Located in Vietnam’s tropical lower half, Ho Chi Minh City enjoys a warm, wet climate that cycles between two seasons, with very little temperature variance in between. Unlike temperate Hanoi in the north, Ho Chi Minh City’s tropical temperatures allow tourists to visit at any time of the year without bundling up.
Humidity and rainfall swing between extremes from dry to rainy seasons; annual precipitation in the area is a wet 76 inches, with 90 percent falling during the rainy season.
Temperatures during the dry season from November to April average at about 82 F (28 C), soaring as high as 95 F (35 C). In December (the coolest month on average), temperatures drop only as low as 72 F (22 C).
Fast Climate Facts
- Hottest Month: April ( 85 F / 29 C)
- Coldest Month: December (79 F / 26 C)
- Wettest Month: September (12.88 inches)
- Sunniest Month: March (272 mean monthly sunshine hours)
Flooding in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is one of Vietnam’s most flood-prone localities, owing to its low-lying location and the Dong Nai and Saigon rivers flowing through it.
Forty-five percent of the city’s territory lies barely a meter above sea level; the waterways discharge a maximum of 10,000 cubic meters (2.64 million gallons) per second during the rainy season. So it’s no surprise that when the rainy season hits—bringing with it heavy rains and increased river volume—many areas in the city flood over.
The flooding has been brought partly under control, thanks to an ongoing $1.12 billion project to upgrade the drainage and control the known flood hotspots in the city. City authorities claim to have reduced the number of flooding hotspots from 126 to 22, but more work yet needs to be done.
Consider the floods if you’re visiting during Ho Chi Minh City’s monsoon season from May to October; while prices may be driven down by the constant rains, you may yet pay a premium in terms of flights canceled, impassable roads, and closed attractions.
Relevant Natural Phenomena
Beyond the risk of floods, a few other natural phenomena in Ho Chi Minh City should be considered by travelers heading there, particularly during the rainy season.
Ho Chi Minh City’s location along Vietnam’s coast puts in in the middle of the regional typhoon belt, where tropical storms regularly emerge from the Pacific Ocean to attack the city like Godzilla bent on revenge.
Typhoon season in Ho Chi Minh City runs between June and November. Locals are rightly worried about typhoons; the worst in recent memory, Typhoon Linda, killed over 3,000 people in Vietnam and wrought $385 million in damage.
Watch the Joint Typhoon Warning Center page for updates on tropical storms heading your way. We’ve also prepared some tips on traveling during typhoon season, for your reference in case you visit in the stormy months.
Ho Chi Minh City has seen a recent rise in dengue fever cases, with a 176% increase in cases (and five fatalities) recorded in 2019. The spike coincided with the advent of the rainy season: the light rains and warm weather create the perfect conditions for mosquito breeding in the city.
Anti-mosquito precautions should be taken by travelers who fear catching dengue on their Saigon trip. DEET lotion remains the most effective solution against mosquito bites; reapply every three hours on exposed skin to prevent yourself from becoming a tasty mosquito snack.
Dry Season in Ho Chi Minh City
The months between late November and late April are perhaps the best times to visit Ho Chi Minh City, as the monsoon season’s rains begin to dry up and humidity starts to drop as well. The “winter” months of December and January are the coolest months of the calendar, as temperatures drop to the 71-87 F (22-31 C) range.
The months of March and April are the sunniest and hottest in the year, peaking at an average high temperature of 94 F (34 C) in the latter month. The built-up areas of Ho Chi Minh City also experience an unpleasant heat island effect that raises temperatures in the city center some 3 to 5 degrees higher compared to the city’s suburbs; the coolest areas in the city can be found around the Saigon River.
The driest month of the year takes place in February, as only 0.2 inches of rainfall reach the ground.
What to pack: The smart traveler to Ho Chi Minh City packs against the sun; the dry months in the city coincide with both the lowest and highest levels of ultraviolet exposure per year.
