Vietnam being a tropical country, can be very exhausting for tourists in the hot months. The winters, however, are warm and pleasant. Vietnam in January has excellent weather, especially in the southern regions, and saves you from the otherwise common humidity. The best places you can visit in January are the southern cities and beach resorts, and you can enjoy them to the fullest. January is also a great time to visit Vietnam if you want to witness their most important cultural event - Tet. If you are looking to ring in the New Year in a different country, you cannot omit Vietnam from your list!
Weather in Vietnam in January
January is a great time to visit Vietnam. You can expect warm sunshine and clear blue skies as Vietnam is in its prime dry season during January. The whole of Vietnam, however, does not have great weather in January.
While the southern and coastal parts of Vietnam have great warm and balmy weather ranging between 20° C and 30° C, the central part of Vietnam is relatively cooler. The northern part is slightly colder with temperatures below 16° C, whereas Sapa, Mau Son, may even experience snow. If you focus on travelling to central and southern Vietnam, you should get light clothing and swimwear. The northern parts can have foggy weather, and you might want to bring warm clothing and raingear as well.
Visiting Halong Bay is not a great idea in January since it has very hazy and foggy weather, and you will not be able to click pictures. In general, January is excellent as you can escape from the humidity Vietnam is known for.
Best Places to visit in Vietnam in January
Hanoi is rightly called the cultural capital of Vietnam. In January, Hanoi has cool weather and you can wear some warm clothing, hop on to a bicycle and explore what this city has to offer. A must-visit attraction is the centre of ancient Hanoi, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long which is also a UNESCO world heritage site. Hanoi also has beautiful lakes such as the Ho Tay and Hoan Kiem. The best part of being in Hanoi in January is experiencing the beauty of the Tet festival when the city comes alive with fireworks and celebrations. Shopping is a fun activity you can indulge in when in Hanoi. You can buy souvenirs, jewellery, clothing, accessories and much more. Do not forget to try out the street food here!
2. Nha Trang
Nha Trang is a beautiful port city which has moderately warm and dry weather in the winter months. This city has it all - from long stretches of picturesque white sand beaches and unique waterfalls to Buddist temples and gothic churches. Nha Trang has a thriving biodiversity of coral reefs and marine life. You can also savour on some of the best seafood in this city. If you are an adventurous person, do not forget to take part in kayaking and snorkelling in the clear beaches. If not, you can always relax with a mud bath.
3. Phu Quoc Island
Just like Nha Trang, Phu Quoc Island has pleasant, balmy and dry weather with warm sunshine and clear blue skies in January. The Phu Quoc island is situated in the Gulf of Thailand. If you are looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of the mundane city life, you have to visit this island. It has beautiful beaches and evergreen forests with luxurious resorts and bars having come up in the southern parts of the island recently. You can also enjoy great seafood when you’re here. This island is also home to the world’s longest cable car system and you would definitely not want to miss a ride on that!
4. Da Nang
Da Nang is situated in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and is most popular for its proximity to the My Khe Beach and Lang Co Beach. Both the beaches are beautiful but the latter is more developed with resorts and water sports such as yachting, diving and water-skiing. My Khe beach also has a sparkling lagoon which makes it worth a visit. Da Nang city itself also has various shopping and historical spots which are worth exploring.
Festivals to attend in Vietnam in January
1. Tet (Vietnamese New Year)
The Tet festival is the most important holiday in the Vietnamese culture. The new year falls on January 25 every year but the days leading up to the festival and the days after the festivals are also regarded as holidays. The celebrations last even longer.
It marks the beginning of the Lunar New Year and the spring season in North Vietnam. Homes and workplaces are decorated with kumquat trees and peach blossoms. It is not a great idea to be travelling during the Tet holiday as transportation is not easily available. Hanoi is the best place to be during the festival. The city comes alive with makeshift altars where people come and place their offerings and fireworks are lit on the New Year Day. To witness the Tet festival is definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
2. Da Lat Flower Festival
Da Lat is aptly called the ‘City of Spring’. It has a pleasantly mild climate all year round which makes it perfect for growing flowers. The flowers grown here are of various species and are exported to other countries as well.
The flower festival is organised once every two years from 2005. The main stage of the festival is on the Xuan Huong lake and Lam Vien Square. Professional and amateur artists come together to put up flower shows at the venue. The festival also includes flower exhibitions, trade fair, flower car march and farmers’ contest. This festival attracts both local and international tourists.
Events to attend in Vietnam in January
Vietnam’s largest music festival Epizode happens for 12 days from late December and spills over to the first week of January. This is a great opportunity for you to ring in the new year. This music festival sees artists flying in from all over the world. World renowned DJs also arrive for the festival. Epizode features music from various genres like electronic, rave, techno, rock, etc. Other popular bars and pubs also have their own New Year countdown parties and have an assortment of delicious food and drink.