A Quick Guide To The Best Time To Visit Vietnam and Cambodia [Updated 2024]


Vietnam and Cambodia are gems of Southeast Asia, each with its own charm, from the bustling streets of Hanoi and the majestic temples of Angkor Wat, to captivating heritages, and not to mention the delectable cuisines. As enchanting as these tropical destinations are, knowing the best time to visit Vietnam and Cambodia is crucial for any itinerary, ensuring you experience these jewels under the most favorable conditions. In this article, let’s unveil the ideal travel seasons and all the insights you need to plan your perfect getaway.

Understanding the Climate of Vietnam and Cambodia

Vietnam Weather

Vietnam’s climate is as diverse as its landscapes, stretching over several climatic zones. The country can essentially be split into three distinct regions – the north, central, and south – each with its own weather patterns.

  • In the North, including Hanoi and the mountainous Sapa, you’ll find four seasons. Winters (from November to April) are cooler and can be misty, while summers (from May to October) bring heat and heavy rains, making for lush, green scenery. The best time for clear skies and moderate temperatures is during spring (March and April) and autumn (October and November).
  • Moving to the Central region, which includes historic towns like Hue and Hoi An, the climate is split between dry and wet seasons. The wet season (from September to December) often sees typhoons, while the dry season (from January to August) is warm and sunny, perfect for beach-going and exploration.
  • The South, featuring Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, experiences a tropical climate with two main seasons: wet and dry. The wet season (from May to October) is characterized by short and heavy downpours, usually in the afternoon, whereas the dry season (from November to April) is the best time to soak up the vibrant city life or cruise the delta, with minimal rainfall interrupting your plans.

>> Read More: Ultimate Guide: When And Where To Visit In Vietnam For The First Time?

Cambodia Weather

Cambodia enjoys a more straightforward climate with two seasons: the wet (from May to October) and the dry (from November to April).

  • The wet season brings with it the monsoon rains, which can make rural roads muddy but also lush and full of life.
  • The dry season is characterized by hot and sunny days, with the coolest months being November to February – ideal for temple-hopping and city tours.


Each country has its distinctive climate

Best Time to Visit Vietnam and Cambodia

Why November – April is The Best Time to See Both Countries

The period from November to April is widely regarded as the best time to visit Vietnam and Cambodia due to the favorable weather conditions. During these months, both countries experience their dry seasons, which bring about cooler temperatures, lower humidity, and minimal rainfall, making it ideal for travelers who want to explore comfortably without the unpredictability of monsoon showers.

Top Experiences to Do During November – April Time in Vietnam and Cambodia

  • Cultural Immersion

Celebrate Tet Nguyen Dan, the Vietnamese New Year, typically falling in late January or early February. It’s the most important and vibrant festivity in Vietnam, marked by parades, lantern releases, and sumptuous family feasts. The streets bloom with decorations, and the air buzzes with excitement, offering visitors a chance to see the country at its most festive.

  • Angkor Wat in Its Glory

Cambodia’s crowning jewel, Angkor Wat, is best visited during these dry months. Without the monsoon downpours, you can explore the temple complex in its full, majestic glory. The cooler mornings of November to February are perfect for watching the sunrise over the temples, offering breathtaking photo opportunities and a chance to see the ancient stones gleaming under clear blue skies.


Visit this most majestic temple in Siem Reap

  • Mekong Delta Magic

During the best time to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia, Mekong Delta in Vietnam is particularly enchanting during this season. Cruising through the lush rice paddies, floating markets, and traditional villages is a serene experience as this is when the water levels are high and the landscape is vibrant. Take a boat ride in Ben Tre to see the coconut candy factories, or visit Cai Rang’s bustling floating market for a splash of local color and culture.

  • Festival Galore

Immerse yourself in various festivals, such as the monthly lantern festival in Hoi An, where the streets come alive with lights and various shows along the river. In Cambodia, don’t miss the Water Festival, or Bon Om Touk, usually held in November, with its energetic boat races and riverside festivities. For a truly unique experience, make a visit to the elephant races in Surin, Thailand, located near the Cambodian border, where these gentle giants become the stars of the show.

  • Beach Escapes

Vietnam’s extensive coastline is home to some stunning beaches, and the best time to enjoy them is from November to April when the skies are clear and the sea is calm. The beaches of Phu Quoc Island, Nha Trang, and Da Nang offer sun-soaked relaxation, water sports, and the freshest seafood. Cambodia’s coastal town of Sihanoukville and the nearby Koh Rong archipelago also boast pristine beaches perfect for sunbathing, snorkeling, and diving during these dry months.


