mountains peaking though the top of fog

Winter in Vietnam: Weather, Travel Tips & Best Places to Visit

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Discover the best of winter in Vietnam with our comprehensive guide. Learn about the weather, travel tips, and top places to visit.

Vietnam, a Southeast Asian country with an extensive latitudinal range, experiences distinct weather patterns as one travels from north to south. The winter Vietnam season, although mild compared to many other parts of the world, offers a unique charm and a respite from the typical tropical heat.

In our opinion, this is the best time to visit Vietnam, especially the northern cities such as Hanoi and Ninh Binh, and the central region including Hoi An and Danang. The cooler weather and lower humidity make it perfect for exploring the attractions by foot or bicycle.

The terraced rice fields of the north glisten with morning dew, the central regions enjoy mild sunny days, and the southern beaches continue to welcome sun-seekers. The variation in climate during winter across Vietnam’s length makes it a destination with something for every traveller.

Whether you’re interested in trekking in the cooler northern highlands, soaking up the sun on a beach in the south, or experiencing a vibrant festival such as Tet (Lunar New Year), winter in Vietnam has something special in store.

Planning your trip to Vietnam last minute?

Below are some of the top tours, hotels and more! Don’t forget to plan ahead when visiting Vietnam and nearby!

1. HALONG BAY CRUISE (#1 selling Vietnam tour!)
2. MEKONG DELTA (another top-seller!)
3. CU CHI TUNNELS IN HCMC (great for history lovers!)
4. VIETNAMESE COOKING CLASS (for the foodies!)
5. HANOI STREET FOOD TOUR (come hungry!)

1. LA SIESTA CONTRAL HOTEL & SPA IN HANOI (we stayed here and recommend it!)
2. LYS HOMESTAY IN NINH BINH (we also stayed here – recommended for budget travellers!)

Key Takeaways

  • Winter in Vietnam is from late October to February
RegionTemperature Range (°C)Temperature Range (°F)Additional Info
Northern7 to 2145 to 70Lowest temperatures in cool periods
Central23 to 2673 to 79Moderate to heavy rainfall, dry in December
Southern22 to 3372 to 91Lower rain, warmer in December (avg. 27°C)

When is Winter in Vietnam?

Winter traditionally spans from late October to February, with a noticeable drop in temperature in Vietnam, especially in the northern regions. The winter season is characterized by the winter monsoon, which can bring cooler temperatures and varying amounts of rainfall across the country.

Vietnam Weather in Winter

Vietnam’s weather during winter largely depends on the region. While the north experiences a cold and dry climate for Vietnam, the central and southern areas enjoy milder Vietnam winter temperatures with varying precipitation levels.

Northern Vietnam in Winter

mountains in northern vietnam in winter bathed in mist

In North Vietnam, cities like Hanoi and Sapa witness a significant drop in temperatures during winter. The average temperatures range from 14°C to 21°C (57°F to 70°F), making December one of the coldest months of the year in this region.

Rainfall is minimal during this time, enhancing the cool, dry winter climate. However, it can get colder with lows around 7 / 8°C (45 / 46°F) and highs around 15°C (59°F), and on rare occasions with highs dropping to around 10°C (50°F).

The cities / regions classified as Northern Vietnam include: Sapa, Ha Giang, Bac Ha, Mu Cang Chai, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Cuc Phuong, Mai Chau and Ninh Binh.

Central Vietnam in Winter

the bottom of the feet of a reclining buddha in a vietnamese temple

Central Vietnam experiences mild temperatures with moderate to heavy rainfall during winter. The coastal areas might face occasional storms or typhoons, while the average temperatures range from 23 to 26 degrees Celsius (73 to 79°F).

December in Central Vietnam is predominantly dry, making it a pleasant time for outdoor explorations.

The cities / regions classified as Central Vietnam include: Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Dalat, Quy Nhon and Nha Trang.

Southern Vietnam in Winter

neon lit streets on a street in asia

Southern Vietnam enjoys warmer temperatures even in winter, with average temperatures ranging from 22 to 31°C (72 to 88°F) in most parts and 22 to 33°C (72 to 91°F) in Ho Chi Minh City.

December marks a shift to lower rainfall and warmer temperatures averaging around 27°C (81°F). The relatively warm and dry climate makes it an ideal time for beach vacations and exploring the southern cities and countryside.

The cities / regions classified as Southern Vietnam include: Ho Chi Minh City, The Mekong Delta, Phu Quoc, Con Dao, Phan Thiet, Mue Ne, Ho Tram and Long Hai.

