We spent four weeks travelling through Vietnam in July, experiencing one of the most transitional months in the country’s weather, even getting stuck in a tropical storm on Cat Ba Island.
It was on one of these washed-out days (where we should have been touring Ha Long Bay, but a storm prevented the boats from leaving!) that I started chatting to our hotel owner about the weather in Vietnam. It was unseasonably hot at the time back in the UK and I asked him about the different weather in his country.
When I asked him about the seasons I got a very confusing answer, so I did some research myself, assuming that every country on earth had four seasons. I was wrong. So how many seasons are there in Vietnam?
There are two seasons in Vietnam, though these seasons are very different depending on where you are in the country, The south is consistently warm and humid all year round, but the north has much colder winters.
Vietnam is in the tropical belt between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn, which can lead to some very interesting weather patterns and seasons, which I explore below.
Why Doesn’t Vietnam Have Four Seasons?
Vietnam falls in the ‘tropics’, which is an area between the Equator and one of the tropics (the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere, the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere).
These areas are consistently warmer than the rest of the planet as, even though the planet’s tilted, they are still closer to the sun. Not being affected much by the tilt of the earth also means very little change in day length, another key element of seasonal changes elsewhere in the world.
It also leads to heavy rainfalls known as the monsoon, which pushes heavy storm clouds down from the equator. Rain is what tends to distinguish seasons in the tropics with a wet and a dry season in most areas.
For some great maps and diagrams that explaining seasons around the world in more detail, read this article on the ABC website.
What Are the Seasons Like in Different Parts of Vietnam?
Below is a table that shows the differences between the summer and winter in the regions of Vietnam.
As you can see even the summers can range from hot and dry through to cool and wet.
With large flat plains, coastal regions and mountainous highlands impacting the weather alongside the tropical belt it leads to some very diverse conditions.
|1) Far Northeast||Cool & Wet||Cool & Dry (Some Rain)|
|2) Far North Highlands||Mild & Wet||Cold & Wet (Some Snow)|
|3) North West||Hot & Wet||Cold & Dry|
|4) Hanoi Area||Warm & Wet||Cool (Some Rain)|
|5) North Central||Hot & Dry||Cool & Wet|
|6) South Central Coastal||Moderate & Dry||Brief Monsoon|
|7) South Central Inland||Warm & Very Wet||Cool & Dry|
|8) South||Hot & Wet||Warm & Dry (Some Rain)|
|9) Far South||Hot & Very Wet||Warm & Wet|
Below I’ve put together a crude map to help visualise the different areas of Vietnam I have referred to in the table above.
What Are Average Temperatures and Rainfall in Different Parts of Vietnam?
Below is a table I’ve pulled together showing the average highest temperatures and rainfall for cities around Vietnam.
Each of these is the main city in a region from the section above and really highlight the different seasons of Vietnam.
|1) Halong City High Temp.||26c||31c||26c||18c|
|1) Halong City Rainfall||72mm||516mm||1mm||27mm|
|2) Lao Cai High Temp.||30c||33c||28c||21c|
|2) Lao Cai Rainfall||52mm||38mm||81mm||20mm|
|3) Son La High Temp.||21c||23c||19c||19c|
|3) Son La Rainfall||279mm||209mm||38mm||12mm|
|4) Hanoi High Temp.||27c||32c||28c||19c|
|4) Hanoi Rainfall||81mm||323mm||99mm||20mm|
|5) Hue High Temp.||31c||34c||29c||27c|
|5) Hue Rainfall||21mm||171mm||578mm||99mm|
|6) Nha Trang High Temp.||35c||30c||31c||31c|
|6) Nha Trang Rainfall||8mm||58mm||141mm||19mm|
|7) Pleiku High Temp.||32c||28c||28c||27c|
|7) Pleiku Rainfall||52mm||290mm||6mm||3mm|
|8) Ho Chi Minh City High Temp.||34c||32c||31c||32c|
|8) Ho Chi Minh City Rainfall||51mm||295mm||260mm||14mm|
|9) Chau Doc High Temp.||35c||32c||30c||31c|
|9) Chau Doc Rainfall||70mm||190mm||230mm||10mm|