Advantages and disadvantages of visiting Halong Bay in December
- on Apr 27, 2023       By: BN
It is well known that Vietnam has a humid tropical climate with little difference between the three regions. Northern Vietnam is under the strong influence of the northeast monsoon, which is why the region always has harsher winters with quite cold weather than the other two regions. This characteristic also has an influence on tourism in the northern provinces, especially Halong Bay in Quang Ninh.
For many Vietnamese, winter is not an ideal time to travel to Halong Bay, especially in December. There are two reasons behind this problem.
One, it's close to the Lunar New Year holiday in Vietnam, and Vietnamese people usually go home to their hometown to spend most of the holiday time with their families instead of travelling.
Two, the weather in winter is widely considered too cold to go to the beach. Therefore, you won't see many Vietnamese visiting Halong Bay this month.
+ December is the beginning of winter in Halong and the northern provinces of Vietnam
+ December is close to the Lunar New Year holiday in Vietnam
+ December is the time that few Vietnamese choose to visit Halong Bay
1. Weather in Halong Bay in December
2. Advantages and disadvantages of visiting Halong Bay in December
3. What to do in Halong Bay in December?
3.1. Kayak in Halong Bay
3.2. Visit fishing and floating villages
3.3. Halong Bay cruise in December
3.4. Discover the natural caves
3.5. Go scuba diving or swimming
3.6. Climb mountains
4. Tips for taking a trip
5. Frequently Asked Questions
In general, the weather in Halong Bay in December is quite cold with low humidity and rainfall; however, there has been a remarkable increase in average temperature in recent years, which makes the weather in Halong Bay change a bit.
Recently, the average temperature in Halong Bay is around 19 degrees Celsius, the highest measured temperature is around 21 degrees Celsius, and the lowest potential is 15 degrees Celsius, which is higher than in the past but still the lowest in a year.
Compared to the average temperature in winter in countries in temperate zones, this temperature is remarkably higher, even if it is equal to the average temperature in some countries in summer or autumn. Therefore, it is considered quite appropriate for foreign tourists to visit Halong Bay at this time.
In winter in Vietnam, the night is usually longer than the day. Normally, there are 8 hours of sunshine per day but the sunlight is also softer and more comfortable than in summer. Besides the temperature, sunlight is also another advantage of travelling to Halong Bay in December for foreign tourists, as the sky is clear to see the islets, caves, and sea, and the weather is warm enough to do outdoor activities for a long time.
Although Vietnam is a country with a tropical climate, northern Vietnam including Halong Bay still has a dry winter with a low humidity of around 50-60% due to the strong influence of the northeast monsoon blowing from China. For foreign tourists coming from temperate zones or cold countries, this is not a problem; however, for tourists coming from tropical zone or countries near the equator with high humidity, this kind of dry weather will cause fatigue or skin cracking.
Overall, December is always one of the lowest rainfall months in a year, in other words, it rarely rains in December in Halong Bay. The average rainfall measured in December is around 23mm over 7 days, which is considered dry, especially compared to the wet summer months which often bring over 250mm of rain each month.
However, lately, unexpected heavy rains appear in December, but they do not last long. With this feature, trips to discover Halong Bay, outdoor activities and sports will not be interrupted much by rain.
The weather in December is indeed cool for most foreign tourists, especially for those who come from countries with cold winters with ice and snow.
The low humidity and low rainfall make it possible to enjoy Halong Bay discovery trips perfectly and not be interrupted by rain.
The fact that there are long hours of sunshine but not too harsh and hot really suits tourists to relax with plenty of outdoor activities.
December is not the peak season for domestic tourism; therefore, the number of tourists is not too high at this time.
Although there has been a significant increase in the average temperature in Vietnam due to the phenomenon of climate change, there are still unexpected cold days with the lowest measured temperature of 12 degrees Celsius.
The water in the sea at this time is much colder than in summer; so, honestly, it's not an ideal choice for some underwater sports like swimming and scuba diving.
With these climatic particularities, what sports or activities are strongly recommended to tourists during their trip to Halong Bay in December? Here are some suggestions for you.
The first outdoor activity, that we cannot fail to mention and is enjoyed by many tourists, is kayaking in Halong Bay. It is considered the best way to admire the majestic beauty of nature in one of the most beautiful bays in the world. You will slowly row your kayak through caves, around islets and stop at any island you wish to see. Moreover, this activity is really suitable for trips in December because when tourists are kayaking, they have to expend a lot of energy to control the kayak and their bodies will heat up naturally.
There are beautiful small old fishing and floating villages that still exist in Halong Bay and surrounding bays until now, such as Cua Van fishing village, located between Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay, which is considered the most beautiful fishing village in Halong Bay, or Vung Vieng Fishing Village, located in the centre of Bai Tu Long Bay, famous for pearl farming. All were founded at the beginning of the 19th century and many families have lived in these villages for three generations.
There is no difference between visiting these fishing villages in Halong Bay in December and other months of the year. Tourists can participate in the daily work with the locals, such as catching fish, and squid… or taste extremely fresh seafood which is grown in cages by the locals or admire the beautiful scenery around the villages.
Almost all tourists choose to visit Halong Bay in the summer; however, unlike the image of gloomy skies and rough seas that many people imagine, travelling to Halong Bay in December is such a new experience that is well worth trying.
