Best time to visit Halong Bay
- on Mar 18, 2023       By: BN
Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, is one of Vietnam's most attractive destinations, along with Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Halong simply has too much to offer: emerald waters, lush mountains, clear blue skies and idyllic fishing villages. However, the landscape changes throughout the year, which is why you should do some research before heading to this wonderful paradise on earth. Read on to find out the best time to visit Halong Bay, given the weather and budgets.
Halong Bay (literally "the bay of descending dragons") is located 170 kilometres from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. The bay belongs to Quang Ninh Province, a northern province that shares a border with China.
Halong Bay has an area of about 1,553 km2, including 1,960 to 2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. These limestones are said to have gone through 500 million years of formation, altering different environmental conditions. Under the influence of the humid tropical climate, the most magnificent caves and islands in the world are found in this region.
<Located in the North, Halong Bay and Hanoi share many similarities in weather conditions. Both have four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter, with temperature and humidity changes throughout the year. Even though temperatures can fluctuate greatly from summer to winter, Halong Bay retains its unique charms throughout the year.
>> Read more: Top 10 things to see and do in Halong Bay
When to visit Halong Bay?
Although Halong Bay remains attractive all year round, the scenery changes slightly over the months. Here is the recap of the best time to visit Halong Bay in terms of weather:
Read below to see how the weather is in Halong by season:
2.1. End of winter (January-February)
The temperature is 14-21°C on average, with its lowest point reaching 0°C. It will be cool during the day, a bit chilly and foggy in the early morning and late afternoon. The scenery will be so beautiful, almost surreal at this time of year. Drifting on the water, you'll feel like you're in the movie Captain of the Caribbean, with hidden views of limestone islands and fishing boats. The bay will look extremely dreamy in the early morning, with visibility reaching its lowest.
Coming to Halong Bay in February, you will experience the most exotic festival of the year: TheLunar New Year Festival. During this national holiday, some public companies/organizations may be closed. Please check carefully with your tour operator if you are staying during the festival.
+ Nice weather, a little cool and foggy
+ Discover the exotic Lunar New Year festival (Tet Festival)
+ Beware of the closure because of the Tet festival
2.2. Spring (March-May)
Spring is coming, wiping away the thick fog and bringing cheerful sunshine. In March and April, the weather is extremely pleasant, with clear blue skies and occasional light rain. The temperature varies from 18°C to 30°C, and sometimes it’s so extremes, even reaching 40°C.
May is the beginning of summer in Vietnam. The temperature will gradually increase, with longer sunshine hours every day and some occasional rain. When the sun comes out, it's perfect for spending a day swimming and kayaking!
+ Pleasant weather, better visibility
+ Rise in temperatures in May
2.3. Summer (June-August)
Here comes the summer, the season of the scorching sun, heavy showers and sudden thunderstorms in Vietnam. It will be a little too hot and humid for Westerners, with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 32°C, with occasional extremes temperatures, reaching 40°C! Yes, without a doubt, it's bikini season.
The picturesque landscape will compensate for all this, the sky will be unusually high and brilliantly blue, and the water will be incredibly emerald. Swimming, kayaking and other water activities will be available, and you can stay in the cool water as long as you want! August will be the wettest month of the year, and rains and thunderstorms will come regularly.
+ Very hot and humid
+ Regular rains and thunderstorms, especially in August
2.4. Autumn (September-October)
This is the most beautiful time of the year in Halong Bay. It will be cool, sunny and windy in the autumn. The average temperature is 25°C, without significant changes. You won't be too bothered by rain and thunderstorms like in the summer.
+ The best weather of the year
+ Cool, sunny and windy
2.5. Beginning of winter (November-December)
The typical winter in the North is cold, dry and cloudy, with the temperature reaching its lower end by 1-2°C. You will still see sunny, cloudless days when it is 23-26°C outside. Halong Bay weather conditions during these months are relatively similar to January and February. It's also the time of year to catch squid and celebrate Christmas!
+ Cold and dry, with some sunny days
+ Squid fishing season
+ Experience Christmas in Vietnam
Find below a summary of the weather conditions in Halong Bay throughout the year:
Days with rain/drizzle
There are also a few national holidays that you should consider, including International New Year, Lunar New Year, Hung King Festival, Liberation Day, Labour Day, and Independence Day. Lunar New Year and Hung King Festival vary from year to year, as the dates are based on the lunar calendar. The other national holidays will be as follows:
International New Year: January 1
Liberation Day: April 30
Labor Day: May 1
Independence Day: September 2
>> Read more: The 7 most beautiful islands to visit in Ha Long Bay
Peak season in Halong Bay falls from October to December, while shoulder season is from January to April. If you're travelling on a budget, you'd better visit Halong Bay between May and September, when prices are 10-20% lower than in the high season. However, you may want to avoid the national holiday of May 1 (Labour Day), when the volume of tourists will skyrocket, making it a less favourable time to visit.
During the summer months (June-August), due to frequent showers and thunderstorms, cruise ships and beach activities may be prohibited. In this case, you can visit other parts of the country, for example, Hanoi, and return once the storm has passed. If you plan to visit Halong Bay in other months, be sure to book well in advance to avoid overpriced services.
>> Read more: How to choose a cruise in Halong Bay?
The better you prepare for the trip, the more pleasant you will be. Here are some of the most important things you need to keep in mind:
+ If you are travelling in the summer, remember to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, swimwear and a change of clothes, hats, and waterproof flip flops/sandals. Also, keep regular updates with your tour operator in case the trip is cancelled/postponed due to bad weather.
+ If you are travelling in the winter, you should bring sweatshirts with you, as it can get chilly early in the morning.
+ In case of cancellation, you can return from Halong Bay to Hanoi to enjoy the rest of your trip. Hanoi is only two or three hours away.
+ There is no bad month to visit Halong Bay. Don't worry if you miss the best months. The bay offers different charms throughout the seasons and you will always find it worth visiting.
In conclusion, the best months to visit Halong Bay are from March to May and September to October. Don't forget to stuff yourself with hot grilled calamari and the famous "banh cuon", two of the most famous cuisines in the area! A visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site will not dare to disappoint!
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