Best Time of the Year to Visit Vietnam

Vietnam Weather & When to Go to Vietnam

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: November 5, 2019

Are you a beach bum or an adventure lover? It does not matter that you are interested in a relaxing trip, a cultural trip or an adventurous one, Vietnam has it all. 

Owing to gorgeous natural landscapes, paradise beaches, dynamic cities and unique culture, Vietnam can offer you a vacation with various possibilities. 

Now, if you are attracted to the thought of traveling to Vietnam, you may wonder: What is the best time of the year to visit Vietnam?

The answer is: your best time to go to Vietnam exactly depends on where you will go and what type of vacation you want to enjoy. Other factors attributing the decision when to visit Vietnam include holidays and festivals.

Choosing when to travel to Vietnam is crucial, both for packing purposes and personal comfort. Below we introduce a seasonal guide highlighting useful information about Vietnam climate, weather by month, and seasons in different regions of the country. Also, you will find an idea of when to visit northern, central and southern Vietnam in VietnamDiscovery’s quick guide.

1. Vietnam Weather Overview

Due to the narrow and long shape, Vietnam has three primary regions, including north, central and south. Each one experiences different season features and weather events. At times, there can be white snow in the mountainous far north but sunshine and wind at the beaches in the south. 

Vietnam climate varies throughout the country at different times of the year, so it is essential to distinguish between the featured weather and climate of each region in Vietnam. 

North Vietnam - Best time of the year to visit Vietnam
North Vietnam

Vietnam weather highlights:

  • The north of Vietnam: the climate includes 4 seasons, which are Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. In northern provinces like Hanoi, the weather from May to October is hot and humid with rainfall, and cooler and dry from November to April. But in the far north, it can be very cold from December to January. 
  • Central Vietnam: The typical climate of central Vietnam is tropical monsoon, also known as tropical wet climate. This region experiences dry, hot weather from January to August with temperatures of up to mid-30°C; while the highest rainfall often happens in September, October, and November.
  • The south of Vietnam: there are only two seasons, dry and rainy season in the south. It is dry and hot from November to April, gets wet and warm from May to October, and has the highest rainfall from June to August.
table of best time to visit Vietnam
Vietnam climate by month

2. Vietnam Destinations By Region

A brief table of the best time of the year to visit Vietnam by region:

Region Best months to visit
North Vietnam January, February, March, April, October, November, December
Central Vietnam February, March, April, May
South Vietnam December, January, February, March, April

Now, let’s start to get to know more about the best time of the year to visit Vietnam by region:

2.1. The North of Vietnam + Mountainous Far North

2.1.1. Mountainous Far North: Ha Giang, Sapa, Bac Ha, Mu Cang Chai

Ha Giang Loop

The climate in mountainous far north Vietnam (like Ha Giang, Sapa) and north-west region (like Mu Cang Chai) is split into two separate seasons: dry season running from October to late March and the wet season running from April to September. It becomes frosty and cold from December to January, particularly at night.

So the best time to visit this region is from October to April (during the dry season), despite it gets very cold from December to January. You should avoid traveling to mountainous far north Vietnam during the rainy season from May to September. 

For those who love adventure and trekking, the best conditions for these activities in Mu Cang Chai and Sapa is from September to November and March to May. 

In fact, cycling and trekking are practical all year round, but the winter months could be pretty chilly and the summer months are rather wet, so you had better consider these features before setting a plan for any activity in Vietnam. 

2.1.2. Northern Vietnam: Hanoi, Hai Phong, Halong Bay, Mai Chau, Ninh Binh, Cuc Phuong,…

Halong Bay Vietnam

Generally featured by the tropical climate, the north of Vietnam has four distinct seasons, namely spring, autumn, summer and winter. 

The best time to visit northern Vietnam is spring (from March to April) and autumn (from September to November). 

The worst time to visit the north of Vietnam is from May to early September. This is the rainy season in full swing and the air is humid and hot, which is particularly out of comfort zone for most European tourists. 

Ninh Binh province

2.1.3. Northern Vietnam Weather Highlights

Northern topography is complex and various with plains, mountains, coasts and continental shelves, but the climate here is basically continental climate, as affected by the Chinese mainland weather. 

Northern provinces of Vietnam experience cold dry winters from December to February, with a minimum temperature of 15°C. The coldest months of the year are December and January, with a maximum temperature of around 20°C. 

The summer lasts from May to September, with hot and humid weather and the highest rainfall. If you do not have any problem with hefty rainfall, then you can still explore North Vietnam during these months. Nevertheless, keep an eye on weather forecasts to avoid the typhoon. 