Relax in Da Nang beach, Vietnam

>> Read More: Top 8 Vietnam Beaches That Definitely Should Be On Your List

  • Heritage and History

Take advantage of the pleasant weather to delve into the rich history of these countries. In Vietnam, the ancient capital of Hue offers imperial citadels and tombs, while in Cambodia, beyond Angkor, the lesser-known but equally fascinating temples of Beng Mealea and Koh Ker invite exploration without the crowds, allowing for a more reflective journey back in time.

  • Culinary Delights

The cooler, drier season is also the perfect time to indulge in the street food scenes of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia. Savor pho in a bustling market, sample fresh spring rolls on a street corner, or discover the complex flavors of Khmer curries. Food festivals are plentiful during this period, offering a delicious entry point into the heart of these countries’ cultures.

  • Adventure Activities

For the more adventurous, this period is ideal for outdoor activities. In Vietnam, the central highlands and the terraced rice fields of Sapa offer incredible trekking opportunities. Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains become a playground for eco-treks and wildlife spotting, with clearer paths and fewer mosquitos.

>> Read More: Experience Extreme Sports in Cambodia, Why Not?

Should You Visit Vietnam and Cambodia During Other Seasons?

Shoulder Season (May – October)

The shoulder seasons occur just before and after the peak travel months, which in Vietnam and Cambodia means May and October. These months can offer a balance between the benefits of the high season and the drawbacks of the low season.

The shoulder season often sees fewer tourists, which can mean less crowded attractions and a more authentic experience. Additionally, prices for accommodation and tours may be lower, and you might enjoy more personal attention from guides and service staff.

However, the weather can be unpredictable, with the chance of early or lingering monsoon rains, especially in May, or the buildup of heat and humidity in October. These conditions could potentially interfere with outdoor activities and travel plans.

Top Experiences in The Shoulder Season


There are still some exciting things to do during the shoulder season

  • Halong Bay Cruise: In May, the bay may be less crowded, and you can enjoy the stunning limestone karsts and tranquil waters with fewer tourist boats around.
  • Kite surfing in Mui Ne: October is still a good month for kite surfing in Vietnam’s premier wind and kite surfing destination, Mui Ne.
  • Bird watching in Prek Toal: The largest water bird colony in Southeast Asia is located in Cambodia, and October can be an excellent time for bird watching before the wet season fully ends.

Low Season (June – August)

The low season coincides with the wet season from June to September. This period is often less favorable for visitors due to the heavier rainfall and hotter temperatures, particularly in the more rural and undeveloped areas where infrastructure might be affected by flooding.

If you don’t mind the rain, visiting during the low season comes with its advantages. You’ll find even fewer tourists than during the shoulder season, and it is much better to enjoy the less-crowded views of UNESCO World Heritage sites like Angkor Wat or the Imperial City of Hue. This allows for a more intimate and serene experience. Moreover, the landscape is at its lushest, and the rain often comes in short, heavy bursts, leaving the rest of the day for exploration.

The downsides of the low season include the potential for travel disruptions due to heavy rains, which can cause flooding and muddy rural roads, making some areas inaccessible. The high humidity can also be uncomfortable, and in coastal regions, the chances of typhoons increase.

Top Experiences in The Low Season


Some alternatives you should try in the low season

  • Exploring the temples: The temples of Angkor in Cambodia are less crowded. You can enjoy the moody atmosphere the monsoon brings, with fewer tourists and photogenic, lush surroundings.
  • Visiting waterfalls: This is the perfect time to see Vietnam’s and Cambodia’s waterfalls in full force. For instance, the Ban Gioc-Detian Falls or the Kbal Chhay Waterfalls near Sihanoukville.
  • Spa and wellness: Take advantage of the rainy season to indulge in spa treatments and wellness retreats, which are plentiful in both countries, often incorporating traditional healing practices.
  • Cultural museums and indoor attractions: Take the opportunity to visit museums, art galleries, and cultural shows, like the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City or the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh.

Traveling during the shoulder or low seasons can offer distinctive experiences that you wouldn’t encounter during the peak season, providing you’re prepared for the weather and potential travel disruptions. With a flexible and open-minded approach, any time can be the right time to explore the enchanting landscapes and rich cultures of Vietnam and Cambodia.

