In Vietnam, the climate is tropical in the north and subtropical in the center and south, and it's influenced by the monsoons: the south-west monsoon affects the country from May to October, and the northeast monsoon from October to April. The former brings heavy rainfall in the exposed areas, ie both the north and the south, while along the central part, protected by the mountains, it brings relatively little rain and leaves often space to the sun. The north-east monsoon is generally drier, but it brings heavy rains in the early months (October-December) along the coast exposed to the east, and light but frequent rains in the north.
In inland areas, there are hills and mountains, which make the climate milder in the summer months, but even cold in winter in the north.
The amount of rainfall is normally between 1,500 and 2,500 millimeters (60 and 98 inches) per year, but there's also a relatively small arid zone in the Phan Thiet area (north-east of Ho Chi Minh City), where it's slightly above 1,000 mm (40 in).

Index


The north



Climate of northern Vietnam
In the north of Vietnam, the climate in winter is unusually cool for the latitude: we are just south of the Tropic of Cancer, yet the average temperature in January is below 20 °C (68 °F): in Hanoi, the average is 17.5 °C (63.5 °F), in Vinh, it's 19 °C (64 °F), while it's around 14 °C (57 °F) in the northernmost areas of Tonkin, where the temperature at night can approach freezing (0 °C or 32 °F) between December and February (and sometimes in early March).
Here are the average temperatures of Cao Bang, located in the north-east, a short distance from the border with China.
Cao Bang - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)101216202024242322191511
Max (°C)181923283132323231282421
Min (°F)505461686875757372665952
Max (°F)646673828890909088827570

Hanoi

The capital, Hanoi, is a little further to the south and about 90 km (55 mi) from the sea. Winter averages are a little higher, however, sometimes there can be very cool periods here as well, with lows around 7/8 °C (45/46 °F) and highs around 15 °C (59 °F); more rarely, it can even get cold for a few days, and highs can drop to around 10 °C (50 °F). Here are the average temperatures.
Hanoi - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)151619222527272626232016
Max (°C)202123283233333332292622
Min (°F)596166727781817979736861
Max (°F)687073829091919190847972

The winter monsoon is originally dry because it comes from the Asian continent, but the clash with the mild and moist air of the Gulf of Tonkin generates compact cloudiness, which bring light but frequent rains. Therefore, during winter, the sun rarely shines in Hanoi, and although the temperature is spring-like, a journey to this city would not be so pleasant. Hanoi is actually a dull city, in fact, even in summer, the sun does not shine very often because of the summer monsoon. There are about 1,450 hours of sunshine per year. Here are the sunshine hours per day in Hanoi.
Hanoi - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours221355655544

In spring, the temperature gradually rises in northern Vietnam, and the sun comes out every so often in April, but then, from May to October, it's the rainy season, and the weather becomes hot and humid, with downpours in the afternoon or evening. In Hanoi, the wettest months are July and August, with about 300 mm (12 in) of rain per month. The maximum temperature is around 33 °C (91 °F), but the humidity makes the heat annoying, also because it can sometimes reach as high as 37/38 °C (99/100 °F), with peaks of 39/40 °C (102/104 °F) in May and June.
In October and November, when the monsoon withdraws, there is another quite pleasant period, before the return of cool and dull weather in December.
Here is the average precipitation in Hanoi.
Hanoi - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)2025459019024029032026513045251675
Prec.(in)0.811.83.57.59.411.412.610.45.11.8165.9
Days81115131415161714976145

In mountainous areas, winter is quite cold: at 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) of altitude, the average temperature in January is around 8 °C (46.5 °F). The highest peak is Fansipan (or Phan Xi Pang), 3,143 meters (10,311 feet) high, which is covered with snow in winter.
Here are the average temperatures of Sa Pa, located at 1,500 meters (5,000 feet), in the Hoàng Liên National Park, and at the base of the Fansipan. On top of Fansipan, the temperature is about 10 degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit) lower than at Sa Pa.
Sa Pa - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)571113161718171613118
Max (°C)111218212323232322191714
Min (°F)414552556163646361555246
Max (°F)525464707373737372666357

Haiphong

In the northernmost part of the coast, near Hanoi (see Haiphong), the sea is a bit cool from January to March, while it is very warm in the summer months. Anyway, in winter, cool and cloudy weather conditions which prevail in this season are usually not inviting for swimming.
Haiphong - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)222122242729303029282623
Temp (°F)727072758184868684827973

So the best time to visit northern Vietnam and Hanoi is spring, and in particular, the month of April, along with autumn, between October and November, when, however, there's still the risk of typhoons (see below).

