7 Reasons Why You Should Visit Halong Bay in Spring

March and April are great months to visit Halong Bay; the weather is not too hot, not too cold and although there are higher chances of rain and increased humidity, it’s easily one of the most beautiful times of year to visit Halong Bay.

The pleasant weather, coupled with longer days, means there is more opportunity for outdoor activities. Better still, due to the lack of tourists in this period, there’s more space for you to take in the stunning majesty of the Halong Bay.

Picturesque scenery

Halong Bay is an explosion of beauty and charm in spring, where orchids bloom and nature flourishes. The air is fresh and sweet, the scenery is breath-taking, and the temperature is perfect. The weather itself creates an ominous yet alluring mist that sweeps through the bay and fills the ancient cave systems, creating a spectacular display at dawn and dusk.

More daylight hours

One of the major appeals for anyone hoping to get off the sun lounger and into the bay itself is the joy of spring’s increased daylight hours. This gives you more time to get out in the water before watching the sun set over the limestone karsts. March and April receive the most daylight hours of any month in Vietnam, with eight hours of sunlight a day, so don’t miss out.

Not too hot

While Halong Bay’s tourism may peak in fall, it tends to drop in the summer, when the weather is at its hottest and stickiest. In spring, however, the climate is optimal, with temperatures ranging from 19 to 24 degrees Celsius and a lot less humidity, though there are high chances of a light, but consistent, drizzle.

Not too crowded

With Vietnam’s tourism peaking in fall, a holiday in Halong Bay around spring provides a less crowded atmosphere, making ventures off the boat and into the water all the more immersive. On a clear day, you can feel as though you have this ancient seascape all to yourself.

More affordable

Due to the lack of tourism, prices are often lower than other times of the year, making some options more affordable.

Halong Carnival

Landing in April each year, Halong Carnival is the biggest festival in Halong, with a colorful, vibrant atmosphere, thousands of actors, dancers, singers, musicians and students, most of whom are Halong residents.

Optimal time for activities

Warming up after the winter chill, spring offers a comfortable temperature, not too hot, nor too cold. This creates the perfect climate for Halong’s many outdoor activities, including rock climbing, biking, kayaking or hiking, all of which you can enjoy even if there’s a sprinkling of rain.

>> Check out the best Halong Bay overnight cruise

5 Reasons to Spend Lunar New Year in Halong Bay

To those who otherwise unaware of what Lunar New Year, or Tet, means to the Vietnamese, imagine it like a really, really long Christmas day. This is a fantastic time of year to be in Vietnam, providing you choose the right place.

The hillside town of Sapa can be overrun with tourists, and the otherwise vibrant capital city of Hanoi becomes sleepy, with little going on. Halong Bay, however, has proven itself to be the ideal place to be during this time of the year. Here are a few reasons why.

1.     Fewer cruise ships in the bay

There’s a good reason why Halong Bay has become one of Vietnam’s must-see destinations. A UNESCO World Heritage Site full of towering limestone karsts, Halong Bay has become a must-visit destination on many people’s travel plans. This does, however, mean that the tourist trade can often get in the way of the superb landscape.

Fortunately, travel around Tet decreases because many cruise liners close down for the holiday and domestic travelers will opt to spend time with their families. That makes Tet an ideal time to visit Halong Bay, with President Cruises being one of the few cruise liners that don’t let Tet get in the way of your holiday.

>> Check out the best Halong Bay overnight cruise

2.     Traditional food   

As with celebrations elsewhere in the world, Lunar New Year comes with its own traditional food. While these foods may not all be a world away from what is usually on the menu in Vietnam, they all carry their own significance this time of year.

Some of these foods include steamed square cakes, Vietnamese sausage, sticky rice, boiled chicken, candied fruits, pickled onions, and dried bamboo. While they may not all sound appealing to the western palate, they are all essential eats around Tet. Enjoy a good selection of these dishes when cruising with President Cruises.

3.     Easier to travel

Halong Bay is a little unusual compared to a large portion of the country. Travel around much of northern Vietnam will become increasingly difficult this time of year. Hotels and public transport will usually be either fully booked or closed completely. In Halong, however, travel and accommodation will be organised through your cruise ship, which will usher you from destination to destination, taking all of the concern out of your trip.

