There are many things to take into consideration when choosing your travels throughout the year. For some people, being able to secure vacation time is a huge factor, often involving everything from striking deals with coworkers to finagling the right days off to balancing the children’s school schedules.
Other people would rather focus on Mother Nature’s cycle of weather patterns. If you love the cold, the winter months are a great time to visit Halong Bay, whereas if swimming and sunshine are high up on your list of demands, a summer trip is in the cards.
Other travelers may make decisions based on when travel is the cheapest, or when to avoid the crowds during peak travel periods. Halong Bay is no exception to the rule.
When visiting this beautiful corner of Southeast Asia, travelers should think about the ideal time to travel to Halong Bay, taking into consideration the weather and optimal travel conditions.
Spring in Halong Bay
With more than 1,900 magnificent islands and limestone pillars scattered around an area of 5,000 square kilometres, Halong Bay is known for its splendid beauty. As one of the world’s best natural marvels, visiting Halong figures high on the “bucket list” of many travelers.
Early spring, during Vietnamese Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday, is actually a good time to visit Halong Bay.
In the past, many visitors to Vietnam have chosen to celebrate the holidays in Hanoi or Saigon, but many have begun to realize that spring brings cool weather to Halong as well as a tranquil atmosphere.
Why not start off the lunar new year with a scenic flight over Halong Bay, taking in bird’s eye views of the gorgeous seascapes, followed by a day cruising the glittering emerald waters of this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site?
Overall Halong Bay weather in spring
Late spring is the start of the wettest season of the year in Halong, with occasional drizzle and mist. While great for trees and plants, the weather does have its drawbacks for tourists.
However, the spring mist undeniably adds to the ethereal beauty of the bay, enhancing its otherworldly beauty. Photographers, especially, will enjoying playing with the contrasts and will likely be able to capture stunning photos in spring.
January – February: Vietnamese traditional New Year
The most important celebration for the Vietnamese people is Tet, the Lunar New Year based on the Vietnamese calendar.
During this time of the year, people usually go back to their hometown to take part in family reunions.
The holiday lasts up to 10 days during which Vietnamese people spend time cleaning the home or cooking special holiday favorites.
At this special time of the year, visitors can get a glimpse into Vietnamese Tet culture in the days and weeks leading up to the holiday when the cities are abuzz with people shopping, buying flowers and plants, and otherwise preparing for the most important holiday of the year.
In Halong City, you’ll be able to see this flurry of activity at the local market or at shopping malls like the Vincom Shopping Center where people will be buying new clothes to start off the new year and looking for gifts to bring home to family.
If you have the chance to visit a local family’s home during Tet, you may even receive a red envelope of “lucky money” yourself, and be invited to sit down and enjoy dishes made specially for Lunar New Year.
However, because of increased travel and shopping, prices can be higher during this time of the year.
Additionally, if you plan your Vietnamese holiday during the first days of Tet, you may very well find your favorite restaurant closed as the cities often shut down for the celebration.
However, because many local Vietnamese head back to their home villages and provinces, Tet is actually a great time for international tourists to visit Halong Bay.
March: Time to visit traditional festivals
After a week of relaxing with family at Tet, March is often when Vietnamese people like to go out and attend festivals.
If you visit Halong in March, you’ll also be able to attend a few traditional events. One of the most interesting is the Cherry Blossom Festival, timed over just a few days when the flowers are in bloom.
Visitors should aim to visit Halong Square from March 17-21 to witness this exciting festival. There are a variety of flowers from different countries on display which only bloom during the lunar new year, such as cherry blossoms and golden apricot blossoms.
In the evening, there are often musical and cultural performances from Japanese and Vietnamese artists to enjoy.
If you like peace and quiet, then March is an ideal time to cruise Halong Bay. Usually in March, skies can be hazy in the mornings over this UNESCO World Heritage Site, giving the seascape a forbidding vibe.
March is also low season which means you likely will not have to share Halong Bay with as many tourists as during other parts of the year. While the cool temperatures in March may be too cold for water activities, there is still lots to do in Halong Bay.
Book a seaplane flight for noon, after the morning mist has lifted. Enjoy taking off from the water and seeing Halong Bay from above. The 25-minute scenic flight by Hai Au Aviation offers some truly spectacular views of the islands and is a highlight of any Halong Bay trip for many travelers.
April: Best Halong Bay weather for an independent vacation
April is one of the best times of the year to visit Halong Bay. The ideal weather in April, when it’s not too cold and not too hot, will add much to your enjoyment of the bay.
Additional, in April, Vietnamese students are likely preparing for exams and adults are back to work after the Lunar New Year holidays, which makes April a great month to travel to Halong Bay.
