There is so much to experience in Vietnam, from the historical attractions and temples in the North to the stunning beaches and floating markets of the South.
When deciding when to visit Vietnam, you have to consider the weather. Vietnam is a long country (spanning a whopping 1650 kilometers), meaning the climate varies dramatically in different parts. At some points of the year, snow might be on top of the mountains in the North, while beachgoers in the South bask in the sunshine.
Vietnam can be divided into three regions: North Vietnam, Central Vietnam, and South Vietnam. Each area has its own micro-climate, making it a little complex to determine when the best time is to visit the country as a whole. As a general rule, some of the best times to visit Vietnam are between November and April. However, the exact month will depend on where you’re going.
Visiting Vietnam by Region
To help you choose the best time to visit this remarkable destination, we’ve broken down the best time to visit by region.
The best time to visit the far mountainous North (Sapa, Bac Ha, Ha Giang, and Mu Cang Chai)
The climate in the far North is generally divided into two seasons. A dry season spanning from October to March, and a rainy season from April to September. December and January in the far North can get extremely cold (and frosty!), especially overnight, so it’s best to avoid these months unless you’re kitted out for the cold.
If you want to trek in Sapa or Mu Chang Chai, the best time to visit is between March andMay or September and November. During these months, you’ll avoid the heaviest rainfall and coldest months.
Best time: October to November (as December and January can get pretty freezing) or March to April (just before the rainy season arrives).
The best time to visit the North (Hanoi and Halong Bay)
Hanoi and other parts of north Vietnam have four seasons (spring, autumn, summer, and winter.) December and January are the coolest months (however, they’ve got nothing on the coldness of the mountainous North!) In terms of climate, the North has a subtropical, humid summer and a cold, dry winter.
During the summer months (from April to October), the weather is characterized by heat and humidity, and this can be a little challenging for those unable to traverse such conditions. The cool and primarily dry winter runs from November to April, and temperatures are usually between 17 – 22 degrees.
May to September also signify monsoon season, meaning that Hanoi and Halong bay are prone to showers during this time. Generally, travelers might want to skip the heat and the rain and avoid June and July.
Best time: Autumn (September – November) and spring (from March to April) for dryer, more moderate temperatures.
The best time to visit Central Vietnam (Hội An and Hue)
Central and South Vietnam offer a wider timespan for travelers since they boast more consistency temperature-wise. Central Vietnam has a tropical, semi-humid climate, meaning that it’s dry and hot from January to August and has high amounts of rainfall from September to December.
Best time: February – May (For warm temperatures and less rain.) However, things can get very hot from May onwards so it’s best to avoid this time if you’re not a fan of the heat.
The best time to visit the South (Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta)
South Vietnam has two seasons, namely a dry, hot season, which runs from November to April, and a warm and wet season, from May to October. During the wet season, June and August see the most rain. Nonetheless, rain appears quickly and suddenly stops, meaning that it doesn’t rain all day long, and there is some respite.
From December to February, South Vietnam sees temperatures of between 30 – 32 degrees with about seven days of rain. This makes it a fantastic time to visit if you’re looking for a delightful beach holiday.
In the South, the temperature doesn’t drop too dramatically between the seasons. As a general rule, temperatures will rarely drop below 20 degrees.
Best time: December – March (For warmer, dry weather). This makes it a great time to skip the cold temperature of the South.
Visiting During the Vietnamese New Year
When planning a trip to Vietnam, travelers should also consider Vietnamese new year celebrations, known as Tết. Dates are determined by the lunar calendar and usually fall between January and February. During this time, the country is a bustling and festive time for families, and many locals travel around the country to be with loved ones. For this reason, travelers planning to visit in these months should plan in advance.
Vietnam is a fantastic destination with so much to offer travelers. Whether you are a beach bum who loves sojourning on the sand or an adventurous spirit who adores trekking through the mountains, there is so much to do in this gorgeous country! If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, you’ll need to factor in the two monsoons that dictate weather patterns.
Once you’ve ticked Vietnam off your list, why not try these other incredible south-east Asian adventures like Cambodia, Thailand, or Singapore? There really is so much to see and do in this part of the world, and I am almost certain that once you get a taste for these iconic destinations, you’ll be planning your next trip the moment you set foot back home.
We’d love to hear your stories if you’ve been to Vietnam! When did you visit, and where did you go? Share your top tips with us.