4.     Atmospheric weather

Weather in Vietnam can have significant deviations throughout the year and Halong Bay is no exception. From May through to September you’ll find extreme heat and downpours, where the rains can wash away some more adventurous plans. December and January are on the colder side and can stump plans to leave the cruise ship. February, however, walks a delicate tightrope between the two. Highs of up to 21 degrees Celsius lend themselves to outdoor adventure, and if there’s drizzle, President Cruises will provide umbrellas.

5.     Traditional decoration – flowers

Tet will fall around the start of spring, where the smell of flower blossom marks the change in the season. Traditionally people will decorate their homes with flowers such as apricot, gladiolus, yellow daisies, lilies, gerberas, orchids and poinsettias. This creates an attractive and friendly atmosphere throughout the bay, decorating this unique and interesting time of year with plenty of color.

Where to Spend Tet (Lunar New Year) in Northern Vietnam

Known in Vietnamese as ‘Tet,’ Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in Vietnamese culture. You’ll find that big cities like Hanoi are suddenly very quiet, whereas sleepier areas like Sapa are overrun with local tourists. Each destination will have their own unique character around Tet.

The main piece of advice when traveling over Lunar New Year would be to book any travel or hotels well in advance. Most people will be traveling to their families, so public transport gets booked up fast. When it comes to hotels, it may be that some aren’t open, making rooms harder to come by.

Here’s our advice on Tet and how it shapes northern Vietnam’s three most popular destinations: Sapa, Hanoi, and Halong Bay.

Sapa  

There are many good reasons why Sapa gets so busy during Tet. This hillside town has plenty going on, and many Vietnamese take advantage of the time they have off to enjoy this mountain destination. But for many, a big part of the appeal of Sapa is its distinctive rice terraces and villages, with a diverse and interesting ethnic makeup.

Depending on when Lunar New Year falls, Sapa will usually be pretty cold. Temperatures reach highs of 13 degrees Celsius and lows of 7, which in the crisp mountain air can feel very chilly.

Staying in Sapa during Lunar New Year will provide many of the normal appealing factors: hikes with stunning views, interesting tribe cultures, charming homestays and awe-inspiring nature. Around this period, though, Sapa livens up a little more and you’ll be able to try some traditional Tet foods, such as chung cake, te cake, pickled onions, and dried bamboo, along with the chance to marvel at the beautiful peach flowers.

If you like the cold and don’t mind the crowds, Sapa is worth considering.

Hanoi

Tet is a chance for residents of Hanoi to visit their families in more rural parts of Vietnam. This means the whole city essentially shuts down, leaving a few major restaurants and a portion of Hanoi’s Old Quarter still open. While this quiet milieu may appeal to some, it does, unfortunately, mean that visitors would be missing Hanoi’s erratic charm.

Due to the lack of people within Hanoi during Tet, one of the top recommended activities would be walking around the capital city’s various lakes. A stroll around West Lake or Hoan Kiem Lake is an activity unlike the conventional Hanoi experience: one of peace and tranquillity in an otherwise hectic city.

Hanoi will usually start to thaw out around Tet, moving away from the colder months of December and January, with temperatures starting to climb to up to 21 degrees Celsius. While this is a suitable temperature for walking, you may experience some light downpour.

If you’d like to see the city at the quietest time of the year, and you don’t mind that many restaurants and street food stalls will be closed, then Hanoi  is a good

Halong Bay   

Halong Bay might be the ideal location in northern Vietnam during Tet. Unlike busy Sapa and quiet Hanoi, Halong Bay remains almost unphased by holiday inconveniences. Cruise-goers aren’t reliant on public transport, so getting to and from destinations is no great difficulty. The same is true of eating and entertainment. Cruise companies like President Cruises won’t allow the holiday chaos to impact on the quality of their cruises.

With a relatively unchanged atmosphere throughout Halong, the bay is a fantastic place to ring in the Lunar New Year. The weather is warm, though not unbearably hot, with highs of 21 degrees Celsius and while it does drizzle, there are no torrential showers. Note that you may want to bring an umbrella. Most importantly, you can travel carefree knowing that the national holiday won’t get in the way of your holiday.

