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Vietnam Weather

Weather in Vietnam — When is the best time to visit Vietnam

When is the best time to travel to Vietnam for weather? Travel companies often say "there's no

good or bad time to go, when one place is wet another is sunny..." Hmm, not much help — as a traveler you're likely to be interested in visiting several parts of the country, not just one area or may want to visit a specific place, like Sapa, which at over 1,000 meters can be freezing during the winter months. Typhoons can also occur in other months. Overall, the best time to go is December through May or even June when rainfall is minimal and there are warmer but not extreme temperatures.

Vietnam Weather - Drizzle!
Only a little drizzle — let's ride!

In general, don't be dissuaded by this possibility of this rain outside the monsoon season (or in the monsoon season), unless your set on having beach time — the light drizzle will not interfere much with sightseeing and places such as Hue and Hanoi often have overcast weather with light rain (see photo of our bikers going for it!). Absolutely need your Vietnam trip to be a sunny one? Then May through mid-July is a good window.

If you're planning a September or October trip during monsoon season, rain typically arrives in the afternoon but the weather is warm and comfortable averaging nearly 80 degrees. Monsoon rains also typically only come every other day, leaving bright sun in between. A BIG caveat—seasonal typhoons and annual flooding occur in September and October,a nd occasinally Novemeber, on Vietnam's central coast! In 2011, for example, in early and mid-October there was severe flooding throught out the region, including the temples of Angkor and Bangkok.


Current Vietnam Weather Conditions

 

Find more about Weather in Hanoi, VN Click for Hue, Viet Nam Forecast Click for Hoi An, Viet Nam Forecast Click for Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam Forecast

 

Like much of Southeast Asia, Vietnam weather is tropical weather with a monsoon season which means while there are relatively slight variations in temperature, depending on the season and the altitude, the primary seasonal changes in Vietnamese weather are marked by variations in rainfall. Vietnam is typically humid and warm, although the weather can vary significantly from one area to another due to the long length of the country which encompasses several weather zones.

Vietnam Weather Cheat Sheet

IN GENERAL VIETNAM IS...
* South = Always warm...
* North = typically cool, warm by March
* Central Coast = mixed bag, depends on month
* Weather fluctuates Novemeber to Marc
h

 

REGIONAL WEATHER TRENDS

December to early March: Cool + Rain in North
Mid-March to June: Sunshine!
June & July: Getting hot, rains beginning
Sept and October Monsoons, wet but warm

 

BEWARE
* Sept to early November: Typhoons possible!
* November: Hue and Hoi An floods possible
!
* Sapa freezing and cloudy in Winter!

Note for Sapa and travelers by region: Weather in Vietnam can be affected by variance in altitudes. For example, in late 1999 there was snow in Vietnam (in Sapa, located at over 4,000 feet) while it was nearly ninety degrees in sweltering Saigon. Flooding is common in the central coast region around Hue and Hoi An and Vietnam had back-to-back years of devastating flooding in this region during 2000 and 2001, and 2010 — travel companies may list tours for the rainy period, but plan your trip dates carefully or your trip may be a washout. Though the weather overall is good, the weather may also fluctuate during the tourist season (December through March), when cold spells and/or unexpected rain may pass through. In 2008, the north and central Vietnam experienced it's coldest weather in over 40 years, and the usual sunny skies on the central coast gave way to consistent rain and very chilly weather all the way to Nha Trang.

Temperature remains almost constant in Saigon, rain or shine, while in Hanoi there is a marked cooler season from the chilled winds blowing down from China, from November through March and warmer period during the summer ("cooler" is relative, you will not likely need a jacket aside from Hanoi and Halong Bay). See our Vietnam Weather charts below, showing the levels of rain and temperature for north, south, and central Vietnam by month of the year.

Since flooding is common and even a bi-annual typhoon a possibility, a most important decision for traveling in Vietnam is to avoiding the monsoon season in late July and August (See flooding map below from our friends at Travelfish on their blog article "Flooding in Hoi An in October and in November."

 

Travelfish: Hue is looking better and better.

Typhoons? Holy smokes!

Predicting typhoons is similar to roulette, with the odds a little better as hitting the number of your choice. In other words, don't be discouraged from visiting during during the typhoon season but understand they do hit Vietnam (roughly a few days, every other year). The typhoon season lasts longer from July through November, with the most severe storms occurring along the central coast. Typhoons in this region frequently lead to serious crop damage and loss of life (Image: Typhoon Xangsae).

