The best time to visit Vietnam

Updated: 16th August 2019

Sapa rice terraces - Best time to visit Vietnam - On The Go Tours
For the best weather across Vietnam visit between February and April

When is the best time to visit Vietnam?

Opposing monsoon seasons in the north and south of the country mean that the climate in Vietnam can be quite different from one region to the next. If you're looking to cover as much of Vietnam as possible in one trip then the best time to visit is between February and April when the weather is dry and bright across the entire length of the country.

Seasons and Weather

Vietnam has a highly variable climate that's best explained by dividing the country into three distinct regions - the north, central and the south. These regions experience two distinct weather patterns - the northern part of the country has four seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) while the southern half has just two with the wet and dry seasons.

What are the weather patterns like in north Vietnam?

The north experiences the northeast monsoon between the months of November and March, which brings great swathes of mist to popular areas like the rice terraces in Sapa and the karst limestone outcrops of Halong Bay.

Despite this being labelled the monsoon season, ironically, Hanoi is at its driest in December and January. Though temperatures do drop so be prepared for chilly nights. Hanoi also experiences the majority of its rainfall in July and August and these are not great months for hill tribe trekking around Sapa.

The best time to visit the northern regions of Vietnam is between October and December when the skies are clearer and there's less rainfall. During these months there's also a break to the high humidity of recent months. March is another great month to travel around northern Vietnam.

What are the weather patterns like in central Vietnam?

Central Vietnam’s coastal areas, which includes Hoi An, Da Nang and Hue, benefit from the protection of the Truong Son mountain range. This region escapes a lot of the rains from the southwest monsoon between April and September thanks to these mountains, which means you can expect sunny days during these months.

Unfortunately, the mountains don't protect these destinations from the northeast monsoon, which falls between September and December, coupled with typhoons from the Western Pacific. Flooding has been known in certain areas such as Hoi An during these months.

The best time to visit central Vietnam and its lovely beaches is between April and August when you can expect sunshine and blue skies with pleasantly hot temperatures. Around Dalat and the highlands rainfall starts to increase around June, so April and March are the ideal months for trekking in this particular area.

What are the weather patterns like in south Vietnam?

Southern Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta) benefits from a long dry season between December and May when the skies are clear, the landscape is lush and the Mekong Delta is calm. The monsoons arrive towards the end of May and stay until about November.

Monsoon showers are generally short and sweet and shouldn’t deter you from travelling. If you’re in Ho Chi Minh City during these quite spectacular showers, you’ll be wowed by how quickly the water dissipates due to very impressive drainage and then it’s blue skies again.

Thinking of visiting Vietnam? Download a copy of our Asia brochure for inspiration.

Climate | Hanoi


JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C131417202326262624221815
Temp Max °C202123283233333231292622
Rainfall (mm)18283881196239323343254994320

Climate | Ho Chi Minh City


JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C212223242424242423232322
Temp Max °C323334353332313131313131
Rainfall (mm)15313422133031526933526911456

Climate | Hoi An


JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C192021232425252524232220
Temp Max °C242627303334343431282725
Rainfall (mm)102311218474299117447530221209

Upcoming events

To help plan when to visit Vietnam here's an overview of the calendar for the next year:

2019:

September 2nd - National Day (countrywide)
September 13th - Mid-Autumn Festival (countrywide)
November 10th-20th - Oc Om Boc Festival (Tra Vinh and Soc Trang province)

2020:

January 25th - Tet, Vietnamese New Year (countrywide)
February TBC - Lim Festival (Lim village near Hanoi)
March 28th-30th - Thay Pagoda Festival (Quoc Oai near Hanoi)
April 30th - Liberation Day (countrywide)
May TBC - Giong Festival (Phu Dong Village near Hanoi)

There's also a number of national holidays in Vietnam and on these dates many businesses and some tourist sites will close for the day so plan your visit accordingly.

Best Time to Visit Vietnam
MAP HIGHLIGHTING THE BEST TIME TO VISIT VIETNAM BY REGION

Best Time to Visit by Region

Stretching over 1,000 kilometres in length, Vietnam is a vast country that sees huge regional diversity in its climate. Here we take a closer look at the weather patterns in some of the country’s most popular destinations.

When is the best time to visit Hanoi?

Hanoi is relatively humid year-round and receives a large amount of sunlight. It also experiences four seasons, with hot summers and high rainfall during July and August and dry cold winters from December to February.

The best time to visit is during spring, from March to April, and autumn, from September to November. These months are relatively dry with balmy temperatures.

When is the best time to visit Halong Bay?

Those wanting to visit Halong Bay should time their trip during spring, from March to May, or autumn, from September to November. The pleasant temperatures and dry climate make this an excellent time to explore aboard a traditional junk boat cruise.

However, if you are a more budget-conscious traveller, you may wish to time your trip between May to September. Although this summer season can see sporadic storms, this is considered the low season and you could save a great deal on cruises.

When is the best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City?

Although Ho Chi Minh City is blessed with a pleasant climate year-round, it still experiences two distinct seasons that travelers should be aware of. December to April sees the dry season, with hot temperatures and low humidity.

The rainy season then runs from May to November. Whilst these months see higher humidity and more frequent showers, they are interspersed with sunny spells.

When is the best time to visit Hue?

