Those wondering when is the best time to visit Vietnam need to look no further. Vietnam is an exciting slice of Southeast Asia. From the crumbling colonial vestiges of Hanoi to the mystical spires of Ha Long Bay, and the modern history to be uncovered in Ho Chi Minh City – and all the beaches and highland trekking in between – it’s a wonder to explore.
However, with both a subtropical and tropical climate, Vietnam’s weather systems can vary wildly throughout the year. To help you figure out the best time to visit Vietnam, we’ve broken it down for you month by month. Our guide also features a round-up of the country’s best festivals, helping you plan your trip for optimal fun.
The Climate of Vietnam
Before we dig into this post it’s important to note this is no ordinary “best time to visit” article. That’s because Vietnam has seven different regions that vary in climate drastically. Making your planning and this article a bit more confusing – yay! But we will try and break it down for you so you can plan out when the best time to visit Vietnam is for you and where you are going. So before you decide when to visit Vietnam, you need to determine your itinerary and where you want to visit. Here are our favorite places to visit in Vietnam
Now, let’s break down these climates of Vietnam! The different regions to look at are Northwest, Northeast, North Delta, North Central, South Central, Central Highlands, and the South
Throughout the year and these regions, Vietnam can see monsoon-type weather and dry climates. So wet and a dry season. However, it’s important to note that when the north is seeing torrential rain, the south may not be. For simplicity, we’ll chat about Northern Vietnam, Central Vietnam, and Southern Vietnam more extensively. In general, it looks something like this:
(Hanoi, Halong Bay, Mai Chau, Cuc Phuong, Ninh Binh)
- November – April: Dry Season. Less humidity, cooler, high chance of sunshine
- May-October: Rainy season. High humidity, hot, high chance of rainfall. July to September are the rainiest months of the year.
Quy Nhon, Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Dalat, Nha Trang
- Mid January-Late August: Dry Season, high chance of sunshine
- September-Early January: Rainy season. High humidity, hot, high chance of rainfall especially in October and November.
Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, Ho Tram, Long Hai
- November – April: Dry Season. Less humidity, cooler, high chance of sunshine
- May-October: Rainy season. High humidity, hot, high chance of rainfall. The heaviest rainfall in June, July & August.
Best Time to Visit Vietnam – Monthly Breakdown
Weather in Vietnam in January
During the first month of the year, Vietnam can be surprisingly cold. This goes especially for the mountainous, far north of the country, which can even see snow at snow at times!
Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, sees average temperatures of 17°C. There’s a lot of cloud cover too, meaning only an average of two hours of sunshine per day. Further south, however, the temperature is more moderate – the average in Ho Chi Minh City in January is 21°C, which is the city’s coldest month. There’s lots of sunshine though, with bright skies throughout the month.
Either way, you’ll want to pack extra layers if you choose to visit Vietnam in January. Night temperatures will be colder (around 15°C), and a trip to the mountains will require you to wrap up warm.
Weather In Vietnam In February
In Ho Chi Minh City, February is the driest month, getting a mere 5.1 millimeters of rainfall across the city during the month. Average temperatures sit around a pleasant 23°C, but with highs of around 32°C not uncommon. Further north in Hanoi temperatures are still relatively chilly by comparison, but they’re still rising, sitting at around 17°C.
Da Nang, on Vietnam’s central coast, sees “Chinese Winds” this time of year, which brings cold weather and overcast days. Not exactly the best time of year to visit Vietnam if you want to hit the beach here (or elsewhere).
Weather In Vietnam In March
The historic town of Hoi An, which sits roughly central, can see cool temperatures and grey skies in March. In fact, anywhere north of here sees much the same weather, generally speaking. Towards the end of the month, however, temperatures start to climb in Hanoi, and can reach 23°C. There’s still much cloud cover though.
Almost the opposite, Ho Chi Minh City has plenty of glorious sunshine in March. Temperatures hover between 24°C and 34°C degrees. This is the beginning of the end for the dry season in Ho Chi Minh City and the south of the country, with showers starting up towards the end of the month.
Weather In Vietnam In April
April is a good time of year to visit Vietnam. The flights are cheaper in general, and there are a few interesting festivals to experience (more on that later). Down in Ho Chi Minh City, April is one of the hottest months as temperatures soar in the city center, with average highs of 34.4°C.