Best Places to Visit in Vietnam in Winter

Vietnam, a country with a rich culture, stunning landscapes, and a vibrant culinary scene, becomes a warm and exotic getaway as the cold winter months approach. Many of the tourist spots in Vietnam have seen a resurgence in 2023, making it an ideal time for travellers to explore these places to visit.

Winter is a great time to visit as Vietnam weather tends to be drier and more relaxed than the sticky summer, especially in the northern regions like Hanoi. Here are some hand-picked destinations in Vietnam that promise a captivating winter escape:

1. Sapa

a trail of tourists trekking along a river with bamboo houses in background

Nestled in the mountains of North-western Vietnam, Sapa is a frontier township known for its terraced rice fields and the highest mountain in Vietnam, Fansipan. Winter here is cold, and if you are lucky, you might witness a magical snowfall.

In winter, the terraced rice fields, that cascade down mountainsides like giant staircases, transform into a mesmerizing sight as they reflect the golden hues of sunlight. It’s an ideal time to embark on hikes through the countryside and witness the beauty of nature up close.

It’s a time when the town’s vibrant cultural fabric, woven with various ethnic tribes, stands out against the stark, wintry landscape. From enjoying tribal herbal baths to trying traditional weaving, winter in Sapa explores unique cultural experiences in a picturesque setting.

Exit45 Travels Top Tip: Don’t forget to pack warm clothes as temperatures can drop significantly at higher altitudes.

2. Hanoi

coloured lights on a lake from surrounding buildings

Known for its centuries-old architecture and rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese, and French influences, Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, offers a unique charm during winter. The winter winds bring a cosy ambiance, with the temperature dropping, paving the way for hot tea and the warm dishes of Vietnam to take centre stage.

The Old Quarter, the heart of Hanoi, with its narrow streets filled with quaint shops, provides a glimpse into the traditional life of the Vietnamese people.

In our experience, winter is the best time to visit Hanoi when it is cooler and without the humidity. At other times of the year, it gets really hot in the city, especially the Old Quarter, so plan your trip during winter to make the most of your time there.

(Hanoi Vietnam in Winter)

3. Ha Long Bay

people in row boats in halong bay surrounded by limestone mountains

Ha Long Bay, renowned for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped with rainforests, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Winter is a great time to visit as the cooler temperatures provide a comfortable atmosphere for exploring the caves, caverns, and local fishing villages.

The water temperature was a little too chilly for us to go swimming and enjoy, but it was still enjoyable sitting in the sun and admiring the beauty of the area. The cool weather added an extra layer of tranquillity as we cruised through the calm waters surrounded by misty mountains and picturesque caves.

Whether you’re kayaking, cruising, or simply soaking up the serene beauty, Ha Long Bay is a winter haven that offers a slice of adventure amidst nature’s grandeur. Discover the serene and picturesque landscapes, and find out for yourself why Halong Bay is worth visiting.

4. Ninh Binh

reflection of mountains and houses on water in rice paddy fields

Nestled in the northern part of Vietnam, Ninh Binh is often referred to as “Halong Bay on land” due to its stunning karst formations and picturesque landscapes. This region boasts breathtaking natural beauty that will leave you awe-struck. One of the best ways to explore Ninh Binh is by taking a boat trip along the serene waterways that wind through limestone cliffs and lush greenery.

Some of our highlights of visiting Ninh Binh include taking a boat ride through Tam Coc, also known as “Three Caves,” exploring the Trang An Grottoes complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by boat, and visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda, one of the largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia.

5. Hue

lady in a vietnamese rice hat walking towards an old building in hue

The ancient city of Hue, once the capital of Vietnam, is home to the ruins of the Imperial City, a vast complex of temples, walls, and gates. Winter’s mild and dry climate makes it an ideal time to explore the historic architectural wonders and the serene Perfume River that flows through the city.

The cooler temperatures are perfect for leisurely exploring the city’s rich past and enjoying its unique culinary offerings.

Winter Travel Tips for Vietnam

Here are some of our top Vietnam winter travel tips for those planning to explore Vietnam during this season. If you would like to read more of our top tips for visiting Vietnam, click on the link.

Events and Festivals in Winter in Vietnam

Winter is a festive season in Vietnam, as various regions host traditional festivals. Here are some notable festivals that tourists may find interesting:

Tet (Vietnamese New Year)

If you plan your visit to Northern Vietnam during the winter months, you’ll have the opportunity to experience Tet Nguyen Dan, the Lunar New Year. This is the most important festival in Vietnam and is celebrated nationwide with great enthusiasm and joy.

