With a tropical monsoon climate, knowing when to go to Vietnam can be tricky, especially if you’re planning to explore the entire length of this narrow 600-mile-long country. But don’t be put off; despite its unpredictability, it still has some incredible experiences to offer year-round. If you are planning to cover the whole of Vietnam, consider September-December or March and April, otherwise follow the patterns below to determine where to go when:
The seasons in Northern Vietnam follow a fairly standard winter, spring, summer, autumn pattern. The summers (May-August) are scorchingly hot with tropical storms and temperatures hovering around the 32ᵒC mark, while the winters (December-February) are extremely cold, with temperatures dropping as low as 10ᵒC. The further north you head, the colder it gets too – some mountain regions even seen snow! For the best experience, the spring and autumn shoulder seasons (February-April and September-November respectively) offer comfortable temperatures – although expect plenty of drizzle throughout February as the seasons transition.
Best places to go in Northern Vietnam:
- Hanoi for Tet Nguyen Dan (usually January or February)
- Halong Bay (March-April)
- The Sapa rice terraces (September-November)
When it comes to visiting Central Vietnam, the one thing to really watch out for is typhoon season – especially along the coast. It’s hard to predict, but usually falls between August and November. Otherwise, temperatures are high pretty much year-round and milder than the extremes of the south. Look out for the rainy season between September and November.
Best places to go in Central Vietnam
- Hoi An (February-April)
- Danang (February-May)
- Nha Trang (February-April)
To the south there are two distinct seasons: wet and dry. The latter lasts from December to late April, when you’re likely to experience temperatures around the 25-35ᵒC mark. The rain and humidity comes between May and November and, while you can expect a deluge or two, the region is still ripe for exploration if you don’t mind getting a little soggy. In fact, as long as you’re armed with a brolly, the only places that might be adversely affected by the weather are the Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc Island; both destinations are far more susceptible to flooding at this time of year.
Best places to go in Southern Vietnam:
- The Mekong Delta (December-April)
- Ho Chi Minh City
- Cat Tien National Park (December-May
For more ideas on visiting Vietnam, see our tailor-made Vietnam holidays.