Best Places to Visit in Vietnam In January

Visiting Vietnam in January might seem like an unusual decision. 

It’s not the most popular month, and it’s fair to say that temperatures will be cooler than at other times of the year in the North. Yet, visiting Vietnam in January provides the opportunity to see Vietnam at its most lively and chaotic, during the Tet (Vietnamese New Year) celebrations. You’ll also be able to beat the crowds ahead of the peak tourist season which really starts to pick up in March.

The temperature in Vietnam in January varies dramatically. It’s worth remembering that Vietnam as a country is long and thin, meaning that it has a variety of climates, depending on location. The weather can be changeable, but here is a rough guide by region.


This is one of the coldest months of the year for the capital, Hanoi, with an average temperature of  17°C/ 63°F. Yet, the streets are still bustling, and there’s always an abundance of Phở (hot noodle soup) to keep you warm! Even further north, in Sapa, temperatures may be more like 11°C/ 52°F, so prepare for some misty mornings and chilly evenings! 

In Halong Bay, there’s a risk of drizzle and fog, but prices are considerably lower than at other times of the year if you’re prepared to deal with rain showers, interspersed with sunny spells. The average temperature in the bay will be around 16°C/ 61°F. 

On the other hand, if you want to witness snow or enjoy cold weather with a hot beverage, head to Mau Son (Lang Son) or Ha Giang.


For the night markets of Hoi An, January is a good option, with relatively low visitor numbers and an average temperature of 22°C/ 72°F (daytime). If you’re looking for a cultural trip, then this is a fantastic time of year to visit the historic sites of Hue, which has an average temperature of 20°C/ 68°F. 


With mild temperatures and little humidity, this is one of the best months to visit Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). The average temperature is a very pleasant 27°C/ 81°F, ideal for walking the streets during the day and enjoying a river cruise by night. You can make a “beach detour” to Nha Trang, it’s still a good 25°C/ 77°F on average, with a much lower risk of rain than in December. 

So, what are the best places to visit in Vietnam in January, according to our team?


Mui Ne

Credit: saltinourhair

Mui Ne has an average temperature of 25°C/ 77°F in January, and this month is a particularly good time to visit as there’s virtually no chance of rain! 

As well as beach resorts, Mui Ne is famed for its white & red sand dunes, giving the impression that you’ve entered a dessert! You can also ride a jeep here or surf on dunes. Take in the unusual surroundings without the usual crowds, and you may find that the prices at the resorts have dropped alongside the average temperature. Or, if you are adventurous and a photography enthusiast, head to “not yet discovered by many” Fairy Stream (Suoi Tien), 18 km (11 miles) northeast of Phan Thiet City, where you can walk through the water and red sand under the blue sky.

Can Tho

Visit Can Tho in January and buy food straight from the boat
Credit: Pexels

Can Tho also experiences very low rainfall in January (and December) with an average high of 28°C/ 82°F and low of 24°C/ 75°F, it’ll still be warm enough to enjoy the beach, whilst also offering you the chance to head to the floating markets without the searing temperatures of the summer months. Can Tho is the urban heart of the Mekong Delta and makes for an excellent base for travelling to and from the backwaters. 

Both Mui Ne & Can Tho are in the south of the country, and coastal, meaning that at this time of year you’ll be able to spend time on the beach without absolutely roasting, whilst still enjoying moderate temperatures and all that the local scenery has to offer.


Visit Danang in January
Credit: Pixabay

There are many things to discover, the most famous probably being The Dragon Bridge (spookily 666 metres long) and Ba Na hills. Ticket costs 750,000 VND and includes the famous Golden bridge with hands, French village, fantasy park, church, wine cellar, flower gardens… And more and more beautiful resorts and retreats are built here. 

And how is the weather? If you do not like scorching hot weather, nor cold “Sapa-like” weather, head here when you visit Danang in January. The weather is colder than the south (about 18-20°C/ 64-68°F), however, if you are in for a swim – the pool is more probable than the beach because of big waves.


BONUS: Heard about Hoi An? Once a trading port, now a beautiful well-preserved tourist place, but still charming with quaint corners. You can easily check it out when staying in Hoi An or vice versa. There is no station or airport in Hoi An but hey, it is just a 30km (18 miles) taxi ride away (or Grab – the local Uber) 



night port water ho chi minh city saigon vietnam

Witness the American, Chinese and French influence in 1 city. It keeps its Vietnamese traits, yet strives to be modern. The best example of old is the Reunification palace, pagodas and temples, restaurants and markets, and old turned new, lively or revamped: the apartment block at 42 Nguyen Hue, museums, Backpacker street… 

Or head out of the city on a day trip: Cu Chi tunnels, Mekong Delta and floating markets or Tây Ninh – approximately 90 km (55 miles) to the northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, the home of the Cao Đài religion, an indigenous Vietnamese faith that includes the teachings of the major world religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Taoism. Especially The Holy See temple is very beautiful, vivid and colourful.

You can enjoy all of this with almost no rain (December is the start of the dry season), sunshine, and approximate temperature of 27°C/ 81°F

Surprise front-runner: Ninh Chu Bay

Visit Ninh Chu In Vietnam in January
Instagram @1@kelly_tran___

Never heard of it? The reason is: it is yet to be discovered by foreign visitors, even if it is hugely popular among locals. Ninh Chu beach is about 10 km (6 miles) long and can be found northeast of Phan Rang city. The easiest way to get there is to fly to Cam Ranh Airport. It is perfect if you want to escape crowds, benefit from good prices, eat tasty seafood, fresh air and… Cham ruins!

Yes, if you do not want to only swim and bask in the sun, know that the ancient Panduranga, the capital of the southernmost of city-states of Hindu-Buddhist Champa was located where Phan Rang is located now. You can visit hilltop Cham tower complex or Tháp Chàm and Klong Garai temples.

If you love to be active and windsurf or kitesurf, it is possible here as well. Soon, people start to flood Phan Rang and Ninh Chu as developers and investors already do. Catch it’s authenticity now! You can easily make it a day trip from Dalat or Nha Trang as well. Come here and enjoy an approximate temperature of 28°C/ 82°F

Ready for festive Vietnam in January?

In summary, Vietnam is a fantastic place to start 2020 at, and you might even be lucky enough to catch the Lunar New Year celebrations here!


This year they fall on 26 – 29 January and we change from the year of the pig to the year of the rat. If you would like to find out more about the “Rat” Zodiac, the closest Western Zodiac to it is Sagittarius. But Tet (Vietnamese New Year) is so much more than luck symbols or signs, find out in this article!

In general, visiting Vietnam in January truly offers an authentic experience, without worrying about the humidity or heat of later months.

Do not forget to book early as December / January is the peak season for Vietnam tourism and if you would like to arrange a tailor-made trip to Vietnam, contact a travel agency for a bit of free advice or an itinerary.

About Spoton Vietnam

A blog covering all things Vietnam: from itinerary planning to destination highlights and handy travel tips & tricks. Wander wisely with our travel articles!

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