The climate in Vietnam is defined by the monsoon season. There are marked differences according to altitude and latitude; Temperatures in southern Vietnam remain calm throughout the year, while the north experiences various seasonal variations. If you are visiting the south of the country, the driest months tend to be between December and April, while the north of the country is generally drier in the spring and fall.
Vietnam can be enjoyed any time of the year, but the weather plays an important role, especially if you plan to go hiking and outdoor activities. Monsoon rains can sometimes be so intense in urban areas that streets are flooded and transportation is completely closed.
To aid your planning, this “guide to visiting Vietnam” takes a detailed look at the weather conditions and how these can affect the tourism plans, trips, outdoor activities and festivals that take place throughout the year. All of this will help you determine when is the best time to travel to Vietnam.
Spring (March – May)
March and April in Vietnam are quite warm, with temperatures averaging around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually, the rain starts strongly in late April and in May the heat and humidity are intense. The advantage: fewer people.
- March: In terms of weather, March is perhaps the best month to visit Vietnam if you want to see the whole country. Temperatures in the north are rising, so March is a great time for adventure and hiking in the highlands and mountains. The clear skies around Halong Bay make it the perfect time to take a boat trip and stop at the attractive Cat Ba Island. The dry climate means that you can visit the impressive Phong Nha Caves in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, which is home to the largest cave in the world. You can be sure of the sun and hot days in the south, which means that lazy days on the beaches and water sports are a must, also on the beaches of the central coast, such as in Nha Trang. The central highlands are generally hot and dry now, so now is a good time to visit Da Lat and its surroundings.
- April: Temperatures in the north rise as summer approaches, and some rains are not uncommon. But it is still very pleasant and ideal for hiking, with spring flowers in full bloom that make the area especially beautiful. Central Vietnam captivates with its blue skies and sunshine, so head to the charming town of Hoi An and nearby An Bang Beach, and the wide sands of Da Nang. Further south, Nha Trang is at its best. The temperatures in the city of Hue are pleasant and the highlands are experiencing wonderful weather at the moment.
- May: The south becomes more and more humid as the monsoon season enters, but short afternoon rains are easy to avoid. The north is warming up and seeing more rain, though it’s still generally dry and great for exploring the great outdoors. The central coast is the ideal place this month, with warm and sunny days.
Summer (June – August)
Summer weather may vary depending on where you are in the country. The south is quite warm, with maximum temperatures regularly exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and it often suffers from frequent heavy rains. If you’re in the north of the country, you’ll want to bring enough bug spray – mosquitoes are at their peak, thanks to frequent heavy rains.
- June: The rainy season in the south is in full swing and flooding is frequent, and rains increase in the central highlands. The north is heating up and getting more and more humid which means the hike can be dangerous, so bring the right shoes and the right outer layers if that is part of your route. But don’t let the rain stop you from visiting Vietnam. The central coast is at its best, perfect for hanging out on the beaches near Hoi An, Da Nang, and Lang Co, and the south still has many dry hours during the day. Hanoi in the north and the Mai Chau valley are still mostly dry.
- July: with heavy showers at both ends of the country, a story similar to June. The highest temperatures in the north and on the central coast are on average 31 ° C. But if you don’t mind a barbecue, it is always a good month to go to the beaches, as there are still many clear days. and the rain compensates for some of the heat. Rain in the central highlands means that trekking conditions are poor. In addition, transportation can be more complicated, sometimes tearing up roads and cutting off even more remote villages. Hanoi tends to be very humid.
- August: If you are planning to hike in Vietnam, avoid going in August as the northern mountains and central highlands are currently experiencing peaks of rain. And the downpour of rain in Halong Bay means you should forget about taking a boat trip this month. Conditions on the central coast are generally quite good, especially in Nha Trang, although the good days are coming to an end.
Autumn (September – November)
The rains continue until September and October, but typhoons can cause storm surge. Unsuspecting tourists should also be wary of the fact that central areas of Vietnam are prone to hurricanes during the fall months.
- September: The north and the south experience days with high temperatures but it becomes drier, which opens the possibility to go back to trekking in the north, around Sa Pa.
- October: If hiking and other outdoor adventure activities are your thing and you’re wondering when to visit Vietnam, October is a great month. The sun sets its hat again in the north and the dry climate provides ideal conditions for Sa Pa and the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark in Ha Giang Province. Now is a good time to explore the picturesque Mai Chau Valley, its golden rice fields during harvest season, set against the backdrop of jagged mountains, and visit the villages of the Thai white minority. Meanwhile, the south is drying up and heating up. It is a great month to visit the Mekong Delta and its floating markets.
- November: Mild temperatures in the south and favorable conditions in the north make it an ideal month to visit both ends of the country. Choose from the southern beaches or go hiking in the north. November is also the best time of year to visit Vietnam on a Halong Bay cruise.
Winter (December – February)
Finally, in December, the country dries up. Winter is the best time for a Vietnam seaside vacation, but the northern part of the country can be calm, cool, and gloomy. Expect temperatures around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and occasional drizzle.
- December: Most of Vietnam enjoys dry and sunny conditions in December. Central Vietnam is the exception, which is gradually coming out of its rainy season. So now is the right time to head to the south coast if you want to sunbathe and spend some time on the beautiful beaches of Vietnam. Beaches like Mui Ne or on the island of Phu Quoc are great this month. It is also a good time to visit Ho Chi Minh City, with average temperatures of 26 ° C. Outdoor activities in the north are good in December. However, it is a bit chilly, especially in the mountains, so plan for extra layers.
- January: the winter cold hits the north. This is often accompanied by persistent fine mists, which could spoil the view of Halong Bay. There is also the risk of ground freezing in higher areas, or even infrequent snowfall. Don’t be intimidated by outdoor activities: Although January is the coldest month in mountainous areas, like Sa Pa, rainfall is lower, making for perfect hiking conditions. Hanoi has a pleasant temperature of 20 ° C on average. The southern tip of the country is firmly in the dry season in January, so now is a great time to explore cities like Ho Chi Minh. It’s a great time to try water-related activities, like diving, around Phu Quoc. The beaches of Nha Trang and Da Nang also start to appear in January, as the central coast sees the end of the rains.
- February: Vietnam experiences optimal weather conditions throughout the month of February. The south and central coast are ideal for beach lovers, perhaps with only a little rain on the beaches between Hoi An and Da Nang. If you can get away from the sand near Da Nang to immerse yourself in the alleys of the city, you will have the best street food in Vietnam. The north sees the increase of cold, leaving clear and warm days to walk and explore the area. Tet or Lunar New Year dominates the calendar. While it is wonderfully festive at all times, keep in mind that much of the country closes during this time, including restaurants and museums.