When is the best time to visit Vietnam? 

The best time to visit Vietnam is from March to April when rainfall is low and temperatures are milder.

In a country more than 1,600 kms (1,000 miles) long, the weather in Vietnam varies considerably as you go from north to south, from a temperate to a tropical climate. While this variety makes Vietnam a year-round destination, spring (March to April) is typically the best time to visit the entire country, when days are generally pleasant, temperatures are moderate and rainfall is light. Tropical monsoons bring heavy rains and occasional flooding during other parts of the year, while extreme temperatures can make summer days uncomfortably hot and sticky.

Below is a guide for the best time to visit different regions of Vietnam…..

When to visit North Vietnam (Sapa, Hanoi, Halong Bay)

An Intrepid guide leading her tour past rice paddy fields in Sapa, Vietnam

The north of Vietnam experiences cold dry winters from December to February, where overnight temperatures can dip to 4°C (39°F). The summer months (May to August) are typically very hot and humid. The best time to visit northern Vietnam is during spring (March to April) and autumn (September to November), when days are generally warm and sunny.

When to visit Central Vietnam (Hue, Hoi An)

Woman looking at all the brightly coloured lanterns at a shop in Hoi An, Vietnam

The coast of central Vietnam is often battered with typhoons during its wet season. It’s difficult to predict when these heavy rains and hurricane-like winds can hit coastal cities like Hoi An, but generally typhoon seasons runs from August to November. The rainy season usually subsides in February, when you can expect warmer temperatures and more sunshine. While travellers will experience pleasant weather in Central Vietnam any time between February and August, sunny 30°C (86°F) days are the norm in July and August.

When to visit South Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta)

A collection of colourful boats on the shoreline and in the water at a beach in the south of Vietnam

South Vietnam experiences warm, pleasant temperatures year-round, making travel good at any time. The dry season generally runs from December to May and a rainy season runs from June through November. While flooding can occur, rain usually comes in short bursts and rarely impacts travel. In fact, the monsoon season is often the best time for photography as dramatic thunderheads float across the Mekong Delta and rice fields turn a vibrant emerald-green. Some, however, might find temperatures unbearable from March to May, when the mercury regularly reaches 40°C (104°F).

January

Best for: exploring Hoi An’s Old Town, swimming and other water-based activities

While it might be winter, January is considered one of the best times to visit Vietnam as the country experiences warm, sunny and relatively dry weather. Temperatures and weather patterns can differ slightly depending on your location in the north, south or central part of Vietnam but, on average, you can expect highs of around 25°C and low humidity levels.

The atmosphere is also likely to be festive thanks to various Luna New Year (Tet) celebrations happening around the country, so make sure you get involved as much as you can. Popular destinations to visit during January include Hoi An and the southern islands of Phu Quoc and Con Dao for some much-needed beach time.

February

Best for: bar hopping in Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta day trips and lounging at rooftop pools

Weather patterns are generally at their best in February, meaning mostly dry and sunny days with temperatures at an average of 23°C. Central and south Vietnam tend to be warmer than the north, so if you’re after a beach holiday, head to the southern islands for ultimate relaxation or to Ho Chi Minh City if you want those rooftop pool vibes.

February is also likely to be busy with Luna New Year (Tet) festivities ongoing, but you can escape all the hustle and bustle on a day trip to the Mekong Delta, where water levels are high enough to see the floating markets in all of their glory.

March

A tablescape laden with plates of traditional Vietnamese cuisine

Best for: exploring national parks, rainforest walks and dining on Vietnamese cuisine

Temperatures in March are on the rise, especially in central and southern Vietnam, where highs can get to a sweat-inducing 29°C+. Northern Vietnam is still relatively cool with plenty of sunshine during the month, so you can get outside and start exploring some of this country’s beautiful national parks and rainforest areas. There’s also never a bad time to try Vietnamese cuisine but March is one of the best months for growing star fruit and rambutan, so make sure to taste these sweet snacks during your trip.

April

Best for: Hue Festival celebrations, learning about ancient traditions and temple visits

April is still firmly entrenched in Vietnam’s ‘best time to visit’ season and enjoys warm but comfortable temperatures; however, a transitional period (weather-wise) is just around the corner, so expect an increase in rainfall and humidity levels, especially in the south. The peak season crowds are also starting to thin out in April, so it’s a good time to visit popular temples such as Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi and Thien Mu Pagoda in Hue.

May

Best for: pottery village visits, exploring historical buildings and wandering through markets

While May is technically the first month of the wet season, it still remains a popular time to visit Vietnam because of its generally favourable weather. However, you can expect different weather patterns depending on your location due to the varying climates. Rainfall is starting to increase in the northern regions, such as Hanoi and the Sapa Valley, while central Vietnam retains temperatures of around 30°C and enjoys blue skies and relatively dry days.

