Vietnam in September is a blend of autumn and monsoon. During this time it is neither too hot nor too cold. It is one of the peak times to visit North Vietnam and the Central Highlands for hiking and other recreational activities. Although Central Vietnam and some parts of Southern Vietnam are affected by monsoon and typhoons there are a few destinations in the south where tourists do flock to during their vacation to the country.
Weather in Vietnam in September
September marks an end to the scorching heat and welcomes autumn in Vietnam. In September this South-Eastern Peninsula is moderately affected by Southeast Monsoon leading to wet weather in Central Vietnam and slightly lesser downpours in South Vietnam and North Vietnam making highlands worth visiting. The average temperature of Vietnam remains around 24°C this autumn month and average humidity level is 94%.Northern Mountain Region - Sapa, Ha Giang, Bac Ha, Mu Cang Chai, Haiphong
September is monsoon month in the northern mountain region hence trekking is open once again in SaPa. September is a peak month to visit SaPa and areas around Mu Cang Chai. This is the month when golden rice crops sway under light showers of rain and are ready for harvesting. Sun appears equally hence the weather is not bad.North Vietnam - Hanoi, Halong Bay, Cuc Phuong, Mai Chau & Ninh Binh
By September, North Vietnam is at the end of the summer monsoon phase with an average temperature of 28°C. Outdoors have plenty of hot weather which tends to decrease by the end of the month. Hanoi and Halong Bay are great to explore under the soothing weather.Central Vietnam - Hoi An, Danang, Hue, Dalat, Quy Nhon & Nha Trang
After good sunshine beach time in August, Central Vietnam is set to experience a weather change in September. Hoi An, Hue and Nha Trang have 28°C average temperatures with moderate amounts of rainfalls. Stormy weather is possible towards the end of September. Dalat and Central Highlands are very wet making trekking and other outdoor activities unadvisable while Pha Nha Ke Bang may get floods. Central Vietnam is prone to typhoons in autumn.South Vietnam - Ho Chi Minh City, The Mekong Delta, Phu Quoc and Con Dao, Phan Thiet & Mui Ne, Ho Tram & Long Hai
During September, rains affect South Vietnam less than previous monsoon months, with an average temperature of 28°C. Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta are affected by daily afternoon showers but you can expect plenty of daylight hours for outdoor activities. September is also the month of Green Turtle's first hatchlings on Con Dao island.
Events and Festivals in Vietnam in September1. Vietnam National Day
Vietnam celebrates its one of the most significant holidays - Vietnam National Day on September 2. Back in 1945, Vietnam’s revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence on this day. The national day of Vietnam holds multiple contests, cultural events, boat races on Hoan Kiem Lake and extravagant fireworks at Ba Dinh Square. Natives decorate with the national flag on the top of houses, buildings, and in the streets, red and yellow colour sways with pride along with beautiful flower beds. A big parade, the charm of the day is held at Ba Dinh Square in front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which is then followed by a fireworks display.
Tourists must not skip the major cities, Hanoi and Saigon, to witness traditional dances, culture and cuisine of Vietnam. What’s a cool feature of Vietnam National Day? It’s “Di Bao” culture. You will witness families and youngsters roaming around streets at nights with flags in their hands. The moment is cheery and energetic to be part of. To enjoy the nighttime, hit Old Quarter and Ta Hien in Hanoi and Nguyen Hue Street in Saigon for lively bars, vibrant shops and delicious restaurants. Attend Music Festival and huge Food Festival in these major cities on this national holiday. As it is a national holiday, you will find traffic jams on roads and crowded markets and recreational sites. Plan the trip accordingly in major cities and beware of your belongings.2. Wandering Soul Day or Trang Nguyen
One of the major festivals of Vietnam is Wandering Soul Day or Trang Nguyen, celebrated on the 15th day of 7th lunar month. This cultural festival which is also known as Hungry Ghost Festival and Cold Food Festival (Tet Han Thuc) holds importance nationwide. Just like in many mythologies, Vietnam Mythology says that this is the day when the gate of hell is set to open and spirits wander on the land. The Vietnamese consider this day a negative time for new beginnings; they avoid marriages, major contracts, new projects. But prioritise forgiveness and charity.