Severe Vietnam Weather Events 1960 to 2014

Severe Vietnam Weather Events, by total Number of events, by month: 1960 to 2014

 

Typhoons Affecting Hong Kong, Hanoi, Halong Bay 2000-14
Year
Date
Cyclone Name
2000
July 15
-
 
August 27
Maria
 
Wukong
2001
June 30
Durian
 
July 1
Utor
 
July 23
Yutu*
 
August 28
Fitow
2002
August 15
Vongfong
 
September 10
Hagupit*
2003
July 16
Koni*
 
July 17
Imbudo*
 
August 17
Krovanh*
 
August 29
Dujuan*
2004
July 14
Kompasu*
2005
August 10
Sanvu
 
September 16
Vicente
 
September 21
Damrey*
2006
May 9
Chanchu*
 
June 27
Jelawat
 
July 31
Prapiroon*
 
August 6
Bopha
 
August 23
-
 
September 12
-
 
October 27
Cimaron*
2007
August 5
Pabuk*
2008
April 15
Neoguri*
 
June 18
Fengshen*
 
August 4
Kammuri*
 
August 17
Nuri*
 
September 19
Hagupit*
October 31
Flooding
2009
July 15
Molave*
August 1
Goni*
September 9
Mujigae
September 12
Koppu*
2010
July 19
Chanthu*
2011
June 18
Haima
July 25
Nock-ten*
September 23
Nesat*
September 27
Nalgae*
2012
July 23
Vicente*
2013
Nov 11
Haiyan*
* Severe Typhoon (likely lasting several days)
Source: Casualties and Damage Caused by Tropical Cyclones in Hong Kong since 1960, Hong Kong Observatory

 

So when is the best time to visit Vietnam?

Below are some charts to help you further gauge when to travel. Our scheduled tours are limited to the drier weather period of the year: December through April (although we do arrange custom tours year-round in areas that may be dry). During December, the weather north of Danang (and the Hai Van Pass) can be cool and rainy. January through March are optimal months to travel the length of Vietnam (combined with humidity, it is not as cool as the chart below reflects). However, Sapa does not thaw until around the first week of March.


And when is the best time to visit Sapa?

Specifically for Sapa, September through November, and March through May are the best weather periods for trekking and cycling in Sapa. Daytime temperatures range from 15-28 C°, and night-time temperatures from 18 down to 10 C°. Trekking and cycling are possible at other times too, but in the wintertime the weather at over 4,000 feet (1,600m) can be bitterly cold (in the 30s F°!) with fog and drizzle. The summer can be rather wet, not ideal for slippery paths. Please ask about our Mai Chau trips southwest of Hanoi if your trip is during these cooler months.

December travel? The rainy weather has already tapered, but the temperatures can be cooler and drizzle persists in Hue. Here are some historic weather records for Hanoi (north), Hue and Hoi An (central), and Saigon (south) Vietnam during the month of December (in Fahrenheit). What is Sapa like in December? Little rain, but lows in the 30-40s°F.

 

Vietnam Weather December, 2008
Hanoi: Days with rain 2, mean temperature 64.2°F
Hue: Days with rain 14, mean temperature 67.6°F
Hoi An: Days with rain 10, mean temperature 70.5°F
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh): Days with rain 4, mean temperature 77.9°F

 

Vietnam Weather December, 2009
Hanoi: Days with rain 0, mean temperature 67.3°F
Hue: Days with rain 11, mean temperature 70.5°F
Hoi An: Days with rain 5, mean temperature 73.4°F
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh): Days with rain 2, mean temperature 79.3°F

 

Vietnam Weather December, 2010
Hanoi: Days with rain 1, mean temperature 66.2°F
Hue: Days with rain 6, mean temperature 72.3°F
Hoi An: Days with rain 4, mean temperature 72.3°F
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh): Days with rain 4, mean temperature 78.6°F

 

Vietnam Weather December, 2011
Hanoi: Days with rain 2, mean temperature 63°F
Hue: Days with rain 19, mean temperature 66.7°F
Hoi An: Days with rain 15, mean temperature 69.0°F
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh): Days with rain 2, mean temperature 78.4°F

 

Show me the data?

A periodic typhoon or storm can lead to misleading numbers. For example, one storm in March 2009 lead to almost all rain for the month falling on one day on the central coast. This is very typical in Vietnam! You may have week of sunshine, then torrential downpour for one or two days. To provide a more detailed look, here is actual historical weather data for Hanoi weather patterns for 2008, 2009, 2010:

 

Hanoi Vietnam Historical Weather for 2008, 2009 & 2010
2008
avg temp°C
total rain mm
avg temp°F
total rain in.
Hanoi days with rain*
Jan
15 27 59 1.1
2
Feb
13.8 14 57 0.5
1
Mar
21.4 20 71 0.8
2
Apr
24.5 121 76 4.8
3
May
27.2 184 81 7.2
6
Jun
28.3 212 83 8.4
9
Jul
29 423 84 16.6
12
Aug
28.8 279 84 11.0
10
Sep
28.1 199 83 7.8
8
Oct
26.5 469 80 18.4
6
Nov
21 259 70 10.2
6
Dec
17.9 11 64 0.4
1
* > 5mm
2009
       