One of the highlights of Halong Bay is Titov Island. Famous for its golden sand beach and calm, shallow waters, Titov Island also features panoramic views from the top.
Visit Titov early in the morning or later in the afternoon and practically have the whole island to yourself to lay on the beach or hike up to the viewpoint.
Halong Bay also offers many exciting water-based activities, including canoeing, kayaking and swimming.
With more than 1,900 magnificent islands, Halong Bay offers something for everyone, whether it’s an active holiday with lots of physical activities, or simply taking in the scenery from your cruise ship or enjoying bird’s eye views from the luxury of a seaplane flight.
Overnight cruises on the bay also offer the opportunity for shore excursions to the many fascinating caves in the area, including Sung Sot (Surprise) and Luon Cave, or individual islands, like Titov Island.
Suitable activities in spring time
There is a wide range of spring time activities for visitors to enjoy in Halong Bay. Whether traveling solo, in a group, or with family, you’ll never be at a loss for things to do.
If you’re interested in cultural activities, spring offers a host of festivals in Halong City, including the Cherry Blossom Festival.
The annual Halong Carnival is also fun for the whole family. Halong’s biggest festival is held yearly on towards the end of April at Sun World Halong Complex.
The carnival includes exhibitions on food, culture and sporting events while the final night of the carnival features performers in colorful costumes from many countries around the world, as well as spectacular music and dance performances
Halong is also home to several famous temples, including Ba Vang, Long Tien and Cua Ong. Some of these temples have tranquil gardens, ideal for de-stressing and communing with Nature.
On unseasonably cold days, there are a few indoor attractions to visit, including the Quang Ninh Museum (on Tran Quoc Nghien Street). With an entry fee of just VND 30,000 (USD 1.50) per person, spend a few quiet hours learning about the province of Quang Ninh. Another activity to try is the scenic flight over Halong Bay.
Especially on clear, sunny days, the views are truly magnificent. These are scheduled flights and are often booked out early, but you can always check to see if there is last-minute availability.
For many travelers, flying in a seaplane is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and there is no better place to do it than over scenic Halong Bay. Scheduled seaplane service is also available between Hanoi and Halong, flying over the Red River Delta.
Summer: Halong Bay weather for Vietnamese tourists
While spring offers the best Halong Bay weather for independent travelers who are looking for a quiet holiday with an extra dose of culture, summer time is ideal for those looking for some active adventure.
Taking advantage of the beautiful weather and sunny skies, summer is the high season for domestic tourism in Halong Bay. While there may be additional crowds to deal with, international tourists should not overlook the fact that the beginning of summer offers some of the best Halong Bay weather.
Overall Halong Bay weather in summer
With temperatures around 30 degrees Celcius, the weather is perfect for practically any and all activities in Halong Bay from water sports to indoor activities.
Under sunny skies, simply imagine yourself sunbathing on the top deck of a luxury cruise ship or sunning yourself on the white sandy beaches of Cat Ba Island in Halong Bay. As the summer progresses, temperatures tend to rise, reaching approximately 38 degrees Celcius towards the height of summer.
In addition to warm temperatures, crowds also increase, especially at some of the better known places of attraction, such as Titov Island, Sung Sot Cave and Bai Tho Mountain. Vietnamese families, in particular, like to travel to Halong Bay in summer to take advantage of warm temperatures and school holidays.
May: Great time to enjoy Halong Bay from above
May is considered the best month to travel to Halong Bay for international tourists due to several factors. First, traveling in May, you can avoid the bulk of the domestic tourism market as children are still in school.
Take advantage of this period right before the summer holidays start for a quieter, less crowded holiday. Also, the weather in Halong Bay in May is fantastic, with clear skies and pleasant temperatures, ideal for a Hai Au Aviation scenic seaplane flight.
In full sun, expect the water to be brilliant shades of blue and green and for the lush, jungle-draped islands to really stand out.
On a Hai Au Aviation seaplane flight, you can tick off another “bucket list” experience with gorgeous views from above over both the islands of Halong Bay on a scenic flight, or the beautiful patchwork of farms and countryside landscapes in a comfortable, time-saving flight between Halong and Hanoi. The water take-offs and landings are also a thrilling part of this adventure.
June to July: The months of tropical summer
Northern Vietnam’s tropical summer heat is a great time for getaways, especially to the beach or the cooler temperatures found in the mountains.
Expect larger crowds during summer as local families go on vacation with their children, especially in June and July. Prices can be higher during these months as it is peak travel season.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 for its gorgeous seascapes of untouched karst mountains rising from deep emerald waters, Halong Bay is truly a photographer’s paradise.
