The Best Time to Visit Halong Bay

Planning a trip is the best way to have a comfortable vacation to Halong Bay. However, it can also be stressful because there are many things to consider, such as when is the best time to visit Halong Bay? How to have a smooth and enjoyable journey? With firsthand knowledge and deep understanding of Halong Bay, our comprehensive guide below hopes to make everything easier for you.

Best Time to Visit Halong Bay

Summary:
– Best time to visit Halong Bay: March, April, May, October, November, and December.
– For sightseeing tours: April, May, June, October, November, and December.
– For outdoor activities: March, April, May, and June.
– To save money: late May, June, July, August, and early September.

1. Best Time Based on Weather

Characterized by the hot tropical climate of Northern Vietnam, the weather in Halong Bay has two distinct types: hot and humid summers and cold winters. In between these seasons, there are transitional seasons called spring and autumn within a short period of time.

The Best Time to Visit Halong Bay
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Spring (March to April): Pleasant, dry weather makes spring among the best time to go on an overnight trip to the bay. The temperatures range between 18°C and 23°C. During these months, you can also expect to soak up the gentle sunshine and little rainfall, perfect for sightseeing excursions and outdoor activities.

Summer (May to September): Regarded as the off-peak season, especially for foreigners, the hot and humid summer can be really irritated and harsh for travelers. Extreme heat usually lasts all day long, 30°C on average so sunscreen is very essential. The hottest months are June, July, and August. In addition, August receives the highest precipitation and high risks of storms. Despite that, on the plus side, summer enables beach bums to freely enjoy a dip in the cool water and take part in multiple water-based activities. Budget-minded travelers can also save a great sum of money since many tour operations offer promotions, discounts during this season.

Fall (Late September – October): Lasting too short but autumn is always the best season of the year. This is also the second peak tourist season in Halong Bay. Your cruise vacation will also be more tempting with less rain and more sunshine, ideal for going out.

Winter (November – February): Winter without a doubt is the coldest time of the year. The temperatures drop down to around 10°C and 20°C and the weather is dry. Therefore, swimming is almost impossible during this time and thick fog in the early morning may obstruct your vision. One plus point of winter is that this is the festival season with several important occasions like Christmas, New Year, and Lunar New Year.

Spring (March to April): The weather is dry and comfortable, making spring one of the ideal times for overnight cruises to the bay. Temperatures range from 18°C to 23°C. During these months, you can also enjoy gentle sunlight and minimal rainfall, perfect for sightseeing cruises and outdoor activities.

Summer (May to September): Considered the low season, especially for foreigners, the hot and humid summer can be quite uncomfortable and harsh for tourists. Intense sunlight often lasts throughout the day, averaging around 30°C, so sunscreen is essential. The hottest months are June, July, and August. Additionally, August sees the highest rainfall and the risk of major storms. However, on the positive side, summer allows beachgoers to comfortably immerse themselves in the cool water and engage in various water activities. Budget-conscious travelers may also save a significant amount of money as many travel companies offer promotions and discounts during this season.

Autumn (Late September – October): Although the time is short, autumn is always the most beautiful season of the year. It is also the second peak tourist season in Halong Bay. Your beach vacation will be more appealing with less rain and more sunshine, ideal for outdoor excursions.

Winter (November – February): Winter is undoubtedly the coldest time of the year. Temperatures drop to around 10°C to 20°C, with dry weather. Therefore, swimming is almost impossible during this time, and dense fog in the early morning may hinder visibility. A plus point of winter is that it is the festival season with many important occasions such as Christmas, New Year, and Tet holiday (Lunar New Year).

Weather Average by Month (In 2018)

JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
Maximum temp (ºC)242529333435353533292724
Minimum temp (ºC)171819212425252423222118
Maximum rainfall (MM)2211111437825611839492140
Avg rainy days1995836121014111419

Summary

  • 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.

Verdict:

Summary:

– Rainfall Data: January and December have the highest number of rainy days (30/19), while April records the highest rainfall (143mm). May has the fewest rainy days (03).
– Optimal Weather Conditions: The best months to visit Halong Bay are likely April and May. The weather is warm but not too hot, with less rainfall and plenty of sunshine.
– Popularity Seasons: High season and low season
– High Season: Generally, this means higher prices and more tourists, but better weather conditions. It peaks in summer when many Vietnamese go on annual vacations, adding to the usual international tourist influx. Prices rise, and attractions may be crowded.
– Low Season: Typically falls in the mid to late summer due to less than ideal weather conditions for Halong Bay cruises, with a higher risk of bad weather. Prices drop to more acceptable levels, and crowds disperse.
– Best Time According to Events:**
– Tet (Lunar New Year): Considered the most important festival in Vietnam, Tet is a busy time when Vietnamese people travel to visit family and friends. Despite the holiday rush, Halong Bay tours still operate normally, offering a festive atmosphere.
– Halong Bay Carnival: One of Vietnam’s most exciting annual festivals, attracting thousands of tourists from around the world. Highlights include lively street parades, international performances, dazzling fireworks, and fantastic local cultural displays. The festival usually takes place at the end of April or beginning of May, coinciding with the best weather conditions.

 

Halong Bay Carnaval
Halong Bay Carnaval

Other Festivals:

There are many other festivals held in Halong Bay and the surrounding areas. The Yen Tu Festival is a time after Tet when thousands of people make pilgrimages to the summit of Yen Tu Mountain to pray for blessings in the new year. It takes place from the 1st to the 3rd lunar month, usually from the 2nd to the 4th month. The Bach Dang Festival commemorates the historic military victory on the Bach Dang River and attracts many tourists every year. During the Bach Dang Festival, there are river processions, human chess matches, and a celebratory atmosphere! Bach Dang Festival also occurs around April or May.

Verdict:

If you’re looking for bustling, lively festivals, then you should definitely plan your trip to Halong Bay to coincide with the Halong Bay Carnival. However, if you’re aiming for a more serene holiday, then you might want to avoid April and May!

Pro Tip: Whether you’re traveling in winter or summer, high season or low season, always pack a warm jacket AND swimwear. The weather in Vietnam can be unpredictable, and you don’t want to get caught without proper preparation and miss out on any fun!

Vietnam Discovery suggests that this itinerary provides a general overview, and you can adjust it based on your preferences and available time. It’s always a good idea to check the weather and availability of attractions before your trip.