The best time to visit Vietnam

The best time to visit Vietnam depends on which part of the country you visit. Long and narrow, Vietnam’s seasons contrast from north to south, and mountains to coast.
The humid south of Vietnam is warm year-round and the May-November monsoon season brings brief, heavy showers that rarely disrupt travel – though regions around the Mekong River may flood. The cold monsoon along the central coast occurs from October-April and is much less pleasant. October-December are warm, sunny months in the north, while from March it can get almost unbearably hot. May, June and September are the best times to visit Vietnam to avoid the crowds.

A month by month guide on when to go to Vietnam

January in Vietnam

    Generally dry weather Chilly in mountainous far north Many restaurants and shops close for Tet
Vietnam in January is generally dry in the north and south (although central Vietnam is still at the tail-end of its rainy season). It’s much cooler in the north around Hanoi and Halong Bay than it is further south. In the mountainous far north it can get decidedly chilly in the mornings and evenings, with temperatures as low as 5°C. Tet Nguyen Dan, the Lunar New Year, often falls in January. Hotels fill up for this major celebration, while many restaurants and shops draw their shutters.

February in Vietnam

    Beach resorts popular Warm, dry conditions in most areas Superb trekking and cycling weather
February is a popular month for travel to Vietnam, with warm, dry and sunny weather across much of the country. Vietnam in February is superb for cycling and trekking – sunscreen is essential, as is a warm jacket for evenings. Coastal destinations such as Hoi An and Danang are busy with sunseekers on the beaches. Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year) can fall in February, meaning hotels book up and many shops and restaurants close for this country-wide celebration.

March in Vietnam

    Start of peak season South Vietnam heating up Trekking and cycling in north and central Vietnam
The warm, dry weather of Vietnam in March sees the onset of peak season, although it starts to get uncomfortably hot in the south by the end of the month. Beach resorts are very busy, while March is also considered the best month to cruise around the magnificent limestone islands of Halong Bay under clear, rain-free skies. Trekking and cycling in northern and central Vietnam are fantastic at this time of year.

April in Vietnam

    Beach resorts busy Great for family vacations Spring flowers in mountains
Weather-wise, Vietnam in April is idyllic. Trekking in the mountainous north, where spring flowers can still be seen, or cycling in the countryside are the best ways to escape the crowds. Sun worshippers can get their kicks on the coast, although in the south the mercury is creeping up even in the shade. You do get the odd shower as monsoon approaches, but April is a good time to go to Vietnam with the family.

April is great for a Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City adventure

May in Vietnam

    Peak season drops off Uncomfortably hot in the south Expect occasional afternoon showers
With temperatures in south Vietnam climbing to 40°C at times, you want to be further north, in the mountains, Hanoi or the central coast, in May. Ho Chi Minh City is hot and humid as monsoon season approaches, with short afternoon showers likely. You’ll also get the odd burst of rain in northern Vietnam, but the temperatures are much more manageable. Hiking and cycling are still very pleasant in Vietnam in May and you can often snag a bargain with peak season winding down.

June in Vietnam

    Vietnam monsoon season starts in the south Rain and storms rule out trekking in the north Look to cities and central Vietnam beaches
If you’re after a low season bargain, Vietnam in June could be a winner. The steamy south is experiencing short, sharp showers that rarely affect travel too much and can lead to sporadic flooding in some parts of the Mekong Delta. Trekking in northern Vietnam is inadvisable, with heavy rainfall bogging up the trails and the occasional storm in the mountains. In central Vietnam, however, the coast is warm and usually dry – head for Hoi An and Da Nang and bring your beach towel. Vietnam’s culture is influenced by its past links with China. The lunar calendar is used for most festivals.
Autumn in the north, the light enhances all the scenery, reflects the colours... it’s dry with clear skies, everything looks more beautiful.
– Mrs Vo Thi Bich Ha from our partner Haivenu

July in Vietnam

    Wet at both ends of the country Ideal time to be on the central coast Trekking and cycling ruled out by weather
Vietnam in July is much the same as it is in June – both the north and south see a lot of rain, as do the central Highlands, so trekking and cycling vacations aren’t suitable. It’s also not unknown for the Mekong Delta to flood. The beaches of the central coast remain idyllic however, reaching 30°C at times. It’s very hot and humid, and sometimes heavy downpours mean that some more remote areas become difficult if not impossible to reach.

August in Vietnam

    Central coast beaches still lovely South is hot with regular showers Peak rainfall in north and central Highlands
In August, the best place to be is Vietnam’s beautiful central coast. Both Da Nang and Hoi An are still basking in sunny weather. Trekking in remote and mountainous regions is ruled out due to heavy rain, though. In southern Vietnam, while you will still get plenty of showers, it’s still dry enough to enjoy yourself. Vietnam in April sees Wandering Souls’ Day take place, with prayers and offerings given for deceased friends and relatives in the hope that those sent to hell will be released.

September in Vietnam

    Showers and storms on central coast North and south drier by end of the month Mid-Autumn Festival on the full moon
Vietnam in September means a shoulder month. It’s still wet in the north and south, though by the end of September things are drying up. Central Vietnam is a different story altogether: you might squeeze in a beach vacation in early September, but typhoon season is approaching, and as the month goes on the coast and highlands can be battered by rain and storms. The full moon between September and October sees a major harvest festival taking place, with children bearing lanterns in parades and traditional lion dances.

October in Vietnam

    Rice paddy harvest Trekking and cycling weather returns Wet and stormy in central Vietnam
Vietnam in October can be lovely in both the north and south, with the rains easing off, warm but not oppressive temperatures, and the next peak season still a way off. Central Vietnam is a no-no, with heavy rains and showers still, but trekking and cycling vacations are popular around this time. In the countryside you’ll see villagers hard at work bringing the rice harvest in, while the floating markets of the Mekong Delta are flush with produce.

