The best time to visit Halong Bay depends on what kind of a Halong trip you are looking for. When you come to Halong from January to March, you can experience the traditions of Tet (the Lunar New Year in Vietnam). But if you are a beach lover and keen on water activities, Halong Bay weather from April to June is a good fit for you.
October to December is the peak season and the best time of year to visit Halong thanks to the pleasant weather while July to September has a higher chance of storms and typhoon. However, every season has its distinct charm and advantage.
Halong Bay Weather Guide
Halong locates in the North of Vietnam- just 156km away from Hanoi capital so the weather in Hanoi and Halong is similar: the two cities both share the same typical tropical monsoon climate. While the South of Vietnam has only two seasons (rain and dry season), Halong has 4 seasons with its own weather features. Take a look at the following graphs for an overview of the weather conditions in Halong:
January - March, the temperature is around 16-20°C which is very pleasant and perfect for relaxing. There is sunlight during the day but mostly you will see fog and drizzle in the morning and late afternoon. However, during this time you can see a completely different look of Halong Bay. A mystical Halong Bay, where the rock formations hide under cloudy fog, appear, disappear and then show up again.
"...the rock formations were looming out of a thick fog. This actually increased the intesity of the peacefulness that is this wonderful bay."-Ask Diver71au about Halong Bay
Compared to other months of the year, Halong is less crowded and you will have the chance to experience Lunar New Year - the most important holiday in Vietnam.
April - May: The weather is not hot yet but it will be more likely to rain. Humidity will start to increase during this time. However, the weather is still pleasant and there is more sunlight for outdoor activities such as swimming and kayaking in the daytime.
When you visit Halong during this time, you can avoid the peak season and still enjoy the nice weather with various festivals, including the Halong Carnival (which is held annually in April).
June - September can be hot and humidity for westerners but Halong during this time is very charming with crystal clear sky and emerald water. There can be some light rain but overall, you can expect a lot of direct sunlight. If you want to enjoy a clear view of the bay, especially from the seaplane, this is the best time to do so. There will be more time for swimming, kayaking, and other water activities than in the fall and winter.
Starting from July to the end of September is the rainy season with a high chance of storms and typhoon. The average temperature is quite warm so you can swim as long as you like. It tends to rain the most during August but don't worry too much: usually, the rain does not last long so you can relax at your hotel for a day and continue your adventure the next day with a bright blue sky.
During this period, your trip or cruise can be canceled or delayed; however, almost cruise companies will usually give you refund or reschedule your tour in that case.
For more information on what you can do in case of your cruise tour get cancelled, we will discuss more detail later.
On the plus side, many cruise lines offer deals and promotions during this low season. If you keep your eyes on the weather forecast around 14 days prior to your booking, you can easily avoid the crowds and enjoy the beautiful Halong Bay with half of the normal price.
October - December is the best time of year and peak season to visit Halong Bay thanks to its pleasant weather. The humidity level drops considerably and the temperature is around 21°C.
There is less rainfall during this period of time. Tourists can enjoy more sunshine, which is not as harsh as in the summer. December is also time for Christmas and New Year. There will be cruise deals and special programs for this occasion.
Overall, keep in mind that this is the peak season for tourists so Halong is expected to be more crowded. On a side note, if you are into squid fishing, mark these months in your calendar because you have the best chance to catch big squids. Contact your tour company to have them arrange that activity for you.
More details about the weather in Halong Bay each month:
Month By Month Temperature and Rainfall - Past 5 Years
How to handle cancellation of Halong Bay Tour due to bad weather?
The Management Board of Halong Bay is the state agency in charge of managing all operations Ha Long Bay, including giving permissions for cruise companies to sail and having the rights to cancel or shorten any cruise trip in favor of the passengers’ safety. Bad weather conditions like typhoons, storms or heavy fog are usually the main causes of trip cancellation. All cruise companies and travel agents have to follow the final decision of tour/cruise cancellation by the Halong Bay Management Board which is made till 3:00 PM of the day. While they cannot do any about this decision, they will inform their passengers as soon as possible and provide the best arrangement/alternative options they can.
As for passengers, it is highly advised to check the update news and stay in contact with travel agents/cruise operators to be swiftly informed of any cancellation news. Here are several scenarios for you in case of trip cancellation due to bad weather:
Scenario 1- Prior to departure from Hanoi: When you are informed of cancellation before you depart for your trip, make sure you ask your travel agents about cancellation details and request important information such as: when is the next trip, are there any alternative options? In case you have to wait for the next trip, check with your hotel about your booking time and probably take a short tour around Hanoi if you feel like it.
Scenario 2- After arrival at Halong Bay: If you are informed of cancellation news after you arrived at Halong Bay, you can either choose to go back to Hanoi or wait for the cruise the day after. For the first option, the cruise operator will make arrangement to transfer you back to Hanoi. If you choose to wait, take note that it can take several days for the next cruise in case of heavy rain and storms.
Scenario 3- In the middle of the cruise: When you are informed of the cancellation news while on a cruise trip, the trip will be cut short to ensure your safety. Depending on the weather conditions, the cruise operator can make different arrangements. If you learn the news on the trip's first day and the weather forecast for the next day is positive, you should spend a night at a hotel on the mainland and then resume your journey. In case of bad weather, the cruise operator will make arrangement to transfer you back to Hanoi. There are also other alternatives options for you
Check out the refund policy of Bhaya Classic in case of storms or typhoon for more information.
Of all the four seasons described above, which one is your favorite? Are you really into swimming or other outdoor water activities? Or do you want to take advantage of promotion programs during the low season? Choosing the suitable time for travel is of course very important in planning your trip. After all, the weather is known for its unpredictability anyway so there can be a lot of surprises in store for even the most carefully planned trip. But whatever month you choose to visit Halong, there is one thing for sure: you will be charmed by its beauty.