The best time to visit Vietnam is between November and April.
The weather in Vietnam can be split by region. In Hanoi & the north, May to October is hot and humid with high rainfall; November to April is cooler and dry. In the far north, December & January can be particularly cold.
Central Vietnam experiences hot, dry weather between January & August when temperatures can hit the mid-30°C’s; whilst high levels of rainfall can occur in September, October & November.
Southern Vietnam is generally dry and hot from November to April, and warm and wet between May & October, with the highest rainfall in June, July & August.
There is not really a right or wrong time to visit Vietnam as during most months of the year you will experience both sunshine and rain in varying quantities - it is a country with 2000 + miles of coastline and three different weather systems after all.
Whilst Vietnam is typically warm and humid, the weather can vary significantly from one region to another due to the country's length. At times there has been snow (yes white snow!) in the mountainous far north whilst the beaches in the south enjoyed 32 °C and sunshine.
It pays to imagine the country as three separate destinations when researching weather for your intended visit and the following information will hopefully help you unravel the complexities.
The climate in Sapa and Vietnam’s north-west region including Mu Cang Chai is divided into two seasons: the dry season runs from October to late March with the wet season lasting from April to September. It can get very cold and frosty in December and January, especially at night.
The best months to travel in the north-east (Ha Giang) is during the dry season, from October to April, although December and January can get very cold. We recommend avoiding travelling in Ha Giang during the rainy season (May to September).
The best trekking conditions in Sapa and around Mu Cang Chai can be experienced between September & November, and from March to May. Daytime temperatures range from 15-28°C, and night-time temperatures from 10-18°C. Trekking and cycling are possible year round, however the winter time can be rather chilly, and the summer rather wet.
Hanoi and North Vietnam has a distinct winter and summer season. The cool but mostly dry winter lasts from November to April when temperatures average 17-22°C with the coldest months being January - March.
Summer lasts from May to October when it is hot and humid and the region experiences its highest rainfall. July to September are often the wettest months of the year. During these months severe weather can prevent junks sailing in Halong Bay although such weather is rare.
Hoi An, Hue & Danang in the centre of Vietnam have hot and dry weather from mid-January to late August, with temperatures often reaching the mid-30's °C. During the winter months the rainfall increases with October and November achieving peak levels, occasionally in the form of typhoons.
Hue is often cooler than Hoi An, especially early in the year. In addition, with each sitting on opposite sides of a small mountain range the weather can often differ between the two greatly on any given day.
Quy Nhon is a six hour drive south of Hoi An and shares a similar weather pattern although the dry season is slightly longer due to its proximity to the southern system.
At the far south of Central Vietnam, Nha Trang benefits from a longer dry season (typically January to September), with high temperatures and little rain . The rainy season runs from October to early December with almost half the annual rainfall falling in October and November.
Dalat, in the central highlands, is wet from June to October making outdoor pursuits problematic. From November to May it is far drier although cold in December & January.
With temperatures remaining constant year round, the climate of the south is split into two simple seasons, wet and dry. The dry season begins in November and ends in April/early May with late February to May being slightly hotter and more humid. The wet season lasts from May until early November with the months from June, July & August receiving the highest rainfall of the year. Throughout much of the wet season rainfall is generally heavy but short lasting, often occurring in a mid-afternoon heavy downpour.
The average temperatures in the south range between 25 - 35°C year round.
In the far south, the islands of Phu Quoc and Con Dao can be enjoyed year-round, with high chances of sunny days, although if visiting outside dry season, afternoon downpours should be expected.