It marks the beginning of the lunar calendar and is a time for family reunions, honouring ancestors, and welcoming good fortune for the coming year. During Tet, expect vibrant decorations, traditional music performances, and dragon dances filling the streets.

Exit45 Travels Top Tip: Tet is considered peak season in Vietnam as many families travel to see each other. As such, we highly recommend booking your accommodation early. Also, expect peak season pricing, lots of crowds, and limited availability of certain activities and attractions.

Hue Festival (Winter Festival)

dancers in traditional vietnamese clothing performing on stage

The Hue Festival, also known as the Winter Festival, is a grand cultural event celebrated in the ancient royal city of Hue from October 1 to December 31 each year. The festival features a series of notable events including instrumental performances, dance and cultural performances, health and wellness activities, an art program, and additionally, an International Music Festival.

Perfume Pagoda Festival

Held from the end of January to the middle of April, the Perfume Pagoda Festival is an important religious festival for Buddhists in Vietnam. The ceremony occurs at the scenic Chua Huong (Perfume Pagoda) in Huong Son, My Duc District, Hanoi. Pilgrims visit temples to worship, enjoy scenic boat rides on the poetic Yen stream surrounded by limestone mountains and rice fields, and climb hundreds of stone steps to pray for a peaceful, prosperous, and lucky new year.

people climbing stairs to a pagoda in vietnam

8Wonder Winter Festival

Music enthusiasts can experience the 8Wonder Winter Festival (headlined by Grammy Award Winners Maroon 5 in 2023), in Phu Quoc. The event is part of the annual ‘Wake Up Festival’ series hosted by Vinpearl Phu Quoc integrated entertainment and resort complex in December and into January.

Winter Packing Tips for Vietnam

Packing for a winter trip to Vietnam requires a consideration of the regional climate variations:

  • Lightweight Clothing for Mild Temperatures: Lightweight clothing like T-shirts, baggy trousers, thin jumpers, and long skirts are recommended. Temperatures can still vary throughout the day. To stay comfortable and prepared for temperature changes, it’s essential to pack and wear layers of clothing.
  • A Light Jacket or Warm Jumper for Cooler Evenings: While the daytime temperatures in Vietnam’s winter may be pleasant, evenings can get a bit chilly. It’s always a good idea to pack a light jacket or sweater to layer over your outfits when exploring the cities or enjoying outdoor activities after sunset.
  • Footwear: Comfortable walking shoes are a must-have item in your suitcase. Opt for sturdy yet comfortable footwear that will provide support throughout your adventures.
  • Versatile Clothing Options: When planning what clothes to pack, consider versatile options that can be mixed and matched easily. This way, you can create different outfits without having to bring along an excessive amount of clothing. Think about packing items like t-shirts, lightweight pants or skirts, and versatile dresses that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
  • Layering Essentials: Layering is key when dressing for variable weather conditions during your trip to Vietnam in winter. By layering your clothing, you can easily adjust your outfit according to temperature changes throughout the day. Consider bringing along items such as cardigans, scarves, and long-sleeve shirts that can be added or removed as needed.
  • Rain Gear: Vietnam experiences some rainfall during the winter season, so it’s important to be prepared for wet weather. Pack a lightweight rain jacket or a compact umbrella that can easily fit in your bag. This way, you’ll be ready to tackle any unexpected showers without letting them dampen your plans.
  • Toiletries and Health Items: Basic toiletries and a small first aid kit are essential. It’s advisable to pack mosquito spray and sun cream, especially if you plan to visit mountainous or beach areas​.
  • Electronics: Don’t forget your charging cables, a universal power adapter, and perhaps a power bank to keep your devices charged during your travels​​.

Book Accommodations in Advance

Vietnam is a popular tourist destination all year round, but during the winter months, certain places tend to attract even more visitors. If you plan on visiting popular destinations like Halong Bay or Da Nang during this time, it’s advisable to book your accommodations well in advance.

Don’t do as we did and leave your accommodation bookings to the last minute. Booking ahead ensures that you have a place to stay and avoids any last-minute hassles of finding suitable accommodation. By securing your bookings early on, you may also have access to better deals and discounts.

Itinerary Planning for Vietnam in Winter

Consider the duration of your stay and prioritize destinations based on your personal preferences. Various suggested itineraries are available, catering to different durations and interests, ranging from a 5 day journey or a 10 day itinerary, to an extensive month long adventure​​.

As mentioned above, Winter is the ideal time to explore the northern regions like Hanoi, Sapa, and Ha Long Bay, where you can experience a genuine winter feel with temperatures dropping to as low as 10°C (50°F) or even lower in mountainous areas like Sapa​.