In addition to Hai Au Aviation’s seaplane flights, another way to get bird’s eye views of the bay is by taking the Queen Cable Car in Halong City to to the Ba Deo Mountain.
The cable car is said to be the first reversible gondola system in Asia where up to 230 people can fit into one cable car cabin.
For close-up views of the islands from the water, book an overnight Halong Bay cruise, and enjoy the scenery from the comfort of your cabin any time of year.
August: A last-minute summer break
An August holiday in Halong Bay is an excellent way to cap off your summer. The weather in August tends to be good, just before the monsoon season starts, so why not book a last-minute trip to Halong Bay? Beautiful beaches and sunny skies await!
August is also a great time for outdoor adventures in Halong, including kayaking among the limestone islands, many of which contain caves which can be explored on foot. Colored lights make the experience even more memorable.
Suitable summer time activities
Most overnight Halong Bay cruises will include outdoor activities in summer, including kayaking, visiting a floating village, or swimming and sunbathing on one of the gorgeous island beaches.
Other activities allow for quiet reflection, including spending time just watching the scenery go by from your ship’s sundeck or opting to go for a scenic hike on Titov Island.
For a guaranteed respite from the crowds in summer, think about booking a Hai Au Aviation seaplane flight which is typically limited to just 12 passengers.
Enjoying the beauty of Halong Bay in exclusive company, taking in stupendous views that few ever get to witness is truly a treat for yourself.
Ranked among the top “Things to do in Halong” is a scenic seaplane flight, either over the bay itself, or flying between Hanoi and Halong.
Because Hai Au Aviation offers the only seaplane service in all of Vietnam, this experience will definitely tick off an entry on your travel bucket list as you get the chance to see the nearly 2,000 islands from up above.
The scenic seaplane flight over the bay is also surprisingly reasonable, making it accessible to most travelers.
To extend your time in Halong, there are multiple attractions in Halong City, including the 214ha Sun World Halong Complex with a beach amusement park and a Mystic Mountain area connected by a 2km-long cable car ride. The complex includes a Zen garden, coin-op games and one of the world’s tallest Ferris wheels.
For indoor experiences, don’t miss the Quang Ninh Museum with fascinating exhibits on the culture, history and wildlife of the province.
When it gets too hot, escape to the air-conditioned comfort of the Vincom Shopping Center and Bai Chay Center, which also makes for a great summer time outing.
Autumn: Low season for domestic tourism
Vietnamese schools start in fall, and you’ll find fewer domestic tourists in Halong Bay at this time of the year. The cooler temperatures and fewer tourists make Halong Bay an ideal autumn honeymoon destination.
Choose any of the Top 10 Luxury Cruises in Halong Bay and let the ship and the scenery be the backdrop for gorgeous honeymoon photos.
Relax in the on-board spa or laze about on the golden sand beaches of Halong Bay. The weather in September allows for excellent outdoor adventures as well.
The overall Halong Bay weather in autumn
The autumn weather in northern Vietnam is quite beautiful, marked by cooler temperatures and the changing colors of the leaves.
Many honeymooning couples head to the parks with the fall leaves providing a colorful backdrop.
Overnight Halong Bay cruises can also be a good choice during this time of the year, with the early morning mist lending an otherworldly quality to the island views.
September: Adventurous holiday with possibility of tropical storm
There is a higher possibility of typhoons in September than in other times of the year, with 2-3 tropical storms on average in the month.
However, if you’re able to dodge the bad weather, you can still enjoy a great holiday in Halong.
Seaplane flights operate year-round, and you’ll receive notification if a flight is affected by weather with the option to reschedule or receive a refund in most cases.
October: Travel to Halong and enjoy the romance of autumn
October is the beginning of high season for international tourists, so you may find that the added demand for flights, hotels, and other tourist services result in higher prices. That said, autumn is a great time for couples travel.
There’s a certain romance in the air and Hanoi and Halong Bay make excellent backdrops for photos, either riding bicycles through the photogenic Old Quarter or perhaps watching the Halong Bay scenery glide on past as you hold hands on the deck of your cruise ship or taking in views from above aboard a scenic seaplane flight over the bay.
Suitable activities in autumn
As the weather is pleasant and much cooler than summer, visitors enjoy being outdoors and taking part in different activities.
Overnight cruise packages always include kayaking, swimming and hiking in Halong Bay, so make sure not to miss those iconic activities. Clear skies are excellent for photography in Halong, and many couples can be seen taking wedding photos in and around Halong Bay.
The views from the Ferris wheel at Sun World Halong Complex at night are also excellent, especially during the full moon festival. In addition, Halong City has several spots for rooftop dining which makes for a very romantic night out.