Hue has a tropical climate that can be divided into two distinct seasons. August to January sees the colder wet season and rainfall can frequent and heavy. March to August is then considered the dry season, with pleasant temperatures and less rainfall.

Tourist numbers are at their highest from New Year until the end of March, so it is recommended to visit during the rest of the year for fewer crowds.

When is the best time to visit Sapa?

March to May and September to November are considered the best times to visit Sapa, with the latter months being best for views of Sapa’s famous green terraces. During both these periods the weather is relatively stable, with sunny dry days and cool nights.

Although the weather in summer, from April to May, isn’t as warm as in other regions of Vietnam, it does bring plenty of colour to Sapa’s scenery, with bright flowers and lush green fields. Many Vietnamese tend to visit the region to admire the blossoming cherry trees after the Lunar New Year.

Beach on Phu Quoc island, Vietnam
Vietnam's beaches experience rainfall at different times

Best Time to Visit Vietnam's Beaches

The best time to visit Vietnam’s beaches depends on which area you want to go to. Though as the best beaches stretch from central to southern Vietnam, there's always a good beach break to be had no matter what season you are travelling in.

When's the best time to visit Vietnam's central beaches?

The beaches around Danang and Hoi An on the central coast are warm year-round, with temperatures peaking during the summer months of July and August. The dry season runs from February to July, with August to November seeing rainfall increase and the potential for a typhoon to hit.

When's the best time to visit Vietnam's southern beaches?

Vietnam’s southern beaches likewise experience warm temperatures year-round, but different destinations experience rainfall at different times. The beaches at Nha Trang are affected by the monsoon season from September to January and occasionally see typhoons hit with torrential rain.

Phu Quoc, on the other hand, is best avoided from July to October due to rainy and wet weather. Whilst Mui Ne generally experiences less rain, its rainy season lasts from June to September and brings light afternoon showers. Con Dao is hot and humid throughout the year, with heavy rains from July to September.

Full Moon Festival Celebrations - Southeast Tours - On The Go Tours

Festivals and Events

The Vietnamese calendar follows the patterns of the moon and differs to the Western year. A number of festivals and events take place from quiet visits to ancestral altars to vibrant nationwide celebrations. Here's our pick of some of the best festivals and events.

What is Tet?

Tet, or the Vietnamese New Year, is one of the most important festivals with celebrations starting a week before the date. Families gather together to indulge in eating and drinking of specialty foods and welcome in spring with a clean of the house and a new haircut. At midnight on the New Year people hit the streets to make as much noise as possible with firecrackers and drums.

What is the Lim Festival?

Taking place in the village of Lim 18 km from Hanoi, the Lim Festival features two of the best female singers from one village and two of the best male singers from a second village singing to one another in lyrical dialogues. Settings for these 'dialogues' include local pagodas, in the surrounding hills and even on floating boats.

What is the Thay Pagoda Festival?

This annual event pays homage to the Vietnamese monk, Tu Dao Hanh, who lived at the Thay Pagoda, located 30 km southwest of Hanoi in the shadows of the Sai Son Mountains. The day begins with worship with games and water puppet shows held in front of the temple later in the day.

What is Liberation Day?

Also known as Reunification Day, this public holiday marks the day the Vietnam war ended with the liberation of Ho Chi Minh City back in 1975. Events are held throughout the country though Hanoi sees some of the most interesting parades, performances, local festivals and firework displays.

What is the Giong Festival?

This festival commemorates the national hero Saint Going, one of the four immortals of Vietnam who defeated the An invaders. Held annually in Phu Dong Village outside of Hanoi, a large and colourful procession moves from one temple to another culminating in a feast and opera performances.

What is the Mid-Autumn Festival?

Also known as the Full Moon Festival as it falls on the night of a full moon, this is one of the Vietnam's most entertaining festivals, especially for children who celebrate with toys, cakes and candies including moon cakes made with delicious fillings. During the day dragon dances take place in the streets and in the evening lanterns are lit and released into the night sky.

What is the Oc Om Boc Festival?

This religious festival is held by the Kho Me ethnic minority group in Vietnam to worship their moon god in hope of a successful harvest and good health. Dishes of food are presented in shrines and temples, paper lanterns are released into the sky and traditional Ngo boat races take place on the river.

When is Vietnam's National Day?

Observed on the 3rd September to commemorate the Vietnam Declaration of Independence from France back in 1945, this public holiday often involves firework displays, especially in Hanoi's Ba Dinh Square where people gather to celebrate.

Want to know more about Vietnam? Check out our latest blog posts

Site Closure Dates

Museums in Vietnam are closed on a Monday.

In Hanoi the Ho Chin Minh Museum is only open in the morning from 8am to 11.30am and closed on Monday and Friday.

See Also

When planning your trip to Vietnam take a look at our other handy resources:

Best Places to Visit - what to see in Vietnam
Tourist Visas - details on visa requirements for different nationalities
Top Travel Tips - useful information on money, health and junk boats in Vietnam
Traveller Reviews - see why our passengers enjoy our Vietnam tours
Popular Touring Destinations - combine the key drawcards of Vietnam in one tour
Hoi An Lantern Festival - all your frequently asked questions answered
Vietnam Video Lounge - stunning travel videos filmed in Vietnam
Trekking in Vietnam - a guide to the top spots, best time to go and more

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