  • Northern Vietnam: Embrace the chill in Hanoi, explore the mystical terrains of Sapa, and cruise through the enchanting waters of Ha Long Bay.
  • Central Vietnam: The cities of Hue, Da Nang, and Hoi An offer a milder winter climate, making it a favourable time for travellers.
  • Southern Vietnam: The tropical climate in places like Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc provides a warm winter escape.
vietnamese lady smiling with a traditional rice hat

FAQs: Vietnam in Winter

Should you travel to Vietnam in winter?

Yes, Vietnam is a great destination to visit in winter. With pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and festivals like Tet, it offers a unique travel experience.

Does Vietnam have a winter season?

Yes, Vietnam does have a winter season. This is a great time to visit cities in northern part of Vietnam such as Hanoi, Sapa and Halong Bay.

When does winter start in Vietnam?

Winter in Vietnam typically starts in December and lasts until February.

How long is winter in Vietnam?

Winter in Vietnam typically lasts from December to February, so about 3 months.

How cold is winter in Vietnam?

Winter in Vietnam is relatively mild, with average temperatures ranging from 15 – 20 degrees Celsius (59 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit).

What is winter like in Vietnam?

Winter in Vietnam is mild and dry weather, with temperatures ranging from 15 – 25°C, and lower humidity. It’s a great time to visit as the weather is pleasant and there are fewer tourists.

What month is winter in Vietnam?

Winter in Vietnam typically occurs during the months of December, January, and February.

What is the coldest month in Vietnam?

January is the coldest month in Vietnam.

Does it snow in Vietnam?

It is very rare for it to snow in Vietnam, and if it does, it occurs in the northern mountainous regions such as Sapa.

Where does it snow in Vietnam?

Snowfall in Vietnam is rare, but it does occur in the northern mountainous regions such as Sapa, Ha Giang, and Moc Chau during the winter months.

Is Vietnam cold in December?

Vietnam is generally not cold in December. The weather is mild and pleasant in the north, making it a great time to visit and explore the country.

Is Vietnam warm in December?

Yes, Vietnam is warm in December in the southern areas such Phu Quoc and Ho Chi Minh City.

When is winter in Sapa Vietnam?

Winter in Sapa, Vietnam typically falls between December and February.

When is winter in Vietnam Hanoi?

Winter in Vietnam Hanoi typically occurs from December to February.

When is the worst time to visit Vietnam?

The worst time to visit Vietnam is during the rainy season Vietnam from May to October, as it can experience heavy rainfall and potential flooding.

When are the winter holidays in Vietnam?

The winter holidays in Vietnam typically occur from late December to early January.

Vietnam best season to visit?

The best season to visit Vietnam is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April.

Can I expect good weather during winter in Vietnam?

In general, winter weather in Vietnam is pleasant with milder temperatures compared to other seasons. However, do keep in mind that different regions may experience varying weather conditions. Northern areas can be cooler with occasional foggy days while central and southern regions tend to have more stable temperatures.

Is it necessary to book accommodation in advance for a winter trip to Vietnam?

It is not always essential to book accommodation well in advance during winter in Vietnam, unless you’re visiting during major holidays or festivals like Tet. However, it’s advisable to make reservations ahead of time if you have specific preferences or plan on staying at popular tourist destinations.

Are there any travel restrictions or visa requirements for visiting Vietnam in winter?

Before traveling to Vietnam during winter or any other season, it’s essential to check the latest travel advisories and visa requirements. Depending on your nationality, you may need to obtain a visa in advance or be eligible for visa exemption programs. Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date.

In Summary: Winter in Vietnam

Vietnam in winter is a beautiful contrast of calm, chilly mornings and the warm, vibrant culture of its cities and towns. With each destination offering a unique perspective, a winter trip to Vietnam will be an enriching experience filled with awe-inspiring moments, delicious food, and a deep dive into the country’s rich cultural tapestry.

With the proper packing and a well-planned itinerary, you’re set to have a memorable Vietnamese winter adventure. So, pack your bags, plan your journey, and get ready to explore the winter wonders of Vietnam!

Trip Planners For Vietnam: Related Blog Posts

Want more info to help you plan your Vietnam holiday? Check out all the articles we’ve written on travel in Vietnam below and continue planning your trip.

Essential Travel Planning Resources for Vietnam

These are our favourite companies to use when we travel to Vietnam. They consistently turn up the best deals and offer great customer service, and overall, are better than their competitors. These companies are always our starting point when we need to book a flight, hotel, tour, transportation etc.

Book a Tour:
We mostly travel independently, however, some places are better to visit with a guided tour. We use both GetYourGuide and Viator to find great deals on tours in Vietnam.

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