Vietnam is a beautiful country which can be visited all year round. However, Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate which affects the temperature and humidity in each region along the border differently in a specific period of time. Moreover, its temperature is also impacted by the latitude and altitude of the area. Therefore, you should consider which part of the country you are visiting and what type of vacation you like in advance to decide when is the best time to travel to Vietnam based on your preferences. In this guide, we will help you look in detail at weather patterns, so you could better prepare for your upcoming journey.
Vietnam weather overview
From May to September, Vietnam has a tropical climate that is influenced by the southwest monsoon and the northeast monsoon from October to April. Due to the narrow and long shape with a more-than-2000-mile coastline, Vietnam has 3 main regions: north, central, and south, each of which has different seasonal features. An easy way to understand the difference is you can imagine that while there can be snow in the far north region, the south immerses in the warm sunshine. However, in general, the best time to visit the entire country is from March to April or October to December when the weather is most comfortable and there are several festivals.
Vietnam weather by region
The mountainous areas in the far North (Ha Giang, Sapa, Mu Cang Chai)
The climate in this region is divided into two seasons: the dry season (from October to late March) and the wet season (from April to September). In the dry season, it is cold and dry, whereas the wet season is hot and rainy. So the most appropriate time to travel there is during the dry season, although it can be frosty in December and January.
For those who are interested in adventurous activities, the best conditions for trekking are from September to November and March to May.
Northern Vietnam (Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Ha Long Bay)
Northern Vietnam has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Winters are characterized as being cold with large amounts of drizzle and little sunshine while summers are hot and rainy with few dry days. The best time to visit this region is spring (from March to April) and autumn (from September to November) when days are generally warm and sunny. Avoid visiting the north of Vietnam from May to early September, given that the air is humid and hot and there is the highest rainfall.
Central Vietnam (Hoi An, Hue, Danang, Nha Trang, Dalat)
Hoi An, Hue, and Danang are located in the center of Vietnam and have hot and dry weather from mid-January to late August, with temperatures often reaching the mid-30s °C. During the winter months, the rainfall increases with October and November achieving peak levels, occasionally in the form of typhoons. However, Hue is often cooler than Hoi An, especially early in the year.
Nha Trang has a longer dry season (typically from January to September) with high temperatures and little rain, while the rainy season runs from October to early December.
Dalat, in the central highlands, has a favorable climate all year round, although it is wet from June to October.
The best time to visit cities in Central Vietnam is from February to May when you can enjoy pleasant weather.
South Vietnam (HCM City, Phu Quoc, Con Dao, Mui Ne)
South Vietnam experiences warm, pleasant temperatures year-round, making travel good at any time; however, the best time to visit South Vietnam is in the dry season which begins in November and ends in April/early May. December, January, and February have temperatures of about 30-32°C while the hottest months of the dry season are March and April. The wet season lasts from May until early November with high levels of rainfall but the rainfall is short-lasting and often occurs in the mid-afternoon. Sometimes it gets flooded on the street, making it difficult to travel around the city. In the far south, the islands of Phu Quoc and Con Dao can be enjoyed at any time of the year. With the high chances of sunny days, visitors can go swimming on the beach and soak up in the sun.
Popular festivals in Vietnam
Lunar New Year (January/February)
Lunar New Year, also Tet Holiday, is the most important national holiday in Vietnam. It is called the lunar new year because it happens on January 1 according to the lunar calendar. This holiday usually happens between late January and early February. this is a special occasion for families and friends to get together after a year of hustling and to welcome the new year with the hope of having happiness, prosperity, and success.
To elaborate, The Tet atmosphere is easy to recognize and it draws up the truest vibe of the Vietnam lifestyle. The street is blanketed with vibrant colors of a wide range of flowers that Vietnamese buy to decorate their house presenting a year of fertility. Additionally, people bustle the streets shopping to prepare for the holiday, and houses are decorated with apricot blossoms (in South Vietnam), peach blossoms (in North Vietnam), lanterns of different shapes, and so on. However, during this time, the cost of transportation, accommodation, and services is relatively high due to the increasing demand in all aspects.
Worth-notedly, you might have heard that shops and restaurants close for a few days, so there is not much to see and do in Vietnam. However, this is only true in the past, currently, most businesses open throughout the Tet holiday. So, you could be worry-free if you visit Vietnam to enjoy the Tet atmosphere.
