Vietnam best time of year (review and guide)

Do you know when is the best time of year in Vietnam?

Remember, north Vietnam has four seasons while the south basically has only two, wet and dry. Wet season is south is normally from September through December.

Vietnam best time of year (review and guide)
Vietnam best time of year (review and guide)

Anytime is actually good time for Vietnam due to its geographic north and south spread. In the south after January will be more dry, while up north cooler weather will dominate during winter times.

But it depends. In the South, including Saigon, the dry season is from December to April. The rest of the year it’s rainy especially in October when there can be flooding. That said, even in rainy season it may just rain hard for one hour a day and then be okay the rest of the day. The plus also is that after rains humidity goes way down. In the North, December and January can be pretty cold.

Public bus in Hanoi, from Hanoi Airport to Old Quarter

Public bus in Hanoi, from Hanoi Airport to Old Quarter

I am in love… with the Hanoi bus service. If you want to move from Hanoi airport to center, please choose the bus No. 86: http://www.wikichoices.com/2016/11/86-bus-route.html

Public bus in Hanoi, from Hanoi Airport to Old Quarter
Public bus in Hanoi, from Hanoi Airport to Old Quarter

It’s brilliant. Once you get to grips with the routes it makes you wonder why anyone would risk life and limb riding around Hanoi on a moped.

At the bus stop in Hanoi, Vietnam wearing a face mask and shades

People will tell you it is slow, complicated and a hot bed of crime. But these tend to be people who never use the bus service. Touch wood, I have had nothing but good experiences on the buses.

And riding the bus is one of the best places to get a free Vietnamese lesson. Sit up the back and say ‘Xin chao’ and you are in. Equally being a Tay (foreigner) you attract attention from other passengers keen to try out their English on you. It is good craic when you get a bit of cultural exchange going on.

At six foot one, wearing a face mask and having a bus pass round my neck, I hardly blend in, “Oh look, there’s a giant Tay wearing a cute monkey face mask and he’s got a bus pass too, wtf.”

On a Hanoi bus in Vietnam while wearing sunglasses and a face mask

Six months ago I found that almost without exception whenever I clambered aboard I would be the only Westerner on the bus. That, however, seems to be slowly changing as more expats (white migrants) abandon two wheeled madness for an air conditioned bus.

Even if you do occasionally screw up all is not lost. Simply get up and stare at the destination board. Within 15 seconds someone with English will come to your rescue and help you figure out where to get off and which bus to catch to get to your destination.

The bus service is also cheap as chips. My bus pass – which is good for a month and can be used on all services – costs the equivalent of £6.24. This is a little over half of what you would pay for a weekly ticket for one bus route in Scotland.

But when the buses stop running about 9pm – the only downside – it is sometimes an occasional necessity to take to two wheels. Fares though should not top 100,000 VND, much less if you want to haggle long and hard with the only xe om (motorbike taxi) driver around in the rain at midnight in a deserted part of Hanoi.

Driving a moped round these parts is not for the faint hearted. I can only envision blood, guts, broken bones and brain tissue (mine) with me being in charge of the controls. Hiring your own moped, as many foreigners do, will set you back US$50-$75 per month plus you have to organise a licence and put money aside for other incidental expenditure such as smoothing things with the Ha Noi traffic cops. So I am told. I am sure that’s a scurrilous lie though.

And here is the Public buses in Hanoi, from Hanoi Airport to Old Quarter: http://www.hanoiweather.info/2016/11/hanoi-airport-bus-shutte.html

86 Bus Route from Hanoi Old Quarter and center to Hanoi airport

A new limited stop bus service to Hà Nội‘s Noi Bai airport has been launched.

86 Bus Route from Hanoi Old Quarter and center to Hanoi airport
86 Bus Route from Hanoi Old Quarter and center to Hanoi airport

The new 86 bus service commences from Hanoi Railway Station (Le Duan) and stops as follows:

Ly Thuong Kiet (Melia Hotel); Ha Noi Central Post Office at Hoan Kiem lake, which now has a bus shelter; Long Bien bus station; Yen Phu-Cua Bac; Au Co-Xuan Dieu; Terminal 2 Noi Bai, international departures; Terminal 1 Noi Bai, domestic departures.

