Traveling to Halong Bay will be more hassle-free if you have knowledge of the perfect time to go on a vacation. For better understanding, our complete guide will help you bear in mind when the best time to visit Halong Bay is. Let’s get the hands-on experience to enjoy your trip to the fullest.
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When it comes to a good time to visit a destination, everyone will concern about the weather, expenditure, and special events during that time. Similarly, Halong Bay tourists better learn about climate conditions, hot deal tours, and festival seasons before choosing the best time to travel. However, you must know exactly what you expect for a perfect Halong trip to decide on the specific time to visit.
It goes without saying that Ha Long Bay is worth visiting the whole year-round for its different beauty every single time. However, there’re some specific months attracting more visitors than the others and making the best time of year to visit Halong Bay. If you are attentive to Halong Bay weather, make up your mind to schedule your visit during the months of September – October, and March – April, when the climate creates favourable conditions to go sightseeing and join various activities in the bay. For budget travellers, May-August - low season, is the best time to hunt for huge discounts and promotion codes on Halong tours and cruise deals.
So, what makes the best time, and what draws tourists’ attention to this stunning world’s heritage site? Let’s go for more details to figure out when to visit Halong Bay and what to do if your tour is cancelled due to the bad weather.
For most tourists, the weather condition is a major concern that affects directly their vacation and the most important factor to choose the best time to go. Located in northern Vietnam, Halong Bay weather features the tropical monsoon climate which is divided into four seasons: the warm spring, the hot summer, the cool autumn, and the cold winter.
The average annual temperature is 25°C, and the temperature fluctuates from 13°C to 38°C throughout the year. June is the hottest month of the year, while January is the coldest one. The annual amount of precipitation is approximately 1,395 mm. The largest rainfall happens between June and August – the wettest month. The difference between the highest precipitation and the lowest precipitation in December is 225 mm.
A rough guide to the best time you should travel to Halong Bay
Considering the best month to visit Halong Bay, March – April (spring) and September – October (autumn) experience the most delightful weather conditions. During these months, the pleasant temperature and low rainfall create favourable conditions to join a handful of water-based activities like kayaking, BBQ lunch, cruising, etc.
To get deeper insight, check our Overall Guide to Deal with Halong Bay Weather
For budget travelers, it is advisable to get the best Halong Bay Cruise deals in the late summer (June - August). During the offseason, many cruise ships offer great discounts and combo packages that you can save as much as 40% OFF compared with the price of the high season. In most cases, you should keep in mind that the low cost goes hand in hand with the high risk of cruise cancellation and delay due to unpredictable heavy storms. Nevertheless, bad weather happens occasionally and doesn’t last longer than four days.
Now, you may wonder what to expect for the low season in Ha Long Bay. Fortunately, summer is an ideal time to get tanned and immerse in turquoise water under the crystal clear sky. Once again, you can definitely plan a trip around the months from June to August, which is the best time to get a hot deal. To avoid unexpected weather conditions, smart travelers better look for last-minute cruise deals while keeping an eye on weather forecast at the same time.
May to August is the best time to hunt for sale-off Halong cruise deals
Needless to say, the other months from October to next April must be the peak season in Ha Long Bay. Despite not being a perfect time to hunt for the best cruise deals, the peak season is still a favorable time to enjoy the best weather.
On spring days, temperatures range from 18°C to 30°C, with an average of around 24°C in couple with little sunshine. You can see frequent drizzles in February and an increase in humidity level during March. There is the possibility of foggy conditions during the spring months, but the fog is not as thick as in the winter. Taking everything into account, the Halong spring is quite pleasant, which marks the new beginnings of flowers blooming and swallows flying over the bay.
Spring is the best time to have cave dinner in Halong Bay
Spring is considered the best season to visit Halong Bay as tourists can truly experience cruising slowly around the freshly breathtaking scenery. When the sun shines constantly all day and the water is gentle and calm, it’s a perfect time for outdoor activities such as swimming, kayaking, and steamy BBQ cave dining in the daytime. At night, you should spend time catching squid with the fishermen as spring is Halong’s squid season. In late spring, the bay becomes more appealing and remains attractive to tourists till the summer, especially April is among the best months to visit Halong.
In summer, temperatures are averagely the mid-30s, while the maximum temperature recorded is 38°C. During Halong summertime, the sun shines from very early morning until as late as 7:00 pm, making the daytime longer than the nighttime. Also called the storm season, summer features the hottest and wettest month in August when thunderstorms and typhoons occur more frequently with an estimation of 18 – 20 rainy days and precipitation of 1,000mm per month.
Summer is the best time to join water-based activities in Ha Long Bay
Summer brings clear views of the stunning islands and emerald water, which make a perfect time to travel by seaplane. Also, tourists will have great chances to take part in amusing activities like swimming, kayaking, sightseeing, sunbathing, fishing, and cycling. However, you’d better avoid the noontime because too much sun exposure can probably cause heat exhaustion, heatstroke, or sunburn.
Notes: If you visit Ha Long from July to September, there are higher chances of typhoons, which may result in the cancellation or delay of your cruise tour. Most of all, storms and typhoons last in a very short time for about 2 or 3 days and thus considered to be harmless. In case of a big storm, be sure to contact your agent for alternative solutions. All things considered, summer is such a desirable time to travel to Halong Bay at a low cost, if you check the weather forecast carefully.
When summer ends with the transitional weather, Halong Bay autumn comes with an average temperature lower than 27°C. During this time, you can expect the breeze and chilly weather. The humidity falls significantly, combined with the dramatic fall in precipitation. It is expected less sunshine than in summer and more clouds till the end of December. For the most part, October is the best month to visit Halong Bay and from October onwards is the best season to travel on a cruise. The wonderful weather will enable you to enjoy all activities offered on-board while making sightseeing as perfect as it could be.
