The Best Time to Visit Halong Bay
The hardest part of going on holiday is without a doubt the planning! When is the best time to visit Halong Bay? Will it be too hot in July, or too cold in January? When are the best festivals and events in Halong bay? We hope to make things easier for you with our complete guide.
- The best months to visit Halong bay are March, April, May, October, November and December; the weather is nearly perfect, with rare heavy rains or high summer temperatures.
- Best time for sightseeing: April, May, June, October, November and December.
- Best time for outdoor activities: March, April, May and June.
- Best time for honeymoon: November, December, January and February.
- Best time for money saving: late May, June, July, August and early September.
1. Best Time by Weather
Halong Bay is in North-Eastern Vietnam, where the climate has two variations: the hot, wet summer and the cool, dry winter.
Summer is from around May to September. The weather in Summer will be hot and humid but there is also a high risk of rain showers. This is perfect weather for those who enjoy sunshine and swimming but may be too hot for those sensitive to the heat. Remember to take a high factor sunscreen!
The hottest months tend to be June or July, where temperatures average at around 30°C however, it can get much hotter so keep this in mind! The wettest month is August when there are higher chances of Typhoons. Don’t forget to pack an emergency raincoat in August to avoid being caught in the rain, and be prepared for the possibility that cruises may be canceled due to weather warnings.
Winter is from around November to February and visitors can expect mostly cool and dry weather. Temperatures are much lower meaning that swimming and sunbathing are usually out of the question and there can be a lot of drizzle and foggy weather, meaning that the dazzling views of the bay can be somewhat obscured.
Weather Average by Month (In 2018)
|Maximum temp (ºC)||24||25||29||33||34||35||35||35||33||29||27||24|
|Minimum temp (ºC)||17||18||19||21||24||25||25||24||23||22||21||18|
|Maximum rainfall (MM)||22||11||11||143||7||82||56||11||83||94||92||140|
|Avg rainy days||19||9||5||8||3||6||12||10||14||11||14||19|
- January and December saw the highest number of rainy days (19/30)
- April had the highest rainfall (143mm)
- May had the least rainy days (03)
Verdict: For optimum weather conditions, the best months to visit Halong Bay are probably April and May. The weather will likely be warm but not too hot, there will be fewer rain showers and more sunshine.
2. Popularity: Peak vs Off-Peak Season
Cruises Docking at Tuan Chau Marina (March)
Peak season naturally means higher prices and more tourists, however, you will enjoy better weather conditions at this time. In contrast, the off-peak season means discounts on tours and accommodation with a higher risk of weather warnings.
Peak season makes up most of the year, but it really peaks in summer when many Vietnamese people take their annual vacation, adding domestic tourists to the usual mash of international tourists. Prices become more inflated and there may be long waits to see attractions.
The off-peak season tends to be in the mid-to-late summer months, as the weather is not ideal for a Halong Bay Cruise due to the higher risk of bad weather. Prices drop to a more acceptable rate and the crowds disperse.
A happy medium would be in the months of March to May, in between the peak and off-peak seasons. There are fewer international travelers meaning that prices are typically not at their highest and there are fewer crowds. Then there’s the added bonus of better weather compared to the rest of the year - not too hot, or too wet. What more could you ask for?!
3. Best Time by Event Calendar
New Year Celebration in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (December)
Vietnamese people love a celebration, so naturally, there are many festivals and celebrations to consider when planning your trip to Halong Bay. Some festivals mean the area comes alive with activity, and others mean that many locals stay at home and enjoy quality time with their families.
Tet (Lunar New Year)
Tet is considered the most important of all national holidays in Vietnam, it is above all a time for Vietnamese people to spend with their family and friends. It’s traditionally celebrated on the first day of the Lunar New Year which is always in January or February.
While this an exciting time of year, it is also a very busy time as there are up to 9 days when Vietnamese people are off work and traveling up and down the country to visit family, leaving the transportation networks often quite congested. Despite the holiday, Halong cruises and tours continue to operate as normal and are sure to be a great time due to the festive mood. Just be sure that you allow extra time if you plan to travel to Halong Bay from elsewhere in the country!
Halong Bay Carnaval
Halong Bay Carnaval is one of the most exciting annual festivals in Vietnam and draws thousands of tourists from all over the world. Highlights include lively street parades, performances from international troupes, dazzling fireworks and a great display of local culture. The carnival is usually held in late April or early May which is great timing as it coincides with the best weather.
There are many other festivals that are celebrated in Halong Bay and the surrounding area. Yen Tu festival is a period after the Tet Holiday when thousands of people make a pilgrimage to the top of Yen Tu mountain to pray for good tidings in the new year. It runs from the first to the third lunar month, which is usually February to April. The Bach Dang festival celebrates historic military victories on the Bach Dang river and attracts many more tourists and visitors each year. During the Bach Dang festival, there is a river procession, human-chess, and wrestling as well as a general atmosphere of celebration! Bach Dang is also celebrated around April or May.
If you’re looking for hustle and bustle and fun festivities, then you should definitely plan your Halong Bay trip to coincide with the Halong Carnaval. However, if you are steering towards a more mellow vacation then you should consider avoiding April and May!
Pro Tip: Whether you go in winter or summer, high or low season, pack a warm jacket AND a swimsuit. The weather in Vietnam is often unpredictable and you don’t want to be caught underprepared and miss out on any of the fun!
Last updated: 08 September, 2019
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