So when it is really the best time to visit Vietnam?
Living in Vietnam for the past 3 decades, I can't really think of a single time that deserves the title "best" to visit the country.
It will be a best time to visit, if you are in your best mood.
That is the single conclusion I am able to draw after years and years of traveling. The rain or cold and damp weather simply does not make a trip go bad. It is your attitude about the place, and about your visit, that determines all. There are many people who love the sun, and as many who cannot stand the heat, and when you hear April as a good month to visit Vietnam or that August is a month to avoid, don't just heed the advice. Keep your mind free and you will love your journey.
And of course most of the time you don't get to choose! It depends on when your kids can have school off, or when the wedding is supposed to be, or when your boss says yes for an annual leave. Make do with is the word.
I single out below the pros and cons of each month and hope it can give you an idea of what it is like to be in Vietnam at that time of the year:
December - January: Cold in the North, cool in the Center and dry in the South.
I have heard complaints that one cannot swim in Halong Bay if visiting in January. Well, Halong Bay is not really a place for swimming. Plus there are colder and warmer days so it all depends when the monsoon hits the region. If you want beach, make your way to Nha Trang or Phu Quoc.
February: Cool in the North and Center, dry in the South
It is a 75% chance that the lunar new year will be on this month. It won't affect your trip dramatically, except that many restaurants are closed, and train + plane tickets are out. Make reservation in advance if you travel in February.
March: Warm in the North and Center with plenty of drizzle, dry in the South
I personally don't like March. In the West there is a saying "April shower brings May flowers" but in Vietnam all the drizzle comes in March. They are lengthy, ugly and just make me want to stay indoors and do nothing. However, this is a perfect time for beach time in the South.
April: Warm in the North and Center, hot in the South
One can't simple generalize about weather, especially Vietnam's weather. I was shivering riding my bike to work yesterday when a cold wind came all over the region and today it's all hot again. Yet I can still say April is one of the best months to travel and good for any places: Hanoi, Halong Bay Hoi An, Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Mekong Delta.
May - August: HOT months
I can't fathom why this period is considered low season: the weather is so beautiful (except when it showers), the sky is blue, the beach has perfect temperature for swimming and the cost is lower than the rest of the year. It's scorching hot but really, that is what being in a tropical zone about. One tip is just to avoid weekend trip to places such as Sapa, Danang or Nha Trang as they will be jammed with locals.
September: Cool in the North, rainy in Center and South
If you wish to visiit the Northern part of Vietnam then this is a great month to come: the weather is not as hot, the price remains inexpensive, there are few tourists, and sceneraries of Sapa and Halong Bay are just enthralling. It is wet in the Center and South though.
October- November: Cool dry in the North, rainy in Center and South
I would prefer not being in the center cities such as Hoi An, Danang or Hue at this time of the year, and this is not the best time for Nha Trang either. The beach is simple not as nice as the months before and the rain just makes one not happy.
So the second conclusion is that, the best month to visit is April-mid-May and mid-September to mid-October. If you are starting to think about your Vietnam holiday, I hope this insider's guide to weather can help!
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