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Best Time of Year to Visit Vietnam

Explore > Travel Planning Articles > Best Time of Year to Visit Vietnam

Date published:
2023-05-07


Rice paddies near Sapa, northern Vietnam
Rice paddies near Sapa, northern Vietnam, photo courtesy Angela Hogan.


Michael  

About the author, Michael Cottam


Founder of Visual Itineraries, Michael lives in Bend, Oregon. He's an avid traveler, scuba diver, photographer, and a private pilot, and also the founder of Bright Yonder. He's been to Fiji, Thailand, Vietnam, Seychelles, Kenya, France, England, New Zealand, Jamaica, Belize, Costa Rica, Turks & Caicos, British Virgin Islands, Mexico, and the major islands in French Polynesia.

He's been a Rotarian for 21 years, currently on the board of the Greater Bend Rotary Club.

Follow Michael on LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter.

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Introduction

Vietnam has had a tumultuous background, with many different governments from imperial Chinese rule, to independent dynasties, to French Colonial rule then the brutality of the Vietnamese War until 1975 decided the victory of communist governance. Yet, Vietnam has really transformed into the ultimate destination. It has the best of both worlds with a relaxing lush countryside and dynamic cities to rival anywhere else in the world.

You won't find any animosity towards Americans, whether you're in the north or the south. It feels like they see what we would call the Vietnam War as their own war between the North and the South, and Americans were just there helping one of the sides.

Fishing boats in harbor, Danang, Vietnam
Fishing boats in the harbor, Danang, Vietnam, photo courtesy Michael Cottam.


TRAVEL SPECIAL: Capella Hanoi


Capella Hanoi 5 nights from 2,330 per person
Capella HanoiNestled on a peaceful boulevard along Hoàn Kim Lake, the art nouveau masterpiece is an ode to the opera artists, designers and composers.

Uncover unexpected moments of delightful retrospection in this palace of artistry highlighted by resplendent suites, enthralling dining experiences and the award-winning Auriga Spa.
Learn more about Capella Hanoi

Luxury hotel with spa, near Hoan Kiem Lake





Weather in Vietnam

The weather in Vietnam is very dependent on the region, as the southern coast may be very warm while the northern region is freezing. The best time to visit Vietnam really depends on the destination.




In Northern Vietnam (Hanoi and beyond), most people prefer November to April when it is dry and cool in the low 60-70's Fahrenheit. Central Vietnam can be very hot and rainy so spring and autumn are the best times to go before temperatures frequent the mid 90's and there is constant rainfall.

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Azerai La Residence, Hue


Azerai La Residence, Hue 5 nights from 910 per person
Azerai La Residence, HueSet on a two and a half-hectare site with 200 metres of frontage on the fabled Perfume River, Azerai La Residence, Hue has 122 rooms & suites. The colonial mansion at the heart of the resort was built in 1930s as part of the residence of the French Resident Superieure.



Learn more about Azerai La Residence, Hue

Riverfront hotel in Hue City Centre with spa and outdoor pool





Summer thunderstorm on the Mekong Delta, southern Vietnam
Summer thunderstorm on the Mekong Delta, southern Vietnam, photo courtesy Michael Cottam.


In southern Vietnam, the climate is split into a wet (May-November) and dry season (October-April). The temperature usually remains in the 77-95F year round. Also relevant: the rains tend to be intense but short, making travel possible in the wet season if one does not mind short afternoon rainstorms.




TRAVEL SPECIAL: Park Hyatt Saigon


Park Hyatt Saigon 5 nights from 1,005 per person
Park Hyatt SaigonEnjoy an extensive range of guest services at Park Hyatt Saigon. Our Ho Chi Minh 5-star hotel in District 1 is dedicated to providing world-class service for our business and leisure guests. Along with beautifully appointed guestrooms, the exquisite Xuan Spa, and the warm hospitality of our multilingual staff, guests of our Saigon 5-star hotel can enjoy complimentary butler service, high-speed Internet access, and our Mercedes Limousine Service, an especially attractive perk in a city known for its bustling streets.

Additional thoughtful touches such as shoe shining services, a 24-hour Business Centre and round-the-clock in-room dining will lend a further measure of comfort to your stay in Ho Chi Minh.

Take pleasure in an exceptional range of leisure activities at Park Hyatt Saigon. Our luxury spa hotel in Saigon offers 5-star amenities, including our exquisite Xuan Spa, a refreshing 20-metre outdoor swimming pool and deck, indoor whirlpool, steam room and a state-of-the-art fitness centre. Take a soothing dip, enjoy a workout, or pamper yourself with a rejuvenating massage or body treatment in our Ho Chi Minh spa.

Care to sample a little local flavour? Try a cooking class, where you can socialize with fellow guests while learning the secrets of Vietnamese cuisine from skilled Hyatt culinary specialists.

If you're feeling adventurous, our signature Hyatt Concierge is at your service, whether you wish to tour Saigon in our luxury S-Class Mercedes, play a round of golf in Ho Chi Minh City, visit the Cu Chi tunnel or do a little shopping on Dong Khoi Street.

Whether you're visiting Saigon on business or holiday, the award-winning staff at our District 1 hotel is dedicated to delivering an extraordinary travel experience.
Learn more about Park Hyatt Saigon

Prices include: Items selected, government taxes and fees and Pleasant Holidays' service fees.






