What is the best time to travel to Ho Chi Minh is one of the most popular questions of travelers who are planning their trip to Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon). It has a tropical monsoon climate where you can expect it to be either hot and dry or hot and wet. The city is famous for its pleasant climate, it rarely suffers from floods, mudslides like Mekong Delta and Central Vietnam, or too cold like in North Vietnam. There are 2 distinct seasons in Ho Chi Minh: the dry season and the wet season.
The dry season (December to April)
During the dry season, temperatures range between 21°C and 39°C. This is the hottest time in the city, the sunlight is the strongest from 11:00 to 14:30. It is the hottest at noon in late April and the coldest in the early morning in December. Humidity is from 71 to 77, moderate in December, and begins to decrease from January to April. Coming to Saigon from January to April, you can escape from the normal sticky weather of the city.
The wet season (May to November)
The humidity is from 73 to 82 in the wet season. May to September sees frequent showers, the city receives from 200 to 300mm of rain monthly during this period. The rains tend to come in short bursts, so it is possible to still enjoy sunny days during these wet summer months. The peak period for flooding, typhoons, and storm to hit Ho Chi Minh City is from July to November. It often has short day time rains that clear as quickly as they come, and give space for even more sun.
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What is the best time to travel to Ho Chi Minh?
Certainly, the best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is the dry season from December to April. You do not worry about the rain which may interrupt your trip. Suncare products, umbrella, hat or cap should be in your luggage. You can wear everything including trousers, shorts, T-shirts, long dress, skirts, shoes, high heels. Thin coats are recommended, thick coats are useless in Ho Chi Minh.
On Ho Chi Minh streets, there are many green trees which protect motorbike drivers and walkers from the heat of the sun – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
However, it is not bad to travel Ho Chi Minh during the wet season. It does not rain heavily the whole day and on all days during this season. It may not rain on some days. You can see the weather forecast before the trip. It usually rains in the late afternoon and evening. So that try to arrange outdoor activities (cyclo, motorbike tours, wet market, Bui Vien and Nguyen Hue walking street) in the morning. If it rains heavily, you can choose taxis to get around the city. Some tourist attractions including Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Thien Hau Temple. You should prepare a raincoat or an umbrella when you go out. Long dress and high heels are not good choices in this season.
Saigon in rain – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Ho Chi Minh City flooded due to poor drainage system when it rained heavily – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Many motorcycle engines were submerged due to the flood after raining in Ho Chi Minh City – Photo by Scooter Saigon Tour
Ho Chi Minh City after raining – Video by Scooter Saigon Tour
Besides traditional festivals, national celebrations, public holidays, Ho Chi Minh City also celebrates many international celebrations including Chrismas, International Women’s Day, May Day, New Year Day, New Year’s Eve. Some of the travelers wonder when they should not travel Ho Chi Minh or if they should come to Ho Chi Minh at big festivals or on public holidays.
It is recommended not to visit the city on major public holidays such as Vietnam Reunification Day on April 30th, May Day on May 1st, National Day on September 2nd. On these days, the traffic may be crowded or sparse, depending on the length of the holiday. If the holiday lasts 3 days or more, many people who live in Ho Chi Minh may leave the city for their home hometown, usually in the countryside or travel to other provinces in Vietnam or other countries. So that the traffic is sparse, some restaurants and shops close. Train, bus, air tickets are fully booked. If the holiday lasts less than 2 days, Saigon people choose to stay in Ho Chi Minh, the traffic is crowded, restaurants, shops, markets, shopping malls are also crowded. In both cases, tours and travel services in and from Ho Chi Minh are more expensive and lower-quality because of high demand, and lack of guides. However, you can learn more about how Vietnamese people celebrate these important events if you choose to visit the city those days.
Should travelers come to Ho Chi Minh at big festivals such as Tet and Mid Autumn? Tet festival from the end of December and the beginning of January in the lunar calendar (February in the solar calendar) is a good time to see the city with many cultural activities and beautiful decorations. Around Mid Autumn Festival from the end of July and the beginning of August, the city is full of lanterns and mooncake shops. Coming to the city at that time is also great. On Chrismas, International Women’s Day, May Day, New Year Day, or New Year’s Eve, Ho Chi Minh covers a new coat and is not less crowded, amazing, beautiful, colorful twinkle, and splendid than any city in the world. So that if you are not aware of the crowd and the noise, you can come and enjoy the city on these days. Certainly, the prices of services are higher during the festivals and occasions. However, it is worth enjoying the spectacle Ho Chi Minh at the festivals.
Sunflowers at a Tet flower market at Tet festival in Saigon before Jan 1st of the lunar calendar
Nguyen Hue walking street is decorated colorfully and splendidly with lots of flowers, lanterns, and models at Tet festival
Lanterns at a shop on Luong Nhu Hoc Street – the lantern street in Saigon
Festivals and celebrations in Ho Chi Minh City as well as Vietnam
Below is the list of Vietnam festivals and celebrations:
Jan 1st: New Year’s Day
Tet festival on Jan 1st in the lunar calendar usually falls into January or February in the solar calendar. You can come to the city at any time during the period from one week before and one week after the Jan 1st in the lunar calendar. In Saigon, Tet flower markets are open one week before the first day of the lunar calendar and Spring flower festivals are open for about 10 days during Tet festival.
January 25, 2020; Jan 22, 2023; Jan 29th, 2025: Tet Festival
Feb 1st, 2021; Feb 12th, 2021; Feb 10th, 2024; Feb 17th, 2026: Tet Festival
Feb 3rd: Founding Day of the Communist Party of Vietnam
Mar 8th: International Women’s Day
Mar 14th: White Valentine’s Day
April 14th: Black Valentin’s Day
April 30th: Vietnam Reunification Day
May 1st: May Day (Labor Day)
May 19: Ho Chi Minh’s birthday
June 1st: International Children’s Day
Sep 2th: National Day
Sep 13th, 2019; Sep 21st, 2021; Sep 10th, 2022; Sep 29th, 2023; Sep 17th, 2024; Sep 25th, 2026: Mid-Autumn Festival
Oct 1st, 2020; Oct 6th, 2025: Mid-Autumn Festival
Oct 20th: Vietnamese Women’s Day
Oct 31st: Halloween
Nov 20th: Vietnamese Teacher’s Day
Dec 25th: Chrismas
Dec 31st: New Year’s Eve
Check out The complete Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide