All you need to know about the best time to visit Vietnam
Vietnam really is a rising star when it comes to holiday destinations – in fact this country in South-East Asia is quite often at the top of people’s to-do lists! Before you travel to Vietnam though, you should do a bit of research beforehand regarding the best time to visit Vietnam. Sure, you could go to Vietnam no matter what time of year, but there are massive differences in climate from region to region. For the best time to travel to Vietnam, you should also bear in mind the local public holidays and holiday seasons of the locals as well. If you want to visit loads of sights, do a bit of shopping and benefit from cheap hotel prices, you should avoid travelling at those times. I’ll explain the different weather conditions in each region and show you which months are best for a holiday to visit Vietnam. This information should help you plan the best holiday you can!
- North Vietnam – climate and best time to go
- South Vietnam – climate and best time to go
- Central Vietnam – climate and best time to go
- My verdict on the best time to visit Vietnam
- The perfect time to go for a round trip
- More information about Vietnam
- The best time to visit similar destinations
The climates and best time to visit – an overview of the regions
Vietnam stretches across an area of 331,690 square kilometres and borders the countries of Cambodia, Laos and China. The coast borders on the South China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Vietnam ranges from flat plains in the south to mountainous terrain in the North. The differences in climate and weather between these two regions are enormous. The long and narrow country can in fact be split up into three different climate zones: North Vietnam with Hanoi, South Vietnam with Ho Chi Minh City, and Central Vietnam with Da Nang. You’ll find all the climate information below, as well as handy tables with all the info there for you.
The climate in North Vietnam
The entire country features a tropical climate. With autumn and spring being very similar to winter and summer, it’s quite normal to just split the year up into summer and winter. Winters in North Vietnam are relatively mild, whereas in areas at a higher altitude it can actually get very chilly. The winter months from November until April can be best described as cool and dry. The coldest months of the year are December and January. These months make up the dry season and the maximum temperature will be somewhere around 20 – 22°C. Minimum temperatures hover at around 14 – 15°C. Just bear in mind that mountainous regions can be a lot cooler than this.
The summer months are May, June, July, August, September and October. This time of year is hot and humid, with the most rainfall for the region occurring as well. The summer in North Vietnam is the rainy season. June and July are the hottest months with maximum temperatures of up to 33°C. The high humidity can be quite gruelling at times. However the native flora is unbelievably lush thanks to the rain. A disadvantage of the rainy season are the typhoons, which often drift over from the South China Sea from September until mid-October.
To give you an overview of the climate in North Vietnam, I’ve included a climate table for Hanoi. You can get all of the most important tidbits of information from it.
Climate Table – North Vietnam (Hanoi)
|Max. temperature in °C||20||21||23||27||32||33||33||32||31||29||26||22|
|Min. temperature in °C||14||15||17||21||24||25||26||25||24||22||18||15|
|Sunshine hours per day||3||2||2||3||6||5||6||6||6||6||5||4|
|Water temperature in °C||20||19||20||23||27||29||29||29||29||28||25||22|
|Rainy days per month||5||7||11||9||13||11||11||12||10||7||5||3|
The best time to visit North Vietnam
For the perfect holiday to North Vietnam and places such as Hanoi and Halong Bay, I recommend the months of November, December, January, February, March and April. The winter months are the dry season and you’ll have the best weather conditions in the region. December, January and February feature the least precipitation. The temperatures in December and January are summery, but they’re not to hot either. However in more mountainous areas it can be pretty fresh! If you like things to be a bit warmer, you should list November, March and April as the best time to visit North Vietnam. Just bear in mind that there are more rainy days per month during this time and that the rainy season is slowly returning!
The worst time to go to North Vietnam are the months of May, June, July, August and September. The rainy season is in full swing and the air is hot and humid. For us Europeans, such weather conditions are totally out of our comfort zone, so unless you’re experienced in dealing with humid, sticky weather I’d avoid it! The temperatures are known to hit the 33°C mark and nights aren’t really much cooler than that either. The months of July, August and September are the most humid and uncomfortable months to go on holiday to Vietnam. However, during the rainy season you’ll enjoy the longest days and the best water temperatures. If you don’t have a problem with hefty rainfall every now and then, then there’s nothing stopping you from exploring North Vietnam during the rainy season too. But be sure to keep an eye on those weather forecasts – you wouldn’t want to be caught out by a typhoon after all.
