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Vietnam is beautiful during all times of the year but the weather paints a complicated picture. Here’s a seasonal and regional breakdown of the weather.
This is the ultimate guide to getting a tourist Visa to Vietnam; from visa exemption to visas on arrival, e-visas, and more.
A word picture is painted of the overnight train ride from Hanoi to Sapa; From the cold quarters to the sunrise upon arrival and everything in between.
When travelling the 319 kilometer (198 mile) distance from Hanoi to Sapa, you have four options: You can take a sleeper bus or VIP bus, which takes about 9.5 hours. You can take a train to Lao Cai, 38 kilometers (24 miles) from Sapa, which takes about 8 hours, or you can take a car or minivan, each with private drivers, on your own or as shared rides, which take about 5.5 hours.
Given the long journey to Sapa from Hanoi, we recommend one of the sleeper options. Comfort is your best bet for this ride, and you’re sure to catch some shut-eye in a bus-bed. An added bonus: If you’re taking the bus or train at night, you’re also saving on accommodation!
The Lao Cai Province in which Sapa sits is mountainous, green, culturally unique, and worth the trek for a wide range of reasons.
What you are able to see out your window between Hanoi and Sapa depends entirely on what time of day your ride leaves. Of course, if you take a sleeper train or sleeper bus, the majority of your ride will be dark and you’ll be able to catch up on sleep during the ride. However, you will arrive to a striking sunrise in the Vietnamese countryside; an orange glow slowly overtaking the green rice terraces. It’s a sight like no other, and one you certainly want to make sure you are awake for.
If you’re leaving earlier in the day, you will inevitably experience the traffic (AKA hustle and bustle). Once you’ve left the hustle and bustle of busy Hanoi, the road to Sapa from Hanoi is full of long, unending, lush stretches of land, which mountain views as far as the eye can see.
January-March is a mixed bag when it comes to the weather in Vietnam. Up in the north, things are quite chilly. If you head up beyond Hanoi to Sapa, along the Chinese border, it gets even cooler. Expect to see some frost on the ground, or maybe even snow!
Once March rolls around, the weather in northern Vietnam starts to get much more pleasant. Temperatures can best be described as cozy at this time; not too hot and not too cold. The weather will be cool and dry, making it ideal for hiking around the mountains and villages of Sapa.
April is when things start getting hot and sticky up in the north of Vietnam. Come May, however, rainfall becomes more frequent and will reach its peak by June. It will remain this way through September-time. That being said, although July is rainy up in Sapa, it’s also hot, humid and sticky. It is at this time that hiking tours in the area close as a result of unfavorable conditions, so if you’re planning on driving a motorbike from Hanoi to Sapa, or in the Sapa area in general, be sure to do so cautiously.
Have no fear though; it’s finally October and the sun is shining in Sapa again! Hiking tours throughout northern Vietnam, Sapa included, are back on, as the area has reached its optimal hiking conditions. Thanks to the rain during the previous months, the famous Sapa rice terraces are at their best, with bright colors like you’ve never seen before, ready to be harvested. It’s extremely picturesque. When in Sapa, be sure to make your way to Mount Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina, as this is the best time of the year to have panoramic views of the Sapa mountains.
Unlike Hanoi’s counterpart, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi experiences all four seasons throughout the year. That being said, the weather here is a bit like “a box of chocolate”; you never know what you’re gonna get. It is very possible that you could even experience all four seasons in a single day!
However, the best time of year to visit Hanoi is during the autumn months. With an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit), Hanoi’s sun is warm, the breeze is cool, and the air is dry. You may be met with a light rain here and there, but generally speaking, the climate in Hanoi in autumn is very mild, making it ideal for any and all activities whether you’re indoors or outdoors.
Once December rolls around, Hanoi gets quite chilly, and remains this way until late February-each March. Temperatures hover between 10-15 degrees Celsius (50-60 degrees Fahrenheit), but can often feel colder due to wind chill and the humidity.
Spring in Hanoi can be quite gray and is very wet, making way for the monsoon season in May. You’ll want to pack flip-flops and an umbrella if you visit Hanoi in the spring, as the roads are a bit muddy. Despite all this, spring in Hanoi brings beautifully bloomed flowers, adding a tropical flair to your Vietnamese city break.
Summer in Hanoi lasts from May to August, with July being the hottest month. Although temperatures are high [around 32 Celsius (90 Fahrenheit)], and the humidity makes it feel even hotter, Hanoi in the summer is a truly beautiful sight. The streets are lined with evergreen trees and the city is bustling, making you almost forget how hot it is.