3 Suggestions For A Perfect Vietnam and Cambodia Trip

A Luxury Journey to Cambodia and Vietnam 

  • Route: Siem Reap →Hanoi → Ninh Binh → Ha Long Bay → Hue → Da Nang → Hoi An → HCM City → Cu Chi Tunnels → Mekong Delta
  • 15-day Handcrafted Tour
  • Travel Style: Beach Escapes, Culture & Heritage, Luxury Travel

Embark on an opulent journey through the heart of Indochina, where the mystical charms of Cambodia’s ancient Angkor temples and the serene expanses of Tonle Sap Lake form the prelude to Vietnam’s cultural symphony.

From the vibrant streets of Hanoi and the enchanting ‘Halong on Land’ in Ninh Binh to the majestic Halong Bay itself, your cruise will glide past awe-inspiring seascapes. Relive the grandeur of historical empires in Hue and Hoi An before immersing yourself in the pulsating river life of the Mekong Delta and the dynamic vigor of Ho Chi Minh City.


Ho Chi Minh City Hall, an outstanding French structure

This comprehensive 15-day trip in the best time to visit Vietnam and Cambodia is a mosaic of cultural experiences, natural wonders, and a testament to the timeless allure of Vietnam and Cambodia.

>> See The Detailed Tour: Luxury Vietnam & Cambodia Tour

Insightful Travel To Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia

  • Route: HCM City → Cu Chi Tunnels → Can Tho (Mekong Delta) → Da Nang → Hoi An → Hue → Hanoi → Sapa → Halong Bay → Luang Prabang → Vang Vieng → Vientiane → Siem Reap → Phnom Penh
  • 26-day Handcrafted Tour
  • Travel Style: Off The Beaten Path

Prepare for an epic 26-day adventure that delves beyond the surface and into the soul of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

Start your tale in the bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City and meander through the lush waterways of the Mekong Delta. Witness the harmonious blend of history and modernity in Hoi An and Hue, before journeying north to the terraced highlands of Sapa. Each destination is a chapter in a richer story, leading you through the serene beauty of Halong Bay to the spiritual serenity of Luang Prabang.


Join a night tour in Hue

As you navigate the timeless flow of the Mekong, uncover the layered histories of Vientiane and marvel at the architectural triumphs of Siem Reap. Culminate your exploration in Phnom Penh, where the city’s pulse narrates tales of resilience and revival. This tour is not just a trip; it’s a comprehensive manuscript of the Indochinese narrative.

>> See The Detailed Tour: Discover Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

Recommended Trip To Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand For First Timers 

  • Route: Hanoi → Halong Bay → Hoi An → Hue → HCM City → Mekong Delta → Siem Reap → Bangkok
  • 16-day Handcrafted Tour
  • Travel Style: Family, Culinary, Culture & Heritage

This grand 16-day tour is an invitation to experience the essence of Southeast Asia through the dynamic trio of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Begin with the pulse of Hanoi’s lively heritage before sailing through the emerald waters of Halong Bay. Meander through Hoi An’s lantern-lit streets and delve into Hue’s regal history. As you traverse southward, the urban allure of Ho Chi Minh City and the subterranean mysteries of Cu Chi offer contrasting insights into Vietnam’s multifaceted character. Cross into Cambodia to stand amidst the awe-inspiring Angkor temples, a majestic ode to the Khmer Empire. Your journey culminates in the exotic vibrancy of Bangkok, with a historical sojourn to the ancient city of Ayutthaya.


Admire the Ayutthaya landscape

Each destination unfolds like a chapter from an epic saga, promising a tale filled with captivating narratives and breathtaking scenes.

>> See The Detailed Tour: Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand Tour

Plan Your Next Adventure in Asia

Finding the best time to visit Vietnam and Cambodia is vital to experiencing the full splendor of Indochina. Whether you’re drawn by the cool, breezy climate of Vietnam’s winter months or the lush, verdant landscapes following Cambodia’s monsoon season, timing your visit enhances the magic of your journey.

Asia Pioneer Travel specializes in curating trips that capture the essence of each destination in its prime, ensuring your adventure aligns with the best times to explore these vibrant cultures. Contact our travel designers immediately to begin Crafting Your Ideal Itinerary, and go on a journey to Vietnam and Cambodia following the seasons and your sense of discovery.

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