The weather in Vietnam is quite different throughout the year. Thus, choosing the best time to visit the country is the first step to ensuring a perfect trip.
Vietnam is a sprawling country that stretches from the high mountains on the Chinese border to the humid plains of the south, spanning over 3,000 kilometers of coastline. You can get your Vietnam visa for Canadians and fly to the country to discover beautiful things. This makes it possible for your trip to encounter dry periods on one day and rainy days on the other, just because you have moved from one region to another.
Thus, before planning the trip, it is good to know that, regardless of the time chosen to visit the country, the climate found will be very diverse throughout their regions.
What is the best time of year for visiting Vietnam?
Simply put, the best time to travel to Vietnam is from November to April.
But to put together a detailed travel itinerary, it is necessary to delve into the climatic variations of the country. And for that, you need to understand what the weather is like in Vietnam in the three main regions in which the country can be divided.
The weather in the different regions of Vietnam
To build a travel itinerary that runs the length of Vietnam, the ideal is to imagine the country as consisting of three distinct destinations:
- The North: Hanoi, Halong Bay, and the Mountains
- The Center: Hué, Hoi An and Nha Trang
- The South: Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, and Phu Quoc Island
Because each of these regions has its characteristics and climate, choosing the best time to visit Vietnam by organizing a single trip that covers all three areas can become a complex task.
Average temperatures in Vietnam
The weather in Vietnam is far from just hot and humid all year round, as this issue is usually presented in a cursory analysis.
The south of the country, in the region around Ho Chi Minh City, is the only region where temperatures resemble the rest of mainland Southeast Asia, with April being the warmest month.
The farther north, the more identifiable are the seasons, with cold, dry winters in stark contrast to the rest of the country. In the far north, in the mountains bordering China, winter can bring the temperature down to near zero, possibly even snowing (!) In colder years.
The rains in Vietnam
In northern and southern Vietnam, the rainy season runs from May to October. The dry season, therefore, from November to April, coincides with the best time to visit Thailand and other countries in the region, making it great for planning a road map for Southeast Asia.
In central Vietnam, the story is different. The area is affected by monsoon rains beginning in late August and extending to the end of the year. During the rainy months, there is even a risk of typhoons forming and a visit is not recommended.
The North: Hanoi, Halong Bay, and the Mountains
The climate in northern Vietnam begins the year with the lowest rainfall and equally low temperatures compared to the rest of Southeast Asia.
In Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, the milder temperatures in January can make the visit more enjoyable and in no way lessen the enjoyment of Halong Bay tours and cruises. For those who want to go to the mountains, cold clothes become a necessity. From March the temperatures rise and a visit to the mountainous regions becomes highly recommended.
From May to mid-October is the season with the highest temperatures of the year and also when the monsoon rains come in the north, with June, July, and August being the rainiest months. During this time the visit to Halong Bay is at risk and plans to climb the mountains are canceled. As the great attraction of the region are the trails, they will be muddy or even blocked due to excessive rain.
By the end of October, the rains cease, Halong Bay cruises have very little risk of failure and the trails are once again tourist-friendly. Throughout the region temperatures remain high, gradually decreasing over the months as winter approaches again.
The Center: Hue, Hoi An and Nha Trang
The central region of the country brings together a little of each of the available models of tourism in Vietnam. Here is the imperial city of Hue and historic Hoi An, the former demilitarized war zone near Da Nang, the beaches of Nha Trang and the mountain hikes in Dalat and inland on the Laos border.
So visiting the center of the country is a chance to explore a little of all that Vietnam has to offer but without the “fame” of the country’s best-known destinations. And as the monsoons affect the region almost inversely to other areas of the country, the center becomes a sure destination for those who want to know the country, even out of the ideal time to visit its largest cities.
Vietnam’s climate in its central region makes visitation conducive to the first months of the year. For those who enjoy a mountain trail, it is still cold in January, but there are already beaches in Nha Trang, and in the largest cities in the region the year starts with a great climate.
From February to June the region is at its peak with all the highly recommended activities. In June and August, the weather is still great for the beach and visits to cities near the coast.
From September onwards the rain arrives from time to time throughout the region. And they become so intense in October and November that tourism is inadvisable. Hoi An’s historic city center, for example, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most touristy in central Vietnam, is prone to flooding and flooding during this period of heavy rainfall is common.
The South: Ho Chi Minh, Mekong Delta, and Phu Quoc Island
Southern Vietnam is the region of the country that maintains the most regular climate throughout the year. Temperatures and humidity are always high above, so deciding when to visit its attractions such as Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, or Phu Quoc Island is a matter of analyzing your rainy season.
In the south of the country, as in much of Southeast Asia, there are only two seasons: dry and rainy. The dry season runs from mid-October to April and rainfall takes place from May to September.
Unlike in central Vietnam, where rainfall has a flood face, in the south, the dynamics are more like a tropical climate, with torrential rain concentrated in the middle of the afternoon. This makes it, although not ideal even in the rainy season, around here it is possible at this time to visit even the beach regions, such as the island of Phu Quoc, near the Cambodian coast.
From January to March is a great time to visit southern Vietnam, with high temperatures and almost no chance of rain. In April through mid-May, the rain is not showing either, but the environment is extremely hot, even more than normal, even by local standards.
At the end of May, the rain arrives for good and is usually present until mid-October. As they are hardly severe or last for many hours, even in these months you can still risk a visit to the region, but for those who have few days available it may be preferable to direct your route to another part of the country.
By the end of October, the weather in southern Vietnam returns to its dry season, with November and December being excellent choices to enjoy all the attractions.