Vietnam in December: Weather and Event Guide
What weather to expect in December, what to do, what's on in Vietnam in December?
Beautiful Ho Chi Minh City in December (Photo: Shutterstock)
December officially marks the arrival of winter in Vietnam, though the statement is mainly true for the Northern and mountain regions. Hanoi, Halong Bay, and especially Sapa and Ha Giang will be overloaded with cold and gloomy weather patterns.
On the other hand, Danang and Hoi An are in the middle of the rainy season, with cool but rainy weather, while Saigon and the Mekong Delta enjoy a decent 9 hours of sunshine everyday. Awful as it may sound, there are still more than enough reasons to make you feel welcomed in the country in December.
Temperature and humidity
Major cities in the Northern part of Vietnam endure a chilly winter with highs of 21.9°C and lows of 15°C Temperature drops sharply as you move further up north or to the mountain region in the Northwest and Northeast areas. There are a few days during the cold wave when the temperature gets to sub-zero with frost and snow inevitable.
Visitors from tropical countries such as Singapore or Malaysia may need to bring extra warm clothes if not used to the biting cold in Vietnam. Western travelers, on the other hand, will find it not any worse than a mid-fall day, although the sometimes chilly wind can make it feel much colder than the actual number.
This is also the driest month of the year in the North with very little rain and low humidity level, at 68%. Be prepared for flaky skin and chapped lips, and avoid them by applying frequent moisturizers and drinking plenty of water.
The good news is that not all of Vietnam is covered in the winter frigidity. Central Vietnam has a more pleasing temperature at around 23°C, yet the rain does not wane that much from November. Although the precipitation level varies by year, it is a good idea to watch the forecast and avoid spending your beach break during the rain days.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau and Phu Quoc, on the contrary, enter the most beautiful time of the year. The region is embraced with warm weather ranging between 23 and 31°C. December is also in the middle of the dry season so there is very little rain, if any.
Bright days full of sunshine are galore so visitors can freely roam the city and country.
|North||22° / 15°||77%||16mm||1 day|
|Central||25° / 20°||82%||215mm||13 days|
|South||32° / 21°||72%||17.5mm||1 day|
Events in December
Christmas in Hanoi (Shutterstock)
Like everywhere in the world, December is a festive season in Vietnam. Many big cities and tourist destinations are illuminated with holiday decorations, and Christmas lights and trees found everywhere.
Although Christmas is not an official holiday in Vietnam, it is getting more and more popular among the youngsters. Streets become lively with vivid lights and pine trees. Children get gifts, and Christmas carols are more widely known than ever before. On Christmas Eve, major churches and cathedrals such as the Saint Joseph Cathedral in Hanoi and the Notre Dame in Saigon are often packed, celebrated by both locals and foreign visitors.
New Year's Eve
The transitional time between the old and new year also leaves wonderful experiences to first-time visitors. You should never miss the chance to attend a fascinating New Year countdown with sophisticated performance stages and enormous crowds. Get a feel of what New Year means for the Vietnamese!
Know before you go/ what to expect
- Whether you are accustomed to chilly weather or not, bring warm clothes with you! The sudden change in weather and temperature may give you a cold and affect the vacation.
- Those who plan to visit Vietnam in December can expect to join the spirited atmosphere, but expect serious traffic, especially in downtown areas of major cities.
- Churches and cathedrals will be extremely crowded on Christmas Eve, take extra care of your belongings.
- Plan ahead and reserve accommodation in advance when traveling to Vietnam during the festive season, as most of them are fully-booked months before.
- Prices can soar and options may be limited as this is peak tourist season for international travelers.
Best destinations to travel
The weather is beautiful in Phu Quoc during December
Zigzagging around limestone islands in Halong Bay
It would be a mistake to miss Halong Bay in December. You can choose either to embark on a traditional junk boat or a luxurious yacht gliding above the jade-green water. A crisp winter morning is quickly replaced by the warm and sunny atmosphere from noon onwards. Yet, sweaters and thick clothes are essential at night. Although the water is not the best for swimming, you will get a clear sky and many golden Instagram opportunities. If you want to make it even more special, spend the new year’s eve on the bay and wake up the new year in the heart of nature’s craftwork.
Get lost in the bustling Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is extremely dynamic in December as the city holds big celebrations for Christmas and New Year in almost all of its districts. As home to the largest expat population in Vietnam, District 1, 2, 3 and 7 are also filled with fine dining options in case you want to have a special moment this time of the year and away from home. If you want to join the local crowd, help yourself with a beer in Bui Vien, or visit Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street to wait for the Countdown.
An ultimate escape for peace seekers in Dalat City
Dalat is in its most beautiful shape with dry weather and cool air. Flowers are omnipresent, by scent and by sight. Nothing is too buzzing here and the vintage vibe can allure any visitors. Activities like hiking, climbing, camping or simply jogging around Xuan Huong Lake will give you some fresh air away from the rest of the country.
Laying idly on the picture-postcard beaches on Phu Quoc Island
December is the best time to visit Phu Quoc Island - so don’t shy away from booking a trip to this resort island. The weather is mild. The sky is clear and the sea is quiet. Phu Quoc truly makes a perfect place for a laid-back beach holiday or family vacation.