The holiday season is right around the corner! With Christmas break and the Lunar New Year holidays coming up very soon, perhaps you are thinking of planning a winter trip to Vietnam? We have got you covered. Read on to find out what to expect weather-wise across Vietnam and the top 6 destinations to travel to!
Does it snow in Vietnam?
The short answer is: no, it does not snow in Vietnam, as Vietnam falls within the tropical zone of the northern hemisphere. However, during winter there can be occasional light rain showers and chilly temperatures throughout the country. Notably, Northern Vietnam has four seasons and experiences colder weather than Central or South Vietnam. So, if you really want to find snowfall in Vietnam, you have to head far north into the mountainous regions and hope for a cold spell.
Is Vietnam cold in December?
The Vietnam weather in December is delightfully cool, with winter temperatures average highs ranging from 18-25 degrees Celsius across the different regions. The northern mountainous regions are the only place where you will experience the true winter season, as it has four seasons. The rest of the tropical country has two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season.
However, the weather in Vietnam is becoming more unpredictable, as it is one of the most affected countries of climate change. Over the last 50 years, its average temperature has increased about 0.5 -0.7°C, and its sea level has risen about 20cm. Be sure to check the weather before you go!
7 Wonderful Vietnamese Destinations in Winter
- Ha Giang
- Halong Bay
- Mekong Delta
- Phu Quoc
- Ho Chi Minh City
Before you go on your festive break, remember to do a little research. Christmas in Vietnam might not be what you expect…
1. Sapa, Mount Fansipan
If you are looking for an adventure this winter, head to Sapa. Trekking through the mountainous areas of Sapa offers a chance to see some incredible views of terraced rice fields while exploring one of the most beautiful parts of Southeast Asia. Winter is a great time to visit Sapa because the temperature is much more pleasant than the brutally hot summer months. If you are looking to do some hiking, December and January offer milder temperatures for spending hours trekking up mountainsides!
The coldest temperature recorded in Vietnam was −6.1 °C right here in Sapa, on 4 January 1974. It is no wonder that Sapa has a unique festival called the Sapa Winter Festival; this is a great chance to experience Northern Vietnam culture, food, as well as the celebration of the snowfall season.
Looking for a real challenge? Put on your hiking boots and get ready to hike up Mount Fansipan, a challenging but rewarding journey to the highest peaks of Indochina. Be sure to take note of the sunshine hours and plan your hike accordingly. Of course, you can also opt for the cable car ride!
- Read more on our guide to Sapa
2. Ha Giang
Ha Giang is another fantastic place to experience the true winter beauty of Northern Vietnam. During the cold months, the entire landscape is transformed into a wintry wonderland with snow-capped mountains, frozen rivers and sparkling waterfalls.
Snow in Vietnam is such a rare sight, therefore this far north of Vietnam, you will forget about the tropical climate that characterises the nation. The average temperatures of winter in Northern Vietnam ranges from about 6°C to 14°C.
Spend a few days here travelling by motorbike. Motorbike rides through the highest peaks and winding roads of Ha Giang are definitely an adventure you will never forget! Make sure to also visit Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark – designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012. Ha Giang will ensure your experience of Vietnam in winter is a memorable one.
- Find out 11 amazing things to do while in Ha Giang
3. Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay, seated at the mouth of the Red River Delta, is another top destination during winter, particularly for those who enjoy sightseeing by boat. While it is one of the most popular tourist destinations all year round, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is at its most picturesque during wintertime, so be sure to add it to your list!
While you will not see snow here, the cooler weather makes for a more comfortable experience while cruising around the bay and admiring the thousands of limestone mountain peaks and karsts dotting the emerald waters. Winter lasts from around early November to late March. Average temperatures are 10°C - 20°C. This is also the dry season in Halong Bay, and average precipitation goes down, just a little rainfall is to be expected. Remember to pack warm clothes!
What is Hue, in Central Vietnam, like in winter? The weather is milder here during the winter months, making for a pleasant experience. If you are looking to visit Hue in January or February, there will be fewer crowds compared to other parts of Vietnam which mean more opportunities to explore!
The famous river of Central Vietnam, the Perfume River is particularly atmospheric in December. The slightly misty air and the cold air add romance to the mix. While it does not snow in Hue, be sure to pack a warm hat and jacket, as it does get chilly.
Come here to enjoy amazing Central Vietnam cuisine - eating a steaming hot bowl of bun bo Hue is perfect in winter. (These are the best food in Hue!) With its rich history, beautiful pagodas, and architecture, this ancient capital of Vietnam has plenty of great sightseeing destinations. Walkthrough the imperial capital city and visit the tombs of the emperors.
5. Mekong Delta
Many consider the Mekong Delta one of the best places in Vietnam to visit in January and February. This falls outside the wet season, and the lower humidity makes it much more pleasant. Moreover, the flowers are in full bloom in January and February. The cooler weather means that there are fewer mosquitoes and other insects to deal with, making your time spent exploring the region much more pleasant.
The Mekong offers a unique opportunity to see Vietnam from an entirely different perspective than anywhere else in the country. Tourists can enjoy visiting historic floating markets on a small boat or simply enjoy cruising through the luscious green waterways.
- Read our Mekong travel guide
6. Phu Quoc
You might wonder why we have included Phu Quoc on our winter travel list, but this is for the beach bunnies out there! Vietnam in winter can also be enjoyed from white sandy beaches. In fact, December is a great time to visit as the rainy season would likely just have ended. The coldest temperature in late December would be 23°C with highs of 30°C, making it pleasant and not too hot.
This tropical paradise in Southern Vietnam is well-loved for its warm waters and amazing beaches. Phu Quoc Island is also home to famous Phu Quoc Ridgeback and some of the best seafood in the country so be sure not to miss out on trying all sorts of delicious dishes while enjoying your time here!
A very quick plane ride away from Ho Chi Minh City makes this island an easy getaway even if you only have a short break this winter.
7. Ho Chi Minh City
Another wonderland of winter in Vietnam actually happens to be Ho Chi Minh City! The bustling, busy, booming economic hub of the country boasts the most pleasant weather from December to March. Average temperatures are around 23°C to 31°C, and the cool nights make the city even more enchanting. This part of Southern Vietnam is generally rainy, and experiences the highest rainfall between July to September, making the dry weather of winter something to be appreciated!
- Read our ultimate travel guide to Saigon
January and February are in particular great months to visit Saigon, especially nearing Tet - the Lunar New Year. The city will come alive in anticipation of the biggest Vietnamese holiday of the year. Decorations will be hung everywhere, and markets will be bursting with celebratory products. Be sure to also visit the flower markets and other Tet festivals during this season!
- Recommended: Best Festivals in Vietnam
Vietnam Winter Travel Trips
Winter is a great time to visit Vietnam because the cooler weather allows you to enjoy activities that are perhaps too hot to bear during the summer months. Remember to pack a waterproof jacket and sunblock and of course, make sure to check the weather forecast before you go! These will come in handy whether you are on a beach in Southern Vietnam, on a Halong Bay cruise, or hiking up mountains in North Vietnam.
From enjoying white sands and warm waters at the beach, exploring fruit farms in the Mekong, taking in some of Asia’s most beautiful temples in Hue, or hiking up to see snow-peaked mountains, there are many winter destinations for everyone!
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