The recommended time to travel to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is December through April. HCMC's weather is typically divided into two seasons: dry and wet. December through April coincides with the dry season. Its lower temperatures and lower humidity make it the ideal time to travel.
Temperatures in HCMC rarely dip below 16 degrees Celsius (60 F) and highs tend to stay within the range 25 and 30 degrees Celsius (75-95 F), making HCMC relatively comfortable all year round.
- Dry season is December through April
- Wet season is May through January
- Monsoon season is May through November
- The average daily temperature is 22 degrees Celsius (70 F)
- Ho Chi Minh City has a temperate monsoon climate, but due to its location it is less affected by monsoon rains than northern and central Vietnam
- The driest month is January
- The wettest month is July
The dry season from December to April is the most popular time for foreign tourists to visit Ho Chi Minh City. Average daily temperatures from December to February hover around 22-23 degrees Celsius (75-80 F) with blue skies and lots of sun. The temperature picks up to 25-30 (80-87 F) degrees Celsius by March and into April.
HCMC spends an average of 11 hours in daylight during the dry season with around 7.5 of those being in sunshine (sunshine hours). In other words, there is almost no rain and very little cloud cover for a lot of the day.
Unsurprisingly, precipitation during these months is at its lowest, averaging around 4 mm (much less than 1 inch) per month. Afternoon rainstorms do still occur but compared to the rest of the year this is very manageable, for locals and travelers alike.
Being winter time in most Western countries you can escape your home countries' cold temperatures in HCMC, where the days are warm enough for shorts and the nights only require a light jacket or sweater.
December is especially dry and many find this lack of humidity to be the most significant benefit of traveling at this time. Be warned: traveling to any destination during its peak season means you will not be finding many deals.
What to do
There is so much to do in Ho Chi Minh City at any time of year, but during the dry season the city really comes alive. The locals celebrate Christmas, New Year, and Lunar New Year all within the space of about a month and a half. If you are in HCMC during one of these holidays, you'll encounter revelers of all ages and streets lined with decorations.
As well as being a good time for watching Vietnamese locals celebrate Tet New Year or observing how Christmas is celebrated, the dry season is a great time for enjoying the outdoors.
On an Asia Highlights tour you can take a short bus ride to the Mekong Delta region nearby, or stay in HCMC to do some shopping and marvel at the city's architecture.
No matter your preferences, the dry season will have something for you.
While the wet season does see an increase in monthly precipitation from 4 mm (＜1 in) a day in the dry season up to 150 mm (4 in), it does not come with a decrease in temperature, meaning you will not be stuck indoors. Average daily temperatures continue around 22-29 degrees Celsius (75-85 F) and rarely exceed 32 degrees C (95 F)
The increase in precipitation usually comes in the form of a few big rainstorms, usually in the afternoons. This means HCMC still has a monthly average of 12 daylight hours and 5-6 sunlight hours during this season. That is only 1-2 fewer hours of sun than in the dry season, but can still be a perfect opportunity to enjoy the city's indoor attractions.
One might wonder why to travel during the so-called 'wet' season, when 'dry' sounds so much more inviting. The answer is that traveling during the wet season will probably not impact your trip much, if at all. Many people choose to travel to Vietnam during this time of the year since it coincides with the summer holiday.
There are no store closures and there is no mass exodus from the city. Things carry on just as they do in the dry season. Traveling at this time can save around 20% on accommodation, but guides, food, and entry tickets will all be the same price, so savings are typically limited.
What to do
The wet season has its very own festivals. Vietnamese Reunification Day falls on April 30th and is one of the most significant holidays in the country. The day after is May Day, a legacy of French colonial times. Vietnam's National Day falls in September, accompanied by some serious celebrating by locals.
Any of these holidays can be a great opportunity to observe Vietnamese traditions and traditional celebrations.
In addition to holidays, HCMC has plenty to offer that will take you out of the rain and humidity. The Saigon Opera house offers daily performances in Vietnamese and occasionally in English, and is housed in a beautiful building. The War Remnants Museum is a testament to the strength of the local people and is an educational stop.
Perhaps you would prefer the Museum of 3D Art, or retail therapy at one of HCMC's many modern malls or bargain markets? No matter your interests, HCMC has something for you.
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