The streets are adorned with lanterns and families prepare a big feast including floating rice cake and rice balls with mung bean paste. Families then offer sticky rice cakes, sugarcane, fruits, flowers to the graves of their deceased loved ones. What’s different about this festival is that people burn paper money and clothes. Travellers can enjoy this sombre festival best in Hue by visiting Buddhist temples.
Spectacular night view on the 14th night of every month in Hoi An, Vietnam is worth experiencing as the city celebrates the festival of lights. Lighting lanterns is considered to be good luck and fortune charm in Vietnam. Hoi An lantern festival is considered to be an incredible moment to follow the rituals of worshipping the deceased relatives. The festival not just brings closeness and happiness but is a wise method to save electricity.
Visitors and locals gather at An Hoi Bridge and on the banks of Hoai River as the sunset begins, to enjoy the luring food of Vietnam. The view is the best at the ancient town area of Hoi An where natives light paper lanterns around 9 pm and hang on streets, bars, shops. Families give each other presents like flowers, foods and fake money in the belief of future prosperity. The streets are sparkled with musicians, instrumentalists, poetry readings and mini craft classes for kids too. The traffic is prohibited in the area allowing a hassle-free movement. Not to worry if you are vegetarian as there are numerous vegetarian foods and mouth-watering snacks to grab.4. Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival)
Tet Trung Thu is the mid-autumn festival celebrated on the 15th day of 8th lunar month every year. This festival is mainly for children to engage in various cultural dances and arts, and is also known as the festival of harvesting crops. The history of celebrating the festival is related to Emperor Duong Minh Hoang’s visit to the moon via Dien Phap Thien’s magic. The Emperor enjoyed the heavenly atmosphere and performances by the fairies on the moon. After he came back on Earth, he decided to celebrate the 15th day of 8th lunar month under the moon and decorate houses and streets with lanterns.
Star-shaped and Carp-shaped lanterns, Vietnamese mooncakes, traditional dances, mini-contests for children and their cackles adorn the atmosphere of Vietnam. The major activities of the festival include worshipping the God of Earth (farmers and their families thank the God for a successful harvest), funny-mask making, glittering star-shaped lantern making and processions, traditional dragon and lion dances, family gathering and making offerings to their ancestors, enjoying mooncakes together. Travellers can visit Hoi An to have a spectacular view of the streets and around the Japanese Covered Bridge on full moon night to enjoy the lantern lighting.5. Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival
Do Son District in Haiphong celebrates one of the unique festivals of Vietnam ‘Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival’ on the 9th day of the 8th lunar month while its preparations start from 5th or 6th lunar month. This festival is associated with the Water Goddess and Tutelary God-worshipping, sacrificial ceremony towards Diem Tuoc God, Buffalo Sacrificing and showcasing bravery.
Each participating Buffalo (tagged as Sir Buffalo) represents the whole village. Buffalo owners train them for months for the fighting festival. The event starts with a traditional orchestra and colourful palanquin and the venue is decorated with flags. The winning Buffalo is sacrificed to Water Goddess which is believed as a sign of safe voyages, abundant crops, prosperity and good health. People believe eating the meat of the sacrificed buffalo brings them good luck. Do Son Buffalo Fighting can not be missed by foreign tourists when visiting Vietnam in September.6. Lam Kinh Festival
Vietnamese celebrate Lam Kinh Festival on the 22nd day of the 8th lunar month in Tho Xuan District. Lam Kinh has many mausoleums and tombs, out of which King Le Loi’s Temple holds utter importance. People follow incense offering rites and other rituals to pay homage to the national heroes in King Le Temple. The tourists can be a part of traditional folk games and dances, Ly Lien singing and can enjoy the performance of bronze drums. There are several home-made products to buy like bee’s honey, aloeswood, cinnamon, mushroom.
Places to Visit in Vietnam in September
Why visit in September? What are the things to take care of?