June

Best for: museum visits, cycling and trips to Con Dao National Park

While it boasts the title of ‘hottest month in Vietnam’, June is still a relatively good month to visit the central regions of the country with sunny days that are perfect for cycling and relaxing on the beaches in Danang and Nha Trang. The same can’t be said for the south, where downpours are now a daily occurrence. The slight positive, if you’re visiting Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho in June, is that while these daily showers are heavy, they’re often short-lived and occur in the afternoon, giving you plenty of time to wander outside in the mornings.

While it’s raining, you might want to spend your time in some of the fascinating museums in Ho Chi Minh City, such as the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Palace or do some serious shopping while you wait for the rain to ease up. June also marks the start of Green Turtle nesting season on the beaches of Con Dao Island. If you’re in the vicinity, visiting Con Dao National Park to hear about their conservation program will add another layer of awesome-ness to your trip.

July

The turquoise waters and surrounding beach of Paradise Island, Vietnam

Best for: beach days, diving and checking out UNESCO World-Heritage listed sites

July is considered to be in the middle of the low season in Vietnam, so popular destinations like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are less crowded and accommodation is generally cheaper. However, the weather varies a lot from region to region, so you must plan accordingly to avoid disappointment or disruption to your travel plans.

Central Vietnam’s weather patterns remain relatively the same as in previous months, so spending time in Hue and Hoi An are good options if you’re into plenty of sunshine and rain-free days. The northern regions, such as Halong Bay and Sapa experience hot, stormy weather with temperatures reaching 30°C+ most days, while the south is still firmly in its wet season, so a mix of rainy days and sunny weather is the norm.

August

Best for: watching baby Green Turtles hatch, learning how to cook Vietnamese food and beach lounging

If you’re set on trekking through the mountainous regions of northern Vietnam, then August isn’t the month to travel in, but if you’re more interested in lounging out on beaches in Hoi An and Danang, then start blocking out the dates in your calendar – you’re good to go.

Yes, temperatures in central Vietnam can reach beyond 30°C+ but short bursts of rain are common (especially towards the end of the month), and they’ll give you a slight reprieve from the heat. Watching baby Green Turtles hatch should also be on the agenda if you’re visiting Con Dao Island as they start their slow but adorable journey to the sea from mid-August onwards.

September

Best for: Mid-Autum Festival celebrations, trips to Hoan Kiem Lake and exploring the Mu Cang Chai valley

September sees both the northern and southern regions emerge from their hot and humid seasons while central Vietnam enters its monsoonal era – think torrential downpours and flooding in places such as Hoi An and the caves of Phong Nha. While typhoon season technically started in June (and runs until November), they’re more likely to occur in September, so be aware of changing weather conditions and keep up to date with local advice.

Destinations like Hanoi and Phu Quoc experience 14 and 17 days of rain respectively (out of the month), so they still promise plenty of days where the sun is shining and temperatures aren’t too warm. There’s also celebration in the air thanks to the Mid-Autumn Festival and Vietnam Independence Day, both occurring in September. Why not make the most of these cultural events and immerse yourself as much as you can?

October

Best for: Keo Pagoda Festival celebrations, Halloween festivities and day trips to Moc Chau

While October’s weather isn’t optimal country-wide, it’s still possible to have a great holiday in Vietnam during this time - in fact, it’s probable. Temperatures are starting to come down again after summer heat in the northern regions, while typhoons are less likely to occur in the south. However, central Vietnam is still in the thick of its wet period so it’s best to avoid those areas if you want to spend your holiday outside enjoying the country’s beautiful landscapes.

November

Two women kayaking the peaceful waters of Halong Bay, Vietnam

Best for: Halong Bay cruises, fishing and mountain hiking

Move aside central Vietnam; November is the northern regions’ time to shine (literally). The rainy days of the summer season are finally gone (mostly) and temperatures are no longer stifling, so it’s the perfect time to explore the country’s breathtaking mountains.

Beachside destinations such as Phan Tiet and Mui Ne in Vietnam’s south are also ready to wave goodbye to typhoon season and hello to excited travellers looking to make the most of the region’s sunny, clear weather. Indulge in 27°C days and spend your time laying out on pristine beaches or swimming in crystal-clear waters.

December

Best for: island life, performing Tai Chi and Christmas and New Years Eve celebrations 

Fantastic weather is well and truly on the cards for southern Vietnam in December with near-perfect conditions and comfortable temperatures. Humidity levels are also low with little to no rainfall expected throughout the month so why not spend your time outside by walking in parks, laying out on a beach or participating in some Tai Chi?

Central Vietnam should still be avoided if you’re not keen on stormy weather; however, expected rainfall does decrease dramatically so it’s entirely possible to get lucky with a few clear days if you’re travelling to this region in September. Preparations for Christmas and New Years also ramp up as the month goes on with cities nationwide getting into the festive spirit by decorating storefronts and hosting markets. 

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