If in summer the sun rises early and the temperature rises quickly in one day, in winter, tourists can comfortably enjoy their cruises for a whole day without worrying about the heat of the sun. Also, for cruises that depart early, it is possible for tourists to see the fairy-tale scenery of Halong Bay. In the early morning, the boats glide on the misty sea among huge green limestone mountains and islets, which creates an extremely romantic sight resembling the fairy-tale landscape we usually see in movies. Islets with enormous different shapes suddenly become more shimmering in the thick fog.
Not only Halong Bay is famous for its complex of limestone mountains, and islets, but the bay also has a reputation for a system of beautiful natural caves, which attract many tourists at first sight. All formed naturally thousands of years ago and are still expanding at a very slow rate. Many tourism companies have added visiting Halong Bay caves to their itinerary offered to tourists when visiting the bay. Below are some well-known caves that are highly recommended for tourists to visit.
Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave)
Sung Sot Cave, located in the centre of Halong Bay, considered the heart of the bay, was discovered by French settlers in 1901. The name of the cave means that every tourist will be surprised when visiting it. This cave is considered to be part of the top 10 most beautiful caves in the world; therefore, tourists had better not miss this destination when travelling to visit Halong Bay.
Thien Cung Cave
Thien Cung Cave was discovered in 1993 at 10,000 square metres. The cave first makes a big impression on tourists with huge stalactites of different shapes, the high ceiling and the large space inside the cave.
Dau Go Cave
Dau Go Cave is only 5,000 square metres in width, the entrance is 17 metres in width, 12 metres in height, and is located at a height of 27 metres from the sea surface. The cave is divided into three parts and each part also has huge stalactites of different shapes and sizes.
Trinh Nu Cave and Trong Cave
Trinh Nu Cave is located on Bo Hon Island and the opposite is Trong Cave, about 750 metres from Trinh Nu Cave. These two caves not only attract tourists with the majestic beauty of nature, but they also attract tourists with sad love stories around the meaning of their name and the stalactites formed inside the two caves.
Me Cung Cave
Me Cung Cave is also one of the most beautiful caves in Halong Bay, located on Lom Bo Island. This cave has a small entrance but the deeper tourists descend, the larger the space. Its name means a labyrinth since Me Cung Cave has a multi-compartment structure with many compartments naturally divided by limestone walls, it’s like a huge labyrinth.
>> Read more: The top 6 most beautiful caves to visit in Halong Bay
Normally, when people mention going to the beach or travelling to destinations near or on the sea, people always think of outdoor activities such as swimming, windsurfing, scuba diving, etc. However, when travelling to Halong Bay in December, these activities, including diving in Halong, are not highly recommended due to the moderately cold water temperature. But honestly, that's not much of a problem with Western tourists who come from countries with extremely cold winters. Therefore, tourists can always consider scuba diving in the coral reefs of Halong Bay or going swimming on the pristine beaches of the islands in the bay.
Some areas have coral reefs concentrated mainly in Bai Tu Long Bay and near Co To Island. At present, tourist companies also offer scuba diving services in the coral reefs of the bay at a favourable price.
Halong is a huge complex of islets and limestone mountains set over the sea. It is also home to abundant endemic flora and fauna that suit those who love to experience nature or ecotourism. The average height of the mountains in Halong Bay is only 50 metres, and from the top of the mountains, tourists will have a new look and fully feel the marvellous beauty of the bay.
>> Read more: 15 attractions of Halong Bay that are a must-see
+ Bring sunscreen, and sunglasses even when it is still winter in Vietnam because you must not forget that Vietnam is a country in the tropical zone.
+ Bring a cardigan or jacket in case unexpected monsoons make the day too cold, sometimes there will be rain too.
+ Waterproof bag for your camera especially if you travel to Halong at the end of December (at the change of season) because the air will become too humid and your electronic devices may be affected.
+ Prepare books, music, and internal games when you relax on board, just in case it gets too cold outside and you can't go out for activities.
+ Prepare for trip cancellation. Your trip to Halong Bay will be cancelled due to storms, cyclones, thunderstorms, monsoons and other unexpected natural phenomena; therefore, directly following the weather forecast or seeking advice from tourist companies is really necessary.
+ Remember to warm up your body before practising outdoor activities such as kayaking, swimming, etc.
>> Read more: How to choose your cruise in Halong Bay? 
+ Is December a good time to visit Halong Bay?
Yes, December is really a good time to visit Halong Bay, especially if you are a Western tourist. First of all, the price of the service is cheaper than in the summer months because the number of tourists in December is not as crowded as at that time. Second, for Western tourists, the temperature in Halong Bay in December is cold enough for them to play outdoor activities (around 19 degrees Celsius). Third, tourists will get a new look at the bay, which they cannot experience at other times of the year.
+ What should I wear in Halong Bay in December?
You should wear warm clothes in Halong Bay in December. You can choose a thin shirt, jeans, sneakers if you plan to climb mountains, flip-flops, and a cardigan or jacket, a scarf is also necessary.
+ How is the weather in Halong Bay in December?
In general, the weather is sunny but still cold (average temperature is 19 degrees Celsius), dry and not very humid. At the end of December, the weather will become more humid and it will rain more and the temperature will rise a little but will remain cold.
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