Although it’s the start of the rainy season in this part of the country, the rain is usually in the form of heavy downpours in the afternoon, which don’t tend to last too long.
Hanoi’s temperatures also see a rise – the average temperature is 23.5°C. This is cooler than the south, but still pleasant for exploring (much more pleasant than the hot, humid summer). This is a great time to wander around the old French Quarter without sweating buckets. Towards the end of the month, days are more consistently warm in Hanoi.
Weather In Vietnam In May
If you plan on visiting the central highlands in Vietnam, be prepared for heat – in Da Lat the temperature is around 30°C-32°C. That said, the skies are clear and much nicer to hike in the warmth than in the rain!
In Hanoi, temperatures are beginning to hit the 30s, but can still sink as low as 24°C (basically, it gets hotter throughout the day). It’s the first of the Hanoi’s hot months, with temperatures rising towards as the month comes to a close.
Along the coast and in the center, temperatures are also rising, making it a pleasant time of year to enjoy a beach break. In Da Nang, for example, the average sea temperature is a balmy 27°C.
Weather In Vietnam In June
June is a great time of year to visit Vietnam for bargain-hunters – prices are generally low and the crowds are thin. The only problem is that humidity can be pretty high at this time of year as temperatures also rise. Hanoi sees averages of 28.5°C and humidity levels hovering around 71%. Afternoon thunderstorms are common.
Ho Chi Minh City in June sees heavy rainfall and beckons in the start of the typhoon season. Expect thunderstorms and longer bouts of torrential rain as you battle with stifling 80% humidity – not a great time of year to visit. Head to the coast instead – Da Nang and Nha Trang, for example, both hover around 30°C and see plenty of sunshine.
Weather In Vietnam In July
It’s still very rainy in Ho Chi Minh City as July rolls in. In fact, the city receives around 295 millimeters of rain on average throughout the month. The persistent rain makes it not the best time to visit.
Up north to Hanoi, temperatures climb to averages of 29°C as rainfall increases by 20% in June – 290 millimeters, to be exact. This arrives in the form of short, sharp downpours (often in the afternoon) throughout the month. Humidity levels are at 72%.
Central regions see average temperatures of 31°C, clear blue skies, and less rainfall. Therefore, it’s a great time of year to visit Vietnam if you want to check out Hue with its imperial palace and surrounding tombs.
Weather In Vietnam In August
August marks the height of Vietnam’s domestic holiday season, with Vietnamese travelers taking breaks up and down the country. It’s also peak time for international tourists, as summer vacation is in full swing across the world. It also happens to be searingly hot.
Temperatures hit highs of 32°C in Hanoi and yes, it’s still rainy. It’s actually one of the rainiest months in the capital, with heavy downpours almost daily, and 75% humidity to contend with. Bring a poncho (or umbrella)!
Down in Ho Chi Minh City, it’s peak rainy season. The average high is 31°C, but the humidity is at a very sticky 81%. The coast is more pleasant this time of year, as many tourists tend to agree! Hotels, however, get booked up, so make sure you plan in advance.
Weather In Vietnam In September
September is a beautiful time of year to travel around Vietnam as a whole. The crowds of the peak summer months have dwindled, and temperatures also begin to fall – as does that stifling humidity. However, September is the rainiest month for Ho Chi Minh City, as well as its coolest month, with highs of 30°C and lows of 24°C.
Hanoi also sees a decrease in temperatures, with an average of 28°C and lows of 25°C. It’s not a bad time to go on a Ha Long Bay Cruise! Days definitely feel warm, and there are still those afternoon downpours to dodge, but much less frequently than in previous months.
Weather In Vietnam In October
October is a good time of year to hit up the north of Vietnam – There are plenty of things to do in Ha Long Bay, for example, as well as Sapa for trekking in the highlands. Rainfall decreases quite a lot, while hours of sunshine increase, making it pleasant all-round. In Hanoi, temperatures are dipping, with average temperatures of 25°C (towards the end of the month it gets even cooler).
In central Vietnam, however, it’s rainy – in Hoi An, for example, storms can cause flooding. Further south in Ho Chi Minh City, there’s less rainfall compared to September, but there’s still the chance of typhoons hitting this area of the country.