Even the year’s “low” can be risky for a pale-skinned tourist: with a UV index of 10 in November to 12 in April (from Very High to Extreme), the city enjoys copious amounts of sunlight in the dry months, bringing with it the risk of sunburn and heatstroke.
Protect yourself against UV exposure by bringing a light, breathable hat, or slathering on some sunscreen. Bring moisture-wicking clothes that can help your sweat evaporate easier, and comfortable footwear (closed-toe shoes with springy soles ideally) if you’re staying in the city.
Average Temperatures by Month
- November: 88 F / 73 F (31 C / 23 C)
- December: 87 F / 70 F (31 C / 21 C)
- January: 89 F / 70 F (32 C / 21 C)
- February: 91 F / 72 F (33 C / 22 C)
- March: 93 F / 76 F (34 C / 24 C)
- April: 94 F / 78 F (35 C / 26 C)
Rainy Season in Ho Chi Minh City
“When it rains, it pours” is particularly true of Ho Chi Minh City, whose rainy season from May to mid-November brings humidity and rainfall to their yearly heights, along with the increased chances of flooding.
The rainy season slides in just as the mercury hits the top of the thermometer—April’s average temperature of 85 F segues to a slightly rain-cooled 84 F when May’s showers kick in.
Ninety percent of the city’s annual rainfall slams down during the rainy season. September is the wettest month of the year, with 23 days of rainfall and the rain gauge recording 12.9 inches in that month. This month is also the most humid, peaking at 85 percent in September. Even though showers only last a few hours in the rainy season, the stifling humidity makes an ordeal out of a simple outdoor walk.
For more information, read our article about traveling in Southeast Asia’s monsoon season.
What to pack: Pack against the rains, by preparing this monsoon season packing list. The list includes easy-dry clothes that allow moisture to evaporate effortlessly, whether that moisture is sweat or rain; rain gear like an umbrella, waterproof shoes, and a light jacket (don’t bring a heavy raincoat, it’ll just feel uncomfortable in the humidity); polyethylene bags and silica gel to keep your electronics dry; and DEET to ward off mosquitoes.
Average Temperatures by Month
- May: 93 F / 77 F (34 C / 25 C)
- June: 90 F / 76 F (32 C / 25 C)
- July: 90 F / 76 F (32 C / 24 C)
- August: 89 F / 76 F (32 C / 24 C)
- September: 88 F / 76 F (31 C / 24 C)
- October: 88 F / 75 F (31 C / 24 C)
Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours in Ho Chi Minh City
|Avg. Temp.||Rainfall||Daylight Hours|
|January||79 F / 26 C||0.54 in||11.6 hours|
|February||80 F / 27 C||0.16 in||11.8 hours|
|March||82 F / 28 C||0.41 in||12.1 hours|
|April||85 F / 29 C||1.98 in||12.4 hours|
|May||84 F / 29 C||8.60 in||12.6 hours|
|June||82 F / 28 C||12.27 in||12.8 hours|
|July||81 F / 27 C||11.56 in||12.7 hours|
|August||81 F / 27 C||10.62 in||12.5 hours|
|September||81 F / 27 C||12.88 in||12.2 hours|
|October||81 F / 27 C||10.50 in||11.9 hours|
|November||80 F / 27 C||4.59 in||11.6 hours|
|December||79 F / 26 C||1.90 in||11.5 hours|
Asian Development Bank. "Ho Chi Minh City Adaptation to Climate Change - Volume 2: Main Study Report." April 25, 2009.
VNEXpress. "HCMC reduces flooding hotspots to 22." June 11, 2020.
Asian Disaster Reduction Center. "Information on Disaster Risk Reduction of the Member Countries - Vietnam." 2017.
Annual Journal of Civil Engineering in the Ocean. "Storm Surge and High Waves Due to 1997 Typhoon Linda: Uninvestigated Worst Storm Event in Southern Vietnam." 2019.
VNExpress. "Saigon becomes dengue fever hotspot." July 5, 2019.
VietnamNet. "The HCM City 'Heat Island'." August 15, 2019.
World Health Organization. "Global Solar UV Index: A Practical Guide." 2002.