>> Check out the best Halong Bay overnight cruise

With President Cruises, the Ship is the Destination

 

While voyaging through the limestone karsts of this ancient seascape, it’s important to take some time to relax and allow yourself to drift through the waters. At President Cruises, we believe the best way to enjoy this magnificent World Heritage Site is on the ship, and that’s why we supply the largest amount of on-board entertainment of any vessel in the bay. Here’s five reasons why we believe cruising is the best part of the journey.

  • Marvel at the ever-changing scenery

On a President Cruises journey, each cabin comes with the perfect place to enjoy the tranquil scenery as it passes by: Your own private balcony or terrace. It is hard to imagine the vastness of Halong Bay, but as this ship powers through the waters, you’ll be able to see the dramatic cliffs and micro-rainforests sitting on these small islands. You may even spot some wildlife. The magic is in the changes: Each second you cruise the view is different from the last.

  • Avoid the crowds

It is easy to see why Halong Bay is one of Vietnam’s top attractions. It’s a stunning destination and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws people from all over the world. This can, however, mean that all of those hidden gems that Halong Bay possesses aren’t so hidden anymore. Fortunately, when you step aboard President Cruises, the world of tourism is far removed. As the largest cruise ship to ever venture through Halong Bay’s waters, you’ll be able to marvel at this otherworldly destination while sitting high above the crowds.

  • Time to relax

When it comes to a holiday of pampered luxury, there is no better destination than Halong Bay, and there’s no better way to experience it than with President Cruises. Be it lounging on one of our two expansive sundecks, cocktail in hand, or experiencing one of our lavish spa treatments, well-deserved pampering is never too far away. We’ve harnessed the relaxation power of Kaia spa aboard every trip. This esteemed Vietnamese wellness group offers a world-class range of treatments in the ship’s six-room spa.

  • Make the most of the ship

When you climb aboard President Cruises, the number of places to relax don’t stop at your own private balcony or terrace. While this may be the most secluded way of enjoying the sweeping vistas as they pass by the ship, there are plenty of opportunities to find hidden corners. Why not take a leisurely dip in an on-board Jacuzzi while gliding through the bay? Alternatively, take some time to recline on one of our expansive sundecks and watch the sunset, cocktail in hand.

  • The finest in Vietnam dining

We understand that food is an important part of travel. That’s why we’ve worked with Michelin star chef John Burton-Race to curate the only Michelin star menu in the bay. You can enjoy a succulent beefsteak in our glamorous restaurant or chic piano bar, or try the finest in traditional Vietnamese cuisine instead. Cuisine in Vietnam doesn’t get much better than this.

>> Check out the best Halong Bay overnight cruise

 

How is the Weather in Halong Bay in April?

April comes sandwiched between the moderate temperatures of March, which are just escaping the winter chill, and the start of the summer heat in May. Along with an average of eight hours of sunlight a day, which is the highest amount in Halong Bay through the year. All of this makes a decidedly good time to visit Halong Bay, with great opportunities to enjoy the beach, discover the islands, or take in the outdoor activities.

Temperature 

April has a few extra degrees on March, with average temperatures of 23 degrees Celsius. This is an ideal temperature for many, and a good time to enjoy the bay before May, where temperatures climb up to an average of 28 degrees. While highs in April have the ability to reach 28 degrees, the lows only make their way down to 21, making the normal temperature very comfortable and enjoyable.

Rainfall

As the temperatures begin to rise, so does the rainfall, with 57mm over an average of 13 days. That number is still fairly dry compared to the summer, where highs can reach 265mm over an average of 16 days. Like March, however, April can experience those long drizzles, where a small amount of rain stretches for long periods, unlike the sudden but brief showers in the summer months.

Sea temperature

If the idea of long periods of rain deters from sunbathing on Halong Bay’s white sandy beaches, you may find the temperature of the sea in the bay a little more alluring. In April, average sea temperatures reach 29 degrees Celsius, which is the highest in the year, along with December, January, February and March. This makes for a very comfortable and relaxing swimming experience.

Overall, the weather in April makes for one of the most comfortable times of year to come to the bay and while this can mean a higher number of tourists, you will have to consider the pros and cons. Fortunately, if you book a cruise with President Cruises, you’ll be far removed from the hustle and bustle of the tourist industry, with our expansive sundecks and on board activities.

