When is the best time to visit Vietnam? 

Weather in Vietnam, because of its elongated topography, possesses a complex pattern, leading to a variety of conditions potentially prevailing across the country at any given time. Whilst this fact may lead to encountering significant climactic variances during a countrywide tour, it also means that there is no ‘bad time’ for visiting Vietnam. Wet periods are typified by heavy downpours, which can last for up to a few hours, but will seldom last a whole day, and are therefore not necessarily obstacles to enjoyable travel during these periods.

NORTHERN VIETNAM 

The dry season runs from October to April and is characterised by three phases. During October and November the weather is pleasantly warm and dry. Unlike the tropical south, the north of Vietnam experiences a distinct winter from December to February, is prone to overcast skies and spells of drizzle (known locally as Mua Bui ‘rain dust’), and can have a distinctly chilly edge (14-20º C) , particularly after nightfall during which temperatures can fall as low as 6º C in colder spells.

From March into May the weather becomes brighter and increasingly hot leading up to the arrival of the wet season, the hottest time of the year, which runs from May to September, with temperatures reaching between 25-32º C in June, and rainfall at its highest in August. 

The northwest mountains are cool all year round with January and February being cold and prone to mountain fog and even, though rarely, flurries of snow. The best weather for visiting Sapa is during the periods from March to early May and September to January, when the weather is very pleasant. Heavy rainfall during the months of June, July and August leaves the area prone to flooding and landslides and travel to this area is not recommended.

CENTRAL VIETNAM 

The area around Hue, as with northern Vietnam, has cool winters and is the wettest area of Vietnam with the wet season extending from May through to December, peaking in October. The area is also prone to frequent showers during the dry season. Temperatures range from 17-23º C in December/January to 25-30º C during June to August.

By contrast, the rest of the central coast of Vietnam, home to most of its beach resorts, is the driest region of the country and in general, is very fine, with temperatures around the Danang/ Hoi An area ranging from 19-24º C in January 25-34º C in August, after which the wet season begins, running from September through to December, with rainfall peaking in October. Further south in Nha Trang has a similar climate. Phan Thiet (Mui Ne), Vietnam’s driest destination, with temperatures of 20-29º C in January to 24-31º C in June, with its wet season much less obvious than Nha Trang and Danang. 

Inland from the coast at Dalat and the central highlands, the altitude ensures a predictable drop in general temperature levels, with a notable variance in comfort between night and daytime temperatures which range from 13-23º C during December to 17-26º C in May, though higher temperatures occur randomly in some years. The area has a long wet season, running from April through to November, with rainfall peaking during August, September and October.

SOUTHERN VIETNAM 

Southern Vietnam has a tropical climate, and therefore much less marked variance in temperature occurs, which throughout the year range from 21-25º C at night to a daytime 30-35º C. The dry season runs from November to May and the wet season from June to October, peaking in September. Characteristically, however, the sharp heavy downpours take place in the afternoon, usually lasting only a couple of hours. 

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