Passengers waiting at Long Bien bus station, Hanoi, Vietnam

The frequency is every 20-30 minutes commencing 05:10, estimated journey time is 80 minutes. The last bus is 21:45, arriving at Noi Bai at 23:00. The fare is 30,000 VND. You cannot use your Hanoibus bus card on this service.

Bus No.7 from Kim Ma and Bus 17 from Long Bien bus station continue as normal.

Read details of Hanoi bus here: http://www.hanoiweather.info/2016/11/hanoi-airport-bus-shutte.html

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Best time to visit Hanoi
Hanoi to Mai Chau

When is the best time to visit & travel Hanoi Vietnam

When is the best time to visit & travel Hanoi Vietnam? Hanoi has four seasons and every one is so beautiful. Nice to meet you in Hanoi Vietnam

1. Spring in Hanoi

Spring in Hanoi is short and often from the last days of January (http://www.hanoiweather.info/2015/12/hanoi-weather-in-january.html) to March or first days of April. Spring coming means a new lunar year is coming. People in Hanoi as well as other places in Vietnam are eager to enjoy the Tet holiday – the biggest holiday and festival of Vietnam every year.

When is the best time to visit & travel Hanoi Vietnam
When is the best time to visit & travel Hanoi Vietnam

On Tet holiday, Hanoi is quiet and peaceful, different from the noisiness of daily life. Despite enjoying the Tet holiday of Vietnam, tourists travel to Vietnam at that time will have to meet some difficulties, because there are little services, so the price is much higher.

The weather in spring is much warmer, humid and has drizzling rains. This kind of weather is suitable for the plants to grow and flowers to blossom. The green buds appear on the trees and flowers seem to be more beautiful in the spring. Peach-blossom, especially Nhat Tan peach-blossom, is a very famous kind of flower of Hanoi in the occasion of Tet holiday. Other kinds of flower, such as rose, gladiolus, narcissus…, are also more beautiful than in other seasons. Tourists who love taking photos can have a chance to take photos with “Sưa flower” or “Mountain-ebony flower” (Ban Flower) in some streets of Hanoi.

2. Summer in Hanoi

Hanois summers often begin on the middle April but it starts to get hot from May and lasts to the end of August. It is hotter and hotter (always over 30°C), and July is usually the hottest month of a year. Sometimes the temperature outside can reach 40°C. Moreover, heavy rain (read more: Hanoi rainy season) is one feature of Hanois summer, along with high humidity. Be ready to be sweat under the sun during days, event at night, it is still too hot.

When is the best time to visit & travel Hanoi Vietnam
When is the best time to visit & travel Hanoi Vietnam

Based on the uncomfortable weather conditions, summer seems to be the hardest season for tourists to travel to Hanoi. However, Hanoi in summer is colorful with many kinds of flower. White Madonna lily on April, red flamboyant and violet Lagerstroemia speciosa (Bang Lang flower) on May, and WestLake lotus on June will attract people to take photos. Summer is a season of variety of fruits in the north of Vietnam. And you can taste them in the capital of Hanoi, such as: grapefruit, litchi, mango, watermelon, pineapple…

The symbol of the summer in Hanoi and Vietnam is the lotus flower. Every year, from May to July according to the lunar calendar, the ponds near the West Lake are covered with the pink of lotus blossoms, which have become a favourite rendezvous of young people in Hanoi and the endless inspiration for artists to create art. During this time of the year, the fragrance of lotus flowers follow vendors to every corner of the streets and its alluring perfume seems to mingle into the air and reminds Hanoians of the past. It is hard to find another flower with a fragrance that is more attracting than that of lotus.

Hanoi also has many precious lotus varieties, especially those from the West Lake area. Some parts of lotus flowers are used as medicine or to scent tea, making it a tonic drink for a healthy physical and mental life. Visiting the West Lake area during the lotus season, people have a chance to not only enjoy the pure beauty of lotus flowers - the symbol of culture, spirit and elegant personality of the Vietnamese, but also to buy lotus scented tea, a famous specialty of Hanoi. Click here to check out more about Hanoi West Lake

3. Hanoi in Autumn

With me, autumn is the most beautiful season in Hanoi, when the climate is cool and dry but still sunny. Autumn in Hanoi begins when people can feel the smell of alstonia scholaris (that means milk flowers) in the streets at cool nights and it lasts from September to November before getting cold.