- September almost marks an end to beach time and reopens the opportunity for hiking and other recreational activities in North Vietnam, especially in Hanoi, Sapa and Mu Cang Chai. Later half of the month is suitable for Halong Bay as well. Overall, it is a picturesque month in rural areas of Vietnam.
- In Hanoi ‘milk flower’ blossoms and brims the streets with its unique scent. Tourists can plan to visit Hanoi on National Day of Vietnam to witness beautiful flower beds decorated on the streets along with colourful signboards.
- On a public holiday, natives hit the coastal cities leaving Hanoi and Saigon in a peaceful environment. This is the golden time to closely explore the culture and history of Vietnam.
- Although September attracts foreign tourists towards North Vietnam and some parts of South Vietnam yet Central Vietnam isn’t much crowded so you can expect low airfares and cheap prices of hotels and accommodations.
Where to Go?
Vietnam offers bonnie coastlines, historical architectural sites, exotic adventure activities, air-conditioned modern museums, flowering fields, mouth-watering foods and lively markets. Where one major place is known for its art, another is an attraction point for its nightlife, all-in-all Vietnam wisely preserves its culture. September is good-to-go time to North Vietnam, highlands while later September is suitable for South Vietnam especially the Mekong Delta. Below is the list of the cities, places from North Vietnam to South Vietnam to visit in September.
Located in the Northwest Mountain region of Vietnam, this beautiful town SaPa has various small villages. SaPa is warm with an average temperature of 21°C, autumn winds make the surroundings more beautiful in September. Travellers must visit ‘SaPa museum’ and ‘Cat Cat Village’ (one of the oldest villages of Sapa) to learn the history of people here and ‘Cloud Yard’ to compliment the beauty of clouds. SaPa gives an opportunity to hike Vietnam’s Highest Peak ‘Mt. Fansipan’ whose viewpoint is called Heaven's Gate. Not just this,visitors can do boating on SaPa Lake, have warm beverages and taste the local cuisine or delicious desserts in restaurants. You can buy handicrafts from SaPa Market or visit ‘Ta Phin Village’ to witness Communal Church Singing - a marriage tradition. 3 or 4-star hotels are available at cheap rates in June, book your stay and enjoy the beauty of hills.
- Other major attractions include Fairy Cave, Silver Waterfalls, Tram Ton Pass, Muong Hoa Valley, Muong Khuong Bird Market.
2. Mai Chau
Mai Chau is a northwestern mountainous district in Hoa Binh Province. Although there isn’t much to explore here yet, the peaceful and colourful environment of Mai Chau (home of Thai ethnic groups) is worth visiting in autumn. Pu Luong Nature Reserve is good for hiking and if you want to enjoy snow go for Deo Thung Khe. Stilt houses are the noteworthy architecture of Mai Chau district.
- Other major attractions include Go Lao Waterfall, Chieu Cave, Thung Ke Pass Flagpole.
3. Mu Cang Chai
Mu Cang Chai is a northwest mountainous rural district in Vietnam which creates jaw-dropping scenery in September. You will see golden rice crops swaying proudly, ready to harvest. This is the best time to know the lifestyle of Mong Ethnic farmers. Khau Pha Pass, called ‘Sky’s Horn’ develops magnificent scenery. There are other small villages in the city to visit to adore the beauty of paddy farming and to experience their local culture by the homestay. Visit to Mu Cang Chai is incomplete without visiting two of its breathtaking waterfalls - Mo and Phu Nu waterfalls. Mu Cang Chai has its own market too.
- Other major attractions include Ba Nha Bridge, Mam Xoi Hill, Kim Noi Village.
4. Ninh Binh
Located in North Vietnam, Ninh Binh Province is famous for its Karst Landscape in Tam Coc. August is one of the best seasons to visit Ninh Binh because it is the harvest season. A boat can be hired to see the limestone cliffs in Tam Coc, a two-hour excursion takes you through three natural caves - Hang Ca, Hang Hai, Hang Ba. A journey of about five hundred steps to the ancient temple on hilltop - Hang Mua will lead to a panoramic view from Tam Coc. Do not miss Bai Dinh Pagoda, the largest pagoda in South East Asia. Van Long Nature Reserve is the place for keen birdwatchers and nature lovers as here you can spot local flora and fauna. Apart from all this, Ninh Binh offers a three-hour train ride “Reunification Express” (not an official name of a train) which takes you through the coastline of Vietnam from North to South.
