Best time to visit Vietnam
The first question that comes to mind when visiting a new country is deciding when to take your holiday. Never is this more important than in Vietnam and anyone who has tried to travel the length of the country from north to south can attest to this.
Vietnam lies in the East Asian monsoon zone and is affected by the south-western and the winter monsoon seasons. Because of the country’s long 1,600km length, each region has definite different weather patterns that must be looked at before booking any trip.
What we have done is break down the climates to three distinct regions: North, Central and South Vietnam.
The North is generally cooler than the rest of the country. The winter months of November to January can be downright cold, especially in the mountainous areas of Sapa and Cao Bang along the Chinese border. Even in Hanoi, you will need a pullover to keep warm. The hottest period of the year falls under May to October where temperatures can rise to 37 degrees Celcius. During these months, the north will have the occasional typhoon.
Local insight: Remember that the air conditioner that kept you cool in the south will keep you warm in the north.
The Center of Vietnam
Central Vietnam can be split into two sub-regions: the Coastal Lowlands and Central Highlands. The Coastal Lowlands are generally dryer and hotter than the Central Highlands. However, unprotected parts of the coast have more typhoons and storms than the North during the months of November to March. Nha Trang experiences the longer dry season which runs from January to September with high temperatures and little rain. With cooler temperatures, the Central Highlands experiences more than double the average rainfall of the country so prepared to get a bit wet.
Local insight: One positive aspect of the monsoon season are the surfable waves around the region. Head to Danang from September to March for peak surf season.
The South experiences little variations in temperatures during the year fluctuating from 27 – 32 degrees Celsius and only has two seasons: rainy and dry. The rainy season lasts for seven months from May to November while the dry season dominates the rest of the year. Temperatures tend to drop in January and February. To beat the heat, take a trip to Dalat where the temperatures are always a bit cooler than Saigon.
Local insight: Remember to bring a raincoat to Dalat. The province experiences nearly double the average rainfall of Vietnam.
Photo by: Csaba Molnár
Original blog post on City Pass Guide blog