Best time to travel Halong Bay, Vietnam | The 2017 Guide

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Every once and awhile you wake up from your everyday affairs and your wanderlust takes hold. Perhaps you take out a map, choose an area of the world you have never ventured to before, and begin researching the who, what, when, where and how about it.
With any luck, this year your radar fixes upon breathtaking Vietnam and your first question?
When is the best time to visit Halong Bay, one of the most spectacular sites of the country?
There are many things to take into consideration when choosing your travels throughout the year. For some people, vacation time makes a huge difference, from making deals with coworkers to finagling the right days off to balancing children’s school schedules.
Other people would rather focus on Mother Nature’s cycle of weather patterns. If you love the snow and cold, you choose the winter months whereas swimming and sunshine demand a summer trip.
Others still prefer to focus on the cost or avoid periods of the highest tourism. Halong Bay is no exception to the rule. When visiting this beautiful piece of Southeast Asia, one must think about the best time to visit, the optimal months, and The most ideal weather to experience Halong Bay.
TimeJuly - AugustDecember - January
SeasonSummerWinter
Inbound TourismLowHigh
Domestic SeasonHighLow
Rainfall230mm23mm
Temperature25 - 31 C15 - 21 C
ActivitiesScuba Diving
Swimming
Seaplane Sightseeing
Sunbathing
Kaykaking
Climbing mountains
Seaplane Sightseeing

BEST TIME TO VISIT HALONG BAY FOR LOCAL LOUNGING

There is often a very large difference between the travel patterns of domestic and international tourists. The needs and necessities dictating vacation time can be drastically altered by local and international conditions.

DOMESTIC TOURISMWinterSummerHot/HumidCool/ TemperatureWet seasonCost HighCost Low
High SeasonXXXX
Low SeasonXXX

July-August: The months of Vietnamese Holiday Haven

Halong Bay Weather
Summertime is at its height, the sunshine is raging and the wet season is in full swing. Temperatures average at around 30 degrees Celsius and the air is thick with moisture. It is, therefore, the perfect time of year for local tourists to escape the heat and humidity by bathing in the South China Sea or more specifically, the beautiful Halong Bay. 

For native Vietnamese, the high season for travel to Halong Bay is the summer months, from July to August.

Best time to travel halong
Best time to visit Halong Bay

PROS

Children and students are also out of school, so it is the easiest time for a family to enjoy their holiday time together. Since culturally, many Vietnamese prefer to travel as a group, planning during this time of year is the most flexible for the most people’s schedules.

During this time, there is an abundance of activities to engage in from exploring the Limestone Caves on Bo Hun Island to flying over the terrain in a spectacular seaplane. With the longer days and golden sunsets, one can only imagine the stunning scenery you could see while soaring through the skies in an Hai Au Aviation Seaplane and landing serenely in Halong Bay. Seaplanes are the closest you can get to submerging into the scenery and drinking in the sights.

Best time to travel halong
Best time to visit Halong Bay

CONS

The downside is that because domestic tourism is so high, prices of hotels and various excursions will also be high, making it much trickier to get a good deal for your entire family. The summer months are also the wettest months, creating the potential for a typhoon that could ultimately cancel your trip.

Activities like kayaking and boat tours are hard to plan as well since the water can become treacherous as the rains fall hard and fast. And because of the sheer volume of families making use of their summer holiday time, the beaches are often jam-packed, hotels overrun with tourists, and lines a mile long, making it much more difficult to find a quiet spot to relax.

November-December: The months of Day-to-Day Life 

Halong Bay Weather
The moderate weather conditions throughout Vietnam make it less important to seek out a watery wonderland by the sea. The average temperature is usually about 19 degrees Celsius so there’s no need to plunge into the ocean quite as quickly as the in the summertime.

In contrast, the low season for domestic tourism is the winter months from November to December.

During the hustle and bustle of winter months, locals are less interested in vacation time and much more focused on work and school and daily life. The result is that Halong Bay is much less populated by the natives. This could be great for a domestic traveler who would like to experience an area of Vietnam without the concentrated parade of native travelers. However, since family is such an important priority, festival and events which highlight local culture make it necessary to stay at home or travel to other family members.

Halongbay_daytrip Best time to visit Halong Bay
Best time to visit Halong Bay – Day trip at L’Azalee Cruise

While domestic tourism may be down, Inbound Tourism is at its peak, meaning that if you are still wishing for a calm, less populated experience, this is probably not the time for you. Prices will also not be much lower than summer months due to the soaring number of internationals taking advantage of this time. No matter where you live in the world, most locals prefer to avoid a mass invasion of tourists. Winter is often best for domestic tourists to remain at home.

BEST TIME TO VISIT HALONG BAY FOR INTERNATIONAL INFLUX

INBOUND TOURISMWinterSummerHot/HumidCool/ TemperatureWet SeasonCost HighCost Low
High SeasonXXX
Low SeasonXXXX

December – January: The months of Wintry Escape for travelers

In total opposition to the patterns of domestic travel, inbound tourism to Halong Bay spikes high during the winter months, most specifically in December and January. While the temperatures become much more temperate in Vietnam, travelers looking for warmer weather are perfectly placed to have an adventure in the bay.

