Best Times to Visit Vietnam

Vietnam is delightful all year round, but when is the best time to go weather-wise? For those looking to travel throughout and visit northern, center and southern Vietnam, early February is the most favorable time to visit.

Halong Bay, kayaking, Vietnam, cruiseKayaking in Halong Bay

With Vietnam being a very long country that enjoys multiple different climates, each city will have a bigger window of when is best to visit. For example, March, April, October and November are good for northern Vietnam, while central Vietnam sees more typhoons from September to January. The southern region is dry from November to April but better for boat trips when it is wetter between May and October.

You also might want to visit during a festival for an enhanced Vietnamese culture experience.

The Worst Time to Travel to Vietnam (Avoid Rainy and Typhoon Seasons!)

Because much Vietnam experiences rainy seasons with a heavy monsoon as well as typhoons, there are some specific times of the year to avoid particular parts of the country, especially if you are visiting central Vietnam or for specific purposes (i.e. it is not fun being on a beach holiday in Da Nang during a typhoon if you were intending to go on a relaxing coastal holiday!).

  • 1. Northern Vietnam (Hanoi, Sapa) sees its rainy season between May and August.
  • 2. Central Vietnam (Hoi An, Da Nang, Hue) has the worst rain between September and January.
  • 3. Southern Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc) is rainy between May and November.

 

In line with these weather patterns, you will want to avoid summer in Hanoi if you can, as you’ll not only see a lot of rain but also heavy thunderstorms many evenings, and the worst time to visit Hoi An would be during the typhoons later in the year as these can cause a lot of flooding due to heavy rains which can put a damper on your holiday. The south of Vietnam has the least intense rainy season in summer/autumn, but you can still expect short rainstorms to interrupt your day when visiting Ho Chi Minh City.

night view of hoi an Hoi An at Night

Read on for more information about when is best to visit Vietnam’s best destinations and sights, or read our article about the weather across Vietnam.

When is the best time to visit the far north (Sapa)?

The best time to visit the mountainous regions of northern Vietnam where Sapa is located is March and April for warm, dry weather, or October and November for cooler days and a less busy travel season.

Sapa is a township situated in the Tonkines Alps of Lao Cai Province, in northern Vietnam. Visitors to Sapa will enjoy stunning views of rice terraces and mountain peaks, and have the opportunity to go jungle trekking through local tribal villages.

Sapa, Vietnam, village, minoritySapa in Autumn

Spring is an opportune time to visit Sapa, with January to June being the dry season. The summer months are wet and warm, with highs of 29°C (84°F) and 75-90% humidity. September, October, and November offer cooler, clearer weather, but these time periods are all favourable for trekking through Sapa’s incredible landscapes.

If you do go in September, October, or November make sure you’re bringing an extra layer for the evenings or early mornings as they can be chilly! Those visiting Sapa in March or April will want to wear light clothing. As trekking is one of the main activities in Sapa, you’ll want to ensure you are bringing good footwear and that you are also wearing comfortable clothing suitable for physical activity.

When is the best time to visit northern Vietnam (Hanoi)?

Northern Vietnam experiences distinct summer and winter seasons. Hanoi, located in Vietnam’s north, is best to visit between October and February when temperatures are cooler.

This means it will be more pleasant to stroll through the city of Hanoi, which can feel really stuffy on a warm day as it gets a little busy, especially in Hanoi’s bustling Old Quarter which is one of the top sights.

hanoi old quarterHanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi’s cold, dry winters last from November to April, with average temperatures between 16 and 27°C (60-75°F). Spring months may be drizzly. Summer is hot and humid between May and October, with especially heavy rain during July and August.

If you are visiting between October and February, make sure you bring a jumper or light jacket for the early mornings or evenings. Those visiting in summer should wear very light clothing as the months between June and August get extremely warm and humid!