The best times to visit North Vietnam at a glance:
- November: 26°C, 5 sunshine hours, 25°C water temp., 5 rainy days
- December: 22°C, 4 sunshine hours, 22°C water temp, 3 rainy days
- January: 20°C, 3 sunshine hours, 20°C water temp., 5 rainy days
- February: 21°C, 2 sunshine hours, 19°C water temp., 7 rainy days
- March: 23°C, 2 sunshine hours, 20°C water temp., 11 rainy days
- April: 27°C, 3 sunshine hours, 23°C water temp., 9 rainy days
The climate in South Vietnam
The climate in southern Vietnam is much more tropical and humidity much more variable. The year here can be divided into two seasons – the dry season and the rainy season. Fundamentally the temperatures across the year are pretty high, yet there are are a few months that are extremely hot and also come with high humidity and lots of precipitation. Between November and January, the maximum temperatures are more bearable with highs of up to 30°C, and lows of around 20°C. The winter months are a warm but dry time of year in South Vietnam. The dry winds from the north-east monsoon are a large factor behind these weather conditions.
Temperatures and humidity rise drastically from February to May. Thermometers can sometimes reach highs of up to 35°C. Nights are a little cooler at around 22°C. The most extreme weather in South Vietnam can be found in June, July, August, September and October – the rainy season. With an average temperature of around 31°C during the day, things are very hot and sticky with lots of rain falling especially in the afternoons. The south-east monsoon is responsible for these weather conditions.
If you want to know the maximum and minimum temperatures, sunshine hours, water temperatures and the number of rainy days in South Vietnam on a month-to-month basis, then just take a look at the climate table below.
Climate Table – South Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City/formerly Saigon)
|Max. temperature in °C||30||32||33||34||32||31||31||31||31||30||30||30|
|Min. temperature in °C||20||22||23||24||24||24||24||23||23||22||21||21|
|Sunshine hours per day||5||6||6||7||6||5||4||4||4||5||5||5|
|Water temperatures in °C||27||27||27||28||29||30||30||29||29||29||29||28|
|Rainy days per month||3||2||3||4||12||14||17||20||21||18||12||7|
The best time to visit South Vietnam
If you’re sick of the grey, cold weather at home, then South Vietnam is a fantastic place to get away from it all! The best time to visit South Vietnam are the months of December, January, February, March and April. While the folks back home will probably be coping with the cold, you’ll be able to kick back and enjoy the perfect weather in Vietnam. December, January and February avail of max temperatures of 30 – 32°C and the number of rainy days ranges from 2 to 7, December being the month with the most precipitation. The least rain falls in February. March and April are the hottest months of the dry season, yet thanks to the low humidity the heat is easy to cope with. If you go to to South Vietnam during the dry season from November to the start of may, you’re doing it right!
The rainy season in South Vietnam takes place from May until October. The months of June, July, August and September see a lot of rain in particular. It doesn’t rain the entire day, but the short downpours can be pretty hardcore. Temperatures won’t drop below 20°C in South Vietnam, with high temperatures across the year in both seasons.
The best time to visit southern Vietnam at a glance:
- December: 30°C, 5 sunshine hours, 28°C water temp., 7 rainy days
- January: 30°C, 5 sunshine hours, 27°C water temp, 3 rainy days
- February: 32°C, 6 sunshine hours, 27°C water temp, 2 rainy days
- March: 33°C, 6 sunshine hours, 27°C water temp, 3 rainy days
- April: 34°C, 7 sunshine hours, 28°C water temp, 4 rainy days
The climate in Central Vietnam
The climate in central Vietnam is special – after all, it’s where the climates of north and south Vietnam meet. Generally speaking, you’ll find a tropical, semi-humid climate with similar temperatures to those in Central Vietnam. The only difference is that in Central Vietnam, you’ll encounter a lot more rain than in the south. The months of October and November in particular promise lots of precipitation. These months also come with the danger of encountering typhoons with strong winds and heavy downpours. Flooding isn’t unheard of during this time.
From January until August, you’ll find the weather is warm and dry. The temperatures climb higher from May onwards and can even reach 35°C during the summer months, so it starts to get pretty uncomfortable. In June and July, temperatures won’t fall below 24°C at night. Temperatures start to slowly sink again once September arrives, however precipitation increases until it reaches a high point in October and November.
There are a few minor regional differences within Central Vietnam as well – for example, the dry season in southern Central Vietnam lasts longer than in other places.
Climate Table – Central Vietnam (Da Nang)
|Max. temperature in °C||24||26||27||30||32||34||34||33||30||27||26||21|
|Min. temperature in °C||17||19||19||23||24||25||25||24||24||23||22||19|
|Sunshine hours per day||5||5||5||6||7||8||8||8||7||5||4||3|
|Rainy days per month||7||6||3||3||5||6||6||7||8||13||12||10|
The best time to visit Central Vietnam
If you want to visit popular destinations such as Da Nang and Hoi An, you should head there in the spring months. I’d recommend the months of February, march, April and May as the best time to visit Central Vietnam, since you’ll find optimum weather conditions and the perfect mix of lovely temperatures and low rainfall, pretty much guaranteeing you a fantastic time.
Staying in may, temperatures start to reach their highs. If you can’t deal with temperatures of around 34°C, then you’re best avoiding the time between May and August. However since it is the dry season, it’s still a potential choice – if you don’t putting up with those high temperatures. I wouldn’t recommend travelling between October and December as the rainy season is in full swing, and you could encounter the odd typhoon here and there too.
The best time to visit Central Vietnam at a glance
- February: 26°C, 5 sunshine hours, 6 rainy days
- March: 27°C, 5 sunshine hours, 3 rainy days
- April: 30°C, 6 sunshine hours, 3 rainy days
- Mai: 32°C, 7 sunshine hours, 5 rainy days
The best time to visit Vietnam – my verdict
When it comes to recommending a general time to visit Vietnam, it can actually be a bit difficult due to the the differing geographical circumstances in each region. However as a rule of thumb I’d definitely recommend coming during to Vietnam for the dry season. That way you won’t be in constant fear of getting absolutely soaked by a rogue rainstorm – or get caught out by a typhoon. Plus the temperatures are pretty much just right – not too hot! Air humidity is at a comfortable level, which avoids any circulatory problems that can arise when its too high. If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam at the beginning of the year, you should find out when the Vietnamese New Year celebrations are taking place. Usually this is at around the end of January or beginning of February. Many Vietnamese people will be off on holiday themselves, so you’ll find that a lot of popular areas will be super busy and that hotel prices will be a lot higher. You’ll also find that many shops, restaurants and sights will be closed too!
|The best time to visit Vietnam|
||October, November, December, January, February, March, April|
|South Vietnam||December, January, February, March, April|
||February, March, April, May|
If you’re an experience traveller, then you could also make your way to visit Vietnam during the summer months as well. This comes with the advantage of coming across few tourists in the country while you’re on the move, and hotel prices will be a lot cheaper.
The best time for a round trip: Vietnam – Cambodia – Laos
Vietnam is well suited for round trips. By crossing the borders into Laos and Cambodia, you can get to know South-East Asia very well – and I guarantee you’ll fall in love. However it’s not just the fact that the countries are all next to each other that a round trip is a good idea. The best time to travel to these countries are very similar, so you could go to Vietnam, Cambodia and Loas and not get caught out by the weather.
The weather in Cambodia features two seasons – summer and winter. Winter runs from November until March, and this is also the dry season. This means that temperatures are at that perfect balance between not too hot and not too cold. There’s also little rain and the air humidity is bearable. The rainy season takes place in summer during the months of May until October. High temperatures, high humidity and lots of precipitation are pretty much all the order of the day. That’s why the best time to visit Cambodia is during the dry season.
Things in Laos are similar to Cambodia and Vietnam as well. There’s a dry season from October until April, with the rainy season running from May until September. Things start to get really hot in March. The extreme temperatures can be beyond the comfort zone of many Europeans. The best time to visit Laos really would be in October, November, February and March.
|Best time for round trips|
||October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May (depending on region)|
|Cambodia||November, December, January, February, March|
||October, November, February, March|
The best time to visit similar destinations