The Best Time to Visit Hanoi, Vietnam

Unlike the typical tropical conditions in Southern Vietnam, the capital city Hanoi experiences a mild tropical climate of the Northern region, with cold winters from November to February and the peak of the rainy season from June to August. For both tourists and locals, the cool season from October to December turns strolling around Hanoi into a pleasure rather than a tiring task.

Even though the sky is almost cloudless, the weather during this time remains fresh and not stifling: you won’t break a sweat even when walking for hours around Hoan Kiem Lake to reach the Old Quarter for sightseeing. Here are the best times to visit Hanoi and what each season brings.

Weather in Hanoi:

Hanoi’s weather is influenced by the alternating tropical monsoon winds throughout the year. The moist and warm southwest monsoon brings high temperatures and heavy rains, while the cool northeast monsoon makes Hanoi’s weather drier and colder.

These alternating monsoons create three distinct seasons (including the sunny transition periods between monsoon shifts):

  1. Rainy season: The southwest monsoon from the Indian Ocean brings warm, moisture-laden air, causing heavy rains in Hanoi from June to October.
  2. Dry, cool season: The northeast monsoon from Siberia creates a dry and cool climate from November to February.
  3. Hot and humid season: As the monsoon wind shifts from March to May, Hanoi experiences warmer weather but relatively less rain during this transition period.

These seasons will determine the sights you should see when visiting and the prices you’ll have to pay for entrance. The peak tourist season during the dry, cool months will also bring the highest prices, as well as the domestic peak season in the hot dry months from March to May.

If you plan to visit Vietnam during this time (especially during Tet Nguyen Dan, or the Lunar New Year, as locals call it), transportation and accommodation prices will be exorbitant and need to be booked months in advance.

Apart from the mentioned peak seasons, Hanoi can be uncomfortably hot and humid or alternatively chilly. The temperature in Hanoi ranges from a minimum of 61°F (16.2°C) in January to a maximum of 84°F (28.9°C) in June. Humidity peaks during the rainy season, reaching up to 85% in August, with a measured rainfall of 12.2 inches.

Major Events and Festivals in Hanoi:

Vietnam’s biggest festival is undoubtedly the capital’s most significant celebration: Tet Nguyen Dan. Coinciding with Tet Nguyen Dan, the holiday period can shift from January to February and marks the beginning of the new year according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

Hanoi residents celebrate Tet over several days, with family reunions taking place amid various festival events in public places throughout the city. Firstly, the streets in the Old Quarter are filled with stalls selling traditional Tet food, decorations, and gifts. Locals rush to Quang Ba flower market to buy beautiful flowers for home decoration. And the calligraphy festival at Van Mieu brings traditional art into daily life.

The second major festival occurs from September to October, coinciding with the 5th day of the 8th lunar month in the Chinese calendar. Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Children’s Festival, makes the Old Quarter, especially Hang Ma and Luong Van Can streets, vibrant with toys for sale and lanterns illuminating the streets.

Rainy Season in Hanoi:

Vietnam Discovery Travel-Long Bien Bridge (Source: Collected)
Vietnam Discovery Travel-Long Bien Bridge (Source: Collected)

During Hanoi’s rainy season (from June to October), the capital receives its highest rainfall, averaging 12 inches per month. High humidity combined with high average temperatures can turn anyone into a soggy mess, sticky and sweaty after spending just a few hours outdoors.

During this time, flooded streets can pose significant difficulties for transportation; the city’s drainage system may become overloaded due to sudden heavy rains, causing temporary flooding until the water recedes.

When visiting the city during the rainy season, remember to bring mosquito repellent. This is also the time when Hanoi witnesses a surge in dengue fever cases, a mosquito-borne tropical disease. The 2017 dengue outbreak strained Hanoi’s healthcare system to the breaking point, with 90,000 cases, 77,000 hospitalizations, and 24 deaths.