Lim Festival (Mid February)
Lim festival is held around the 12th and 13th day of the first lunar month in Bac Ninh, which is famous for Quan Ho singing. The festival starts with representatives of villagers offering incense and flowers at the pagoda to worship Nguyen Dinh Dien, who brought great honor to Lim town and also founded the festival. Participants will wear special costumes and vocalists will perform Quan Ho singing. In addition, there will be many traditional games to join such as bamboo swings, tug-of-war, wrestling, rice cooking, and cockfighting.
Huong, or Perfume Pagoda Festival (Mid February/March)
Perfume Pagoda Festival draws many local people all around the country to the iconic Perfume Pagoda to pray for the prosperous year and show respect to Buddha. The festival is celebrated from the 6th day of lunar January until March. Visitors begin with Dragon dance in Den Trinh Pagoda, then take a boat to the Yen River to the base of Huong Mountain. The journey continues by climbing several stone steps to the Huong Tich Cave, where there will be food offerings, statues of deities, and lit incense.
Hung King Temple Festival (Early April)
Hung King Temple Festival is a national event that is held annually from the 8th to the 11th day of lunar March in Phu Tho province to commemorate Hung Kings – the founders of the nation. On the eve of the festival, the main worship ritual takes place in Hung Temple while 100 lanterns are released into the sky. The next morning witnesses a flower ceremony that is held in Thuong Temple. The ceremony ends with a procession consisting of pilgrims, xoan classical song performances, and ca tru classical operas.
Hue Festival (April, May, or June)
Hue Festival is celebrated every two years in UNESCO-listed Hue City. It was founded in 2000 to preserve the traditional customs of the Nguyen Dynasty. This celebration includes numerous cultural events, games, and performances. During Hue Festival, you can enjoy unique showcases such as Dialogue of Drums and Percussions, the Hue Poetry Festival, the Ao Dai Fashion Shows, outdoor activities like kite flying, boat racing, and human chess, as well as street performances, film screenings, and art exhibitions.
Khau Vai Love Market
Khau Vai Love Market is the biggest festival of the ethnic minorities in the Northwestern area. The market takes place annually on the 26th and 27th day of lunar March in Ha Giang Province. It provides an opportunity for locals to find love, for ex-lovers to meet each other again and for traders to exchange their agricultural products. Coming here, you will not only have the chance to get a deeper understanding of the Vietnamese ethnic minorities’ culture but you can also enjoy several cultural activities, performances of folk art, and games which are also organized in the market.
Hoi An Lantern Festival
The Lantern Festival in Hoi An is a monthly celebration falling on the 14th day of the lunar calendar to wish for luck and happiness. On the festival day, all-electric lights in the town are turned off and there are plenty of colorful paper lanterns lit with candles and placed on the Hoai River. You can take a boat ride to experience the festival and soak up the magical beauty of the floating lanterns from another view. Also, you can enjoy many performances that are held along the river with music and poetry readings.
Danang International Fireworks Festival (March)
Danang International Fireworks Festival is held yearly on the 27th and 28th day of March. It is a special event with the participation of seven countries and the host – Vietnam. Every year will have a different theme and competitors have to stick to it to design their performances. Coming to Danang at this time, you can have the chance to watch fireworks of unique shapes shot up into the sky and enjoy the music carrying a meaningful subject. Apart from the fireworks competition, Danang also hosts a variety of cultural, sport, and travel activities throughout the festival.
Mid-Autumn Festival (Mid September)
Mid-Autumn Festival, also called Children’s Festival or Harvest Festival, is held on the 14th and 15th day of lunar August. On that day, you can feel the festive atmosphere with children wearing colorful masks and carrying lanterns, impressive lion dances performed on the street, and food booths selling mooncakes, fruits, and other sweets. Every household prepares altars to display offerings in honor of the full moon.
Da Lat Flower Festival (December)
Da Lat Flower Festival is biennially held in December, when the weather is most favorable and flowers in this city are in full bloom. It is an activity honoring the value of flowers and attracting investment in Da Lat flower industry as well as promoting a positive image of the city, the culture, and the people here. The festival consists of the opening ceremony, flower fairs, flower car march, trade fair, a contest of Da Lat farmers, and the closing ceremony. During the festival, flowers are everywhere on the street, which makes the city more stunning. Coming here, you will get the feeling of entering the land of flowers, colors, and scents.
In conclusion, it is a little hard to tell when is the best time to visit Vietnam because the country is beautiful in a different way in each season. You can travel to Vietnam at any time of the year due to its diverse weather features. However, if you wish to see the whole country, it is a good idea to travel in the dry season (November-April).
In case you still cannot decide when to visit Vietnam, contact us for the best support from our professional and experienced consultants to better plan your trip.
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