- Other major attractions include Hoa Lu, Trang An, Phat Diem Cathedral, Ken Gha.
5. Cuc Phuong National Park, Ninh Binh Province
In late September, biodiversity is great in Cuc Phuong National Park located in Ninh Binh Province. You can trek through a grass jungle and observe ancient trees and a rich variety of flora and fauna. Vietnam’s oldest national park includes the Endangered Primate Rescue Centre where Monkeys, Langurs and Gibbons were rescued and kept and the Turtle Conservation Centre. There is a Cave of Prehistoric Man where centuries-old skeletons, tools are preserved. Families must not miss a trip to the national park. Do not forget to apply mosquito repellent and wear good hiking shoes.
Hanoi is the only capital of a country which isn't its largest city. Capital of Vietnam - Hanoi, is a place for every traveller. September is a peak month to explore Hanoi and to witness the blooming of ‘Milk Flower’ or Alstonia scholaris. Definitely taste ‘Com’ - green coloured rice flake which originates from Vong Village.
From several historical museums to underrated monuments to extravagant nightlife, Hanoi offers everything all together. There’s a lot to do in Hanoi, in the morning travellers can visit historical sites and enjoy markets to save the nights for the view of Old Quarter Hanoi at weekend and Hoan Kiem Lake for a boat ride. Where St. Joseph’s Cathedral and OnePillar Pagoda are major sites for worshipping, there are Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi Opera House, Thang Long water puppet Theatre, Temple of Literature, Tran Quoc Pagoda that reflects Vietnamese culture.
If you love museums you should not miss the National Museum of History, Vietnamese Women’s Museum and Hanoi Museum, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, and Thủy Cung Times City which is an aquarium. Families can visit Thu Le Zoo, Union Park, Hanoi Botanical Garden. To buy souvenirs, gifts and to taste Vietnam’s cuisine, night markets are the best so hit Hanoi Night Market, Long Bien Market.
- Other major attractions include Hanoi Train Street, Cau Giay Park, Dong Xuan Market, Rose Park, Smiley Ville, Lotte Observation Deck, Long Bien Bridge, Ba Vi National Park, Perfume Pagoda.
7. Halong Bay
Halong Bay located in North Vietnam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so there’s much to explore and spend a soothing September here. The weather starts to cool down but the average temperature remains around 30 degrees so it isn’t a great time to rejuvenate and get tanned on beaches and islands. Nevertheless, travellers can go for a cruise, swimming, cooking classes. It is a good month for kayaking and snorkelling. There are caves to explore and floating villages to visit. Halong City (divided into East HaLong - Hon Gai and West HaLong - Bai Chay) in the North part of Halong Bay has an artificial beach 'Bai Chay Beach’ and a Bai Chai Market to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, gifts or souvenirs.
Amongst islands, Dau Be Island is famous for diving and swimming, Dau Go Island for its large and colourful caves and Fighting Cocks Island for its sunset view when purple-red colour sets across the sky and two large rocks in water appear as two fighting cocks. You can enjoy the top view of islands from seaplane rides as well. To enjoy the quieter part of Halong Bay, visit Lan Ha Bay renounced for white sandy beaches. You can enjoy swimming, rock climbing, sea kayaking and visit Cai Beo Floating Village. There might be storms, take note of the weather forecast.
- Other major attractions include HaLong Queen Cable Car, Sun World Halong Complex, Stacking Rocks, Tuan Chau Island, Cannon Fort.
8. Cat Ba Island, Halong Bay
Cat Ba Island is one of the most amazing and highly visited Islands connected to HaLong Bay. September is one of the less crowded months in Cat Ba Island and the best to visit if you love monsoon; the average temperature is around 31˚C. Although there are frequent and short-lasting rains in September, cancellation of voyages is rare. Also, in september, tourists can enjoy the splendid scenery at cheap prices.
