The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is during dry season from December to March when weather is the most pleasant. Unsurprisingly, these months are also the busiest time to travel in Ho Chi Minh City. Expect heavy rainfall during monsoon season from May to October.
Unlike in Hanoi, you’ll never be chilly when visiting Ho Chi Minh City unless air conditioning is to blame. The tropical temperatures rarely drop below the mid 70s F. Instead, they are most often hovering between 80 and 90 degrees F.
The Tet Festival in Vietnam
Tet, the Lunar New Year celebration in January or February, is by far the busiest time to be in Ho Chi Minh City—or anywhere in Vietnam. Don’t get caught by surprise! The Tet celebration usually coincides with the dates for Chinese New Year and causes accommodation prices to skyrocket. Flights and ground transportation book up quickly as Vietnamese people move about the country; the number of Chinese tourists surges.
Although enjoying the “usual” things to do in Ho Chi Minh City may be more challenging, the Tet festival is Vietnam’s most exciting. With some patience and planning, you can enjoy the cultural shows, fireworks, and lion dances.
Typhoon Season in Vietnam
Vietnam’s location makes it susceptible to destructive weather events such as typhoons and tropical cyclones. Typhoon season runs from the beginning of June to the end of November. The biggest weather events most often occur between September and November.
Large storms can disrupt flights and trigger flooding that halts ground transportation between Ho Chi Minh City and northern destinations. Keep a flexible itinerary when traveling in the fall months.
Weather in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City really only experiences two seasons: wet and dry. Along with much of Asia, the weather in Ho Chi Minh City is influenced by the southwest monsoon (May to September) and the northeast monsoon (November to March). The annual northeast monsoon causes dry season to run from around November to April each year. Monsoon season begins with increasing rainfall in May that lasts until October.
Of course, only Mother Nature knows when the annual monsoon rains will arrive; they can be earlier or later than anticipated on any given year.
Based on weather averages for Ho Chi Minh City:
- The driest month is February.
- The rainiest month is September.
- The hottest month is April.
- The coolest months are December and January.
January is one of the best months to visit Ho Chi Minh City, but it’s also one of the busiest. Travelers who finished Christmas holidays elsewhere come to enjoy the pleasant weather. The nightly lows around 70 degrees F feel refreshing after the daily highs near 90 degrees F.
Events to check out: Tet, Vietnam’s Lunar New Year festival, sometimes occurs in January—be ready! Although Tet traditions go on longer, the first week of the festival is the loudest and most exciting.
February is arguably the best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City. Humidity and rainfall are at their lowest levels for the year, while temperatures haven’t yet reached their hottest. The average high temperature in February is 91 degrees F, but humidity hovers around 70 percent—relatively low for Ho Chi Minh City.
Events to check out: Depending on the Vietnamese lunisolar calendar, Tet is often observed in February.
Although March certainly is hot (average high temperatures are in the mid 90s F), only occasional afternoon showers pop up here and there. By time March is over, people are ready for some rain in April to freshen up the dusty, polluted air.
April is a “shoulder” month at the end of dry season when fewer visitors are competing for hotel rooms. If you can deal with the hottest temperatures of the year (highs can reach 100 degrees F) and sporadic rain showers, you’ll have more room when walking along Pham Ngu Lao.
Events to check out:
- Although tourists will hardly notice, Book Day is celebrated on April 21. Bookstores hold special events, contests, and displays in parks. Check out Durong Nguyen Van Binh, “Book Street,” during this time.
- Reunification Day on April 30 is celebrated as the day that North and South Vietnam were reunited in 1975 following the fall of Saigon. Public performances, flag waving, and parades take place throughout Vietnam.
As the shoulder month of April winds down, monsoon season becomes “serious” in May. More than half the days in May are typically rainy; although, you’ll still see plenty of sunshine. Temperatures dip slightly, but humidity raises significantly as wet streets sizzle in afternoon heat.
Events to check out: Immediately following Reunification Day, Vietnam celebrates May 1 as International Labor Day with fireworks and demonstrations. The consecutive holidays prompt many locals to travel domestically and enjoy time away from work. Prices for hotels and flights increase.
The rain in June is intense, and some flooding is common. High temperatures stay stubbornly around 90 degrees F while humidity keeps building.
With the heavy rain and standing water, the mosquito population booms. Protect yourself, especially when going out in evenings.
Events to check out: The Southern Fruit Festival usually begins in June to celebrate, you guessed it, fruit! Check out Suoi Tien Park in District 9 for colorful displays and plenty of juicy samples.
Rain remains heavy in July; around 23 days will have precipitation. Torrential downpours pop up quickly—even when the sun is shining! Be prepared with a way to waterproof your valuables if caught away from the hotel.
August averages 11 inches of rain spread over 22 days. Daily temperatures range from 76 – 89 degrees F. Rainy season doesn’t mean that life comes to a standstill! There are still many hours of sunshine, and you can duck inside some of Ho Chi Minh City’s many museums and monuments when the rain returns.
Events to check out: The Hungry Ghosts Festival (Tết Trung Nguyên) is a tradition observed in late August or early September. Temples and street shrines stay busy with patrons burning joss incense and fake money to appease the spirits.
Ho Chi Minh City is especially prone to flooding because of its location at the confluence of the Saigon and Dong Nai rivers. With an average of 23 rainy days, September is frequently the wettest month. Heavy rain causes the mighty rivers to escape their banks.
Events to check out: National Day on September 2 is a public holiday in Vietnam. Some businesses may be closed, and you’ll see celebrations in public parks.
October is frequently the worst month for typhoons in Vietnam. Pay attention to severe weather systems in the region, and know what to do if a typhoon is approaching. Even when these massive storms don’t make landfall in Vietnam, their tentacles lash out with heavy rain that can disrupt itineraries.
Events to check out: Vietnam celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival (Mooncake Festival) every September or October. Be on the lookout for the dense-but-delicious mooncakes for sale. The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month per the lunar calendar.
More than half the days in November are dry as monsoon season slowly gives way to increasing sunshine. November is considered a shoulder month between seasons. With some luck, you can enjoy ample sunshine and hotel upgrades before tourist arrivals surge in December!
The occasional rain showers in December don’t last long. With a mean temperature of around 79 degrees F, December is exceptionally pleasant and marks the start of dry season. Ho Chi Minh City is the best place to spend Christmas in Vietnam, both for meteorological and cultural reasons.
Events to check out:
- Quite a few of the Western expats living in Ho Chi Minh City observe Christmas. Shopping malls and some restaurant give a secular nod to Christmas with decorations, music, and specials.
- Gregorian New Year’s Eve on December 31 is celebrated with a surprising amount of noise and gusto. Enjoy the parties, nightlife, and city fireworks at midnight. Hotel bars and rooftop bars hold special events that night.