Notes: The nice weather makes autumn the peak season. Consequently, Ha Long Bay becomes more bustling and expensive than other times of the year. To avoid the crowds, you should visit less-touristy destinations like Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay.
Autumn is the perfect time to take a Halong Bay Cruise
Halong winter features the dry and cold weather when thick fog possesses a mysterious beauty. The winter officially comes in November and gets colder and colder in January. The highest temperature reaches only 20°C, while the temperature can drop to about 8°C. There is expected some fog in the morning, adequate sunlight at noon and some drizzle in the afternoon.
Halong Bay is covered by fog in winter
During wintertime, Halong Bay welcomes fewer tourists than autumn and you can admire a distinctive look of the bay partly covered by fog. Although swimming is not suitable, there are a lot of other activities to do, including kayaking, visiting local fishing villages, or taking overnight Halong Bay cruise, the most comfortable experience in winter. Additionally, Ha Long Bay is crowded with foreign tourists during the season break of Christmas and New Year Holiday as well as the Vietnamese Tet Holiday. It is hard the find a good deal tour and sometimes easier to get surcharged on special occasions. If you are eager to learn about different cultures, winter should be the best time to travel.
Carnaval Ha Long Festival has become the rendezvous destination of vacation and art lovers. Held at the end of April and early May every year, this festival is an occasion to mark the start of vibrant summer and commemorate those who have lost their lives for the peace of future generations.
The street parade with different themes and messages each year is the most impressive and iconic part of the Carnaval Ha Long Festival. The festival offers the most exciting time of year to travel as well as to enjoy Vietnamese traditional art performances, thematic exhibitions, and art shows.
Carnaval Ha Long Festival
Yen Tu Festival is one of the most sacred and energetic magical attractions in Quang Ninh Province. Every year, Yen Tu Festival begins on January 9th and lasts for 3 months of spring in the Yen Tu Mountain area. The festival is to honor the merit of Lord Tran Nhan Tong, the 3rd King of the Tran dynasty, and the founder of Truc Lam Zen monastery.
It is a perfect time to join various activities of the Yen Tu Festival await tourists to discover. Travelers usually take a pagoda trip from Giai Oan Pagoda – the place to unjustly assert the frequency and beauty for King Tran Nhan Tong’s sake, Dong Pagoda, Hoa Yen Pagoda, and Truc Lam Yen Tu Monastery.
Tra Co Festival is annually taken place at Tra Co Communal House, one of the typical cultural, artistic, and architectural relics of Mong Cai City. There’re two sections including the ritual ceremonies and the festival, which comprise cultural performances, calligraphy writing along with some fun games such as tug of war, stilts, and volleyball. Especially, the unique feature of the festival is the "Mr. Elephant" contest.
From the 30th day of the fifth lunar month to the 6th day of the sixth lunar month (late June or early July), Tra Co Temple Festival gives tourists a great time to enjoy exciting festive and ritual ceremonies in Halong. Moreover, tourists will be inspired by the nostalgic atmosphere of the historic sites.
Tra Co Temple Festival
From the 2nd day of the first lunar month to the 30th day of the third lunar month (early February to April), Cua Ong Festival is the only one to fully worship Tran Hung Dao’s family and his courtiers at Cua Ong Temple. The festival has a sacred reputation that tourists usually come to pray for some luck and health as well as to pay some tribute to the heroic General of Vietnam.
During the festival, the spectacular ceremonies consist of the procession of Tran Quoc Tang and incense offering to commemorate the mighty General. After ceremonies, many folk arts, sports, and amusing activities are taken place such as dragon dance, flagging, blindfolding, and drumming or tug of war. If you visit Halong during the second month of the Vietnamese lunar calendar, don’t forget to join the excitement of the Cua Ong Festival.
During Vietnamese public holidays, Ha Long is crowded with a great number of domestic travelers. If you seek a less crowded time to go, you should better avoid the following timeline when Vietnamese tourists frequently take a short vacation for a couple of days.
Choose the best festival season to go to Ha Long
To sum up:
Best time to visit Halong Bay for great weather
March, April, September, October, November
Perfect time to get the best deals
June, July, August
Best season to travel to Halong
Spring (February - April), Autumn (September - October)
The best month to visit Halong Bay
Best time to go by events & festivals
Late January, February, March, April, May
The bad weather conditions include heavy storms, typhoons, and thick fog, which make it unfavourable trip. Consequently, the management board of Ha Long, the state agency taking up all operations, often makes a decision to cancel or shorten the cruise/tour itinerary to ensure the passengers’ safety. As a rule, all cruise operators and travel companies have to follow the final decision of cruise/tour cancellation by the management board. In most cases, passengers can get a refund for cancellation or alternative choices plan if the cruise tour is put off.
As a passenger, you should check the updates and keep in touch with travel agents to be informed of any cancellation or a back-up plan. Please check the cancellation policy in advance. If you haven’t embarked yet, it is suggested to wait for the next cruise trip in calmer weather or visit the other destinations in northern Vietnam and save Halong for the last. If you are on a cruise trip, you should follow the arrangements of the cruise operator.
For more details: What should you do if Halong Bay Cruise is canceled?
Ninh Binh, the Halong Bay on land, is a back-up plan for cruise cancellation
All in all, every time of the year is perfect for a Halong bay tour, but the best time to visit Halong depends on what you prefer: beautiful weather or hot cruise deals, water-based or other outdoor activities, exciting festivals, or fewer crowds. Nevertheless, your trip is also affected by unpredictable bad weather that leads to the cancellation or delay of the cruise/tour. Hope this essential guide will help you to choose when you should travel.
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Images source: Internet