>> Follow the weather in Halong Bay in April 

How is the Weather in Halong Bay in March?

March in Halong Bay signifies the end of the cold winter months and the beginning of spring: Temperatures rise, as does rainfall and humidity. The good thing about the weather in March is the higher average temperature. This does, unfortunately have some negative side effects like the longer rainy spells indicative of the warmer months. While this does give the bay an almost prehistoric glamor, it can dampen the adventurous spirit.

Temperature

Halong Bay begins to thaw in March, ushering in warmer weather. Expect average temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius, with highs of 23 and lows of 18. This is a delightful time of year to spend outdoors, exploring the caves or simply lounging around, providing you can avoid the light showers.

Sunlight

As Vietnam is so close to the equator, sunrise and sunset don’t tend to deviate significantly, with seven to eight hours of sunlight a day throughout the year. March is on the higher end of this scale, with an average of around 8 hours of sunlight a day.

Humidity

With March’s mix of higher temperatures and increased levels of rainfall, humidity levels are inevitably higher than the winter months, with around 75% humidity. This is still lower than the average, however, which is 90% humidity for monsoon season.

Rainfall

Looking at how much rain falls through March can be misleading. While the average rainfall through the entire month is 53mm over around 13 days, it is more consistent than that of the summer months. This means that, while there is less rain, it continues for a longer period, making it less desirable to pursue outdoor activities.

Overall March is a good month to visit. The humidity is low, making activities less tiresome, and the light rains can turn this ancient seascape into a surreal and awe-inspiring picture. Some might find, however, that the consistent rainfall leads something to be desired.

>> Follow the weather in Halong Bay in March 

Halong Bay in Spring

There is not a bad time to visit Halong Bay as each season has its own charm, from the atmospheric fog of winter to the bright blue skies of summer. But like much of northern Vietnam, weather in Halong Bay is unpredictable. Here we give you the best guide possible for spring but note that seasonal shifts and freak weather might blow the information a little off-course.

Spring is a tricky season in Halong Bay. It starts off chilly and wet, but it heats up quickly as the days roll on and we head toward summer. Winter is over by the end of February and Halong Bay hits summer in May, so spring usually falls in between: March and April. Below are answers to the three questions we get asked the most, with some advice on what to pack.

Is Halong Bay Cold?

Generally speaking, spring is not cold in Halong Bay. Although the winter chill can sometimes linger from February, temperatures have usually risen to a comfortable 17-22 degrees Celsius. However, note that the sea winds and high humidity levels can make Halong Bay feel colder than it is. 20 degrees may be t-shirt weather at home, but in Halong Bay you’ll need a light jacket. By April, Halong Bay has heated up to a warm 20-25 degrees. This means that this is generally a good time of year for activities, like visiting atmospheric caves and climbing to the tops of mountains. And remember that on President Cruises, we have an outdoor Jacuzzi to warm you up on those cooler evenings.

Is Halong Bay Humid? 

Yes, Halong Bay is humid in March and April. Humidity always makes you more susceptible to the temperature: 15 degrees can feel like 5 degrees and 30 degrees can feel like 40 degrees. Spring is a humid season, which means that you need to check the temperature and pack accordingly. Make sure you have warmer clothes available for early spring and cool, breathable clothing for late spring. All the President Cruises cabins have temperature control, so if you need to cool down, warm up, or escape the humidity at any point during the cruise, simply retire to your cabin and enjoy the views with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Is Halong Bay wet?

This is a tricky one to answer as precipitation levels in March and April are generally low: just 50mm of rainfall for each month. To put this into perspective, August, which is Halong Bay’s wettest month, has over 250mm of rainfall – five times as much! But that doesn’t mean that spring is dry. Halong Bay is wet with light drizzle for half of March and over a third of April, so you need to make sure that you bring light waterproof clothing. Although the capacious sundecks aboard President Cruises might not be desirable places to unwind when it’s wet, all the private balconies are sheltered, making them the perfect places to sit back and enjoy the scenery in spite of the drizzle.

>>  Follow the weather in Halong Bay in Spring