 

Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam
Imperial City, Hue, Vietnam, Vietnam, photo courtesy Michael Cottam.


Things to See and Do

Vietnam has gorgeous natural landscapes to enjoy for the outdoor adventurer. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park is a UNESCO heritage site in central Vietnam, and is renowned for large caves and limestone grottos, including the the largest known cave in the world.

Sapa village square, northern Vietnam, from Hotel le Coupole
Sapa village square, northern Vietnam, from Hotel le Coupole, photo courtesy Michael Cottam.


In the northwestern corner of the country, you'll find the charming town of Sapa, with incredible views, rice paddies, markets, and great hiking.

Unlike Thailand (where people drive on the left side of the road), in Vietnam you'll drive on the right hand side of the road. If you plan to rent a car or motorcycle, and you're American, you won't have to make a mental adjustment--if you're from Australia, New Zealand, or the UK you'll probably find that you adapt pretty quickly.

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Topas Ecolodge


Topas Ecolodge 5 nights from 1,075 per person
Topas EcolodgeTopas Ecolodge is a boutique ecolodge situated atop a beautiful hillside deep in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park, just 45 minutes outside Sapa in northern Vietnam.

Learn more about Topas Ecolodge

Mountain lodge in Sa Pa with outdoor pool and restaurant





Having said that, traffic in Hanoi and in Saigon is insane by North American standards. There's no such thing as a left turn lane--oncoming traffic that wants to turn left simply weaves in between the oncoming traffic. And, 90% or more of the vehicles on the road (and on the sidewalk, by the way!) are scooters.


Thien Duong Cave, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam
Thien Duong Cave, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam, photo courtesy Tinker & Rove on Flickr.


Ecotourism tours, extreme rock climbing, and hiking are all tourist activities offered by the park.


Halong Bay, Vietnam
Halong Bay, Vietnam, from Heritage cruise ship Binh Chuan, photo courtesy Michael Cottam.

Another UNESCO heritage site to visit in northern Vietnam is Halong Bay. It is a beautiful place to rent a kayak or junk boat to explore the over 700 islets and limestone cliffs.

A fabulous way to explore Halong Bay is by luxury small cruise ship. Most of these boats have only 15-20 staterooms, with restaurants onboard, some with a pool, spa, cooking classes, etc. These boats will work their way through the bay's some 1,600 islands, stopping for kayaking, exploring caves, or visiting Viet Hai Village on one of the only occupied islands.

To compare all resorts in Vietnam, click here.

Typical airfares from LAX to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam




Airfares vary by season, but also day of week, and are definitely affected by holidays. The chart above shows the typical average fares for a economy class ticket from Los Angeles (LAX) to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN), by month.


 


Market, Hoi An, Vietnam
Market, Hoi An, photo courtesy Michael Cottam.


Culture

One of the top places to visit in Vietnam is Hoi An, a well-preserved 15th century port city still inhabited today. It has lovely architecture and four museums to explore the history of the region. It is also a great place to explore regional cuisine while enjoying the vista of the canals or the Thu Bon River. Vietnam also has huge ultra modern cities--the largest are Hanoi in the North, and Ho Chi Minh City (sometimes called Saigon) in the South.

Outdoor dining in the old quarter of Hanoi

Outdoor dining in the old quarter of Hanoi, photo courtesy Michael Cottam.


Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and sometimes called Paris of the East with its picturesque tree-lined roads and colonial architecture. Hanoi is also known for its many shopping centers, and as a foodie destination, with many traditional Vietnamese dishes believed to have originated in Hanoi, perhaps most famously Pho.

TRAVEL SPECIAL: Capella Hanoi


Capella Hanoi 5 nights from 2,330 per person
Capella HanoiNestled on a peaceful boulevard along Hoàn Kim Lake, the art nouveau masterpiece is an ode to the opera artists, designers and composers.

Uncover unexpected moments of delightful retrospection in this palace of artistry highlighted by resplendent suites, enthralling dining experiences and the award-winning Auriga Spa.
Learn more about Capella Hanoi

Luxury hotel with spa, near Hoan Kiem Lake






Vinh Trang Pagoda, near Mỹ Tho city, southern Vietnam
Vinh Trang Pagoda, near Mỹ Tho city, southern Vietnam, photo courtesy Michael Cottam.


Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam with many amusements for tourists. It is well known for hundreds of cinemas and theaters, museums, art, football clubs among other activities.



Water temperature and SCUBA diving in Vietnam

You can dive year-round in Vietnam, but the primary diving season is March through October for the southwest coast (before the monsoon season), or November through March for Phu Quoc Island and the Con Dao archipelago. Water temperature is typically around 82F. It's a relatively new destination for divers, but it's growing in popularity with both new and seasoned divers. Undersea life you might see includes black frogfish, sting rays, eagle rays, manta rays, bamboo sharks, barracuda, and dugongs.

For a list of the top dive sites in Vietnam, check out PADI's page.



How we work with you to plan the perfect trip:

  • We'll talk with you to find out what you're looking for, what you like/don't like, etc.
  • We'll use our first-hand knowledge of the destination to pick out a handful of resorts we think you'd like
  • We'll create a custom mini website for you, with photos, videos, maps, etc. of the resorts we are recommending
  • We'll follow up with you to help you make your decision
  • We'll go to work with our suppliers to get you the best deal available on what you've decided on.



 

Map of our favorite resorts in Vietnam


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