Best time to visit Halong Bay – Recommendations from locals
It has never been easy for travelers visiting Vietnam to decide when to visit Halong Bay because of a variety of considerations, including schedule, weather, special occasions in the region, budgets, and itinerary choices. Every season offers a unique beauty to Halong Bay and visitors can choose their own best time to see the highlights of Halong Bay.
In this article, my local experience will help you figure out when is the best time to visit Halong Bay
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Let’s first get to know some background knowledge on Halong Bay.
- Halong Bay, which literally means “Bay where the Dragon lands”, is located on the northeast coast of Vietnam, in Ha Long city, Quang Ninh province.
- The archipelago can be divided into two main parts: the Southeast (belonging to Bai Tu Long Bay), and the Southwest (belonging to Halong Bay), together forming the core area of Halong Bay, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. With 775 islands spreading across 434 kilometers square, the bay is bound by three points: Dau Go island to the west, Ba Ham lake to the south, and Cong Tay island to the west.
- Thousands of limestone islands rise above the sea as a result of a complex geological process that took place over 500 million years and involved the movement of the earth, the impact of sea level, and downward tectonic curvature. This process contributed to the unique and stunning landscape of Halong Bay.
- Halong Bay, the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Vietnam, is a magnificent and exceptional piece of natural art with thousands of islands and islets rising out of emerald waters.
- Although Halong Bay is open to visitors year-round, summer is thought to be the most beautiful season to visit. It should nonetheless be cautioned that severe rain or possibly storms could occur and cause travel disruptions. The best seasons to visit Halong are spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November), when the temperature is comfortably cool-neither hot nor chilly.
- The sun is lovely and the temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius, especially in the months of April, May, September, and October. So, if you visit during this time, get your camera ready so you may capture stunning images of this UNESCO-recognized location. As many Halong tours include mainly outdoor activities, dry climate and comfortable temperatures are perfect for many activities like kayaking and climbing to Thien Canh Son cave, which you will likely perspire a lot.
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So what makes Halong Bay stand out in the spring and autumn?
Halong Bay in Spring – Details on weather in spring
With its constant drizzle and fog, spring is undoubtedly the wettest season of the year. While the weather is ideal for plants and flowers to bloom, most tourists find it challenging to keep their clothing clean and dry during this period. Still, there’s plenty of things about Ha Long in the springtime that may captivate visitors, particularly with the enigmatic overcast skies.
For Vietnamese people, spring is a special time of year as it involves a particularly significant occasion, Lunar New Year. If you visit Halong during this time, you will have the chance to discover more about Vietnamese culture through activities like receiving lucky money, sampling a variety of traditional foods, and observing how people get ready for Tet at Ha Long’s traditional markets or other local shopping centers. But, as prices on this occasion are frequently more than normal, you should double-check with any booking team before making any decision.
There are still several fascinating festivals held in Ha Long after Tet, such as the short Cherry Blossom Festival in March. You can find a wide variety of cherries from around the world which just bloom here during the New Year. In addition, you can gain additional insight into the cultures of both Japan and Vietnam by enjoying an evening traditional musical instrument concert with Japanese and Vietnamese performers.
For those who like quiet moments, March is a suitable time to take a cruise on the emerald sea. This is the last month without many tourists before the peak travel season arrives in April. Even though the weather is still cold and makes it harder to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can still take certain activities, like taking a scenic seaplane flight at noon or just spending some quality time by yourself.
>>> Get your own Hanoi – Halong Bay FREE ITINERARY PLANNING to experience the beautiful of Halong Bay
April is the last spring month of Ha Long and also one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit Halong Bay because of its great ambiance, which is sure to make you fall in love. Known for its breathtaking vistas from above and its shallow white sand beach below, Titop Island is definitely one of those must-see locations in Halong Bay. If you go to Titop in the evening, you may be able to spend some time by yourself on the beach, which is a wonderful way to unwind and get away from the hustle of everyday life.
April is also the best time to go to Halong Bay for canoeing, kayaking and sightseeing. You may also go diving in Halong Bay to see the stunning marine life under emerald waters. During this month, daylight hours begin to get longer and humidity drops to 60%, making outdoor activities comfortable for visitors.
With the good weather, you can immerse yourself in nature and take in the picturesque natural setting in Halong Bay. With a 2-day, 1-night cruise, you can easily explore more at some of the most famous locations, like Sung Sot Cave, Titop Cave, or Luon Cave.
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Additionally, you should visit some of the well-known pagodas in Halong Bay, like Ba Vang, Long Tien, or Cua Ong, to gain a better understanding of Vietnamese culture. Breathe deeply, let go of any tension, and savour the quiet moments. If it’s too cold to venture outside, you might choose to go to the Quang Ninh Museum located on Tran Quoc Nghien Street.
Remember to pack your best clothing for the annual Ha Long Carnival, one of the largest events there, which takes place at SunWorld Ha Long Park on April 28 at 8 a.m.
Autumn – The most ideal time to travel to Halong Bay
Autumn is when the new school year begins, which causes a decrease in domestic tourists. Therefore, if you’re searching for a peaceful and romantic spot to spend your honeymoon, autumn will be the best time because the weather in Halong Bay at this time will also not let you down.
Taking wedding photo albums right on the top deck, followed by a sauna and some downtime on the white sandy beach, is the perfect trip itinerary for couples visiting Halong Bay in autumn.