Weather In Vietnam In November
November is a good time of year to visit Vietnam if you’re thinking of hitting up the more southern areas. Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, as well as islands such as Phu Quoc, see sunny days and minimal rainfall. It’s almost like summer.
But in the north and the centre, however, it’s a different story: it’s relatively chilly, overcast and with downpours to be expected. In Hanoi, daily temperatures sit at 21°C, with temperatures falling even more by the end of the month.
In Da Lat – in the central highlands – the average is 14°C, making it positively chilly compared to the south. You’ll definitely need to wrap up warm if you plan on visiting this part of the country in November!
Weather In Vietnam In December
The final month of the year sees a mixed bag of climates. Generally speaking, the north (and center) is chilly, whereas down south it’s hot and humid.
Ho Chi Minh City, for example, sees less rain in December – just 48.3 millimeters – with more sunshine and fewer clouds. Humidity is high, however, hovering around 74%. Temperatures can still hit 30°C.
Hanoi in December sees average temperatures of 18°C, hitting lows of 15°C. Bring layers. And note that, towards the end of the month, accommodation can get busy due to tourists arriving for the Holiday Season.
Our opinion on the best time to visit Vietnam?
Since the weather varies based off geography there really is no right and wrong time to visit Vietnam. It simply depends on where you are going specifically, and at what time of year. Pay attention to your itinerary and base your travels off the weather for those locations!
Festivals in Vietnam
Winter Festivals in Vietnam
Christmas Day (Giang Sinh) is celebrated by Vietnam’s surprisingly sizable Catholic community. While it’s not a national holiday, you can expect celebrations in the form of various masses at churches and cathedrals, such as Phat Diem in Ho Chi Minh City.
Da Lat Flower Festival started off with elaborate flower arrangements but has now become a popular internationally renowned event. It takes place at the start of January every year. The huge flower displays – as well as the live music, food stalls, and fashion shows – make it a sight to behold.
Tet is the big one, though. Otherwise known as Vietnamese New Year and officially Tết Nguyên Đán, this festival marks the start of the Lunar New Year. It falls around late January or early to mid-February. Expect lots of feasting, lanterns, fireworks, and other decorations. Shops and businesses tend to be closed for multiple days.
Hanoi celebrates Quang Trung on the fifth day of the first lunar month (late January/mid-February). Marked by wrestling and human chess, it commemorates the historic victory of Vietnam over China following over 1,000 years of Chinese rule.
Spring Festivals In Vietnam
Coffee is huge in Vietnam, as evidenced by Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Festival. Taking place in early March, the festivities see Buon Ma Thuot, in the central highlands, turn its main park into a coffee capital. This takes place every two years and promotes local coffee growers.
Sometime in April, people honor their ancestors for Holiday of the Dead (Thanh Minh). Families visit graves to tidy them, and they offer food and other gifts for the dearly departed.
The biennial Hue Festival is Vietnam’s biggest cultural event. Taking place at Hue’s Citadel, it’s an extravaganza of music, dance and art, among other festivities.
Summer Festivals In Vietnam
For Buddha’s Birthday (Phong Sinh) in May, celebrating his enlightenment and death, visitors can expect lanterns and big street processions in major cities.
On the fifth day of the lunar month, it’s Summer Solstice Day (Tet Doan Ngo). Usually falling in June, people give offerings to spirits and the god of death during this alcohol-heavy festival. Later in August – on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month – it’s Wandering Souls Day (Trung Nguyen). Food is left out on the streets on colorful altars to feed “hungry ghosts” who wander the streets on this day.
Also in August is the Children’s Festival. Held in Hoi An and Hanoi, locals celebrate the full moon with lion dances, plenty of food, and loud music – a fun event centered around children.
Fall Festivals In Vietnam
Vietnam National Day falls on September 2 and is marked by fireworks in the square in front of Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum in Hanoi. It commemorates the declaration of independence from French colonial rule.
Celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, the Mid-Autumn Festival (Trung Thu) is a time for good food and celebrations across the nation. One tasty specialty is moon cakes, made with salted egg yolk.
The Khmer community in the Mekong Delta area celebrates the Oc Bom Boc Festival in late October or early November. You can see colorful boat races among other things.
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