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Winter Travel Tips In Vietnam – Where To Go And Checklist What To Pack
Posted By : Threeland Travel / Vietnam Travel Guide

Vietnam’s long coastline stretching from China border to the gulf of Thai Lan makes the country’s weather and climate incredibly diverse, from the familiar four-season system in the north to eternal summer in the south. Which is to say, no matter when you travel to Vietnam, there are always pleasant places to visit.

Sapa in winter

Winter in Sapa

In fact, winter is one of the best time to visit Vietnam. Winter in Vietnam does not necessarily mean being cold and frozen all the time, but interestingly it can be about sun and beach. Below we would like to share with you 5 places to spend your winter retreat in Vietnam along with a comprehensive packing list for your hassle-free journey.

Phu Quoc Island in winter Vietnam

Sunny Phu Quoc in Winter Vietnam

1.    What is winter like in Vietnam

It’s a bit complicated to talk about when the winter starts in Vietnam. Because Vietnam is such a long country with different types of landscape and climate, we tend to divide the country into 3 parts when it comes to discuss about the weather: Northern Vietnam, Central Vietnam, and Southern Vietnam.

a.    Northern Vietnam

Northern Vietnam refers mainly to the popular destinations of Ha Long Bay; the mountainous areas including Sapa, Mai Chau, Pu Luong, and the Red River Delta comprised of the capital city of Hanoi. The winter here normally starts from December to late February.

Pu Luong Nature reserve in Vietnam

Winter in Pu Luong, Northern Vietnam

These northern areas often experience remarkably cold winter, with the temperature in the mountainous can be even 5 or 6 Celsius degree and even below zero at night. December and January can particularly get frosty in the far north, which might reduce the visibility of places like Sapa and Ha Long Bay. 

Halong bay

Halong bay in Winter

b.    Central Vietnam

Central Vietnam is kind of transitionary area of climate between the north and the south. The region includes many world-known destinations such as the imperial city of Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, some famous coastal cities namely Nha Trang and Mui Ne. The weather gets cool down with high chances of rains from October to February.

Sunny Nha Trang in Winter Vietnam

It is worth noting not to travel in October and November as there are possible risks of typhoons and storms. While Hoi An in particular often floods in October or November, the coastal strip from Nha Trang to Mui Ne is less likely to be affected by the rains and tends to have longer dry and sunny period. 

c.    Southern Vietnam

Unlike other regions, the Southern Vietnam just has two seasons: the dry one and the rainy one. From November to February, while up north regions experience relatively cool to cold weather, it’s dry season with pleasant weather and no rain in the South, which makes the region a perfect winter retreat for anyone who fancies eternal heat.

Con Dao Island

The Southern Vietnam is renowned for the bustling Ho Chi Minh city, the Mekong Delta, and southern islands of Phu Quoc and Con Dao – there is no better place to be than those to spend your winter break. 

2.    Where to go during winter in Vietnam?

Ha Long Bay/ Lan Ha Bay

Have you ever thought about spending your Christmas on a luxury cruise ship venturing through the majestic Ha Long Bay or Lan Ha Bay? Why not trying experiencing a night stay on board floating through some of the most spectacular landscape on earth? Christmas is even though not a public holiday in Vietnam, is absolutely festive everywhere. Most cruises do get the holiday vibe too with colorful decorations and special meals on the menu which will make you feel like a home away from home. 

Heritage Cruise on Halong bay

Luxury Cruise Trip in Halong bay

Ha Long Bay is located in Ha Long City and Lan Ha Bay is located in Hai Phong City, which is 1.5 hour and 2 hour drive respectively from the capital city of Hanoi via the new high way.

Some recommended cruises are Apricot Cruise, Bai Tho Junk, or Oriental Sails Cruise for 3 star standard; Grayline Ha Long Cruise, Ancora Cruise, or Glory Cruise for 4 star deluxe; Era Cruise, Paradise Cruise, Heritage Cruise, Dynasty Cruise and Stellar of the Sea for 5 star luxury retreat. Those cruises provide complete package tours including two way transportation Hanoi – Ha Long/Hai Phong City; overnight cabin, all meals on boards, kayaking/sampan boat and many different optional services in-house. 

