Vietnam is an amazing country to explore. You’ll find lots of history, culture, temples, and beaches. And it is still surprisingly affordable. Located in the tropics, Vietnam has some amazing weather, but to give yourself the greatest odds of not getting caught in scorching summer sun or monsoon rains you’ll want to have a read through our guide on the best time to visit Vietnam for our tips on when to travel.
We cover the weather, the diverse areas of the country, travel by month and season, as well as trying to plan your trip around some wonderful festivals and events.
Weather In Vietnam
While the nation of Vietnam is not all that large, it is very diverse, and this includes the weather. If you are planning on visiting several different cities in Vietnam, you’ll want to be prepared for the varying weather in different parts of the country.
You can easily experience hot and humid weather in Ho Chi Minh city, Monsoon Rains in Hoi An and cool and overcast weather in Hanoi, all within the same weeklong trip to Vietnam.
Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa
The North of Vietnam is more temperate and cooler than the rest of the country. While the summers can be hot and stifling, the winters are typically cooler (50’s F), with many overcast days and drizzling rain.
July to September are the wettest months of the year with significant rainfall that may washout a trip to Halong Bay if you are unlucky.
The best times to visit the North is the spring and fall. Typically from March to May and September to November. You’ll bypass the hot summers and cool winters and avoid some of the heaviest rainfall.
Hoi An, Hue, Danang, Nha Trang
The tourist destinations in Central Vietnam are located in a tropical coastal area that sees warmer winters and hot summers. The area isn’t as effectected by the summer monsoon season and typically sees rain later in the year compared to the North and South. The rainy season is from September through December.
January through August is the best time to visit Central Vietnam, avoiding the heaviest of rain. It starts getting hot from May until September.
Ho Chi Minh City, The Mekong Delta, Phu Quoc
It is hot all year round in South Vietnam. The rainy season is during the summer months but stretches from May to Mid-November.
The best time of year to visit the South of Vietnam is from December till April. Avoiding the heavy monsoon rains and the high temperatures. Things start really heating up from March until June, where temperatures can average in the mid 90’s. It’s been known to get over 100 degrees during that time.
Climate of Vietnam
Vietnam is characterized by two climate zones, the temperate zone of the north and the tropical and subtropical climates of the Central and Southern regions. It is affected by the monsoon season which often brings heavy rains to large parts of the country.
While the north of Vietnam is cooler than the rest of the country, especially during the winter, it is relative. Hanoi may have low’s in the 50’s while the more mountainous areas like Sapa may dip into the 40’s. Although this may be cool compared to the rest of the country and South East Asia, if you come from a really cold winter climate it will seem very tolerable.
Weather Table – Temperature Averages + Rainfall
|Avg Temp Low (F)||70||73||75||79||77||77||75||75||75||75||73||70|
|Avg Temp High (F)||90||91||93||95||93||90||90||90||88||88||88||88|
Visiting Vietnam During Monsoon Season
Typically June – September
If you plan on visiting Vietnam during the Monsoon Season, bring your umbrella. The monsoon season in South East Asia can bring lots and lots of rain. It can range from systematic daily downpours of an hour or two, to days of straight rain where streets flood and you are stuck in your room with nothing to do.
Most days you’ll get some rain where you can duck inside your favorite bar for an hour or two and wait it out. Other times a storm front will sit over your city for a week and it may seem like it will never stop. It can really ruin a trip of a lifetime if you pick the wrong week.
Visiting Vietnam During Typhoon Season
Typically June – November
The tropical weather is part of the reason people want to visit South East Asia. But like anywhere in the world there are good and bad things when it comes to the weather in Vietnam. Typhoon season would fall into the latter category.
If you aren’t familiar with Typhoon’s, they are tropical storms, similar to hurricanes, that occur in the Northwestern Pacific. They can bring high winds, massive rainfall, and extreme damage. Typhoon Haiyan, aka Tropical Storm Yolanda was one of the most powerful ever recorded with winds reaching over 300 mph.
There is no way to predict when or where a Typhoon might form, at least when you are performing trip planning in advance. So it is hard to plan around them, unless you just decide to travel outside of the typhoon season all together. Which isn’t a bad idea all together, December till April is a really nice time to visit Vietnam, and it is outside of typhoon season.
If you do choose to travel to Vietnam during cyclone season, make sure you have a plan in place incase you are confronted with one of these tropical storms.
If you are interested in taking in the most of the Vietnamese culture, you may want to consider planning your trip around one of the many local festivals that takes place during the year.
Tet Holiday (Tet Nguyen Dan) – Lunar New Year In Vietnam
The Tet Holiday is probably the biggest celebration in Vietnamese culture. It is based on the Chinese Lunarsolar calendar and the date can fall sometime in January or February.
While it is an important Vietnamese holiday, it may not be a good option for a first time traveller to Vietnam or for those only there for a short time. Shops and tourist attractions shut down the day before Tet and several days after which can really impact your sightseeing… and it can be tough to find a restaurant that is open to get a good meal.
Many people go home for the holidays so transportation like trains and buses are fully booked making it hard for tourists to get around.
Hue Festival – April-May (every two years)
This celebration takes place biannually so you are going to need to plan ahead. It has a selection of cultural activities and events that visitors can observe.
Mid-Autumn Festival – September
Head to Hoi An to take in the Mid-Autumn or Harvest Festival. You’ll see a large range of activities from lion dances to paper lanterns..plus lots of amazing street food.
Hoi An Lantern Festival (14th day of each lunar month)
On the 14th of each month, Hoi An is turned into an amazing display of glowing lanterns. Every place of business turns off electric lights and relies on the hundreds of candle lit lanterns to illuminate the town.
How Much Are Flights To Vietnam
Another thing to consider when choosing the time of year when you want to go to Vietnam is the cost. Flights and accommodations are going to be cheaper in the off season than they are during the peak season.
As a general rule, you’ll likely find these are the High and Low seasons of Vietnam. However it can vary by which area you are travelling in.
High Season – December through April (Milder weather and a lot less rain).
Off Season – May through November (Typically the wetter months).
So, What is the best time to visit Vietnam?
Our general recommendation is trying to plan your trip for sometime between December and April. It will give you the chance to experience the best weather in all parts of the country as well as take in a festival or two.
But there really isn’t a bad time to go to Vietnam. It is a year round destination that you’ll have fun exploring no matter what. It’s a lot of fun and for those history buffs there is plenty to see and do. The food is great (can’t get enough Pho) and the people are welcoming.
Vietnam is one of South East Asia’s prime vacation destinations.