21 epic places to visit in Vietnam in December and January

Looking for the best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January? Here’s how to prepare for an epic Vietnamese adventure!

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If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam and wondering when to go, December and January are two months you should definitely consider.

From the cool, misty mountains of the north to the warm, sunny beaches in the south, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone.

In this post, I’ll guide you through the best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January, so you’ll make the most of your travels during these months.

Let’s take a look!

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Vietnam weather in December and January

In December and January, Vietnam’s weather varies by region.

The north is cool and dry, Central Vietnam sees warmer climates, while the south enjoys a hot, dry season. All in all, it’s a great time for travel throughout the country!

Here’s a table with the average temperatures in Vietnam in January and December:

RegionDecember temperaturesJanuary temperatures
North Vietnam59-68°F (15-20°C)59-68°F (15-20°C)
Central Vietnam68-86°F (20-30°C)68-86°F (20-30°C)
South Vietnam77-86°F (25-30°C)77-86°F (25-30°C)

The best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January

🇻🇳 Northern Vietnam

If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam in December or January, definitely consider heading to the north. It has the most beautiful landscapes and a lot of cultural spots.

Read next: 2 week North Vietnam itinerary you should grab

1. Ha Long Bay

So, if you want a place that’s out of this world, consider Ha Long Bay.

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Vietnam’s top attractions, known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped with rainforests.

In December and January, the weather is cooler, and the calmer seas provide excellent conditions for cruising and water activities like kayaking.

Book here – All-Inclusive OVERNIGHT Halong Cruises

Vietnam

2. Hanoi Old Quarter

The Old Quarter in Hanoi is really lively, especially around December and January when the festive vibe is pretty contagious.

You’ll find streets here that date back to the 13th century, each named for the goods it historically traded.

With holiday decorations up, it’s a great time to see the blend of historic and modern life, check out some cool sights, and really get a feel for Vietnam’s culture.

Hanoi, Vietnam

3. Sa Pa

Sa Pa in December is pretty special because that’s when the buckwheat flowers bloom, turning the terraced fields into a sea of pink and purple.

It’s also home to a mix of ethnic groups, so there are a lot of different cultures to learn about.

Sure, it’s chilly, but that’s actually perfect for trekking and taking in all the amazing views.

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Sa Pa

4. Hue

Hue is kind of in the middle of Vietnam but it’s usually lumped in with the northern spots. It’s loaded with history – think ancient emperors and grand palaces.

You’ve got the Perfume River flowing through the city and the Thien Mu Pagoda, which is old and iconic.

The weather is cool but nice around this time, so it’s solid for getting out and seeing everything. If you’re into the historical side of things, you’ll like Hue.

🏯 Book here – Hue City Deluxe Group Tour 

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Hue

5. Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

This UNESCO spot is a playground for anyone who loves a good adventure. It’s packed with some of the most incredible caves and grottoes you can find.

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park just kind of pulls you in to go trekking and check out all the unreal scenery.

Plus, winter weather is spot on for these kinds of outdoor activities. If you’re up for exploring and getting a bit of a thrill, this is your kind of place.

🗻 Book here – Phong Nha & Paradise Cave

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Phong Nha-Ke Bang

6. Cat Ba Island

An extension to your Ha Long Bay visit, Cat Ba is a sanctuary of rainforests, beaches, and rugged coastlines.

You can try kayaking and snorkeling even in the cooler season for a unique experience.

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Cat Ba Island

7. Cao Bang and Ban Gioc Waterfall

The far north is home to the spectacular Ban Gioc Waterfall bordering China.

It’s one of the best places to go in Vietnam, particularly for the impressive views and nearby treks you can undertake in the crisp weather.

Book here – Ban Gioc Waterfall 2 Days 1 Night From Hanoi

Vietnam

8. Tam Coc – Bich Dong

Ninh Binh’s Tam Coc-Bich Dong area is pretty much Ha Long Bay on land. Taking a river cruise there is awesome because you get up close to these massive karst mountains and green rice fields.

In December, the weather’s usually dry, making it perfect for cruising around and taking in the sights without worrying about rain.

If you’re into nature and cool landscapes, you’ll want to add this spot to your list.

Book here – Hoa Lu – Tam Coc: Boat Trip and Bicycle Ride

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Tam Coc

🇻🇳 Central Vietnam

During December and January, Central Vietnam is a great mix of chill spots and culture. You’ve got the peaceful Hoi An Ancient Town and then all the history packed into Hue.

The weather’s usually on your side too, so it’s a sweet spot for checking out this part of Vietnam. Whether you’re into relaxing in old towns or digging into the past, you’ll find something to do here.

9. Hoi An

Walking around Hoi An Ancient Town is like stepping back in time. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for buildings that have stood the test of time and its spot right by the river.

The weather is usually mild, so it’s comfortable for wandering around, checking out the history, and maybe hitting up a cultural festival or two.

If you’re into old-world charm, Hoi An’s got plenty of it.

Hoi An, Vietnam

10. Da Nang

Da Nang has some nice clean beaches and that unique Dragon Bridge everyone talks about.

