Travel to Vietnam in January to experience an interesting contrast in climate types between the North and the South. Whilst January is dry season in the Central and the South, Northern Vietnam must endure humid winter.

Best places to visit in Vietnam in January
Children in Northern Vietnam highland area

Weather in Vietnam in January

Vietnam is like a coin in January. North and South Vietnam are like the two faces of this coin, offering different weather conditions and attractions for the locals and tourists. The winter is particularly long and cold in the north with Ninh Binh, Mai Chau and Hanoi sometimes dropping below 10 degrees Celsius. Sub-zero temperatures are even common in the mountainous areas like Sapa, Mau Son (Lang Son) and Ha Giang. If you’re a snow lover these would be the ideal places to visit.

The central with Hue, Da Nang, Hoian and southward to the South with Nha Trang, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta offer a contrast to the cold climate of the north. The temperatures in January of these two regions are quite mild and pleasant ranging around 24 – 28 °C, which makes it quite appropriate for beach holidays.

Places to visit in Vietnam in January

January is no doubt a high tourist season in Vietnam. Here below are some nice places to pay a visit to in January:

Vietnam Tours 2020

Halong Bay

Bhaya Cruise - Halong Travel Guide
Cruise to Halong Bay

This spot has generated tremendous attention for years. It is entitled as one of the most stunning and fascinating travel destinations in Vietnam. Halong Bay is quite cold in January, nevertheless, it is perfect for a few nights of relaxation on a cruise. This World Heritage Site is the house of many outstanding islands and beautiful natural caves. If you visit Vietnam in January, a cruise to Halong Bay should not be skipped out in your itinerary.


Beautiful rice terraces in Sapa
Beautiful rice terraces in Sapa

Sapa is a little corner of heaven tucked right into the earth. The valley is around 350 kilometers from Hanoi and can easily be accessed by car/ train or bus. It offers beautiful scenes and happens to be a paradise for scenery junkies. Photographers are guaranteed to have a fruitful day here. The little valley is especially beautiful in winter with the presence of alluring fog and the Fansipan Mountain looming in the distance. Hiking and trekking enthusiasts will love the challenges that the valley offers while culture junkies are bound to enjoy Bac Ha Sunday market.


Hanoi Old Quarter - Hanoi Travel Guide
Hanoi Old Quarter

Hanoi is one place you must visit in Vietnam regardless of the season or occasion. It is, after all the capital of Vietnam. It offers a spectacularly all-rounded view of what the personality of Vietnam truly is: progressive, innovative and beautiful. The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology located here will give you excellent insight into authentic Vietnamese culture and how it has evolved over time. If you’re an artsy type you can have a look at the fine arts museum or listen to classical music at Hanoi Opera House while the nature lovers will be dazzled by Hoan Kiem lake.

Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral - Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide
Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral

If you are a fan of Vietnam based action movies of the 80s and 90s then you must have heard of Saigon. Well, Saigon isn’t Saigon anymore but is now known as Ho Chi Minh City, dubbed “the Pearl of the Far East”. It comes as no surprise when this beautiful city remains the most popular tourist destination in Vietnam. There seems to be an endless list of what to do and to see in Ho Chi Minh City. You can either enjoy a cup of coffee from a street vendor or spoil yourself in a fancy rooftop café in District 1. For history lovers, visiting War Remnants Museum or Cu Chi Tunnel left from the Vietnam War could be interesting experiences.


Hoi An Lantern Festival - Winter in Vietnam
Hoi An Lantern Festival

Another area that is a must see when traveling to Vietnam in January is the old town of Hoian. This location is also another World Heritage Site. This ancient city is found on the central coast and usually has wonderful weather during January. It has a splendid architecture that is a representation of the nation’s history. There are several canals flowing through the town, which provides an added attraction. Hoian is a must-see place when visiting Vietnam.

Nha Trang

Nha Trang
Nha Trang

The city of Nha Trang is a pleasant spot for beach activities. This city is a coastal resort located in the south of Vietnam. There are many gorgeous beaches with little offshore islands which provide marvelous diving sites. The leading beach is a curving stretch plastered with hotels and restaurants. There are a few nature reserves located in Hon Tam and Hon Mun which are small islands of Nha Trang. This is the perfect spot for beach lovers who may be on a family tour to Vietnam with children.

Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is situated in southern Vietnam. January is an excellent time to visit this region since there is usually very little rain and it is much cooler than usual. This delta consists of a network of swamps, rivers and little islands. It is also home to many floating markets. Travel is primarily conducted via boat in this part of Vietnam. You can experience a Vietnam Mekong cruise starting off from Ho Chi Minh City. You are guaranteed to be blown away.

Cai Rang Floating Market - Mekong Delta Travel Guide
Cai Rang Floating Market – Mekong Delta

To conclude Vietnam is a beautiful country with many attractions. Traveling to Vietnam in January is a wonderful idea. However, when visiting Vietnam in January you should always be mindful of the different weather experience in the country. For instance, the North is usually cool with some light to moderate showers in January but the central and southern areas are quite dry and warm.

Best Vietnam tours if you travel to Vietnam in January:

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Best places to visit in Vietnam in January

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  1. I will be in Vietnam at the end of January and stay till the beginning of February. I would like to do a section of the Ho Chi Minh trail. Is it possible to to a hike there for at least four days and three nights on my own? How safe is it to do it on my own and what would the approximate costs be?

    1. Dear Mr. Jose Fray,

      Thank you for your comment. We advise that you should hire a tour guide to accompany you if you want to trek around the Ho Chi Minh trail since the journey will be arduous. If you want to take a motorbike tour to the area, you can take a look at one of our tours for your reference:

      Should you have any concern, please do not hesitate to contact us.

      Chi Nguyen

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