Halong Bay Weather
The wet season has passed, the air is drier, there is no risk of a typhoon and the sun still continues to shine. It’s no surprise that much of the Northern Hemisphere is inundated with ice and snow during the wintry season, so international tourists long for a touch of warmth and sunshine. While the temperatures still circle 20 degrees Celsius, it is a great change for tourists coming from 0 degrees or below. 
Ti Top Island
Best time to visit Halong Bay – Ti Top Island

Landing in Hanoi for a few days of city life provides an excellent transition to enjoying a lovely weekend on the shores of Halong Bay. Traveling by seaplane through the clouds during this time of year is nothing short of exquisite. You can charter a flight to or from Hanoi or connect with a cruise, both stunning ways of seeing the sites. Travelers from colder climates will have no problem lounging around the landscape and perusing the paysage of Vietnam. You can venture through the Halong Thien Cung Cave or the Dau Go Grotto without swimming in humidity.

The lines are less packed with domestic tourism since the summer season is over and you may even find a luxurious spot at the beach to observe the magical bay.

The combination of the wonderful weather and minimal lines allows you to see the real charm of Halong Bay. It is a truly enchanting and romantic atmosphere to prance around in. On the other hand, swimming in the sea is not quite as easy depending on how cool the weather becomes.

best time to visit halong bay
Best time to visit Halong Bay – Kayaking in Halong Bay, Vietnam

The average temperature is about 24 degrees Celsius so when the sun sets, the air can produce a brisk though still incredibly romantic chill.

Because it is the high season for international tourism, there will still be an influx of explorers wandering the sea. This will also be the absolutely most expensive time for inbound tourists, as the volume and competition for flights, hotels, and events will capitalize on this season.

Tai _Chi_Angle_1_C5A9423_Sky_Finish
Morning Tai Chi Lesson – Emeraude Cruise

Additionally, you won’t be able to interact with the same amount of locals and it still may prove difficult to enjoy the beach in solitude or snag that solo selfie you so desperately wanted if other tourists from around the globe are all doing the same.

June – July: The months of Avoiding the Tropical Heat

Halong Bay Weather
The low season for inbound tourism is of course the summer months in Halong Bay, particularly in June and July when tourists rarely want to seek a location that is similarly hot and humid. 30 degrees Celsius and higher are not the most desirable temperatures to take advantage of when wishing to break free of the more oppressive climates.
ProsCons

The ability to avoid the intense weather systems and the possible amount of domestic tourists that would still create an overflow of people enjoying the bay and its many attributes.

Planning your trip around this season is probably better than dripping in clamminess and crowds.

By avoiding this time of year, one also avoids a much closer connection with the native local population.

The prices are also cheaper for international flights in particular, as it is not a common season for travel to this part of the globe. 

In addition, by not heading to Halong Bay in the summertime, one cannot as easily partake in the delights of the sea and its many splendors. Snorkeling and scuba diving in an underwater kingdom of creatures have its perks. A little heat and humidity never did anyone any harm when a gorgeous bay is at hand to wash away the warmth.

TAKE THE BENEFITS OF BALANCE

While the high and low seasons for both domestic and inbound tourism are polar opposites, the most populated times to visit Halong Bay are consistently in the summer and winter months, most densely focused on July and August, November and December.

While there are many reasons why those months and weather seasons are highly desirable, the best time to visit Halong Bay might actually be the spring and the fall. Most people enjoy the weather during these times of the year, whether it be the autumnal beauty of fall foliage or the burst of blooms exploding during the equinox.

It’s a great time to take advantage of various deals and unique opportunities.

  • The weather is usually mild and dry, depending on the month, and you avoid extreme weather conditions such as typhoons, making it positively ideal for delving into the best of the bay.
  • The prices for both domestic and inbound voyagers will remain low since these two seasons lie between the highest periods of tourism throughout the year.

Early spring may have some temperamental climate moments but still, encompasses the primary benefits of the winter months. In addition, there are some amazing festivals to attend such as Tet Nguyen Dan, which is the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Fireworks and music, costumes and parades can be seen on the streets of Vietnam, celebrating family, ancestors, and hopes for the future. This is something that you really shouldn’t miss if you hope to see more of the Vietnamese culture and custom.

cooking_halong_bay_travel_experience
Best time to visit Halong Bay – Cooking Demonstration at L’Azalee Cruise

While you may have to investigate which business will be open or closed, the general merriment of the holiday and openness of the people will make up for any minor missed opportunity. Late spring doesn’t offer you as many events and starts exhibiting the more extreme summer weather conditions but will still allow for a far less crowded experience than other months.

You might want to check out 5 Convenient ways get to Halong Bay

Autumn can provide the same luxuries as the high inbound tourism season from November to December, but without as many actual tourists on the streets. You can examine the floating villages of local culture without worrying that they too are off on holiday. You can also witness the changing seasons from above as a seaplane lends a bird’s-eye view of the flora and fauna below. The natural vegetation and brilliant wildlife are never more astonishing than when cruising through the clouds care of Hai Au Aviation.

lazalee-cruises_day-cruise_activities
ecc_shot_22_boat_exterior_sunset_angle_2_c5a9841_finish
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Most importantly, much of the world is busy getting back to work or finishing up exams. The intense levels of tourism decrease, allowing for much more open space and oxygen to relish in the enchantment of Halong Bay.

No matter which time of year you choose, Halong Bay is always ready to showcase its qualities at their very best.

From hot and heady summer to mild and mannered winter to balanced and beautiful spring and fall, the best time to visit this magnificent bay is up to you. Imagine your day in such a breathtaking spot, make a list of your ideal conditions and book your flight accordingly.

TRAVEL TIPS

Just don’t forget to take into consideration the month, the weather, the circumstances you prefer, and Halong Bay will be ready and waiting to oblige and send you away with memories for a lifetime.