Getting There

Vietnam

How to get there

Lotus Tours uses Vietnam Airline Business Class exclusively as they are the only airline that offer direct flights from London to either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Their Business Class service both on the ground and in the air is second to none – please see the independent review of their service.

Review: Vietnam Airlines Business Class 787 London To Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam

Best time to visit

Deciding the best time to visit Vietnam greatly depends upon how far north or south that you begin, as well as other factors such as festivals and holidays. In general, the best time to visit Vietnam is during December through February when temperatures are milder and rain is minimal.

Vietnam’s long, narrow shape means that the three primary regions (north, central, and south) experience different types of seasons and weather events throughout the year. Choosing when to go to Vietnam is important, both for personal comfort and packing purposes. The south generally receives more rain and enjoys a tropical climate; however, Hanoi and points farther north have cooler winters than many travellers expect. The area is one of the few places in Southeast Asia you can really feel cold without going to higher elevations.

You can visit Vietnam at any time of the year however, weather plays a big factor—particularly if you plan to enjoy trekking and outdoor activities. Sometimes monsoon rains can become so heavy in urban areas that streets flood and transportation shut down completely!

Although Vietnam still receives a little rain during the dry season, the driest months for visiting the south of Vietnam (Saigon) are typically between December and April. Temperatures and humidity levels in March and April can be suffocating before monsoon rains begin to cool things off in the summer months.

The spring and autumn months are most pleasant for visiting the north of Vietnam (Hanoi). Winter nights can get relatively chilly, with temperatures dipping into the 50s. Much colder has been recorded. You’ll certainly need a jacket when visiting Halong Bay in the winter, particularly if you’re already accustomed to warmer temperatures in the South.

Visiting Vietnam During Monsoon Season

As with most destinations Vietnam can still be enjoyed during the monsoon season but with some caveats

You’ll meet far fewer travellers and outdoor activities such as exploring the citadel in Hue can become soggy experiences.

Transportation delays happen. Buses may not run during long periods of heavy rain — perhaps a good thing as roads become flooded and more dangerous to drive. Even the low-lying tracks along the north-south railway become flooded, causing delays in train service. Lotus Tours may provide four wheel vehicles where deemed necessary for safety reasons.

Visiting Vietnam During Typhoon Season

Regardless of the season, large weather events such as tropical depressions and typhoons blowing in from the east can create week-long downpours that disrupt trip plans. Sometimes they can devastate areas that are prone to flooding.

Although Mother Nature doesn’t always play by the rules, typhoon season typically ends around December each year. The start dates depend upon which part of Vietnam (north, central, or south), but August is a general starting point. October tends to be a stormy month overall.

The good news is that typhoons don’t normally sneak up on a country unexpectedly. Keep an eye on weather events as your trip approaches. If a typhoon is moving into the area, flights may be diverted or delayed anyway. Lotus Tours in conjunction with Vietnam Airlines constantly monitor unexpected weather events.

Key Events and Festivals

in Vietnam

The largest national holiday in Vietnam is the lunar new year holiday known as Tet.

During Tet, transportation and accommodations go up in price or become booked solid as people move around the country to celebrate or visit family. An influx of Chinese tourists traveling for Chinese New Year hit popular beach areas such as Nha Trang. Tet is an extremely interesting and exciting time to be in Vietnam and Lotus Tours provide special “Tet Events” if you are lucky enough to be in Vietnam for this festival.

Tet follows a lunisolar calendar—after all, it is Lunar New Year—so dates vary from year to year, usually coinciding with Chinese New Year.

Other big national holidays include May 1 (International Worker’s Day) and September 2 (National Day). Reunification Day on April 30 celebrates the reunification of North Vietnam and South Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam War. Local families may be traveling during these times.

Spring

March and April in Vietnam are quite hot, with temperatures averaging around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, rain begins in full force by late April and by May, the heat and humidity are intense. The upside: Fewer crowds.

Events to look out for:
  • International Labour Day is held on May 1. Celebrations and parades are held in central squares throughout the country.
  • Saigon Liberation day is celebrated nationwide on April 30th.
Summer

Summertime weather can vary depending on where you are in the country. The south is quite warm, with highs climbing above 90 degrees Fahrenheit regularly, and is often victim to frequent heavy showers. If you’re in the northern part of the country, you’ll want to bring plenty of insect repellent—mosquitoes are at their peak, thanks to frequent heavy rainfall.

Events to look out for:
  • National Day celebrates the rise of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on September 2 each year.
Autumn

Rains continue through September and October, but typhoons can cause rough seas. Unsuspecting tourists should also beware that central regions of Vietnam are subject to hurricanes during the Autumn months.

Events to look out for:
  • During mid-September, Haiphong hosts the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival.
  • The Mid-Autumn Festival, also held in mid-September (on the half-moon of the eighth lunar month, to be exact), is popular with kids and includes dance and sweets.
Winter

At last, come December, the country dries out. Winter marks the best time for seaside vacations in Vietnam, but the northern part of the country can be quite cool and gloomy. Expect temperatures in the around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and occasional drizzle.

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