Jan
15.7 5 60 0.2
0
Feb
22.3 8 72 0.3
0
Mar
20.8 48 69 1.9
1
Apr
24.6 74 76 2.9
4
May
26.9 229 80 9.0
8
Jun
29.8 242 86 9.5
10
Jul
29.3 410 85 16.2
12
Aug
29.8 152 86 6.0
7
Sep
29 155 84 6.1
6
Oct
26.4 78 80 3.1
4
Nov
21.5 1 71 0.0
0
Dec
19.6 4 67 0.1
0
* > 5mm
2010
       
Jan
18 80 64 3.2
4
Feb
20.7 8 69 0.3
1
Mar
21.7 5 71 0.2
2
Apr
23.2 56 74 2.2
11
May
28.3 108 83 4.2
7
Jun
30.1 176 86 6.9
7
Jul
30.2 280 86 11.0
10
Aug
28.1 275 83 10.8
13
Sep
28.3 153 83 6.0
7
Oct
25.3 25 78 1.0
1
Nov
21.5 0.5 71 0.0
0
Dec
19 12 66 0.5
1
* > 5mm

 

Discrete Weather Events

A decade-long summary of peak weather events that have disrupted travelers in and to Vietnam by areas affected. Also, check your Vietnam travel dates against our handy risk chart at the bottom.

 

Flooding Affecting Hue & Hoi An, Vietnam 2000-2014
Year
Date
Cyclone Name
2000
-
2001
October 18
Rainfall
2002
-
2003
October 20
Rainfall
 
November 16
Rainfall
2004
November 27
Typhoon Muifa
2005
-
2006
August 12
Rainfall
2007
August 8
Tropical cyclone 06W
October 8
Rainfall
November 1
Rainfall
November 7
Rainfall
2008
October 30
Rainfall
2009
September 30
Typhoon Ketsana
2010
October 4
Flooding
2011
November 5
Flooding
2013
Nov 18
Hoi An Flooded
Source: VeloAsia, 2012

 

Global warming in Vietnam Update 2011: December through mid-March had unpredictable swings in temperatures and rain in the north and the central coast (with record cold spells).

 

Note: During some months below, the Vietnam weather charts below may look like heavy rainfall, but in some places such as Hue or Hanoi, this does not inhibit on and off-bike sightseeing.

 

Vietnam Weather ChartsVietnam Overall Rainfall Precipitation

 

 

When to go

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
NORTH

Hanoi

Halong Bay

Sapa

CENTRAL

Hue

Danang

SOUTH

Nha Trang

Saigon

Can Tho

Phu Quoc

 

Vietnam Weather Data 2010 (Number of Days with Rain by Month) Blue = Heaviest Rains

When to go

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
NORTH

Hanoi

7
2
2
12
7
7
10
14
9
5
0
4
CENTRAL

Hue

11
5
7
2
4
9
11
16
9
21
19
10

Danang

7
0
2
1
2
7
6
11
11
19
18
5
SOUTH

Nha Trang

5
0
3
4
2
1
4
5
7
12
13
6

Saigon

2
0
2
1
2
10
13
13
9
13
14
4
Phu Quoc
2
0
4
4
10
13
12
12
11
16
12
4
This chart is for 2010 only, some areas like Hue had heavy rain in 2010 but droughts in 2008 and 2009

 

Place
Rainy Season
Dry Season
Annual Rainfall (inches)
High Temp
Low Temp
Humidity (%)
Hanoi  May-Oct Nov-Apr
66
June: 91 Jan: 57
83
Halong Bay July-Aug Nov-Apr
79
July: 89 Jan: 56
82
Dien Bien Phu Apr-Sep Oct-Mar
62
May: 90 Jan: 52
84
Sapa Mar-Nov Dec-Feb
109
August: 74 Jan: 43
87
Hue Jul-Jan Feb-Jun
114
August: 94 Jan: 63
88
Danang Jul-Jan Feb-Jun
78
June: 94 Jan: 66
83
Qui Nhon Sep-Dec Jan-Aug
65
August: 94 Jan: 69
81
Pleiku May-Oct Nov-Apr
106
April: 87 Jan: 57
85
Dalat Apr-Nov Dec-Mar
72
April: 80 Feb: 50
84
Nha Trang Sep-Dec Jan-Aug
45
August: 92 Jan: 69
82
Saigon May-Oct Nov-Apr
78
April: 95 Jan: 70
82
Can Tho May-Oct Nov-Apr
61
April: 93 Jan: 71
82
Phu Quoc June-July Nov-May
113
June: 93
Jan: 67
81
Click on city for current weather in Vietnam, by city (Yahoo Weather)