People need to wear a light overcoat or a cardigan when go out. Hanoi in autumn is truly romantic and peaceful. You can see the many yellow and red leaf trees along the streets, the sky is bluer, and the water in many lakes of Hanoi is greener. It is also good time to enjoy the mid-autumn festival, one of the biggest festivals each year in Vietnam celebrated on the lunar August, 15th. Besides milk flowers with special smell, daisy is an autumn’s specific flower, along with Cốm (green rice flakes) – a specialty of Hanoi in this season.

Milk flowers are traditional symbol of Hanoi’s autumn. There're many songs and that mention their charming fragrance. Walking along Hanoi’s streets and besides its lakes, you breath in the beautifully sweet fragrance of Hoa Sua, or Milk Flowers. The streets where milk flower abound such as Phan Dinh Phung and Hoang Hoa Tham, and the National University’s campus don beautiful cloaks of white when the season of milk flowers returns.

The fragrant “milk flower” has been the symbol of autumn in Hanoi for generations. Blossoming when fall arrives, it delights everyone who loves the city. Ms Thanh, a Hanoi resident says: “I love Hanoi with all its memories of my childhood and family. I still remember my school days and poems about the flowers blossoming in Hanoi’s streets.”

Milk flower trees line the streets, perfuming the night air and creating an area of romance for young couples out on a date. Hanoians say when the  milk flowers are in bloom, it’s the best time to visit the capital city.

4. Winter in Hanoi

The winter of Hanoi starts from December and may last until the February, with the average temperature of 15-17°C. Sometimes it drops to below 10°C and the high humidity will make the weather a little bit colder. Remember to bring warm clothes if you don’t want to get a cold when visiting a tropical country. Read more: What to wear in Hanoi

Winter often brings a sad feeling, because the sky is often dark and gloomy. However, Hanoi seems to have its busiest days of the year and streets are more crowded than usual during working hours as people are in rush to complete all the remaining works and prepare for Tet holiday. The cold weather enables people living in Hanoi or visitors to enjoy the tasty hot food like hotpot or grill dishes.

When is the best time to visit & travel Hanoi Vietnam
When is the best time to visit & travel Hanoi Vietnam

If you want to explore the distinction of 4 seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter in Vietnam, let’s take a trip to Hanoi and feel it. Each season, Hanoi has its own specificites, special foods and flowers.

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Hanoi travel and live tips infomation for Newbies and first time

Hanoi travel tips infomation for Newbies and first time 

Finally got to update my "Hanoi for Newbies" page with info & useful links for new travellers & residents to town. Any other links that you think I should include

Hanoi travel and live tips infomation for Newbies and first time
Hanoi travel and live tips infomation for Newbies and first time 

This is a newest post of a Vietnamese blogger, Pham Hoang Mien that I think it is very useful for you. I hope you will comment and share this post:

Since I often see questions on Twitter asking where to go and what to do in Hanoi (read here: http://www.hanoiweather.info/2015/09/what-is-the-name-of-vietnam-capital-city.html), I’ve decided to collect all of the most useful resources in one place, so that you newbies know exactly where to look for yourselves.

From Hanoi airport to discover Hanoi capital

Let’s start with the airport. Noi Bai airport (check out the image of Hanoi) in Hanoi is more than 30 km away from the city center, and there is no direct train like in Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok.  The website you should know is Hanoi Airport Online, where you can find your flight status, a location map, and means of transportation (such as taxi, public bus, or mini bus). Please check more the end of this post:

So now, you’re in downtown Hanoi. What next?

Of course you already know Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor, so I would like to suggest some more frequently updated local sites.  Here are all the sites you will need, whether you are here as a tourist or in it for the long haul as a resident:

1. If you’re “fresh off boat”, meaning you seriously have no clue what Hanoi has to offer, then you should spend some time reading the intro about the city on Travelfish.