You can expect plenty of sunny days, which are perfect for hanging out on the sand or diving into some beach sports. Come December, it’s easier to find a good place to stay, and you won’t have to deal with the crowds you get in the high season.

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Da Nang

11. My Son Sanctuary

Discover the My Son Sanctuary, a series of ancient Hindu temples in a lush valley.

The cooler dry season enhances the experience of sightseeing these historical ruins, representing the best of Vietnam’s Champa Kingdom.

Book here – Private / Small group My Son Sanctuary morning tour

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - My Son Sanctuary

12. Dalat

Visit Dalat, known for its mild weather and European-influenced architecture.

It’s one of the best places in Vietnam to visit if you’re interested in outdoor activities. Hiking and mountain biking are great ways to take advantage of the cooler temperatures.

Book an adventure – Canyoning Dalat Vietnam

Vietnam

13. Trang An Landscape Complex

The Trang An Landscape Complex is a peaceful spot that’s all about boat cave tours.

It’s a nice break from the city life. In December, there’s not much rain, so it’s pretty much the perfect time to hop on a boat and glide through the waterways.

You’ll be cruising with huge limestone karsts all around you. If you’re into quiet adventures and cool natural sights, Trang An in December is the way to go.

Book a tour from Hanoi: Trang An Cave, Buffet, Cycling and Boat

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Trang An

🇻🇳 Southern Vietnam

Southern Vietnam is a treasure trove of diverse destinations with something for every traveler. Whether you’re searching for sunny beaches or a taste of the region’s history and culture, the south has it all.

The weather is predominantly dry and warm in December and January, offering ideal conditions for exploring.

14. Nha Trang

Nha Trang has great beaches and spots for scuba diving. The water is clear, so snorkeling is top-notch, especially with all the colorful coral reefs.

Plus, there are plenty of sunny days, so it’s also a prime place for catching some rays on the beach.

Book here – 3 Islands Tour of Nha Trang

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Nha Trang

15. Mui Ne

Mui Ne is a lively resort town where the wind is just right for kite and wind surfing.

There’s a pretty beach with palm trees and some huge sand dunes that are begging for some exploring.

Book here – Sand Dunes Jeep Tour with Friendly English Guide

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Mui Ne

16. Ho Chi Minh City

Formerly called Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is where Vietnam’s economic pulse is strongest.

For a deep dive into the country’s past, you can visit the War Remnants Museum.

It’s a place where you’ll get a mix of modern city life and important history all in one vibrant, bustling metropolis.

Book here – Ho Chi Minh City Private Half-Day Tour by U.S Army Jeep

Ho Chi Minh city

17. Phu Quoc Island

Phu Quoc Island is famous for its white-sand beaches and fancy resorts.

It’s perfect for anyone who loves the beach or diving, with lots of coral species to see underwater.

Book here – PREMIUM snorkel & islands hopping

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Phu Quoc Island

18. Cu Chi Tunnels

Dive into Vietnam’s past at the Cu Chi Tunnels, a key part of guerrilla warfare in the Vietnam War.

It’s a hands-on way to get a feel for the country’s dramatic history.

Book here – Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta – Luxury Tour

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Cu Chi Tunnels

19. Con Dao Islands

Once infamous for their prisons, today the Con Dao Islands is the place to go for breathtaking secluded beaches and a serene escape from the hustle of the mainland.

It’s one of the best places in Vietnam for honeymooners seeking intimacy amidst natural beauty.

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Con Dao Islands

20. Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is a network of rivers, swamps, and islands where floating markets thrive, especially the notable Cai Rang market.

It’s a key agricultural hub for Vietnam, often called the ‘rice bowl,’ and is rich in biodiversity.

Take a boat tour here for a peek into traditional life and the region’s ecological and cultural diversity.

Book here – Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta – Luxury Tour

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Mekong Delta

21. Quy Nhon

Quy Nhon is a quiet coastal city with uncrowded beaches and historical sites like the Cham-era Banh It Towers.

It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a less touristy destination in Vietnam.

best places to visit in Vietnam in December and January - Quy Nhon

FAQ – Best places to visit in Vietnam

What is the most beautiful part of Vietnam?

The most beautiful part of Vietnam is North Vietnam, particularly Halong Bay for its impressive cliffs and clear waters.

Which part of Vietnam is best?

I’d say the north of Vietnam is truly special. It’s got a charm with its cultural depth, stunning scenery like Halong Bay, and the vibrant streets of Hanoi.

Where should I go for the first time in Vietnam?

For a first-time visit to Vietnam, I’d recommend starting with Hanoi to soak in the culture and history, then heading to Halong Bay for its iconic scenery.

Should I visit Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City?

Both are great, but for a mix of history and culture, Hanoi is a fantastic choice. If you prefer a more dynamic, urban experience, then Ho Chi Minh City is where to go!

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Explore my guide to the best places to visit in Vietnam in December. Find out where to go and things to do in Vietnam during the cooler month and how to kick off your new year with Vietnam in January. #VietnamInDecember #VietnamInJanuary #VietnamTravel

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