Ha Long Bay is widely known as a World Heritage Site and a must-come beauty spot in Vietnam. A trip to Halong bay is an interesting combination of sightseeing marvelous scenery, tasting delicious foods, exploring mystery caves, visiting peaceful floating fishing villages and sailing through the bay by kayaks. However, the trip might not live up to your expectations because of bad weather conditions. Thus, before traveling, you should know when the best time of the year to visit Ha Long bay is.
To tell the truth, Ha Long Bay is worth visiting the whole year round for its own hidden beauty in every single season. There are four distinctive seasons in Ha Long: the wet and hot summer, the cool autumn, the cold and dry winter, and the warm spring. The average temperature of Ha Long is around 15oC -25oC.
The seasons tend to fall with the following months:
Hot and moist summer (May to August)
In the summer, the average temperature is 34.9oC, while the maximum temperature recorded is 38oC. From June, the hot and dry Southwest monsoon starts blowing over the city. Nevertheless, the heat may be significantly reduced thanks to the cool breeze which seems to exist in areas near the sea. Summer, which brings clear views of the stunning islands and pleasant swimming temperatures, is an ideal time for cruising. At this time, the sun shines from very early morning until as late as 7 p.m in Halong, which makes you feel the daytime is longer than the nighttime. Summer also gives you a perfect chance to have sun-tanned skin. However, we have a small note for those who would like to spend time on a sundeck or sunbathe on the beach: do not sunbathe at noon. Too much sun exposure can probably cause heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or sunburn.
There may have some showers during the end of June and July, but they are not heavy enough to ruin your cruise. Swimming is one of the most interesting activities in hot weather, but before going swimming, you should consult with a tour guide or a crew member because a few jellyfish in the ocean may cause several popular symptoms, such as hives, rashes, allergies, etc. Be aware of jellyfish! Finally, when it turns into August, if you decided to sail through Ha Long Bay, please be prepared for some predictable storms.
Cool Autumn (September and October)
Summer ends with the transformation of weather. The average temperature is lower than 27oC, so you can enjoy the cool and pleasant atmosphere during this time. If you travel to Ha Long Bay from August to September, there may be infrequent typhoons, which may render cancellation or delay of your trip. Most of the time, storms and typhoons are small, and they last in a very short time and thus considered to be harmless.In case of a big storm, be sure to contact your agent for alternative solutions, such as staying a night or two in a hotel on the mainland and continuing the cruise the next day under sunshine; or alternatively, visiting another destination in the North of Vietnam and come back to Ha Long Bay later. These storms will not last longer than 2-3 days.
From October onwards, it is the ideal time for tourists to take a cruise on the bay. The wonderful weather will enable you to enjoy all activities offered on board while making sightseeing as perfect as it could be. You can immerse yourself in a graceful Ha Long Bay with a tranquil beauty of emerald water, unspoiled beaches, majestic limestone, etc. The seawater is cooler than it is in the summer, but it still allows you to swim in. Another tip for you: don’t forget to bring a cardigan, a thin sweater or a big scarf. They will keep you warm during the cool weather of an autumn cruise.
Autumn is a perfect season for couples or small families to have private life-time experiences together while sailing through Ha Long Bay. Imagine a romantic dinner in the cave with sparkling candles, or a steamy BBQ lunch on the coastline of a gorgeous natural complex of the world – it’s all about the experience.
Cold and dry Winter (November to February)
Lying in the tropical zone and consisting mainly of water, Ha Long Bay enjoys a dry and cold winter. The winter officially arrives at Ha Long Bay in November and gets colder and colder in January and February. It is possible to take a boat cruise in Ha Long Bay in winter, but it may be considerably colder compared to spring and autumn months. The highest temperature reaches to only 20oC, while the temperature can drop to about 8oC.The sea temperature continues to lower to 23oC.There are only 5 hours of sunshine during the 11 hours of daylight in December.
Ha Long possesses a mystery beauty in the winter. Although swimming is not ideal, there are a lot of exciting activities in this season. Waking up after a winter night on a boat, you might be amazedat the foggy magnificent scenery. Some may like the fog as it adds mystique to the area, whereas others may find this distracting as they wish to see more of the islands. Sometimes, it is too cold to sit outside, so you can stay in the cabins and enjoy reading books, listening to music and having dinner inside the boat. The cabins, which are well equipped with heating systems, are very comfortable for those kinds of activities.
Warm Spring (March and April)
Winter extends from November through February and sometimes as late as to the middle of March. Spring lasts from the middle of March through June, which is referred to as a shoulder season. Temperatures during the spring season range from 19oC to 31oC. The months of March, April and May welcome blossoms and new greenery along the various cliffs. The bay becomes more inviting in April and remains attractive to tourists till the summer. There is still the possibility of rainy and foggy conditions during the spring months, but the fog is not as thick as it is in the winter. March is considered as an ideal time of year for a trip to Ha Long Bay.
The weather in Ha Long Bay between March and April is warmer than it is in winter, and the amount of rain is lower compared to summer months. Spring is the time of flowers blooming and swallows flying over the bay. Although tourists can visit Ha Long Bay all year round, spring is the best time for traveling as the weather conditions are absolutely perfect for all sorts of activities, especially cruising. In the spring, the sun shines constantly all day, and the water is gentle and calm. With this kind of weather, tourist can truly experience the best of Ha Long as they are cruising slowly around and staring at the breathtaking scenery which contains thousands of limestone karsts and islets in various sizes and shapes.
When the best time to visit Ha Long Bay is really depends on your own definition of a perfect trip. If you are most concerned about weather, then the periods of October – November and of March – May are ideal for your trip to Ha Long Bay.If, however, you are budget-minded travelers, then schedule your trip between May and September accordingly. This is often considered as the low season, and many cruise ships usually offer massive sale off on cabins.