The high level of humidity could be somehow grueling at times, but local natural flora is incredibly lush owing to the rain. 

Trang An complex in Ninh Binh from above
Trang An complex in Ninh Binh from above

The best time to visit North Vietnam includes:

  • November: about 26°C, with 5 sunshine hours, 5 rainy days, 25°C water temperature
  • December: about 22°C, with 4 sunshine hours, 3 rainy days, 22°C water temperature
  • January: about 20°C, with 3 sunshine hours, 5 rainy days, 20°C water temperature
  • February: about 21°C, with 2 sunshine hours, 7 rainy days, 19°C water temperature
  • March: about 23°C, with 2 sunshine hours, 11 rainy days, 20°C water temperature
  • April: about 27°C, with 3 sunshine hours, 9 rainy days, 23°C water temperature

Best places to visit in the North of Vietnam in each season:

Month Best places to travel
Spring (March-May) Moc Chau, Ninh  Binh
Summer (June-August) Cat Ba, Tam Dao, Co To, Thanh Hoa
Autumn (September-November) Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay, Ha Giang, Cao Bang
Winter (December-February) Sapa, Mau Son, Moc Chau, Mai Chau

What to pack:

  • Light cotton clothes (summer)
  • Warm duffle jacket and boots (winter)
  • Good walking shoes
  • Rain jacket
  • Backpack
  • Sunblock

2.2. Central Vietnam

2.2.1. Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Nha Trang, Quy Nhon, Dalat

Sunset in Da Lat
Sunset in Da Lat (source: Tbone lee / shutter stock)

In general, the climate and weather in central Vietnam is a combination of that of the north and the south, which is a tropical, semi-humid climate. The difference between the climate in Central Vietnam and South Vietnam is that there will be more rain in the South. 

Hoi An, Danang, and Hue are located in the center of Vietnam and feature hot and dry weather from January to August. During this time, the temperature reaches about the mid-30’°C, especially from May onwards, so it gets rather uncomfortable. From June to July, temperatures will not drop down below 24°C at night. Temperatures begin to decrease again after September, but precipitation increases until October and November.

The rainfall increases during winter months, with the peak levels in October and November. There are also occasionally typhoons with strong winds and heavy downpours in the winter, but fortunately, flooding is not heard during this time. 

Nha Trang Vietnam

2.2.2. Central Vietnam Weather Highlights

The best time to visit Central Vietnam includes:

  • February: about 26°C, with 5 sunshine hours and 6 rainy days
  • March: about 27°C, with 5 sunshine hours and rainy days
  • April: about 30°C, with 6 sunshine hours and rainy days
  • May: about 32°C, with 7 sunshine hours and rainy days

Best places to visit in Central Vietnam in each season:

Months Best places to travel
Spring (March – May) Hue, Hoi An, Dalat, Quang Binh
Summer (June – August) Hue, Hoi An, Dalat, Quang Binh
Autumn (September – November) Dalat, Hoi An
Winter (December – February) Dalat

What to pack:

  • Light cotton clothing
  • Good walking shoes
  • Beach gear
  • Sunblock
  • Backpack
  • Enough money to have a piece of tailor-made clothing made (Vietnam Dong/ US Dollars)

2.3. The South of Vietnam

2.3.1. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Mekong Delta, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc island, Con Dao, Phan Thiet – Mui Ne, …

Ho Chi Minh city at night

If you are fed up with the cold, grey weather in your hometown, Southern Vietnam is really an ideal place to take a break from it. 

The best time to visit Southern Vietnam is months from December to April or May.

December, January, and February have maximal temperatures of 30-32°C with 2-7 rainy days while March and April are the hottest months of the dry season.

The rainy season in South Vietnam lasts from May to October. The months from June to September witness a particularly high level of rain while the least rainfall level is in February.  But it does not get rain all day long, but happens accidentally and stops quickly. 

In the South of Vietnam, the temperatures rarely drop below 20°C and high temperatures maintain across the year in both dry and rainy season. The climate of central highlands also follows the same pattern, despite temperatures are cooler, particularly at night.