There are three famous sand beaches- Cat Ba 1, 2 and 3, enjoy the time under the sun or swim in the water. If you want to explore caves, visit Surprise Caves to enjoy the colourful atmosphere, Hospital Cave to learn how this secret hospital functioned during the Vietnamese War, Trung Tran Cave. There’s Cat Ba Island Resort which offers a water park and spa centres. Cat Ba National Park is home to native Cat Ba Langur, 1500 plant species and over 280 fauna species, commonly seen mammals include civet, deer, macaques and squirrels. Apart from going on a cruise and enjoying the beach, visitors can take part in Yoga Classes which is a popular activity here. To experience the raw culture of Cat Ba visit Viet Hai Village.
- Other major attractions include Dinh Lagu Lam, Cat Ba Archipelago, Monkey Island.
9. Nha Trang
Nha Trang is located in Central Vietnam and is great to visit in September to enjoy various water sports at Monkey Island, Hon Tre Island and have relaxing hours at Thap Ba Hot Spring. You can spend a couple of hours at Hon Ba Mountain, and worship in aesthetically pleasing Long Son Pagoda (White Buddha Pagoda) and Ponagar Tower. There is Tri Nguyen Aquarium, Vinpearl Waterpark for kids to enjoy. Roam at night in Nha Trang Night Market to buy food or clothes, you can get gifts, souvenirs, hand embroidered items from street shops.
- Other major attractions include Vinpearl Cable Car, YangBa Waterfall, Ba Ho Waterfall Cliff Jumping.
10. Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc Island lies in Southwest Vietnam apart from the mainland. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc is the largest island of Vietnam with its own international airport. By mid-September the summer season replaces monsoon giving out bright sunshine and perfect weather for beaches. Phu Quoc is one of the best places to visit in September.
There are four major beaches - Bai Sao (silky white sand beach with starfishes spotted in crystal water), Hon Xuong Beach (white sandy small beach, perfect for snorkeling), Starfish Beach (white sand beach with floating eateries, red sea starfish being a picturesque) and Bai Truong also known as Long Beach. Long Beach is the main stop-spot for visitors because of the yellow sand, sailing, swimming, snorkelling, and beach massage. The island is distributed in three different parts, out of which the downtown Duong Dong is highly visited for shopping. Duong Dong offers Duong Dong Market and Dinh Cau Night Market from where travellers can buy souvenirs, pearls, funky jewellery and eat delicious seafood. Do not go back from Phu Quoc without buying the world's best fish sauce and Vietnam’s tastier black pepper.
- Other major attractions include Ham Ninh fishing village, Vinpearl Safari, Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park, Trúc Lam Ho Quoc Zen Monastery, Phu Quoc National Park.
11. Phan Thiet - Mui Ne
To the south of Vietnam lies a coastal port area ‘Phan Thiet’ which is, again, one of the best places to visit in September. It is divided amongst the city centre and famous Mui Ne Beach and has plenty of accommodations. Right from tropical forests to mesmerising beaches to ancient architecture, Phan Thiet has some or the other engaging part for every traveller. Doi Duong Beach, Phu Quy, Mr. Dia Rock are some of the spectacular outdoor sites. Mui Ne is a magnetic point for sand dunes, natural beauty and ancient architecture. A place for everyone is Red and White Sands at Nuoc Beach where you can slide down the slopes. Vietnam’s largest statue of reclining Buddha is in Linh Son Truong Tho Pagoda which is constructed at the top of Ta Cu Mountain.
Mui Ne Beach has clean and rock-free water which makes it suitable for swimming, jet skiing, banana riding, surfing and kayaking. There are some outlets that sell local handicrafts, jewellery, beachwear. Try the seafood here which is served with Vietnam’s famous fish sauce.
- Other major attractions include Mui Ne Fishing Village, Cham Tower, Ta Chi Pagoda, Ganh Beach