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When is the best time to visit Vietnam in 2020

From its hill-tribe villages to its bustling cities, Vietnam is a country of many contrasts, and regional weather patterns. This quick guide gives you an idea of when to visit Northern, Central and Southern Vietnam.
City life in street of old quarter in Hanoi. Flower vendor in traditional  conical hat.

If you plan on visiting Vietnam and creating a trip of a lifetime, you’ll want to know the best time to visit. Over 3200 km of coastline offers visitors white sandy beaches and secluded caves. Its waters are perfect for swimming and snorkelling. And as only 20% of its terrain is considered level land, this country built on tropical lowlands and hills is perfect for those who thrive on outdoor adventure. During your holiday in Vietnam you’ll have plenty of opportunity to explore forested highlands, and mountain ranges are only a bus ride away.

Vietnam Weather and the Best Time to Visit

Bright morning of rice terraces in Mu cang chai, Yenbai - best time to visit Vietnam.

Vietnam is in Southeast Asia and has a tropical monsoon climate. It is also a long S-shaped country with a north-to-south distance of 1,650 km. With this length in mind, weather conditions really depend on where you are.

The North of Vietnam tends to have four seasons, however Central and Southern Vietnam usually has two – summer and winter, wet and dry. Northeast Monsoon winds of the winter months of November through to April bring with it a ‘dry season’. But only in comparison to the wetness of the summer season. And the southwesterly summer monsoon months of May through to October usually bring the heaviest rainfall.

So there really isn’t a best season to visit. But do take into consideration December and January are usually the coolest and April is usually the hottest. If you plan on travelling the length of Vietnam then the most favourable seasons are spring (February to April) and autumn (September to November).

Northern Vietnam – Hanoi and Ha Long BayFebruary-April & September-November
Central Vietnam – Da Nang and Hoi AnFebruary to May
Southern Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City and the CoastDecember to April

Best time to visit Northern Vietnam – Hanoi and Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay - best time to visit Vietnam

The spring months of February to April and the autumn months of September to November are the best seasons to go to Northern Vietnam.

Visit the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum in Hanoi. In Ha Long Bay, take an overnight cruise and sleep in your own private cabin on the waters.

The spring months of February to April aren’t without humidity and rain. But the average temperature is usually 15 to 20 degree Celsius, plus it’s a great time of year as nature comes alive again after the winter. Considered the most romantic time of year, the autumn months of September to November provide cool dry weather. The changing colours of the leaves set the scene for nature filled walks and excursions.

Summer months of May to August are very hot, July being the hottest. Expect rainstorms and the average temperature to be around 32 degree Celsius. The winter months of December through to February are cold, sometimes minus 10, so if visiting pack lots of warm clothing.

Traveler walking on busy street. Rear view of young man with backpack in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Travel Tip: The Tết Festival (Lunar New Year) takes place in January/February and is celebrated across the country. February and March then welcomes The Perfume Festival, one of Hanoi’s most popular festivities. The Lim Festival also takes place in February, and day trips to the village of Lim, 18km from Hanoi are readily available.

READ MORE: Top Festivals Around the World 

Best time to visit Central Vietnam – Da Nang and Hoi An

Da Nang - the best time to visit Vietnam

Unlike Northern Vietnam which has four seasons, Central Vietnam only has two; wet and dry. The best time to visit Central Vietnam is during the dry season from February to May.

Visit the ancient town of Hoi An and from there the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of My Son Sanctuary. Explore the fifth largest city in Vietnam, Da Nang, and all it has to offer including the Bà Nà hills to the west of the city. Discover the Complex of Hue Monuments and take a walk through the tropical forests of Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park.

The dry months of February to May are the best time to visit Central Vietnam, because the weather is mild with moderate average temperatures and low humidity. Basically less rain and warm sunshine. If you fancy topping up your tan beach side, then the beaches of Cua Dai Beach or An Bang Beach are best visited towards the end of May.

Outside of the best months come the very hot months of June to August with temperatures often averaging at 38 degrees Celsius. And then comes the rainy season of September to January where heavy showers, typhoons and flooding aren’t unusual.

Cyclist in Hoi An

Travel Tip: The Hue Festival takes place every two years in April, May or June. If you’re in Hoi An on the 14th of the month, you’ll get the chance to witness the Hoi An Lantern Festival, a monthly event that celebrates the full moon. You can also help celebrate Buddha’s Birthday if there in April or May.

READ MORE: When is the Best Time to Visit Thailand

Best time to visit Southern Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City and the coast

Phu Quoc - the best time to visit Vietnam for your holidays

The best time of year to visit Southern Vietnam, in particular Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon is during the dry season, the months of December to April.

Tickle all the senses at the bustling Bến Thành Market. Take a guided tour along the Mekong Delta, one of the best places to visit in Vietnam. Visit the War Remnants Museum in the city then go underground at the Chu Chi Tunnels. Bask in the glory of the Sand Dunes of Mui Ne on the coast, four hours from Ho Chi Minh City.  While on the coastline take a trip to the beach resort city of Nha Trang and explore the waters and offshore islands.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and the coastal towns and cities of Southern Vietnam are best visited during the months between December and April. During this time the daily temperatures average in the high 20s and the humidity is moderate.

During the monsoon season of months May through to November, it can be rainy and humid – however showers are usually short and sporadic.

Travel Tip: If visiting during December and January, you’ll get to witness how the Vietnamese celebrate Christmas. If you are travelling on a budget then the cheapest months to visit are between May and September.

READ MORE: Budget Travel: 10 heavenly cheap holiday destinations around the world

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