Mekong Delta Vietnam

2.3.2. South Vietnam Weather Highlights 

The best time to visit South Vietnam includes:

  • December: about 30°C, with 5 sunshine hours, 7 rainy days, 28°C water temperature
  • January: about 30°C, with 5 sunshine hours, 3 rainy days, 27°C water temperature
  • February: about 32°C, with 6 sunshine hours, 2 rainy days, 27°C water temperature
  • March: about 33°C, with 6 sunshine hours, 3 rainy days, 27°C water temperature
  • April: about 34°C, with 7 sunshine hours, 4 rainy days, 28°C water temperature

Best places to visit Southern Vietnam:

Month Best places to travel
March – May Phu Quoc Island, Nam Du archipelago
June – August Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
September – November Vung Tau, Ho Tram, Con Dao, Long Hai
December – February Mekong Delta

What to pack:

  • Light cotton clothes
  • Quality walking shoes
  • Sunblock
  • Backpack

3. Vietnam Destinations By Month

Best places to visit Vietnam each month:

Month Where you should visit Where you shouldn’t visit
January Phu Quoc Island, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Hanoi,
Mekong Delta, Ban Gioc Waterfall, Moc Chau
Fansipan (Sapa), Cat Ba island, Ha Giang
February Hoi An, Mui Ne, Con Dao, Phu Quoc Island, Hanoi, Mekong Delta, Sapa Fansipan (Sapa), Cat Ba island, Ha Giang
March Tay Nguyen (Pleiku & Gia Lai), Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang, Phu Yen, Dien Bien Phu, Quy Nhon, Ninh Thuan, Ho Chi Minh City
April Hanoi, Sapa, Ly Son Island, Ninh Binh, Ho Chi Minh City, Halong Bay, Hue, Da Nang Public beaches on April 30 holiday
May Mu Cang Chai, Cat Ba Island, Pu Luong, Ninh Binh, Nha Trang, Halong Bay Public beaches on May 1 holiday
June Hue, Danang, Con Dao Island, Hoi An, Da Lat, Mui Ne Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Northwest Vietnam
July Halong Bay, Phu Quoc Island, Phong Nha Ke Bang, Da Lat, Con Dao Island, Mui Ne Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, Northwest Vietnam
August Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Phong Nha Ke Bang, Nha Trang, Cat Ba Island, Mui Ne Mekong Delta, Coastal beaches where typhoons happen, Northwest Vietnam
September Hanoi, Sapa, Mu Cang Chai, Bach Ma National Park, Hue, Phu Quoc Island, Mui Ne Phong Nha Ke Bang, Hoi An, Coastal beaches where typhoons happen
October Ha Giang, Hanoi, Sapa, Can Tho – Mekong Delta, Halong Bay, Da Lat, Ba Be Lake – Ban Gioc Waterfall Phong Nha Ke Bang, Hoi An, Coastal beaches where typhoons happen
November Hanoi, Ha Giang, Sapa, Halong Bay, Can Tho – Mekong Delta, Moc Chau, Mui Ne, Con Dao Island, Long Hai, Ho Tram, Ho Chi Minh City Phong Nha Ke Bang, Hoi An, Coastal beaches where typhoons happen
December Moc Chau, Halong Bay, Ban Gioc waterfall – Ba Be Lake, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc Island

4. Vietnam During Annual Festivals

Wondering about the best time of the year to visit Vietnam? Consider planning your trip to Vietnam during annual festivals to experience the culture and vibrancy of local Vietnamese. 

4.1. Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year):

Among festivals, the most crucial and meaningful is “Tet”, also known as Lunar New Year, lasting for about 7 days from the last week of January and the third week of February. During Tet, most Vietnamese families gather to celebrate the festival and party-like atmosphere seems to cover every street corner of Vietnam, especially in the cities. 

There are colorful decorations adorning streets (mainly red and gold), the incense’s scent in the air and splendid fireworks displays booming on the skies, and temples bursting with visitors at this time of the year. 

4.2. Danang International Fireworks Festival (DIFF):

Celebrated in April annually, this festival is a dazzling performance of fireworks displays with the participation of both local and international teams. 

In the festival, Danang city is lightened up in creativity and spectacular colors There is a different theme in annual festivals and each team uses their fireworks performances and music to relate a story about that theme in their own manners. 

It is said that there is no better time to visit Danang than this time of the year. Besides enjoying the fireworks performances along the eastern side of the Han River, tourists can also contemplate natural landscapes and take part in fun-filled activities in Danang. 

4.3. Hue Festival:

Taking place from April to May every two years, this 6-day festival boasts a spectacular range of shows, performances, art exhibits, and cultural activities that celebrate the history and cultures of Vietnam from 19 different countries around the world. 

Ao Dai fashion show, echoes from Perfume River, Hue Citadel, Hue royal inspiration, international art troupes are among noticeable highlights of the festive that you can enjoy if you find yourself in Hue at this time.

Indeed, recommending exactly the best time of the year to visit Vietnam could be a little bit hard because of the difference in geographical circumstances in each region. Nonetheless, one rule of thumb is to visit this Southeast Asian country during the dry season to avoid possible storms or typhoons.

Hope that after reading this brief guide on the best time of the year to visit Vietnam, you to better plan your trip to Vietnam.

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