The best time to visit Halong Bay is between March and July. This peak season offers the best visibility, climate, and experience. If possible, however, to avoid the crowds at local holiday times, April 30th and May 1st should be avoided.
Tourism to Vietnam is popular all year round and Halong Bay can be visited at any time of year. Typhoon weather patterns and precipitation in the wet season, however, can negatively impact a Halong Bay cruise more than other trips in Vietnam, so for a cruise choosing the right time to go is imperative.
- Peak season is late March through early July
- January through March tends to be cool and rainy, sometimes with fog
- The uniquely fragrant sweet and sour Cambodian cuisine will excite your taste buds
- July and August constitute the typhoon season
- November is particularly pleasant and dry, avoiding the peak season
- Annual precipitation in the region is 2.1 meters
The peak season: March–July
The peak tourist season in Halong Bay brings thousands of tourists from all round the world to marvel at the emerald waters and jagged cliffs. Average temperatures during this time are between 17 and 20 degrees Celsius (80-90 F) and there is sunshine practically every day.
Sea temperatures are high this time of year, making it an ideal time for swimming, snorkeling, and other marine activities. With 43 mm (2 in) of rainfall expected during each of these months, you will want to make sure to pack a raincoat, but do not expect to spend all your time indoors.
Cool (Rainy) season: January–March
Cool might be a surprising term for Halong Bay at this time of year, to travelers who come from truly icy climes, but it is cool compared to the rest of the year. With average temperatures reaching their max around 17 degrees Celsius (62 F) and dropping even lower at night, January and February are especially cool.
Do not be alarmed, however, if you have already purchased your tickets. Sea temperatures remain comfortable enough for swimming and as long as you pack a coat or jacket, you might enjoy this less crowded and more peaceful time of year.
The Vietnamese New Year is celebrated in late January or early February and some cruise lines will stop services at New Year, so check your calendar before you depart.
Typhoon season: July and August
With an alarming name like typhoon season you might be wondering if anyone travels to Halong Bay at all during these two months. The answer is yes! In fact, early July is one of the busiest times in the area.
Typhoons (called cyclones or hurricanes in different regions) are large tropical storms that bring lots of wind and rain. They vary in magnitude and frequency depending on the conditions. By no means are these months prohibitive of travel and with preplanning it can be done.
Heavy winds and rains can cause delays or even cancelations of cruises so always make sure before you purchase your ticket. Travelers’ insurance and guarantees of reimbursement can ensure that even if the weather turns bad, you can get your money back.
The Port Authority closes and opens the Bay according to the weather, so your vessel’s captain might be forced to cancel the trip at his discretion. Always get insurance if you wish to cruise at this time.
What to pack
- Sturdy shoes with slip-resistant soles for wearing on the boat deck
- Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare off the water
- A light rain jacket
- A heavier coat for the colder months
- Quick-dry clothing works best for the humid climate
- Locals wear sandals and you’d be well-advised to bring some of your own
- Plastic bags or a cheap rain poncho can be used to wrap up used wet clothes, or to protect dry valuables
Frequently asked questions
Q: If there is bad weather will they cancel our cruise?
A: If there is a typhoon or severe tropical storm the Bay might be closed and cruises will be canceled. For normal fog, light rains, and wind your cruise will still be likely to depart.
Q: If our cruise is cancelled due to bad weather or for other reasons will I get a refund?
A: It depends. Some cruise companies such as Indochina Sails will refund your money, but others will not. Each company has different conditions for refunds, so make sure you know what you are getting before you buy.
Q : How can trip insurance protect my purchase?
A: If your trip is cancelled for any reason you will be protected by our Trip Cancelation and Interruption benefits. This will reimburse you for any prepaid, non-refundable, or forfeited costs on your trip, up to the covered amount.
Q: When is it too late to buy trip insurance?
A: You can only book trip insurance 24 hours prior to the storm weather warnings. After the storm has been named your Trip Cancellation or interruption benefits will no longer cover the cost of any trip cancelled by that storm.
Q: How much can bad weather impact my trip?
A: It depends on you! If you require clear blue skies for professional level photography than you had better travel during a drier month. Halong Bay, however, has some sunshine every day, all year round.
We recommend avoiding typhoon season but during the rest of the year, Halong is a great destination. Even on foggy days the sea and mountains are breathtaking and rains in the peak season tend to be warm.
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