In general, Vietnam has something for everyone all year round but there are certain months of the year in which it offers the best. December is perhaps the best time to visit Vietnam thanks to the mild and pleasant weather throughout all the regions. If you are planning for a memorable trip in Vietnam, then do not miss out on this ultimate guide for the first time travelers in December this year.
Vietnam Weather in December
Weather in Vietnam is varied from region to region, so there is no exactly right or wrong time to visit Vietnam. Still, each region features a typical kind of climate.
The climate in the northwest region of Vietnam (mountainous area) is divided into 2 seasons:
- The dry season: from October to late March
- The wet season: from April to September
During December and January, the weather could be very cold and even snowy with a low temperature of around 15 Celsius with a windy sky. You are recommended not to visit the mountainous areas of Vietnam during the rainy season from May to September
Hanoi and North Vietnam, though, feature with distinctive winter and summer season. The winter is cold, but with a higher temperature than that of the North-west region, around 17-22 Celsius. It often starts from October and lasts till March.
Summers often last from July to September with the highest rainfall. It's not a good idea to visit Halong Bay this time as the harsh weather could prevent junks sailing around the bay.
Central Vietnam features warm temperatures all year round. The hottest months fall in the middle months of the year, and then become cooler and drier from November to April.
During the winter months, the rainfall could reach its highest level (especially on October and November), sometimes severe weather - typhoons also appear.
Featuring with a warm climate all year round with constant temperature of around 25-35 Celsius, the South of Vietnam is divided into 2 simple seasons: wet and dry season. The dry season falls at the beginning of November and lasts till the end of April. The wet season lasts from May till early November. June, July, and August are the months when the rainfall is at its highest peak.
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Reasons why you should visit Vietnam in December
Vietnam is worth a visit at any time of the year, depending on the region you're going to travel to. However, December is a good time of the year to delve into the hidden charm of different parts in Vietnam, which can hardly be revealed at other periods of time. The followings are the reasons you should not miss this nice time in Vietnam
Unique natural beauty: It is a great time to take in the stunning views of green valleys, blossoming flower plateau in the northwest of Vietnam. This awe-inspiring landscapes can’t be seen twice a year.
Super off-beaten-track experience: The cold weather of mountainous areas in Vietnam in December make the place an impeccable spot for adventurous activities: trekking, hiking, mountain climbing, cycling, etc. For adventure seekers, there is no better place for such an impressive experience.
Embracing cruise in an incredible bay: Halong Bay- the wonder of the World with its magnificent landscapes never falls to enchant any nature lovers. No doubts, December is an amazing time to spend your holiday with your friends or family. During this time, tourists can experience its best- astoundingly clear water, majestic limestone karsts and soul-stirring views of caves, islands, and islets.
Best time for beach break: December is the time that marks the dry season in the south of Vietnam. That means beaches could be the perfect choice to escape from the heat and the hustle of big cities. Descend to some of the famous beaches and let your soul embraced by the gentle waves, cool breeze, and the soft, soft sand. The perfect climate is suitable for any beach activities.
Top 5 places to visit in December
1. Hanoi - the Cradle of Culture
The capital city of Hanoi remains its charm all the time of the year. That’s why it's on the bucket list of any travelers for a first-time visitor even several times. Whether you're going to visit the little city in hot weather of summer or the terribly cold in winter, it always has something to offer.
In December when the weather becomes a bit cold, a leisurely walk around the bustling Old Quarter and the charming Hoan Kiem Lake is definitely a perfect way to warm up and get some heat. Eating ice-cream during these cold winter days is also an interesting thing you want to experience, for sure.
December is also the month for family for its Christmas Festival and the New Year's Eve- the traditional and unique holiday in Vietnam. Hanoi is perhaps the best hub of culture, dating back to centuries ago. Visiting its vibrant lanes this time, you may walk under the sparkling light of colorfully-decorated shops, emerge into the best things to buy in Hanoi for your friends and family. That would be a sweet memory to nourish.
2. Ho Chi Minh City- the Ever-Bustling Part of Vietnam
As home to countless churches and temples of different religions, the metropolis city of Ho Chi Minh is absolutely a must-visit destination in December. It is a buzzing and moving spot for tourists to come and explore its historical heritage, beautiful places, and bustling shopping sprees and recreational centers.
With a number of churches scattered across the city, exploring the city this time of the year offers you the most vivid and colorful picture of the Christmas Festival.
Its intriguing culture with a wide range of colonial style buildings makes it a special place to revel in the harmonious blend of different architectures, of modern and traditional styles.