Spend a luxury retreat in Da Nang

As other cities in central Vietnam, Da Nang is highly likely to experience cooler weather and rain during winter time. But it doesn’t mean that it’s a completely bad time to visit Da Nang. The city is lucky enough to normally not suffer from severe floods like its neighbors of Hue or Hoi An, be prepared for sudden rain sometimes, but still are plenty of sunny time which is perfect for a beach break.

Son Tra Peninsula in Danang 

Da Nang is a truly beach city with magnificent and broad coastlines and various luxury resorts and hotels chains. The sandy My Khe Beach made a history for Vietnam’s tourism when it was voted as one of the best beaches on earth.

Best hotels in Danang

High-end resort in Danang

Additionally, international airport, high-end resorts, world-class casinos, golf courses and entertainment centers, diverse natural offers, and dynamic life style have made the city the an absolutely luxury tourism hub in central Vietnam for all year around.

High end resort in Danang

Intercontinental Danang Resort

If rains disrupt your sand and sea time, it’s still more than enough to enjoy the opulent comfort with 4 seasons indoor swimming pools and other services inside your lavish accommodation. During winter, the hotels and resorts make it intriguingly festive here with Christmasy decoration, in-house live music, gala dinners, and other special in-house offers. 

Hyatt Resort and Spa in Danang

If you are looking for special touches of exclusivity and opulence for your winter holiday in Da Nang, we would highly recommend the Intercontinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula, Premier Village Da Nang Resort by Accor, Furama Resort, Fushion Maia Da Nang, Hyatt Regency Da Nang Resort, and Naman Retreat.

Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City 

If you have never been to Vietnam before, you will be surprised how much we love Christmas. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – the country’s two biggest cities, while Hanoi is the capital city with fascinatingly rich history and culture that dated back to 1000 years ago, Ho Chi Minh City as the country’s financial capital and cosmopolitan metropolis brings a more vibrant and westernized lifestyle to the country.

West Lake in Hanoi

But both are overwhelmed with the Christmasy vibe during winter time. Christmas lights, mistletoes, Christmas music, and street performances are in every corner. Many hotels serve special Christmas menu and live performances. Or if you want to experience truly festive Christmas, head to St.Joseph Cathedral (in Hanoi) or Notre Dame Cathedral (in Ho Chi Minh city) – the two most important Catholic centers in Vietnam, to join locals, expats and other travelers for a Christmas mass and celebration.  

St.Joseph Cathedral (in Hanoi)

If you want to fully embrace the festive ambiance by staying at deluxe accommodations, we would like to suggest:

(1) for Hanoi: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Hotel De L’Opera by Mgallery, Hilton Hanoi Opera, Apricot Hotel, Intercontinental Westlake, JW Marriott Hanoi, or Sheraton Hotel;

Trang Tien Plaza in Christmas

Trang Tien Plaza in Christmas

(2) for Saigon: The Rex Hotel, Majestic Hotel, Hotel De Art Saigon, The Mist Dong Khoi, or Caravelle Hotel. Or if you are looking for budget accommodations, there are a heap of hotels centrally located at the heart of the cities, available on the online booking site for your selection. 

Ho Chi Minh in Christmas day

Ho Chi Minh city in Christmas time

Mekong Delta Getaway

If you are already in Ho Chi Minh City, do not miss a chance to visit the nearby Mekong Delta for 1-day visit or overnight stay, where you can get away from the hectic life and truly experience a peaceful and calm atmosphere with local farmers. Mekong Delta encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam and this is where Mekong River runs through before reaching the sea.

Cai Rang Floating Market

Cai Rang Floating Market

Embracing whatever nature offers, the locals have proved that they can well adapt with the aquatic landscape as you will see homes, farms, markets, and their unique daily transportation…. all are going impressively well on water. The life here is mostly based on Vietnamese rural setting, so you may not catch any sight of a festive westernized season here, but a visit to Mekong Delta might gain you some perspectives and change/ or deepen the way you feel about what is supposed to be the true meaning of Christmas. 

Mekong Delta is about 1.5-2-drive from Ho Chi Minh City depending on traffic. My Tho and Can Tho city are among the most popular destinations of Mekong Delta. You can always reach the places by shuttle buses or rented private car. And from there visiting the floating markets and nearby attractions by local taxis and boats.

However, as shuttle bus are mostly used by locals, most travelers prefer to rent a private car or book a package tour at their hotel’s travel desks or at reliable travel companies. 

Phu Quoc Island

The largest island of Vietnam is home to a beautiful coastline with white beaches and crystal clear water. Phu Quoc is also the heaven on earth for sea lovers escaping from the city’s hustle and bustle for laid-back vibe or searching for some of the best coral reefs. If you feels it’s enough for city ambiance, just take a beach break in the paradise of Phu Quoc Island.

Phu Quoc Beach

The Shell Phu Quoc resort

The daily temperature here during winter time is pretty high at about 30 Celcius degree, which makes the island a perfect beach retreat in winter. However, being known with such perfect weather and as the unique zone with the 30-day visa exemption policy for all nationalities, Phu Quoc is normally crowded during this time with both locals and foreigners. So make sure to have your accommodations booked as soon as possible should you decide to visit Phu Quoc for your winter holiday. 

Phu Quoc Island is only 1-hour flight away from Ho Chi Minh city if you are already in the country. Vietnam Airlines, Jestar Pacific, VietJet Air or Bamboo Airways are having flights from Ho Chi Minh City to the island everyday. Or if you plan to spend time in Phu Quoc only, it is no difficulty to pick a flight from your place as the island houses an international airport that connects many international cities with the incredibly amazing visa-exemption policy.

Some hand-picked hotels/resorts from us are La Veranda Resort, Fusion Resort, Salinda Resort, Radisson Blu Resort, or Intercontinental Long Beach Resort.

3.    What to pack

For winter in northern Vietnam:

As it can get cold in the city or even freezing in the mountains, remember to bring a scarf, warm hat and sweater or even fleece, and hiking boots if you will definitely visit the mountains. Also bring a waterproof jackets just incase a sudden rain shows up especially in November. However, it can get just chilly in Vietnam’s northern regions during winter, so pack accordingly.

       For winter in central Vietnam:

Bring a sarong or shorts as they are always useful for beach and pool time. But also pack some long pants and light sweater too just incase it can breezy in the evening. For your convenience, bring a walking shoes for short walks and hikes. 

       For winter in southern Vietnam:

Since you are likely to hang out on the beach, do not forget to bring a bathing suit or bikini. You might also want to pack some nice casual outfit for a fun yet fashionable night out in Ho Chi Minh City. Though the weather is hot, it is still recommended to have a close-toed sandals as it will be convenient, and safe to walk on some broken street in the city center. 

For all locations, you should definitely bring a valid passport, travel insurance, sunglasses, mosquito repellent, and umbrella. 

With nearly 20 years of experience, Threeland Travel prides ourselves as a leading local DMC in Indochina and in Vietnam particularly providing clients will best tailored options for their once-in-a-lifetime experience in our home destinations. We offer a wide range of Vietnam Package Tours that fits every taste and budget.

Threeland Travel Team - Sales Team

No matter when you plan to travel to Vietnam, our tours are filled with breathtaking landscape, fascinating culture and history, and meaningful connection with local community that leaves travelers life-long memories of Vietnam’s  timeless charm.

Fancy something more personalized to satiate your timing and budget request? Do not hesitate to email us right away at help@threeland.com and our travel guru will be in touch immediately to give you best available advice on town and turn your whatever inquiry into a dream-like Vietnam adventure. 

Read more:

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