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Travel: Best Time of Year to Visit Halong Bay

Halong Bay has stood for millennia, relatively unchanged since humans first discovered this otherworldly paradise thousands of years ago. The crystal clear, emerald green water, the lush and verdant limestone karst formations towering overhead and looming in the distance, and that peaceful sense of mystical calm that really can’t be felt anywhere else in the world. No matter the time of year, this is Halong Bay.


Thanks to its temperate climate and cycle of four seasons, however, the character of this legendary destination can change dramatically throughout the year. Radiant, clear summer days fill the bay with a sense of brilliance and energy, while the misty and cool rains of spring soften the edges and give the bay a tranquil, serene, and enchanting allure. Depending on the side of Halong Bay you’d like to see, the time of year could have a dramatic impact on your experience of the bay.


So when’s the best time to go? That depends on you. Read on to discover the four different sides of Halong Bay.


Spring (February to April)

The first week of February, depending on the year is often the start of the annual Lunar New Year celebration in Vietnam (Tet). It is therefore not advisable to travel during this time, as most businesses will be shut down for the holiday. Apart from this occasional occurrence, however, spring is a truly special time of year to visit Halong Bay. Between the cold, dry winter and the warm rainy summers, spring brings together some of the best elements of both, with the occasional light drizzle and misty, dreamy early mornings. The weather is pleasantly cool, ranging from 19 to 24 degrees Celsius. It’s a good idea to pack some warm clothing (a sweater or 2 will do).


The spellbinding mystery of Halong Bay only deepens during this hauntingly beautiful time of year. Occasionally, a thick fog rolls into the bay, enveloping the scenic landscape in a pillowy cloud. You may not be able to see as far off into the horizon, but there’s a truly special and intimate feeling you get on these cool spring days. 


Because of the temperature, this is a great time of year for more rigorous outdoor activities. Swimming, kayaking, rock climbing, parasailing, and cruising are among the best options available to you. Spring is also the peak season for squid fishing, so be sure to try your hand at it with the friendly fishermen of Halong Bay.


Summer (May to August)

Halong Bay is lovely as ever in the summer, however inclement weather is a definite possibility during these months and torrential downpours are not uncommon. You may want to consider this, as well as the average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius before you visit in the Summer.


This is also the most popular time of year for domestic tourism, so you can expect popular destinations in Halong Bay to be more crowded this time of year. However, the magic and beauty of Halong are no less striking during the summer than any other season, so don’t worry too much if this is your only opportunity to go! Best of all, the incredible array of options you’ll have meant there are always alternative activities suitable for unpredictable weather, as well as quieter and lesser-known beaches and islands to explore away from the crowds. And of course, hot weather means there’s no better time to go for a cool, refreshing swim in the clear water of the bay--even when it’s raining!


Autumn (September to October)

Autumn in Halong Bay is considered by many to be the “sweet spot” of seasonal tourism. Temperatures are a bit cooler than summer, and heavy showers happen less and less frequently as November approaches, meaning you’re most likely to get clear skies and a gentle, cool breeze. You’ll enjoy lounging outside and inside during this time of year.


In addition to the rain, the crowds tend to die down as well, so you’ll have more access to Halong’s stunning postcard beaches. Explore the bay as though it were all your own. Chances are you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take photos without huge crowds of tourists blocking the view.


Best of all, the end of the rainy season means outdoor activities are in full swing! Kayaking, mountain climbing, and swimming are all great activities this time of year. And clear skies means you can even do something a little more adventurous, like hire a seaplane and get a spectacular view of the bay from above!


Winter (November to January)

Peace. Quiet. Calm. Cool. Winter has come to Halong Bay.

This quiet time of year is the best time to go if you want the least crowds. Though popular year-round, winter in Halong Bay is by far the least busy season to visit. The weather can get as cool as 12 degrees Celsius...not freezing, but most likely not suitable for swimming.


Depending on what you want out of your holiday, winter could be the perfect time to go. All the same, activities are available to you this time of year, as long as you’re ok with things being a little bit less warm than usual.


No matter what time of year you choose, Halong Bay is sure to leave an impression on you like a place with incomparable beauty and mysterious magic that permeates every moment of your experience. There’s truly no destination on Earth-like Halong Bay, no matter the season, so come whenever suits you best and enjoy Vietnam’s remarkable crown jewel.