too cold for swimming in Ha Long Bay, and other Northern beaches. Sometimes it is foggy and not ideal for hiking in Sapa or Mai Chau as it is very hard to see the beautiful scenery around you.
Summer is from May to August. Temperatures can reach 41 C (105 F) some days. Some have said that walking in Hanoi in summer is like sitting in a huge sauna room. Big cold bottles of water are available everywhere, and we recommend always carrying 2 in summer. However, it is a great time to visit Ha Long Bay, Cat Ba island, and other beaches in the North of Vietnam. Photographers, both amateur and professional, choose summer to trek through the beautiful green carpets of rice terraces in Sapa, Mu Cang Chai, Mai Chau, Pu Luong, and Dien Bien. Later in summer, rice terraces slowly turn from green carpets to yellow carpets.
Summer also brings some seasonal typhoons that appear in the Pacific Ocean, and spread thru Philippines before reaching Vietnam. Typhoons come several times in July and August that causes heavy rain and strong winds on the Bay of Halong. Most summer trips to Halong Bay are uninterrupted, or experience showers or storms for a couple hours or less. If after you book your travel, your trip to Halong Bay coincides with a predicted typhoon, your boat cruise may not be feasible, and we will check the weather in Vietnam and change the date of your Halong Bay trip in advance! During these months in Sapa or other Northern mountain regions, rains rarely last consecutively for 2-3 days--it’s just a few hours of rain and then it stops. Trekking routes can usually be changed to less muddy routes, as the area is vast,
Autumn may be the best time to visit Hanoi and the remote areas of the North as far as the weather. From September, temperatures are down to 24-25 C (74-77 F). Sunshine is gentle and leaves start to change their color. September to November is an ideal time for tourists who plan to explore Hanoi on foot. Autumn in Hanoi and its temperature are very similar to summer in Europe. In Sapa, the rice terraces turn to beautiful yellow by September, then harvested, but the mountains remain green and scenic.
The coolest time (maybe not cold for European people!) in the North of Vietnam is the winter from the middle of November to January with the lowest temperature around 5-7 C (41-55 F) and the highest is 15 -17 C (59-62 F). In the mountain regions of the North, temperatures are sometimes down to zero C (32 F) or below in Sapa, Fansipan mountain or Mau Son peak in Lang Son province. These areas had a rare snow in 2016 and thousands of the local youth went there just to touch their hands against snow or take photos! It’s a great time to trek and explore when it is cool, as the mountains are still very green during these months and much more comfortable compared to summer!
THE CENTER – HUE, HOI AN, DANANG, NHA TRANG
The Center of Vietnam includes Quang Binh - home of Son Doong cave, the largest cave in the world, Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Phong Nha cave, Thien Duong Cave, Quang Tri - DMZ war remnants, Hue, Bach Ma National Park, Danang city, Hoi An, Quy Nhon, Tuy Hoa and Nha Trang city. The best time to visit Vietnam Center and enjoy amazing beach relaxation is from March to August. Summer time, with bright sunshine, high temperatures (up to 38+ C / 100 F some days) and low humidity. It’s an ideal time for your honeymoon in Vietnam, or family vacation in Vietnam. We’ll help you find the best places to visit in Vietnam if you are looking for a beach vacation, depending on what type of experience and level of accommodation you are looking for.
Rainy season is September - December, of which November has the highest rainfall, around 30% of the whole year. Rain can be non-stop and last for a week or several weeks. Visitors during the rainy season typically will encounter medium rains for a day, where you can visit the sites with a car transfer from our hotel, or put on raincoat or sturdy umbrella and waterproof shoes and explore. Each year there is usually a period of 1 or 2 weeks when it rains continuously. We recommend packing shoes you don’t mind getting wet or muddy, a rain jacket/poncho, and a sturdy umbrella during these times. Biking and motorbiking is better left for other regions during this time.
January and February have the lowest rainfall but it’s still chilly due to the effect of winter in the North of Vietnam. The historical cities and Hue and Hoi An are good cities to visit in the center of Vietnam during this time. In general, beach lovers should only come to the center of Vietnam for beach stays from March to August—that’s half the year to choose from. For people who come to the center of Vietnam for its historical stories, oriental architecture, culture and culinary, the centre of Vietnam is an ideal place all year round, even on rainy days, where you will want to switch from riding motorbikes to a car and a raincoat or umbrella.
DALAT, HO CHI MINH CITY, MEKONG DELTA, PHU QUOC ISLAND
In the south, the weather in Vietnam has only two seasons, starting from Dalat, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Phan Thiet, Mui Ne, Dong Nai, Cat Tien National Park, Ho Chi Minh city, My Tho, Ben Tre, Sa Dec, Tram Chim National Park, Can Tho, Chau Doc, Phu Quoc island, Con Dao island, Vung Tau and Long Hai beach. Vietnam weather is more predictable in these places.
Rainy season starts in May and ends in October. It rains more often in the afternoon and at night but sun shines in the morning. Heavy thunder showers come suddenly and leave quickly. During this season, some travel activities are not suggested such as bird watching, or pure beach relaxation. Con Dao Island, Phu Quoc Island, Vung Tau, Phan Thiet, Mui Ne have the best beaches in the South of Vietnam with a wide selection of top luxury 5* resorts, and from May to October have the lowest occupancy because the weather can be rainy daily and the sea can be rough with cold water and strong waves. It is a good time to get a deal though, if your expectations are aligned.
Dry season in the south of Vietnam, therefore, lasts for the other six months from November to April with the average temperature around 29 C (84F) and some days up to 40 C (104F). It’s the best time to plan a beach holiday in the South of Vietnam. Phu Quoc Island, Con Dao Island, Vung Tau, Phan Thiet and Mui Ne are hot destinations for both locals and visitors from other countries. It’s a great time for swimming, snorkeling, kite surfing, wind surfing. The dry months are also the best time to cruise the Mekong river, explore the Mekong delta, and explore wildlife in National Parks or Bird Watching.
WE HOPE THAT HELPS
That's an overview of Vietnam weather. We’ve heard feedback from hundreds of clients about what they loved and didn’t like during each time of year. Our experience allows us to help you plan the best itinerary no matter what month you travel. The best time to visit Vietnam really depends on what you want to see and do and when you can go. Contact us today to start planning a free itinerary.