Dotted with nearly 2,000 spectacular limestone pillars as far as the eye can see along with beautiful jade-green waters, without a doubt the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay tops most bucket lists among travelers making their way to Southeast Asia.
Unlike the southern half of Vietnam, which is hot all year round and only has wet or dry monsoon seasons, northern Vietnam has the same four seasons many of us are accustomed to. In addition to weather, one should also take other factors such as budget and crowds when planning their once-in-a-lifetime trip to breathtaking Halong Bay (or neighbouring Lan Ha Bay).
WINTER (December – February)
|Low temperature (average)|| 15°C|
|High temperature (average)|| 20.1°C|
|Days of rain||5||6||6|
| 40 mm|
With school holidays in full swing in addition to the local Lunar New Year (Tet), Halong Bay is bursting with tourist activity in the winter months. Northern Vietnam does get chilly this time of year, so be sure to bring layered clothing or a light jacket.
Despite the winter months seeing the least amount of rain, the sun only makes an occasional appearance from behind the clouds. Conversely, mist and fog serve to accentuate the ethereal backdrop of Halong Bay, as if sailing through the pages of a fairytale.
SPRING (March – April)
|Low temperature (average)||17.9°C|
|High temperature (average)|| 22.7°C|
|Days of rain||8||10|
| 79 mm|
The spring shoulder season is highly recommended due to pleasant temperatures, low humidity and little rainfall. Clear skies make this period ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
Spring has the second least number of tourists (after summer), so this is a great time to avoid the crowds while also not having to worry about hotels or cruises being fully booked.
SUMMER (May – September)
|Low temperature (average)||24.5C|
|High temperature (average)||28.9°C|
|Days of rain||15||17||18||19||15|
| 317 mm|
| 376 mm|
Halong Bay’s summer months coincide with its off-peak season. Rainfall is at its highest during this period, particularly July and August, and the local port authority may be forced to call off all cruises when major storms approach. Though a rare occurrence, rest assured refunds are offered by cruise operators on canceled departures.
Along with the increased precipitation are higher temperatures and humidity levels. Visitors are sure to break a sweat while hiking and cycling, though in-water activities such as swimming and snorkeling will feel quite refreshing.
On the bright side, in the summer travelers can benefit from discounted hotel and cruise rates as well as avoid the large crowds.
AUTUMN (October – November)
|Low temperature (average)|| 22.6°C|
|High temperature (average)|| 27.6°C|
|Days of rain||10||7|
| 60 mm|
Similar to spring, the short fall season also has optimal weather conditions with mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine. A slight drizzle can be expected here and there, but it usually passes quickly.
Autumn and winter months are considered peak season, however, so expect Halong Bay to be packed with tourists. Alternatively, consider visiting nearby, lesser-known Lan Ha Bay, which boasts equally stunning landscapes.
Discover Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay with Heritage Line
Heritage Line operates four unique luxury ships in northern Vietnam. Violet and Jasmine ply the world-famous Halong Bay on 1-night and 2-night itineraries.
Conversely, in remote and serene Lan Ha Bay, Ginger offers an exclusive 1-night culinary-themed cruise while Ylang sails a 2-night journey of health and wellbeing.
Cruises are offered year-round, while guests can benefit from discounted rates during the off-season period of May through September.
Temperature and rainfall data source: