The best times in the year to visit Vietnam

Vietnam serves up a generous dose of Southeast Asian magic at any time of year, but some seasons are easier for travelers than others.

A lot depends on what you are looking for from your trip – if it’s time on the beach on the central coast, you probably want to stick to the drier months from February to June, before the peak summer crowds arrive; if you’re here to go trekking in the highlands, October to March is the optimum season.

It’s important to be aware that the weather can vary widely as you travel around Vietnam. The country spans 1650km (1025 miles) from north to south, taking in tall mountains in the north and flat, tropical wetlands in the Mekong Delta. In the north, it can be positively chilly in winter; from December to February, the highlands around Sapa can see snow while the Delta basks at 25°C (77°F).

To help you plan a perfect trip, here’s our guide on the best times to visit Vietnam.

A woman sits on a swing connected to a palm tree on a beautiful beach
The high-season months of July and August are the best times to be on the beach in Vietnam © Andrea Pistolesi / Getty Images

July and August are the top months for beach lovers

The hot, sticky high season from July to August is the busiest time of year to visit Vietnam, coinciding with favorable beach weather on the central coast. Demand for flights soars, and prices for accommodations can increase by as much as 50% in resort areas such as Danang and Nha Trang. Book flights and hotels well in advance and expect crowds on the sand at all the popular resorts.

The rest of the country is warm and humid, and sunny days are punctuated by spectacular summer monsoon downpours and even the odd typhoon on the coast. This is a poor time of year for visiting the north, as trekking trails turn into quagmires, and Hanoi and Halong Bay are drenched by heavy showers. On the festival calendar, Trung Nguyen (Wandering Souls Day, also known as Vu Lan) in August sees huge spreads of food left out for the spirits.

Dancing performers move through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City during the lunar new year
Tet Nguyen Dan brings the crowds – and the higher prices © Jethuynh / Getty Images

December to March is the season to visit Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)

Winter in Vietnam tends to be drier and cooler than the sticky summer, and the weather can be downright chilly in the north, particularly at higher elevations. However, this is the perfect time to explore Vietnam’s characterful northern and southern capitals, with manageable temperatures and low humidity taking the sting out of exploring Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) on foot.

If you want to see more of the country, this is also a great time to head out to the Mekong Delta and the island of Phu Quoc, with warm (not scorching) temperatures and clear skies. As April approaches, however, the mercury starts to climb to uncomfortable levels down south.

Another obstacle to easy travel is the Tet festival – officially, Tet Nguyen Dan – marking the Vietnamese lunar New Year, in late January or early February. The whole country is on the move and prices for transport and hotels shoot skywards. 

In December, the biennial Flower Festival brings fragrant blooms, pageants, wine and music to Dalat, while Buon Ma Thuot’s annual coffee festival in March attracts lovers of a good brew. Christmas Day – known in Vietnam as Le Giang Sinh – is a big deal for the Catholic community in Ho Chi Minh City.

Colorful fireworks illuminate the night sky above the Han River in Danang, Vietnam.
The Danang skyline is ablaze in color for the Danang Fireworks Festival during June and July  © thi / Shutterstock

Visit from April to June and September to November to avoid the crowds

The low season in Vietnam coincides with the transition from the cool, dry winter to the hot, humid summer and vice versa. From April to June and from September to November, the weather is often unsettled but rarely extreme. You may get days of glorious sunshine, but there will also be days of rain, so pack for both dry and wet weather.

These transition periods are good times to avoid crowds at the sights, save money and explore the whole country, as the weather is not notably awful anywhere. The October to November window is particularly favorable for exploring the islands and outcrops around Halong Bay (and its calmer and less commercial neighbor, Bai Tu Long Bay), with more dry days than wet days and mild temperatures.

There are some good festivals too. Held in Hue in April, May or June, the biennial Hue Festival fills the city’s historic citadel with color, music and lights, while the Nha Trang Sea Festival brings a similar party mood to Nha Trang every second June. Vietnamese Buddhists celebrate the life of the Buddha with extravagant street processions in May for Phat Dan – best experienced in Ninh Binh or Ho Chi Minh City. Pyrotechnics enthusiasts of all kinds gather in Danang in June (or sometimes July) for the explosive Danang Fireworks Festival.

In the pre-winter season, aim to be in Hanoi on September 2, as Vietnam National Day brings energetic rallies and fireworks to Ba Dinh Square and boat races to Hoan Kiem Lake. Tasty festival foods appear everywhere for Trung Thu, the Mid-Autumn Festival, in September or October, while dragon boats race on the waterways of the Mekong Delta for the Khmer Ok Om Bok Festival in October or November.

Visiting Vietnam during the typhoon season

Technically, the typhoon season in the Northwest Pacific runs from May to November, but in Vietnam, the biggest risk of storms is from August to September. The country sees four to six typhoons in an average year, marked by heavy rain and strong winds. Occasional severe storms lead to flooding and disruption to transport, particularly by air and sea.

The areas most affected by typhoons are the southern coast and the far north coast (including Halong Bay). The weather tends to be most severe near the shore – inland, you may just get heavy rain and the odd power cut. This is a time to be cautious but not paranoid – monitor weather reports and prioritize land-based activities over boat trips, beaches, and diving.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top