When It Rains in Vietnam

Like its Southeast Asian neighbors, the annual monsoons regulate Vietnam’s weather, with distinct wet and dry season. But because of its length and geographical variety, the weather pattern differs from one area to the next, including the beginning, duration and intensity of the rains.

In the north, the rains start in May, are heaviest from July through September and begin lessening in October. In central Vietnam, from Quảng Binh to Quy Nhơn, the biggest rains are in September-October, dropping to half as much the following two months. Below Quy Nhơn, though, it rains much less, and Ninh Thuận and Bình Thuận are the two most arid provinces in the country. In the Mekong Delta the wettest months are June through September.

Rainy days are not the same everywhere, either. While central provinces may get lots of all-day downpours at the peak of the wet season, and an occasional typhoon or two each year, elsewhere the bulk of the rain usually falls at night, with just scattered showers interrupting the daytime. Stormy days will keep the fishing boats moored in the harbors and may even prevent going out on Hạ Long Bay.

Dark clouds or rain will certainly affect a traveler’s photographic record of the journey, yet for many of the attractions, like temples, mausoleums, citadels, museums, old houses etc., a good portion of the tine is spent inside. If inclement weather forces a cancellation of a Hạ Long Bay trip, one can compensate with visits to the Ethnology Museum and Army Museum for insights into Vietnam’s history and culture. And in the Mekong Delta, whether the water level is high or low, fishing and the transport of goods continues at the same pace as during the dry season.

For most people in Vietnam, the rains will mean at most a change in seasonal chores. Otherwise, life goes on, rain or shine. For travelers only free to visit in the monsoon season, there is still much to see and appreciate.

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