November in Vietnam

    Ideal month to cruise Halong Bay Beaches in south; trekking in north Central Vietnam still very wet
Vietnam in November sees the approach of another high season. This month also experiences some of the best weather in Vietnam – hot and dry in both the north and the south. Trekking in the mountainous north around Sapa is very pleasant, while the southern beaches are stunning at this time of year. Clear skies mean that we consider November the best time of year to visit Vietnam if you want to enjoy a day or two cruising around Halong Bay.

November is great for a small group cycling vacation in Vietnam

December in Vietnam

    Rains ease gently in central Vietnam Hot and dry but gradually cooling off Christmas a busy time to travel – book early
It pays to book early for Vietnam in December if you plan to spend the festivities in one of the south’s beautiful beach resorts, as this is a popular time to visit, especially around Christmas. It’s warm and dry in northern and southern Vietnam, although at higher altitudes it’s getting distinctly chilly at night. Towards the end of December, the rains slow in central Vietnam but you can still expect some showers.

Ho Chi Minh City Weather Chart

RAIN (mm)
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Vietnam or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best time to visit Vietnam for festivals & events

Tet Nguyen Dan (late January or early February)

Vietnam’s biggest celebration is the Lunar New Year, which falls in late January or early February to coincide with Chinese New Year. This is a very exciting time to visit Vietnam. People clean their homes, cook special dishes and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. The festivities last up to a month, including firecrackers, fireworks and masked dances. You’ll also see flowers everywhere.

Perfume Pagoda Festival (mid-February – mid-March)

The Perfume Pagoda, a vast complex of Buddhist temples and shrines, is located in the Huong Son Mountains, close to Hanoi. Pilgrimages to the pagoda take place in either mid-February or mid-March, on the 15th day of the first lunar month, with devotees flocking to light incense and pray for prosperity and romance in the year ahead. It’s not a good time for wildlife, though, with restaurants in the area serving up animals such as civet and porcupine.

Reunification Day (30 April)

Reunification Day, or Liberation Day, is a public vacation across Vietnam marking the capture of Ho Chi Minh City (previously Saigon) on 30 April 1975 and the end of the Vietnam War. Many Vietnamese people travel to spend a few days (Labour Day falls on 1 May) with family, while there are crowds at the mausoleum of the revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, and parades through the city that was renamed in his honour.

Buddha’s birthday (April or May)

Vesak, which celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha, is marked around the world, although in Vietnam it is no longer a public vacation. Monks lead the call to prayer amid clouds of incense in temples the length of the country, while candles set into garlands of pink lotus flowers float along waterways, spreading the love of Buddha.

Wandering Souls’ Day (August)

Wandering Souls Day is one of the largest and most significant spiritual festivals in Vietnam, with families gathering to pray and make offerings for the souls of the departed in the hope that those sent to hell for their sins will be released into heaven. But this is also a time of general amnesty, and prayers are also given for those without relatives, that they not be doomed to wander the spirit world indefinitely. Celebrations are usually held in the open air or in large rooms so the dead can gather with the living and ‘meet in thought’.

Hoi An Lantern Festival (usually 14th day of each lunar month)

If you’re craving a break from Vietnam’s incessantly noisy motos, head to Hoi An for the full moon festival, when motorised traffic is banned and the district turns itself into a stage for the traditional arts, including Chinese opera, chess and lanterns. Full moon is sacred in Buddhism, so every month Hoi An’s temples fill up with worshippers, and there is plenty of tasty food on offer from street stalls.

Our travelers also ask...

What are the hottest months in Vietnam?

Most of Vietnam is pleasantly hot all year round, though in the mountainous reaches of the north it gets chilly between December and February, with snow even possible. Southern Vietnam, with a tropical climate, is consistently warm, but from February to June it can be sweltering.

In the north, where the seasons are more pronounced, it tends to be significantly cooler. May through to August are the hottest months, humid and wet. This also tends to be the hottest period in central Vietnam, with the beaches of Da Nang and Hoi An popular until mid-September when the weather becomes much wetter and stormier.

What is the rainiest month in Vietnam?

June to October tend to be the rainiest months of the year in both northern and southern Vietnam. Central Vietnam – in the highlands or on the coast – is the best place to be during this period. Typhoon season hits the east coast from September and typically lasts to around January.

While trekking in the north is ruled out during the wettest months, in the south around Ho Chi Minh City the afternoon showers tend to be short and sharp, with plenty of dry patches, so travel is not too badly affected.

When is the best time to travel to north Vietnam?

Northern Vietnam is more seasonal than the south, and experiences its most pleasant weather between March and April, and September and November. Visiting Vietnam around this time, you’ll find it typically warm, dry and sunny. From December to February it gets colder the further north you go, while May through to August is steamily hot and rainy. The best months to see Halong Bay are March and November, when you should enjoy clear, sunny skies.

When should you not go to Vietnam?

As it’s such a long country, Vietnam’s climate varies greatly depending on whether you’re in the north, south or center, so you can visit at any time of year. June to September tend to be the rainiest months in northern Vietnam, ruling out trekking and cycling in the countryside, while the central highlands and coast are battered by storms and heavy rainfall from late September to January.

From March to May many people find southern Vietnam oppressively hot, while during the monsoon season that starts around May it’s common for parts of the Mekong Delta to flood, making cruising inadvisable.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Fré Sonneveld] [Intro: Doan Tuan] [Mrs Vo Thi Bich quote: xuanduongvan87] [Tet Nguyen Dan:]