Winter: High season for inbound tourism
Dreaming of a beach holiday to beat the winter blues?
Halong Bay has beaches, but in winter time, they’re more for lying in the sun than swimming.
However, if you’re willing to brave the chilly water, a very refreshing dip awaits! Other than swimming, there are lots of activities to do on and off the cruise ship, including watching the sunset and sunrise over the bay, waking up early for a Tai Chi session on the deck of your boat, or sleeping in and enjoying a lazy breakfast.
Regardless of the weather, Halong Bay rarely fails to delight any time of year.
Overall Halong Bay weather in winter
With the monsoon season over, expect dry, sunny days in winter. While the average temperature is a brisk 20 degrees Celcius, throw on a sweater or a jacket and enjoy the clean, crisp air.
There may be the occasional lingering shower, but overall, Halong Bay’s winter temperatures are quite refreshing.
November: Low season for domestic travel, high season for international travel
Visit Halong Bay in winter and you’ll likely by joined by international tourists who are taking advantage of winter holidays including Christmas and New Year’s, rather than domestic Vietnamese tourists who are months away from celebrating Vietnamese New Year.
As it’s peak season for international travel, you’ll likely find fewer deals in Halong Bay and demand may be high, so remember to book ahead.
December – January: Winter getaway for travelers
In contrast to domestic travel, inbound tourism to Halong Bay spikes during the winter months, particularly in December and January.
That is balanced with a decrease in domestic travelers who prefer the summer heat to the chill of winter.
That could lead to shorter lines to the most popular attractions and perhaps even getting a slice of beach to yourself.
Landing in Hanoi for a few days of city life provides an excellent transition to enjoying a lovely weekend on the waters of Halong Bay.
Traveling by seaplane through the clouds during this time of year is nothing short of amazing. In addition to scenic flights over Halong Bay, seaplanes flights are also available between Hanoi and Halong.
Suitable activities during winter time
To go along with the brisk 10 degree-temperature, winter brings along hazy, misty morning skies, burning off as the morning progresses. The early morning mist makes for excellent photos and sets a mysterious mood.
While the water may be a bit on the cold side for swimming, there are still lots of other activities to keep you pleasantly occupied, including kayaking among the karst islands, exploring some of Halong’s stunning caves, and visiting floating pearl farms.
The dry weather in December also makes for superb viewing from aboard a Hai Au Aviation seaplane flight, especially in the afternoons, once the clouds have burned off.
If you’re in a hurry to get to Halong, forget the bus or car and take a seaplane flight from Hanoi instead. Cool temperatures and moody, misty morning skies await in Halong Bay.
While in Halong City, work up a sweat exploring the town on foot, with ample stops to try the local street food, including grilled BBQ items, a steaming hot bowl of noodles, or a plate of steamed rice flour crepes known as banh cuon.
Our advice: Weigh the pros and cons of Halong Bay weather in planning your trip
There are a few different factors to consider when planning when to visit Halong Bay. The high season for domestic travelers tends to be during the summer while international travelers often visit towards the end of the year.
So, peak travel season is in the summer, in July and August, and also towards winter, in November and December.
The shoulder seasons (in spring and fall) are actually ideal to visit, as you’ll experience good weather (typically mild temperatures and dry conditions, avoiding the monsoons) and fewer crowds, and perhaps even snag a few travel deals as a bonus!
In addition to the pleasant spring weather, there are often festivals to enjoy in February and March, with the highlight being Tet, or Vietnamese Lunar New Year.
Expect to see firework displays, musical performances, and parades along the streets, while in people’s homes, families gather to celebrate Tet in their own way, often with feasts lasting many days.
There may be the annoyance of businesses and restaurants closed for the first few days of Tet, but it’s a small price to pay for the festive atmosphere that envelops the country during this time.
As spring turns to summer, there are fewer festivals and the temperature starts to rise, but if you come to Halong Bay before Vietnamese school lets out for the summer, you’ll still enjoy good weather conditions with fewer domestic travelers.
Autumn is also a great time to visit Halong Bay. Tourist numbers are lower compared to the peak in November and December, and the north of Vietnam does experience quite a change in climate compared to the perpetual summer in the south.
Expect to see some leaves changing color, making Hai Au Aviation seaplane flights quite appealing providing unique views of the jungle-clad islands below.
If you’re out to enjoy the beautiful emerald waters of Halong Bay, though, prepare to brave the crowds and visit in summer.
While the beaches may be packed, summer time offers great swimming weather, along with a host of outdoor activities, including hiking, kayaking and visits to floating villages and pearl farms.
While there are pros and cons to every season, most travelers will agree that there’s never a bad time to visit beautiful Halong Bay.