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BEST TIMES TO TRAVEL TO VIETNAM

One of the first questions that come to mind of an adoptive family is to decide when to take a return trip to visit your child’s birth country. It depends on your interests and preferences!

Let’s put it this way – anytime CAN be a good time to travel, depending on what you seek.  The North and South have opposite monsoon seasons – meaning there are distinctly different weather patterns from North to South.  As a result, each has its own advantage. Each family will have their own preference: some do not like the heat and humidity; others do not want to face any crowds, while others prefer to meet the people and feel the culture. So, depending on your family’s “travel personality” each season can meet one of these expectations.  You will just want to be well informed and plan accordingly.  Simply put -- we cannot tell you when is the best time to visit Vietnam - read this guide to decide for yourself.

JANUARY - MARCH


Sapa


Hoi An


Tet in Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam weather between January and March is characterized by cool and occasional light rain in the North while it is dry and warm in Central and South Vietnam. Temperatures in Hanoi and Halong are generally between 59 and 71; in Hue and Hoi An the temperatures range between 71 and 89.  Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Nha Trang hover around 85 and 95. If you plan to trek early in the year to rural Northern mountainous areas, make sure you bring an extra coat to keep warm. The temperature in places like Sapa can drop to almost freezing. This time period (January – March) also has the most colorful festivals taking place, including the Tet festival. Towards March, the weather gets warmer and the intensity of festivals lessens. From mid-February to mid-March, the volume of tourists is among the lowest in the year for both international and domestic tourists.

APRIL - JUNE


Hue festival in May


Nha Trang


Halong Bay


Halong Bay

April to June is an unpredictable time, as the season transforms from spring to summer. Most cities celebrate the April 30th holiday (which marks Vietnam’s Reunification of North and South).  During this time, you will experience cool weather with occasional light rain. As it gets closer to June, temperatures will rise and so does the humidity. The Center of Vietnam remains wet with moderate temperatures until May; while the South and Southern coast are already hot and dry.  Most Vietnamese families often do not vacation until the mid-June since their kids are in school until late May. You can visit popular beaches like Nha Trang, Quy Nhon or Halong Bay during May usually without significant crowds.

One suggestion is to visit Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City during April 30th - May 2nd holiday. The cities will not be crowded at all and you’ll experience less traffic congestion; it is a perfect time to visit museums and tourist spots.  During this time, avoid traveling out of the city, as that will be the busy area while local families travel out of the city for the holiday.

 

In summary: Fine weather, Low domestic season, Not many events and festivals.
Recommended: Yes
Where to go: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (late April early May), beaches (mid-May to June), Hue (during Hue festival often in May or June), Central Vietnam.


JUNE - EARLY SEPTEMBER


Beaches can be crowded during this season.

Most Vietnamese parents don’t travel without their kids, so the busy time for Vietnam domestic travel is from June to early September. With this being the highest level of domestic tourists, the beaches and mountain retreats are crowded at this time of year. Popular places like Halong Bay, Sap, Danang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, will see throngs of travelers – with fully booked hotels and costs at peak levels

June to early September is a wet and hot period and is not ideal for most travelers, except for sun and beach lovers. During this time in Vietnam, there is sun is shining from 7AM to 7PM, with evenings usually presenting a thunderstorm. If you like this time to visit, make certain to bring lots of sun screen and be prepared to see crowded beaches, particularly on the weekends.


 

Overall: hot, humid weather in Hanoi, Hue and Hoi An; thunderstorms in Ho Chi Minh City; crowded beaches.
Recommended: Not the best
Where to go: beaches from Monday to Wednesday, city on weekend.

 

MID- SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER

      

Late fall and early winter are a golden time to visit the Northern Vietnam such as Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay and nearby provinces. The sky is clear and the wind is gentle and as one visits Hanoi during this time, it can feel like you are visiting a romantic French city, as you are surrounded by the city architecture. Late September and early October is also a great occasion to travel up north to Sapa, to see the beautiful colors of terraced rice paddy fields that are ready for harvest. The time between September and December in Northern Vietnam can be characterized by the words "romance and tranquility".  The temperatures usually stay in the 60’s with dry, gentle air --- perfect for walking the city or touring in the country.  Once into late December, the temperature can get quite cool and you will need some jackets, as the country won’t seem tropical anymoreJ!  This is an ideal time to visit the North, but it is not the best time for the South, though you will certainly avoid the sweltering heat of summertime.

 For example, October and November are rainy months in Nha Trang. Similarly in Central Vietnam, especially Hue and Hoi An, this time is wet and rainy. Once the time schedule gets nearer to the Tet holiday, the rainy season subsides. If you do travel in this time period, you will avoid all the notorious heat of a Vietnam summer.

Overall: the weather is the most beautiful in the year for North Vietnam and rainy in the rest of the country. Public spaces are not crowded.  
Recommended: Yes
Where to go: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa and the northern part of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City and non-beach areas are also great to visit during this time of the year.

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