Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate, but given the wide range of longitude (8ºN – 23ºN) and of topography (mountainous interior, coastal plain and low-lying delta regions), different regions may experience wildly divergent weather conditions on the same day. While these conditions appear increasingly unpredictable, as they do in many countries, it is worth paying attention to general trends when planning a trip to make the most of your time in Vietnam. Weather forecasts usually divide the country into three regions – south, central and north.
Vietnam Weather in the North
In the north, the heaviest rains fall from May to September, and the annual temperatures vary from 15ºC in winter to 35ºC in summer. Since the main attractions of the north are the hilltribe villages, it is worth noting that temperatures in these regions can drop to near zero on winter nights. Generally the best time to visit the area is around April or October to avoid the extremes of temperature and rainfall.
Vietnam Weather in the South
The south of the country is noticeably tropical, with average temperatures in the upper twenties or lower thirties year-round. The dry season runs from December to April and the rainy season from May through November. This pattern also applies to the Central Highlands, although evenings are cooler because of the elevation.
The high season is December-January when hotel rates are often increased, while during the low season (May-September) many hotels offer reductions. The low season can be a good time for exploring Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, though not so good to enjoy the beaches.
Vietnam Weather in the Centre
It’s a different story on the central coast, where the influence of the northeast monsoon causes the heaviest rain to fall in November-December, especially around Nha Trang, the country’s most popular beach resort. Hue, Da Nang and Hoi An are subject to the same pattern, though the rains can last a bit longer here. Fortunately for beach bums, however, Mui Ne, located south of Nha Trang, is one of the driest places in the country and often escapes storms that blow in to the north.