While in the city, one can even experience all the seasons within a day: the cold weather of the winter in the early morning and at night, spring during the day time, the cool weather of the fall at noontime and the random rain of the summer in the afternoon. It is so interesting to experience the diverse weather of this buzzing city.
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3. Sapa - The Mecca for Adventure Seekers
Tourists, especially adventurers couldn't miss the charming land of Sapa on the north-west of Vietnam when it comes to the best places to visit in Vietnam in December
This idyllic town is blessed with spectacular mountains, green valleys, lush forest, incredible rice terraces, and stunning ethnic culture. Its special topography makes it an ideal spot for trekking, hiking, mountain climbing, cycling and visiting local villages as well.
The pleasant weather in December offers the best condition to explore in and around this sleepy town. However, the weather could be extremely cold, or even snowy, so make sure you prepare all necessary warm clothes during your stay here.
In December, this stunning place is added more charm with the white color of peach blossoms spreading over the valley and forest creating some Instagram-worthy moments. For more experiences in Sapa, please feel free to read more our: Ultimate Sapa Travel Guide for South African Travelers in 2024
4. Moc Chau - the Land of Evergreen Tea Hills
Moc Chau- a quaint land set in the north of Vietnam, famous for its stunning Moc Chau plateau, eye-catching tea plantations, and extremely mild weather. Discovering this beautiful land in December is a wise option as tourists can revel in some of its best.
Its stunning beauty with a wide range of different flowers lying down the valley which can only be found in the winter making a standout mecca for tourists and the locals alike.
Apart from the appealing valley of flowers, its evergreen tea plantation will also blow your mind. Savoring local specialties, dipping a tipping hot cup of tea while throwing your eyes on the immense tea estates is undoubtedly an enticing experience in this lovely land this time.
5. Phu Quoc Island - an Oasis of Beach Lovers
Phu Quoc Island boasts its pristine beaches, serene atmosphere, lush forest, and amazing activities. It's a picture-perfect place for your incredible Vietnam beach holidays with the best sand, sea, and surf.
Along with some of the finest resorts in Vietnam, this little oasis also offers tons of things to do and explore: kayak in the caves, dive in the clear water, uncover the National Park, explore local villages and workshops or savor fresh seafood.
Unlike beaches in South Africa and other beaches in Vietnam with the cold water in winter, Phu Quoc island is a place totally different. In December, the weather here is so nice with pleasant blue skies and lovely sunshine - making it a perfect getaway.
Do not forget to tick this paradise of nature on your travel list if you're looking for the best beaches for diving in Vietnam in December.
Festivals and Celebrations in December
Although being a predominantly Buddhist country, Christmas in Vietnam is still one of the main religious festivals. In Vietnam, Christmas is a huge event and Christmas Eve is considered to be more important than Christmas Day. During the festival, people especially young people like to go into the city center to celebrate, enjoy parties, take pictures and see the Christmas decorations and lights.
If you're going to travel this time of the year, avail the chance to mingle with the smiling faces in the festive atmosphere and colorful sights all around the corners.
Traveling to Vietnam at the end of December, you may want to witness Solar New Year or Western New Year in Vietnam which takes place on the first of January. It is one of the important holidays of many nations in the world. Though it's not official traditional New Year of Vietnamese people, it's still a popular one marking the beginning of a new year.
This is a special chance for Vietnamese families to unite, hold parties, travel or enjoy things together. Happiness and excitement can be seen everywhere. All the main roads, living areas, major tourists and parks are lit up with colorful lights and beautiful flowers. People stroll hand in hand in the walking streets or in the parks, laugh and chat together.
Shopping malls, markets, and local restaurants are packed with people busy with buying things for Tet holiday. All the fascinating scenes create the most vivid picture with the striking and bustling vibe of a truly memorable holiday. Taking in this ever-popular atmosphere, you'll see the difference in a very unique culture, adding more charm to your visit to Vietnam in December.
- North Vietnam: For the cold weather, it is necessary to bring enough warm clothes, raincoats, hiking shoes, some light clothes and winter supplement
- Central and South Vietnam: As the weather is warm and pleasant, you just need to pack some lightweight pants, shorts, t-shirts or dresses. Don't forget to bring a hat, sunglasses for hot days.
What to pack?
- A backpack to pack all the things and a small bag with necessary stuff for daily excursions.
- All the important documents for your travel: visa, passport
- Mobile phone, camera, a backup charger
- Medicines and other personal accessories
- Cash or ATM or credit card (You are recommended to exchange some money into Vietnam dong for convenient purchase)
With all the important information for a fulfilling trip to Vietnam in December, we hope you can plan your own journey with thorough preparation. For more exquisite experience, our travel consultants are willing to offer you some best options for your Vietnam tours from South Africa.