8 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam in January

8 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam in January

Weather & Where to Visit Vietnam in January

Rachel Tran Rachel Tran | Published Jun 03, 2020

January is a great month to visit Vietnam. While it’s a bit chilly in the mountainous North, the beaches in Central and Southern Vietnam welcome you with warm breezes and pleasant sunshine. If you’re lucky, you will be able to witness the splendid fireworks display for New Year celebration. Read on to see our top picks for the best places to visit in Vietnam in January.

I. Weather in Vietnam in January

Vietnam weather in January
Photo: vnexpress

January is among the coldest and driest months of the year. Expect to see blue skies and sunshine on most days of the month. 

In the North, temperatures average around 15-18°C with fog and showers now and then. Mountainous areas such as Sapa, Ha Giang might even get snow when temperatures fall below 0°C. Halong Bay is known for its mystic beauty during this time of the year; the limestone islands are hidden under a veil of fog. Pack warm clothes and raincoat if you’re traveling to the North in January.

Central and Southern Vietnam, on the other hand, offer cool breezes and pleasant temperatures. The temperature will gradually increase as you head south, fluctuating around 20-30°C. The Central Highlands of Dalat in Tay Nguyen will be cooler. Swimsuits and sunscreens are must-have, but also bring along some light jackets just to be safe.

II. Places to Visit in Vietnam in January

1. Phu Quoc Island

Phu quoc island - Places to visit in Vietnam in January

Vietnam is known for hosting the best beaches in the world, and Phu Quoc Island is no exception. A tropical paradise, Phu Quoc is everything you imagine: white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and gentle ocean breezes. The island is 50 kilometers from the mainland and a one-hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City.

There are no significant changes in temperatures in Southern Vietnam. In January, temperatures will fluctuate around 25-28°C, while humidity remains low. Water activities of all sorts are available: diving, swimming and snorkeling. While you’re in Phu Quoc, make sure you discover such hidden gems as Bai Sao Beach and Duong Dong Harbour. A lot of Phu Quoc’s islands remain untouched till now, making it an ideal attraction for nature lovers.

2. Mekong Delta

Mekong detla - Places to visit in Vietnam in January
Photo: Tautvaldas Tumenas / Flickr.com

Southern Vietnam is loveliest before summer comes. Another place you cannot miss in the South is the famous Mekong Delta, featuring an array of swamps, rivers, canals and paddies. In January, it won’t be too hot and humid, allowing for most outdoor activities in this vibrant trading center of the South.

The most popular attractions in the Mekong Delta include floating markets in Can Tho and cajeput forests in An Giang. The biggest floating market is Cai Rang, which starts from 5 am in the morning and trades all Southern fruits and vegetables on boats. The cajeput forest in An Giang is best visited in early morning and late afternoon, when sunbeams flicker on top of cajeput trees and over water. With all the vivid colors of flowers, fruits and vegetables, the Mekong Delta is at its best in January.

3. Mui Ne

Mui ne - Visiting Vietnam in January
Photo: Tautvaldas Tumenas / flickr

Also located in the South, Mui Ne is geared towards adventurers. The winds are exceptionally strong in Mui Ne, making for perfect kitesurfing and windsurfing experiences.

Featuring white sand dunes, swamps, lakes, bars and restaurants, Mui Ne is a less-visited hidden gem on the Southern coast of Vietnam. It’s the only attraction that provides hot air balloon services in the country.

4. Hoi An

Hoi An - Vietnam in January

Moving northward, you should stop by the center of Central Vietnam – Hoi An Ancient Town. This UNESCO-listed town is among the most popular tourist magnets in Vietnam, attracting hordes of tourists to its ancient sidewalks and riverways every year.

Featuring a fine mix of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese architecture, Hoi An is a living testament to the bustling trading history in this part of the country. Hosting a few canals inside, this millenia-old town is at its best at night, when hundreds of lanterns are lit to create a magical “Venice” illusion. 