Thankfully there is also plenty to do in Hanoi during the warmer months, as many of the indoor activities are air conditioned. You’ll be able to enjoy the Hanoi Opera House or a Water puppet Show regardless of the weather, as well as learn more about Ho Chi Minh at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ho Chi Minh Museum even if it is warm outside.

Ho Chi Minh MausoleumHo Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi

When is the best time to visit central Vietnam (Hoi An, Da Nang)?

From September to January, central Vietnam is affected by monsoons, bringing strong winds and rains. Travelers visiting during this time should take care to avoid the typhoons that sometimes affect the region.

From mid-January to August, expect hot and dry weather with temperature highs around the 35°C (95°F) mark. Thus, central Vietnam’s cities such as Da Nang and Hoi An are best visited between November and July.

Avoid going between August and November, when rains are heavy and water levels rise. The warm and humid summer holidays (June to August) are peak season along the coastal cities of Vietnam, so ensure you’ve booked your hotels ahead of time.

Hoi An Cooking ClassHoi An Cooking Class

Visiting between November and June you’ll still want to wear light clothing, as the days get warm in Da Nang and Hoi An! Those visiting between August and November will want to ensure they bring an umbrella and suitable clothing such as a light raincoat.

When is the best time to visit southern Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc and Can Tho)?

Vietnam’s south is along the Mekong Delta, where temperatures are consistently warm throughout all four seasons. This area is typically dry from November to April, and will be warmer and wetter between May and October, with the heaviest rain in the summer months.

The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, and Can Tho is between November and March. This is because otherwise temperatures get very hot, and occasional rainy spells will affect your activities especially if you are planning on a beach holiday.

Mekong DeltaMekong Delta

During the months between November and March, you’ll still want to bring light clothing for the day as it is still generally warm during the daytime, but if you are visiting during another month ensure you bring an umbrella and light raincoat to keep dry. Between November and March, make sure you’ve got an extra layer for the early mornings and late evenings.

Vietnam’s Festivals and Holidays

Go to Vietnam during a national celebration or holiday to experience the festive atmosphere and learn more about some of Vietnam’s most amazing traditions and holidays! Here are some of the most exciting holidays to experience while you are in Vietnam.

Tet Festival

The most important holiday in Vietnam is Tet, which arrives in late January or early to mid February, corresponding with Chinese Lunar New Year. During this time, the whole country is bursting with excitement and abuzz with celebration. Read more about Vietnam New Year (Tet)

Visitors all over the country enjoy colorful flowers, lively fireworks, and traditional performances. Tet celebrations in Vietnam usually last from mid-January to mid-February, but make sure you’re checking the date for the year you’d like to visit, as this date changes yearly in accordance with the lunar calendar.

Guests wishing to visit Vietnam during the Tet festival should beware of higher prices and longer lines when traveling, as the whole country is often on the move and Vietnam is also a popular destination for tourists from other countries celebrating Lunar New Year.

It is also important to note that because many Vietnamese people take this time to go home and spend time with their families, you will want to book your train, plane, and bus tickets during the Tet period ahead of time.

Hoi An Lantern Festival

For those looking to visit Hoi An, the Hoi An Lantern Festival is a great time to do this as the city is extremely picturesque during this time.

During Hoi An’s Lantern Festival, which happens every month on the full moon, traditional lanterns will be displayed throughout the ancient town, with the lights of the lanterns reflecting in the water for beautiful sights and a festive ambiance.

Hoi An LanternLanterns in Hoi An

It does usually get busy in Hoi An during this time period, so make sure you are booking your trip (tickets in and out of the city, as well as accommodation and tours) ahead of time!

The Ghost Festival

Celebrated around early September throughout the whole of Vietnam, the Ghost Festival is a day during which the Vietnamese people believe spirits are able to visit the earth.

The night before the festival, thousands of people go to temples to pray and celebrate the return of their ancestors. You’ll see people throughout Vietnam creating altars that they cover in offerings and place in pagodas and at other public places.

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