Weather in Vietnam in MarchMarch is the goldilocks month in Vietnam. Perfectly warm weather with crystal blue skies and plenty of sunshine. The weather is still approaching the hot summer and is hence not very humid. The mild and dry weather makes it an amazing time to indulge in all activities and destinations Vietnam has to offer. Southern Vietnam has the perfect beach weather, and central and Northern Vietnam has a warm, cosy weather that allows you to take part in trekking and visiting the cities.
The temperature in Southern Vietnam is around 29° C and is slightly cooler as you traverse upwards. You have to pack lots of light clothing and a few jackets for the cool evenings. The spring weather attracts a lot of tourists from all over. You can also make use of the weather to explore one of the coffee estates in Vietnam.
Best places to visit in Vietnam in March
1. Phong Nha caves
This is a UNESCO World heritage site for nothing because it is the biggest cave in the world, so big that a whole jungle grows inside of it. The cave’s name meaning ‘Wind and Teeth’ is inspired from the stalagmites which guarded the entrance of this mighty cave. It also has an underground river, a lake and water grottos. The view is so spectacular that it would leave one in awe of the marvel that is nature! The caves and the Phong Nha - Ke Bang National park are warm and apt to explore in the month of March.
Only one tour company Oxalis offers a four day getaway to explore this cave, they also have smaller trekking sessions to smaller caves in the same area. Their Son Doong expedition costs VND 69,800,000 per person.
2. Con Dao Islands
Con Dao Island is very similar to Phu Quoc Island minus the crowd of tourists. Con Dao Island hence ensures a peaceful and a private experience. This place is well known for its pristine beaches, natural beauty and luxury resorts. You can indulge in scuba diving and snorkelling and admire the fascinating coral reefs, relax on the Dam Trau beach or go trekking on the Con Dao National Park.
The Can Do prisons are located on the Can Dao archipelago and were built by the French in 1861. It was primarily built to imprison people who committed serious crimes and were considered dangerous by the French colonial government. The prison complex is now a popular tourist site and mannequins have been placed to replicate the brutality experienced by the prisoners.
You can thus enjoy the beach, trekking activities, water sports and get a history lesson all enjoying the perfect in March when you visit the Con Dao Islands.
3. Buon Ma Thuot
This is one of the lesser known destinations in Vietnam but is still an amazing place to be in. Not a lot of tourists travel to Buon Ma Thuot and it may not have a lot of attractions in itself. It is mostly used as a base for outdoor activities and excursions. However, it has quite a few breathtaking attractions such as the Gia Long, Dray Sap and Dray Nur waterfalls. The Yok Don National Park has some of the rarest exotic and endangered species. The Lak Lake is also another beautiful attraction. The Ban Don village nearby can be visited to learn about tribal art and architecture. You can also visit the coffee estates near the area, especially the Trung Nyugen Coffee Village to learn about the civet coffee and savour the delicious coffee with a hint of chocolate which is produced here.
4. Bai Tu Long Bay
Halong bay is very popular whereas the Bai Tu Long Bay is rarely heard of and that is what makes an excellent location to holiday in. The very few numbers of tourists visiting has kept in its untouched pristine glory. The waters are still and a beautiful emerald green. The lime karsts stand tall and there are very few boats cruising along. Visiting this bay in the month of March means there is no fog and hence great for photography. However, since it has a protected status, the boats cannot be anchored overnight and the density of islands is slightly less.
Festivities in Vietnam in March
1. Elephant Racing Festival
Held in Ban Don, the village famous for tribes who tame wild elephants, this annual festival happens in the third lunar month. In the run-up to the festival, elephants are allowed to rest and given an assortment of food like papayas, sweet potatoes, sugar cane and bananas.
On the day of the festival, the people arrive in their most colourful clothes and elephants from the nearby villages are brought to participate in various competitions. The running race which is the most important sees elephants racing for about a distance of 2-3 kilometres and the winner is given a laurel wreath. The elephants also take part in swimming races, football and tug of war. At the end of the day, the people rejoice by feasting, drinking wine and dancing to some local folk music.
2. Phu Giay Festival
The Phu Giay Festival is celebrated in the Kim Thai village on the first ten days of the 3rd lunar month to commemorate the Mother Saint Lieu Hanh of a popular Vietnamese cult. A procession is carried out on the 5th day of the 10 day festival.
The people believe that this festival brings good fortune. A lot of shamanistic practices are carried out which attracts superstitious people. A fair is also organized where local products are put up for sale. Devotees wear traditional clothing and offer embellished bamboo relics to the temple of the goddess. Games like lion dances, human chess, capture-the-flag and wrestling are played during the auspicious festival. People celebrate by singing folk songs, dancing and taking part in musical theatre.
3. Thay Pagoda Festival
The Thay Pagoda festival is celebrated from the 3rd day to the 7th day of the third lunar month. It is a very religious festival in honour of Buddha and the Thay Pagoda built by King Ly Nanh Tong.
The festival begins with the Buddha bathing ceremony. The statue of Buddha is cleaned by monks and nuns amidst the fragrance of incense and chants glorifying the deity. The bathing water is then sprinkled on the people and things to bring good fortune. This is followed by the prayer ceremony. Monks wear frocks and hold flower incense sticks in their hands and perform a ritual circular dance. Offerings are made by the devotees at the altar. Apart from these rituals, the people attending the festival take part in grinding and pounding rice, lion and dragon dancing, water puppetry and bull fighting scenes. This festival surely puts up a lively spectacle for someone outside of this culture.