2. You also want details on what to see, where to eat and how to get around,  basically you can find all the necessary info on Travelfish, too.

Another website called Citypassguide is also very useful with lots of insights and beautiful photos. However, it focuses more on high-end travelers, so beware of the possibly expensive choices they make for restaurants, hotels, cafes and such.

Hanoi travel and live tips infomation
Hanoi travel and live tips infomation

One more recommendation is Rustycompass written by Mark Bowyer, an Australian who has been living in Vietnam for more than 20 years.

A good tip for tourists: If you feel like engaging with the locals, I suggest you book a tour with Hanoikids, this is a non-profit organization run totally by students. They lead free tours for tourists coming into town with the sole purpose of improving their English language skills and social knowledge. They are nice, friendly, honest and willing to learn from you as much as you want to know about our city.

3. When you think Hanoi is interesting enough to consider moving here for a while, then it’s time to take a look at the every-Hanoi-expat’s website TNHVietnam. There you can find all the necessary info for starting a new life in Hanoi: jobs, housing, restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, spas, etc. And you can add new spots in, as well as rate and review everything listed there.  A very interactive site!

Regarding job searching, you also should take a look at Vietnamworks, the biggest job listing website in Vietnam. However, it’s a bit local. On another site, NGO Resource Centre, you can find all the job opportunities with NGOs and UN agencies in Vietnam.

Furthermore, in this booming era of social media you can find this Facebook group called Hanoi Massive useful. The things posted on the group can be a bit non-sense sometimes (well, I mean, most of the time) but if you feel lazy googling stuff by yourself, just ask here. Beware of all the cynical Facebook personalities.

4. Now that you’ve got a job, a flat and friends, it’s time to explore the city. What’s happening in town?  The best source for local events is Hanoi Grapevine, a wonderful site that I’m proud to be part of.  Here you can find out what’s happening in art, culture, charity, theater, music, and film. We also feature reviews and opinion pieces. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and check our calendar frequently for all updates!

Hanoi travel and live tips infomation
Hanoi travel and live tips infomation

Now, once the sun goes down, where can you party animals go for late night hangouts? Check out Link Hanoi for the latest info on all parties, clubs, and bars in town.

5. After your boring hours at work, you feel like doing something a bit artistic or athletic in your free time?

Musicians go to Synergy Music Production to connect with other musicians in town and gather members for your new band!

Performers and theater lovers check out Hanoi International Theatre Society.

Rock climbers click on VietClimb. Please read more: Hanoi things to do: http://www.hanoiweather.info/2015/12/best-things-to-do-in-hanoi-old-quarter.html

Above are roughly all the info sources you may find interesting when visiting or living in Hanoi. If you know of any others that should be listed in here, please don’t hesitate to contact me! I would be thankful!

Taxi, local bus, mini bus and everything to move in Hanoi


Public bus:

Local Bus 7: Noi Bai Airport – Cau Giay District (the local residential part of the city): 7,000 VND (0.3 USD) running from 5 am to 9 pm.

Local Bus 17: Noi Bai – Long Bien Bridge (city center): 7,000 VND (0.3 USD) running from 5 am to 8 pm.

High-quality Bus 86 (recommended): Noi Bai Airport – Hoan Kiem Lake (city center) – Hanoi Central Train Station (Le Duan street, the station for North-South rail transportation, NOT the station for Northern service to Sapa): 30,000 VND (1.4 USD), running time: opening hours: 5 am from Hanoi Train Staion; 6.20 am from Noi Bai Airport; closing hours: 9.40 pm from Hanoi Train Station; 10.50 pm from Noi Bai Airport.

Mini bus: Noi Bai airport to Vietnam Airlines Office (Quang Trung street, city center): 40,000 VND (1.9 USD), leaving whenever full.

Taxi: various taxi companies are available in front of the terminals, cost from 350,000 – 400,000 VND (16.5 – 19 USD). For the opposite trip (downtown to airport), Taxi Noi Bai is often the best choice, with comfortable cars and a fixed price. Be sure read this: Scam taxi in Hanoi

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