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When To Go

Travel to Vietnam is a pleasure at any time of year - the decision of when will be the best time of year for you will depend on your own personal tolerance of heat and rainfall, and the activities you wish to include.

Vietnam's length and varied topography combine to make it a challenging country to describe climatically. As most journeys cover the entire country it is likely that you will encounter rain at some point along the way; where this is most likely to fall and the impact  it may have on your trip will depend on the time of year. In most cases rainfall is tropical in nature, meaning short intense storms that clear the air rather than extended periods of rain.


Hanoi and Northern Vietnam

Hanoi and the surrounding region are sufficiently far north to have a distinct summer and winter season. Winter is relatively short, from December through to February; during this period Hanoi can be cool (daytime average 15 C) and it is often misty and damp, though with little significant rainfall. Further north, in the mountainous regions of Sapa and Ha Giang, snow is not uncommon and we would recommend against extensive trekking or outdoor activity at this time of year. Things start to heat up during spring, with the hottest and wettest months of the year falling over the summer months from June through to August. In general the months of spring and autumn are considered the best time for this part of Vietnam.



Danang and Central Vietnam

Central Vietnam, including the popular destinations of Danang, Hue and Hoi An, remains pleasantly warm throughout the winter months, and it is generally dry and hot during the summer when the rest of the country is encountering tropical downpours. The autumn months from September through to December tend to be wettest in this part of the country, with its location making it prone to potentially disruptive typhoons that sweep in from the South China Sea.


Ho Chi Minh City and Southern Vietnam

Central Vietnam, including the popular destinations of Danang, Hue and Hoi An, remains pleasantly warm throughout the winter months, and it is generally dry and hot during the summer when the rest of the country is encountering tropical downpours. The autumn months from September through to December tend to be wettest in this part of the country, with its location making it prone to potentially disruptive typhoons that sweep in from the South China Sea.


Cambodia and Laos

Like most of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is warm to hot year-round and the climate is dominated by the annual monsoon cycle with alternating wet and dry seasons. The monsoon cycle is driven by changes in air pressure; as the pressure drops during the summer months (June through October) moist air is drawn in, bringing the monsoon rains to Cambodia. In the winter months (November to May), the air pressure over Central Asia rises, driving cool, dry air back across Southeast Asia and introducing a largely dry season to Cambodia. Temperatures begin to rise from March, reaching a peak in April and May. During this period river and lake levels are at their lowest and travel by boat can be problematic. Travel is possible year round, although the period from November through to February is generally considered the best time for visiting both the interior and coastal regions of the country. Each season brings its own benefits, however, with rainfall during the wet season rarely lasting more than a couple hours; hotel rates and the countryside is at its most lush and verdant during this period.

These dominant seasonal patterns are mirrored in neighbouring Laos, though the greater range of topography and latitude creates some notable differences. The mountainous northern and north-eastern provinces are noticeably cooler, particularly when the rest of the country swelters in April/May. These northerly regions also receive some rainfall during this period, similar to northern Vietnam just over the border.