Vietnam in January: Weather and Event Guide

Weather reports for January in major cities in Vietnam with highs and lows.

January 2020 in Hoi An, Vietnam

Overview

With a tropical monsoon climate, Vietnam's weather varies from the North to the South in each season. Depending on which region you are going to visit, you can have different experiences with the weather. The summer monsoon could be most clearly seen when there are plenty of rains coming to the Southwestern regions and Mekong Delta from May to September and the winter monsoon could be felt through the high humidity over the North and Coastal Central of Vietnam from October to April.

Vietnam weather In January

Being a colder month in the year, January is always one of the best options for travelers to feel the most drastic weather difference among regions in Vietnam. January is also an ideal time to encounter many traditional festivals and learn the interesting customs of Vietnamese.

Temperature

The Northern part of Vietnam has 4 separate seasons which are spring, summer, fall, and winter. The average temperature in January is often below 18°C.

On the other hand, the average temperature is much warmer than the North at around 26°C, making it suitable for a beach vacation and for those who are looking for sunshine.

The weather in the Central region is influenced by both the North and the South. The temperature is 23°C on average in January which is not too hot and not too cold. It is quite pleasant to visit some beach destinations in Central Vietnam this time but pretty chilly in the central highlands areas.

RegionsAverage LowAverage High
North14ºC (57.2ºF)20ºC (68ºF)
Central
21ºC (69.8ºF)32ºC (89.6ºF)
South19ºC (66.2ºF)25ºC (77ºF)

Humidity

Vietnam is among the countries with very high humidity - an average humidity of over 80%. This number changes in months and seasons in each region. Since January has cold weather, no rain, and dry air, the humidity in the Northern area ranges from over 40% to 95%.

In the Southern region, the average humidity in January is around 60%.

RegionsAverage LowAverage High
North42%95%
Central
79%93%
South52%71%

Major events in January

Traditional New Year Holiday in Vietnam
January is one of the most vibrant months for Vietnamese people since it is not only the first month of the year in the Gregorian calendar but also the last month in the Lunar calendar when everyone works hard to complete all unfinished work and get ready to welcome a new year.

Visiting Vietnam in January, you can join the biggest event and most important festival of Vietnamese - Lunar New Year or Tet. 

Like Christmas in Europe or America, there are also a lot of Vietnamese traditional customs to celebrate Tet Holiday such as shopping for home decoration, buying holiday tree (kumquat, apricot or peach flower), making Chung and Day cake, preparing lots of foods during the holiday, visiting family members and relatives and so on. 

You can choose to stay at a home-stay, go to local flower markets or decoration stores or streets to see how people are shopping and preparing for their upcoming Tet Holiday.

There is a small difference between Tet in the South and in the North. Southern people prefer hanging out and traveling during Tet while Northerners rush back to their hometown for the family reunion day. 

Know before you go

  • Due to the chilly and foggy weather in the North, those who prefer blue skies and warm weather can find the trip more pleasant in the Central and Southern area of Vietnam. 
  • If you plan to visit the whole country, make sure you bring different types of clothes from swimwear to warm jackets or even raincoats. As you travel along the country, you can experience 4 seasons in 1 day. 
  • Make the reservations, especially transportation and hotels, all-done at least 1 month in advance as late January to early February is the Tet holiday - the busiest time for locals traveling to ancestral homes.
  • Expect to pay a peak-season surcharge for some services like hotel, flight ticket, cruise, etc, and a higher price for stuff and food during Tet.
  • Almost all working offices closed during Tet celebration including Government offices, ensure every of your personal paper and identity card is valid until they reopen.

Did you know: Tet 2020 and 2023 fall in January.

Things to do and places to go

Sapa, Vietnam in January 2018

Cloud-hunting in Sapa and Ha Giang

It is very cold and maybe frosty in mountain areas like Sapa and Ha Giang. However, if you are used to chilling temperatures of under 10°C, it is fantastic to see a dreamy hazy land full of cherry petals, plum flowers, and yellow canola flowers blooming throughout the mountains in January. You will not miss the chance to know about the unique culture of ethnic minority groups during the Tet holiday as well.

Feel a busy yet peaceful Hanoi at the holiday time

Hanoi is an ideal stop-over for every other attraction in Vietnam, and yet has its own charms. If you are lucky to be in the city in January- February, you can see the stark contrast picture of a bustling Hanoi before the Tet holiday and an empty tranquil Hanoi on the first day of Tet holiday. Wandering around Old Quarter streets in Hanoi, savoring hot food vendors while feeling the chill weather at around 18°C would definitely blow your mind.

Sunbathe in top beach destinations in the Central and Southern Vietnam

As opposed to the North, the Central and South of Vietnam comes with a shiny January. With an average temperature of 25-28°C, Phu Quoc Island is in the peak season thanks to the calm sea, clear sky, and super pleasant weather. Besides, some other places like Nha Trang, Danang, or Quy Nhon are well-liked thanks to the long coastline, white sand beaches, and warm temperatures.

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