Where to go in Vietnam: a monthly guide
Kick off the new year with a glorious marathon in Mộc Châu. In January, this mountain town becomes a fairytale land covered in white plum blossoms. The Vietnam Trail Marathon runs deep into the hills, past tidy tea plantations and blossoming orchards. Stay at an ethnic homestay to learn more about the local way of life and join tasty home-cooked meals.
Springtime means flowers are blooming in Đà Lạt. Pink cherry blossoms line the streets and lakes in the Central Highlands. Đà Lạt enjoys pleasant breezes and cool air all year round, but February skies are among the bluest and clearest. Lose yourself in nature and spend a night camping by Tuyền Lâm Lake, or have a picnic day on Thiên Phúc Đức Hill.
After months of rain, Hội An is fresher than ever in early March. Gentle winds and sunny days make exploring the rice paddies and Ancient Town a joy. Walk through the yellow alleyways, relax in a teahouse, or ride a bicycle to the beach. If you happen to be here on a full moon, stroll the Thu Bồn River after dark to see magical reflections of the moon and lanterns on the water.
The amazing Huế Festival and Huế Craft Festival alternatively take place every year in late April, making this a fantastic time to visit Vietnam’s former imperial capital. The festivals’ activities celebrate Huế art, culture, and heritage with dazzling performances. April is also a perfect month weather-wise for Huế, with endless sunshine and clear skies.
An annual triathlon set against a gorgeous backdrop of coastal scenery, Ironman Vietnam welcomes athletes and travellers every May in Đà Nẵng City. Take it easy after the event with a visit to Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary and the Cham Museum of Sculpture to learn about the ancient Kingdom of Champa, or stay to catch the jaw-dropping firework festival in June.
Summer in Hạ Long Bay means sunbathing on the top deck of a cruise, swimming off limestone islets, and filling up on freshly made squid patties. Take a break from the sun and see millennia-old rock formations up close in Hạ Long’s many caves. A seaplane ride will give you an incredible bird’s eye view of the famous bay, its floating villages and dramatic karsts.
The beaches in Central Vietnam are a dream in sunny July, with clear blue skies, glistening waters, and warm sandy shores. Hop on a train and head to Nha Trang for a quick and easy beach getaway. Island-hopping here is simply a must, with protected coral reefs and dreamy beaches. Take a mineral-rich mud bath before popping out for a seafood dinner by the ocean.
Sapa’s rice terraces put on a breathtaking golden coat in August, when the stalks of rice hang heavy with ripe grains. This ‘golden season’ sees light drizzles in the early morning and late at night, and evenings cool enough for cozy campfires and hotpots. After a day-long hike, treat yourself to a rejuvenating herbal bath and tuck yourself in at an ethnic homestay.
Autumn in Hanoi is so beautiful there are countless Vietnamese songs, poems, and short stories written about the capital city in this season. Hail a cyclo for a ride around the Old Quarter, find hidden cafés in French villas, or take a walk under falling leaves. Hanoi is also a great place to celebrate National Day on September 2, with flying flags down every street.
Pù Luông in October is a great choice if you’re a fan of lush vistas and nature retreats. Book a stay in a stilt house facing the valley, and wake up to fragrant rice terraces outside your window. While you’re in Pù Luông you might like to trek to waterfalls, or take a textile workshop with ethnic Thai people. Of course, doing nothing in a beautiful place is a great option too.
Hà Giang is famed for its awe-inspiring Nho Quế River, panoramic mountain passes, bustling ethnic markets, and the buckwheat flower festival in November. Next to rugged mountains, these buckwheat hills in full bloom are one of Vietnam’s most picturesque scenes. You can never pack too many memory cards for your camera on a Hà Giang trip.
For a tropical Christmas with lapping waves, fresh coconuts, and powdery sand, put Phú Quốc Island in your December travel plans. With gentle breezes and water temperature just right for swimming and diving, Phú Quốc is a wonderful spot to celebrate the holidays with your loved one(s). Catch the island’s famous purple sunsets — the perfect way to end the year.