The Center




Climate of central Vietnam

Along the coast of central Vietnam, the winter is warmer: the average temperature in January ranges from 20 °C (68 °F) in Hue to 24 °C (75 °F) in Nha Trang. In addition, in the central part, the summer monsoon produces little effects, so that less than 100 mm (4 in) of rain fall per month until August, and the amount of sunshine remains acceptable. Here, the rainy season comes later, and runs from September to December, but even to January in the northern part (from Ha Tinh to Da Nang), with a maximum in October and November, when the rains can be torrential. These intense rains at the end of the year are due to the retreating monsoon, which particularly affects the part of the coast exposed to the north-east: in Hue, 500 mm (20 in) of rain fall in September, 900 mm (35 in) in October, 680 mm (26.5 in) in November, 350 mm (14 in) in December, and still 145 mm (5.5 in) in January.

Da Nang

Here are the average temperatures in Da Nang.
Da Nang - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)192022232526252624232219
Max (°C)252629313334343432302725
Min (°F)666872737779777975737266
Max (°F)777984889193939390868177

In Da Nang, it rains less than in Hue, but the rains are still abundant from September to December. Here is the average rainfall.
Da Nang - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)953520256585851053506153652002045
Prec.(in)3.71.40.812.63.33.34.113.824.214.47.980.5
Days147569891115212119144

In the central part of Vietnam, the sun shines more often than in the north and in Hanoi, both in winter (even though it does not go beyond 4/5 hours per day) and in summer, when it shines for a good number of hours (especially from May to July).
Da Nang - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours456788876554

In the central part of Vietnam, the sea is warm enough for swimming all year round, although it drops to 23 °C (73 °F) in February in Hue, and to 24 °C (75 °F) from January to March in Da Nang, while it never drops below 26 °C (79 °F) in Nha Trang. Here is the average sea temperature in Da Nang.
Da Nang - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)242424262829303029282725
Temp (°F)757575798284868684828177

Continuing south, the rainfall pattern remains more or less the same at Quang Ngai and Duc Pho, while further south, precipitation drops below 2,000 mm (80 in) per year. In addition, winter temperatures gradually increase, and the likelihood of cold air coming from the north decreases.

Qui Nhon

Here are the average temperatures of Qui Nhon.
Qui Nhon - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)212122242525262625242320
Max (°C)252628303234343532322927
Min (°F)707072757777797977757368
Max (°F)777982869093939590908481

In Qui Nhon, 1.650 mm (65 in) of rain fall per year, and the only very rainy period is from September to November. Here is the average precipitation in Qui Nhon.
Qui Nhon - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)55404025555570552454354351401645
Prec.(in)2.21.61.612.22.22.82.29.617.117.15.564.8
Days42234666121617785

In Qui Nhonm, the sun often shines from March to July.
Qui Nhon - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours578998877544

Continuing further south, the winter temperatures become even higher, and are warm even in this season.

Nha Trang

Here are the average temperatures of Nha Trang.
Nha Trang - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)212122232424242424232222
Max (°C)282930323333333332302928
Min (°F)707072737575757575737272
Max (°F)828486909191919190868482

In this area, where the coast begins to be exposed to the south-east, precipitation drops below 1,500 mm (60 in) per year. Here is the average precipitation in Nha Trang.
Nha Trang - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)45203040604540551653253651801365
Prec.(in)1.80.81.21.62.41.81.62.26.512.814.47.153.7
Days522366561115141086

The sun in Nha Trang often shines for a long period, from February to August, and for a total of 2,500 hours a year.
Nha Trang - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours688988877655

To the south of this area, in the Binh Thuan province, the rains are even less abundant: in Phan Thiet, just 1,150 mm (45 in) of rain fall per year, which is not a very low value, but they are concentrated in a few months, while the rains are scarce for a long period, so that the landscape is semi-arid, and in the Mui Ne area, even sand dunes are found.

Dunes of Mui Ne

The best time to visit this area of Vietnam runs from February to March in the northern part, and from January to March in the southern part. April is still a dry month, but it begins to be hot, even though sea breezes blow along the coast. From May to August, the air is hot and humid, but the rains are not abundant and the sun often shines, so the situation is better than in the rest of Vietnam.

Inland areas



Vietnam, climate of inland areas
In the interior of central Vietnam, due to the presence of mountains the climate is milder, in fact, there are many cities located between 400 and 1,000 meters (1,300 and 3,300 feet) above sea level, where winters are nice and sunny, while summers are a bit less sultry than at sea level.

Pleiku

Here are the average temperatures of Pleiku, located at 750 meters (2,450 ft) above sea level.
Pleiku - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)151719202120212020191816
Max (°C)242527292929282928272524
Min (°F)596366687068706868666461
Max (°F)757781848484828482817775

Here, the monsoon rains occur in the canonical period, from May to November, with a maximum between August and October. Here is the average precipitation.
Pleiku - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)35253565145180200235290330240901870
Prec.(in)1.411.42.65.77.17.99.311.4139.43.573.6
Days444716202124211796153

Winter is dry, so you can visit this area from December to March, or even April at higher altitudes, where the heat is less intense.

The south



Climate of southern Vietnam
In the southern part of the country and on the southern islands (see Con Dao, Phu Quoc), the climate is hot all year round, while the rainy period is the summer, as happens in the north. Between November and mid-February, the maximum temperatures are around 30/32 °C (86/90 °F), while by mid-February, the temperatures starts to rise, and reach the highest level of the year between March and May: 33/35 °C (91/95 °F) on average, but with peaks of 40 °C (104 °F), before the arrival of the monsoon. During the period of the summer monsoon, the heat is quite muggy.

Ho Chi Minh

Here are the average temperatures of Ho Chi Minh City, near the Mekong Delta.
Ho Chi Minh - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)212324262525242424242321
Max (°C)323334353432323231313131
Min (°F)707375797777757575757370
Max (°F)909193959390909088888888

In Ho Chi Minh, the rains amount to about 1,900 mm (76 in) per year, and are abundant from May to mid-November, with a maximum in September. Here is the average precipitation.
Ho Chi Minh - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)1551050220310295270325265115501930
Prec.(in)0.60.20.428.712.211.610.612.810.44.5276
Days2125181923222321127156

In Ho Chi Minh, the sun frequently shines in the dry period, from December to April.
Ho Chi Minh - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours899866665677

In southern Vietnam, the sea is warm all year round.
Vinh Loi - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)272828303030292929292828
Temp (°F)818282868686848484848282

In southern Vietnam, the best time is from December to mid-February; March and April are still dry months, but they are uncomfortably hot. However, sea breezes blow along the coasts and on the islands.

Ha long Bay

Typhoons



Vietnam is located in the path of typhoons, the tropical cyclones of the western Pacific, which affect the country from the east, generally from May 20 to December 10. Since cyclones hit directly the coast from the sea, when they are at their maximum strength, Vietnam, especially in the northern part, is one of the most affected countries of Southeast Asia.
The area more often affected is the northern one, in particular, the Gulf of Tonkin and the Red River delta. A particularly destructive typhoon was the one that devastated Haiphong in early October 1881. In the north, typhoons generally occur from May 20 to mid-November, with a maximum from July to October. Typically, in July and August, typhoons only affect northern Vietnam.
In the center, typhoons generally occur from the beginning of September to December 10, although in recent times, perhaps because of global warming, there has been Tropical Storm Chanthu in the central part of the country in June 2004, and Tropical Storm Sonca in north-central Vietnam in July 2017.
In the south, typhoons generally occur from October 15 to December 20, with a maximum in early November.
In January, and again from March to mid-May, some tropical depressions can occasionally form, generally off the central-southern coast, but they almost always dissipate over the sea before reaching the coast. However, they can cause abnormal waves.

Best Time



The best time to visit Vietnam as a whole is the first half of February, since it's the only period which is neither very rainy nor very hot throughout the country, even though it is cloudy in the north and sometimes very cool. March and April are not bad as well, in fact, they are acceptable months in the north, though not very sunny, while they are dry and sunny in the center and south, though they are also hot in the south. December and January are dry and sunny in the center and south, but not in the north.
If you want to go in July and August, you can choose the south-central coast (from Da Nang and the Cham islands to Phan Thiet, including Nha Trang), where, as previously mentioned, it is sunny and not very rainy, and generally, in this period, it is also spared by typhoons.

What to pack



In winter: in the north (Hanoi), pack spring/autumn clothes, a jacket and a sweater, a raincoat for the drizzle, and a hat and gloves for colder nights. In mountain peaks, pack warm clothes, such as a down jacket, gloves, a hat, and hiking shoes.
In the center (Hue, Nha Trang), pack light clothes for the day, a sweatshirt and a scarf for the breeze, a jacket and a sweater for cooler evenings, and a raincoat or umbrella until January inclusive.
For the inland south-central areas, light clothes for the day, and a jacket and a sweater for the evening.
For the south (Ho Chi Minh), light clothing, a scarf for the breeze, a light sweatshirt for the evening, and possibly a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.
In summer: across the country, at low altitude, pack tropics-friendly, lightweight clothing of natural fibers, a light raincoat or umbrella, and a light sweatshirt for the evening; for the towns located at an altitude higher than sea level, you can add a sweatshirt and a light jacket; for the highest peaks, warm clothes, a fleece, a jacket, a raincoat, and hiking boots.
When going to the reef, you can bring snorkeling equipment, including water shoes or rubber-soled shoes.
Before entering pagodas, it is customary to take off shoes, dress neatly and cover a little.