If you wish to see some beaches, Cua Dai and An Bang are the closest ones to the town. 

5. Hanoi

Hanoi in Vietnam in January

You are recommended to check out this age-old capital city no matter which month in year you’re traveling. Hanoi is packed with cultural charms, French-heritage architecture and mouth-watering street food that appeal to tourists regardless of time and weather.

January is late winter in Hanoi; it can get a bit cold and cloudy. Temperatures might fall to 8°C sometimes, which is not too much of a trouble for Westerners. Average temperatures are between 15-18°C, making it perfect for walking the Old Quarter streets, visiting ancient temples and enjoying a food tour. The most-loved local food and drinks to have in winter are Pho (Vietnamese rice noodles), Bun cha (Kebab rice noodles), Bun thang (Vermicelli and chicken soup) and egg coffee

6. Moc Chau

Moc Chau in Vietnam in January
Photo: vivutravel.net-flickr

The Moc Chau Highland is a 6-hour drive to the west from Hanoi. Boasting cool and sunny weather all year round, Moc Chau is definitely most charming in January.

If you wish to take stunning Instagram-worthy photos, Moc Chau is just the place for you. Plum flowers, peach blossoms and sunflowers will all be blooming during January, surrounding you with the staggering beauty of nature. However, flowers will bloom in a short period of time only. Make sure you are present in Ban Ang pine forest, Long Luong and Thong Cuong to witness the best plum flowers you will ever see in your life.

7. Halong Bay

Halong Bay - Vietnam in January

It’s not a popular idea to visit Halong Bay in January, as it will get pretty foggy in early morning and late afternoon. However, there are a few reasons why you should check out Halong Bay in this month of the year.

First, the weather will be really pleasant in January. The weather is cool and clear, with a touch of chill in the early morning. It will be slightly too cold for water activities, but perfect for hiking, trekking and climbing, especially for those loving the chills.

Second, Halong Bay is known for its spectacular cruise trips, which take you through labyrinths of limestone islands and over turquoise waters. Celebrating the Lunar New Year on a cruise is a unique experience: you and your family/friends will be treated with a hearty traditional feast! Such a way to start a fresh year with your beloved friends or family.

Thick fog might prevent you from taking nice photos sometimes. Nevertheless, the misty Halong Bay still appeals in its own way.

8. Sapa

Sapa in Vietnam in January
Photo: Caplock4 / flickr

Tucked away to the northwest of Hanoi, Sapa is far from the hustle and bustle of the big city. It will take 5-6 hours to arrive in this magnificent French-colonial town of Lao Cai.

Sapa in winter is all about the cold and clouds. The whole town might be deep sleeping in mist, which covers most of the mountainous backdrop. If you’re lucky enough, you might catch some snow, which only happens a few times a year.

Make sure you check out Cat Cat Village, a small village inhabited by the H’mong ethnic group, where you can get all sorts of local cuisines and handicrafts. If you wish to see how a local market runs, come to Bac Ha Sunday Market. Colorful brocades, exotic fruits, hot soup and barbecues are on offer in this vibrant hilltop market.

III. Tips for Visiting Vietnam in January

While it’s a great idea to visit Vietnam in January, there are quite a few things you should keep in mind for a better experience:

  • Lunar New Year often comes in late January or early February. During this national holiday, most state agencies, restaurants and shops will be closed in 3-6 days. It’s best to avoid this period of time, unless you have a tour operator to get your back.
  • Pack some warm clothes if you travel to the North. If the South is your destination, bring along sunscreens, insect repellent and light jackets.
  • You should book in advance accommodation and flights to avoid being overcharged. Some destinations can be overcrowded during the days of Tet Holiday.

January is a perfect time to visit Vietnam and check out its beautiful beaches, pristine islands and picturesque valleys. If you wish to get up close and personal with locals, join them in their joyous New Year festival. We hope that our list of the top places to visit in Vietnam in January provided you useful information to make the most of your stay in our country.


Where Do You Want to Go?