Vietnam Weather in May: Overview
May is a transition period in Vietnam: spring to summer in the north, dry season to wet season in the south, and warm weather to hot in the center.
- Northern Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa): Influenced by the monsoon season, northern Vietnam becomes hot and humid in May, as summer begins. Rainfall is more frequent as well. Travelling in May, you’d better be flexible and carefully select your destinations. For example, outdoor activities are only suitable on a few sunny days.
- Central Vietnam (Danang, Hoi An, Nha Trang): You can enjoy the dry and sunny central coast of Vietnam in May. However, the Central Highlands are not suggested due to heavy downpours.
- Southern Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc): Southern Vietnam becomes wet and humid from May. The increasing rainfall cools down the temperature in the south a little bit. A flexible travel plan is less affected by the typically afternoon downpours. Check the daily weather forecast, do outdoor activities in the morning and bring rain gear just in case.
You Might Want to Know
Average Temperatures of the Most Popular Tourist Areas in May
|Vietnam Area||Min. Temp||Max. Temp|
|Ho Chi Minh City||27°C/81°F||35°C/94°F|
Average Rainfall of the Most Popular Tourist Areas in May
|Vietnam Area||Rainfall (mm)||Rainy days|
|Ho Chi Minh City||157||12|
The 6 Best Places to Visit in Vietnam in May
Generally speaking, you can visit most of Vietnam in May without too much rainy disruption, especially before mid-May. Sunny days are guaranteed in central coastal cities. Afternoon showers are less disruptive in northern and southern areas in early/mid-May.
Here are the recommended cities:
- Northern Vietnam: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa
- Central Vietnam: Hoi An, Nha Trang
- Southern Vietnam: Mekong Delta
Hanoi is warm and experiences moderate afternoon rainfall in May. The blooming Phoenix flowers signal the beginning of summer in Hanoi. These striking red flowers brighten the city.
Travelling in May, street food is the top highlight of Hanoi. You can always taste the most authentic food in open-air markets at the lowest prices in May. The Old Quarter is an ideal place to go.
Randomly select a vendor, order a bowl of pho (rice noodles with chicken or beef) or bun ca (fish noodle soup) and then have it sitting on a plastic stool like the locals.
On May 19, some ceremonial activities will be held to celebrate President Ho Chi Minh’s birthday at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
2. Halong Bay
Visiting Halong Bay is more price-wise in May — the low season. You can enjoy a more peaceful karst seascape at a better price. Even on the rainy days, dreamy Halong Bay won’t lose its charm.
The sea temperature reaches 27°C (81°F), which is perfect for water activities, like swimming and kayaking.
You can also take a journey into the local floating lifestyle as you float past its floating villages and floating school.
Rainfall is increasing in May, so outdoor adventure is not the top reason for visiting Sapa. But you can still enjoy the watery rice terraces, charming minority culture, and rustic life.
In the planting season, it’s wonderful to capture a picture of a working scene in the rice terraces. Instead of modern machines, they still use the century-old farming method: their hands and buffalo.
4. Hoi An
At its best time, Hoi An offers an abundance of photo opportunities and a richness of history for all travelers. Embracing traditional culture and foreign influence, Hoi An will satisfy your appetite for culture and architecture.
When night falls, you can stroll inside the ancient town, hang out in the lantern-lit streets, and encounter newly-weds in ao dai (traditional Vietnamese costume) or listen to folk songs in a riverside café...
5. Nha Trang
Nha Trang is popular for its white sandy beaches and clean seawater. Unlike Mui Ne and Phu Quoc, Nha Trang is a perfect combo of bustling city life and relaxing beach atmosphere.
Cycle along the coastal road, hike to the Ba Ho Waterfalls or hop on a cruise for a 4-island tour. If you just want a laid-back day, book a beach hotel, enjoy the sunsets/sunrises from your balcony or lie idly on a beach and sunbathe.
6. The Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta sees the change from dry season to wet season in May. So, you’re suggested to visit it in early/mid-May for less rainfall.
You can get a taste of its ancient riverside lifestyle. Take a boat trip, visit a floating market (Cai Rang or Cai Bei), and pick up seasonal fruits in a local fruit garden. As a “rice bowl of Vietnam”, fresh fruits and vegetables are bonuses for foodies. You can try plenty of tasty food and drinks here.
Crowds and Costs in the Medium Range
May starts the low season for visits to northern Vietnam and southern Vietnam. You can avoid crowds and enjoy excellent travel deals.
However, things are different in central Vietnam: crowds and costs increase but not to their peak as yet.
In general, May is fine to travel throughout Vietnam with fewer crowds and favorable deals.
What to Wear in May
- Sun protection: sunscreen, hat, sunglasses
- Waterproof rain jacket or raincoat, umbrella, rubber boots, and light, quick-drying wear should be brought.
- Loose, breathable clothing that covers your knees and shoulders for cultural sensitivity and sun protection
- Swim shorts, bathing suits, and flip flops for a beach vacation
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Insect repellent if hiking activities are arranged
Monthly Weather and Travel Information for Vietnam
Learn about the weather in Vietnam for 12 months and find out the best places to visit each month.
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