Events to check out:

Mid-Autumn Festival: Historical areas like the Old Quarter transform into a fairyland with lanterns, toys for sale, and mooncakes.

Dry Season in Hanoi:

The peak tourist season in Hanoi is evident: from November to February, temperatures drop to an average low of 61°F (16.2°C) in January, the coolest month. The rainfall reaches its lowest at 1.9 inches compared to 12 inches in August.

The city feels crowded with tourists both domestic and international, taking advantage of the cooler weather for sightseeing. The Tet festival makes the city liveliest. Hoan Kiem Lake is a popular choice for tourists as the leaves turn golden during this season.

On the other hand, the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum sends the remains of the late leader to Russia for renovation in October and November, closing the attraction when the body is absent.

Events to check out:

Tet Nguyen Dan (Lunar New Year): Vietnam’s most important festival, without exception. If you can brave the high ticket prices to visit during Tet, head to the Old Quarter for shopping and watch fireworks at Hoan Kiem Lake after dark.

Co Loa Festival: From the 6th to the 16th day of Tet, this festival takes place at the An Duong Vuong Temple in Dong Anh district, on the outskirts of Hanoi. The festival commemorates the memory of a legendary king with street food stalls and wrestling matches.

Dust in Hanoi:

The dry and cold air during the winter months often leads to increased pollution levels in the colder months. As a result, Hanoi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeds the maximum exposure threshold in the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guidelines by a factor of 10.

Morning and evening haze covers Hanoi, limiting air circulation and exacerbating pollution issues due to the flat terrain and nearby industrial areas in surrounding provinces. In these conditions, particles are trapped near the ground, creating a dense layer of smog covering the city and causing health problems, especially in the elderly and children.

Hot Sunny Season in Hanoi:

Vietnam Discovery Travel-Hanoi Train Street-(Source: Collected)
Vietnam Discovery Travel-Hanoi Train Street-(Source: Collected)

Temperatures start to peak from March to May in Hanoi, reaching up to 81°F (27.2°C) by the end of the season. You begin to wish for rain to cool off!

These months also mark the domestic peak season, with Vietnam Reunification Day and International Labor Day (April 30 and May 1, respectively) providing Vietnamese people with a few days off for travel, including visits to the capital.

Events to check out:

Several prominent temples in Hanoi host important festivals during this season. Top places to consider visiting include:

Dong Nhan Temple Festival: On the 6th day of the 2nd lunar month (around March), Dong Nhan Temple in Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi, pays homage to the Trung Sisters who helped save Vietnam from Chinese invasion.

Den Chem Festival: In Tu Liem district, Hanoi, Chem Village has a temple dedicated to a folk hero of Vietnam who aided the Chinese emperor in repelling invading forces. On the 15th day of the 5th lunar month (around May or June), a statue of Ly Ong Trong is bathed in the Red River, and the town erupts with lively entertainment activities, including traditional wrestling, human chess, and folk plays.

Giong Festival at Phu Dong Temple: On the 8th and 9th day of the 4th lunar month (around May or June), Phu Dong hosts a festival honoring Vietnam’s most famous son, Saint Giong, a legendary hero who fought off foreign invaders. A folk play reenacts Giong’s peak battle against invading forces.

Keep in mind that weather patterns can vary, and unexpected changes might occur. Additionally, if you plan to visit during traditional festivals or events, it’s a good idea to check the local calendar to enhance your experience. Overall, Hanoi has something to offer throughout the year, and the best time for you depends on your preferences and the type of activities you have in mind.

For an optimal trip, strategic planning and early booking are a must. Among countless travel companies, Discover Vietnam Tours stands out for its seamless coordination via email and WhatsApp. We oversee every detail, from airport transfers to accommodations, knowledgeable guides, drivers, and personalized activities.

Trust their expertise to tailor an itinerary to suit your schedule and preferences, ensuring a perfect journey through Vietnam. Let Discover Vietnam Tours enhance your travel experience, creating unforgettable memories in this charming country.