Autumn Cruise – the ideal option for those who wish to visit Ha Long
In autumn, Halong Bay will experience cooler weather, and the trees seem to stay dormant. The leaves first change color before falling. There are also the beautiful roads lined with trees and dotted with falling leaves, making honeymooners fall in love with. Over the course of the day, the temperature often changes, becoming hot in the afternoon and cool in the morning and night.
September is the start month of autumn, with much rain and storms. However, when October arrives, Halong Bay’s weather starts to get better, making it the most romantic month for couples.
Storms occur more frequently in September than in any other month. Therefore, if the weather is bad, you might need to postpone your vacation to Halong Bay.
For some adventurous tourists, trekking Bai Tho mountain on stormy days might be their hobby. In September, average temperature is 28 degrees Celsius, and the number of rainy days are about 14.
October is the peak season for international tourism but still the best time to go to Halong Bay for those who like to explore the bay. Due to the volume of capitalization and competition for flights, hotels and events, this will be the most expensive time for domestic tourists. In addition, you won’t be able to interact with many locals during this time.
However, this is the best time for couples to go to Halong Bay. There are many intruging activites couples can enjoy, such as taking a cruise in the emerald sea or cycling through the peaceful city. A unique experience on a seaplane is always the ideal option if you and your partner are searching for something unforgettable to commemorate your journey.
Due to the fact that this month falls in late autumn, the air can have a chilly but somehow romantic vibe when the sun sets. Also, don’t forget to ride the Ferris wheel of Sun World Ha Long Park at night. Enjoy the beautiful sky during the full moon festival. In addition, having a romantic dinner with a glass of wine on the terrace will also become an unforgettable night in Ha Long.
Ha Long is still a good destination for summer and winter travel, nevertheless. All you have to take into consideration are the number of visitors in summer and the weather in winter.
Summer in Halong Bay
If Spring is the best time for travelers looking for a peaceful cultural trip, summer is the time for young people due to the high need for relaxation. Summer is also the peak season for domestic tourism in Halong Bay. And early summer is considered to have the most beautiful weather in Halong Bay.
Nearly all activities in Halong Bay, including outdoor and aquatic sports, are best done in the summer. The temperature can reach 38 degrees Celsius until midsummer, which makes going to busy locations difficult. Numerous well-known locations, like Bai Tho Mountain, Sung Sot Cave, and Titop Island, are overcrowded. During this time, Vietnamese tourists can go on adventures or take summer vacations with their families and try to escape the tropical heat before their kids go back to school.
Explore these exciting activities:
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April is the last month of the ideal time to visit Halong Bay, but for foreign visitors, early May is still an excellent time for a number of reasons. Firstly, the flow of tourists hasn’t grown significantly because children are still in school. The weather in Halong Bay this month is excellent, with clear blue skies and moderate temperatures.
Summer time in HaLong starts from May to August.
Surrounded by the sea, Halong Bay this month is mild and pleasant, making it easy to do outdoor activities such as cycling, kayaking, fishing or trying local street foods. You can enjoy a great time with your pals at one of the town’s most vibrant bars at night. Make new friends with people from various countries and share with them your special Halong Bay experience.
The tropical summer months of June and July is the time when both international and local tourists take their summer vacations which are held on the beach or mountainous areas. Therefore, service prices will be charged higher than normal.
While summer time isn’t the ideal season to visit Halong Bay, you may still plan a summer vacation to Halong because there are plenty of things to do there, such as flying across the sea by cable car, staying overnight on the boat, and relax on the top deck, or soak yourself in the sun. No matter when you take your trip, Halong Bay remains breathtaking!
Autumn is the time to say goodbye to your summer vacation because it is the last month of tropical heat and also the month before the rainy season. Relaxing on a beautiful beach is a great idea, but you have to consider it because of the quite high number of tourists.
White Sand Beach and Bai Chay Bridge are the two best places to take in the breathtaking view as the sun sets. Thousands of islands are like floating jewels in the ocean, bringing new experiences for your last summer vacation. Kayaking through limestone caves is a great outdoor activity that you should not miss.
You will be awe of the impressive size of the cave and the amazing rock formation. On the other hand, it may rain on your trip because this is the month before the rainy season. Do not worry, however, this does not affect any activity but even makes your experience more interesting.
Visiting Sun World Park will also be worth a visit with its Amusement Park and the iconic Ferris Wheel. If it’s too hot outside, it’s a great idea to stay inside, get a ticket to enter and explore the Quang Ninh Museum.
Winter in Halong Bay
There are plenty of things to do at Halong Bay throughout the winter, even though it’s not the best season to visit.
There is no rain, no storms, drier air , and the sun shines all winter long in Ha Long. That being said, the temperature sometimes drops significantly, making it impossible to engage in some outside activities.
Locals prioritize their work and studies over vacation time during the busy winter months. While domestic tourism may be in decline, international tourism is at its peak. So if you desire a quieter, less populated experience, this is probably not the best time to go to Halong Bay. Prices are not much lower than in the summer months due to the surge in international visitors taking advantage of this time.
With all of our local knowledge and suggestions, I hope you have discovered the ideal time to visit Halong Bay. Kindly get in contact with Hanoi Explore Travel for further details and travel guidance to Halong Bay.