When is the best time to visit Vietnam? This is a common question I get from both friends as well as reader of this blog on a regular basis so I thought it deserved a post here.
Best Time to Visit Ho Chi Minh City
There are several things to consider when deciding on the best time to visit Vietnam, however from my personal experience living in Saigon and the south for extended periods by far the best time to visit Vietnam is during the Dry season (mùa nắng) this season runs from November to February however depending on where in the country you plan to visit I would not recommend this time period for all trips.
Best Time to Visit Hanoi
If you planned a trip only to the north of Vietnam in and around Ha Noi I would recommend holding off your trip until a little later with the best months to visit Ha noi and surrounding areas in the months of March and April as the Ha noi between December and February barely gets above 20 C/50 F, however if you do hold back too long the greater chance that you will get rained out as the wet season starts getting into full swing from May.
The Central Coast and Central Highlands
Even though located in the south the central highlands area of Vietnam is quite mountainous and has a distinct weather system from the rest of the south with a more even temperature range throughout the year for example the average minimum temperature throughout the year for Buon Ma Thout in Dak Lak is between 17 C/ 62 F and 21 C/70 F and the average maximum temperature ranging between 26 C/ 79 F and 32 C/89 F
The central coast from Hue down to Mui Ne down to Mui Ne is quite a long stretch of land which goes from close to non-tropical in the north of Hue down to extreme tropical in the south at Mui Ne, as such the weather differences and best time to travel to this region is quite different, so unless you are visiting a specific area of the Central Coast I recommended a timing that fits in with both your southern and northern trip.
If you are lucky enough to have an extended trip in Vietnam on a 3 month tourist visa my best recommendation is starting off in the south from January or February and then working your way up the country with your last destinations on the trip being the North with Hanoi Sapa and Halong.
Tip: Given my recommendation above you also need to factor in cultural celebrations, for instance Tết or Vietnamese New Year is Celebrated in a different week period each year between January and February, it great to be in Vietnam for Tết however there are some negatives to travelling to Vietnam such as nearly all shops and tourist destinations shut down for the week and the cost of everything increasing quiet significantly.