I keep on researching the weather in Northern Vietnam in July/August and reading completely opposite information from the best time of the year to go to and not even recommended.
I'll quote some websites:
1.Some people might say that our summer months (June, July, August) are the best time to visit Vietnam. Unusually for Asia the weather in central Vietnam is likely to be sunny and clear during this time, and although there may be short downpours in the south and north, many people see no rain at all and enjoy cloudless sunny skies. (http://www.audleytravel.com/destinations/southeast-asia/vietnam/when-to-go.aspx)
2.The north of the country remains in summer meaning you can expect plenty of hot weather as well as rain and at times storms (avg temp: 30 Â°C). Halong Bay and Hanoi are prone to heavy showers at this time of year. The mountains to the north are also very wet with trekking unadvisable throughout the month. (http://www.selectiveasia.com/vietnam-holidays/weather/august)
3.If you're only in Sapa for a few days, be forewarned that the views do not come with a money-back guarantee. The best time to visit Sapa is in the summer months of August to December, when skies are more likely to be clear. These months are rainier but they are also warmer, and sometimes you can't beat a nice summer rain for atmosphere â€” showers are typically brief, but it pours in buckets. Winter can be cold, foggy and rainy, but every three or four days, the weather clears and the views are more gorgeous than they are any other time of year.(http://www.travelfish.org/location/vietnam/northwest_vietnam/lao_cai/sapa)
4.It is possible to visit Sapa during summer and winter months, however it may be less comfortable for many travellers. Rainy season is the mountains of Northern Vietnam is between May and September. December to February is a relatively dry season, however it can get very cold (often close to freezing temperatures in the evening) in Sapa and nearby mountain locations in the North of Vietnam. (http://vietnamgoodtravelguide.com/sapa-travel.html)
It just makes me confused.
#1 marianaamc has been a member since 30/10/2013. Posts: 62
Dunno about Vietnam but nearby Thailand has its wettest month in August. Would imagine Vietnam to be similar.
I usually find June to July to be ok.
Tropical countries normally have afternoon storms or rain at night. A lot if days will be hot and sunny year round.
I wouldnt stress. Just go.
#2 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Vietnam's climate can be fiendishly complicated to unravel as while it is only really affected by two monsoon seasons, the climate remains maddeningly diverse -- there is no one time of the year where you'll get good weather throughout the country.
In July/August in the north of the country you're getting what they call the "summer monsoon" which is warm, but you'll still get rain, often torrential -- and, if the pacific typhoon season gets going early (this is the one that hammers Hoi An must years), then Hanoi and the coast to the south of Hanoi can get some downright unpleasant weather.
To further confuse you, here is what we say about the north's cilmate:
"Northern Vietnam has a cool to cold season (courtesy of the northeast monsoon from November to March) and a warm to hot wet season (from April to October). December and January in particular can get quite frosty in the far north of Vietnam -- pack accordingly. This time of the year can also see heavy mists that can run for days -- these can reduce visibility in places like Sapa and Ha Long Bay to frustratingly short distances. The wettest months of the year in Hanoi are July and August, the driest, December and January."
Overall, July August is a good time to visit Sapa, but you will get rain, and they'll probably be a lot of tourists around.
As Leonard says, best just to go!
As said, the weather across Vietnam differs notably from place to place and throughout the year, so even just looking at the north of the country you will get variation.
All the sources you reference are consistent in that they say it is hot and wet in the North (with the exception perhaps of Audley Travel, but they're just being optimistic) - and it is! But of course the exact weather changes year to year as it does everywhere: some years are hotter, some are wetter some are hotter and wetter... you get my drift...and Sapa, Halong Bay and Hanoi will often have slightly different weather at the same time of year just because of geographical differences (mountain, sea, city etc.).
Whether it's the best -- or worst -- time of year really depends on you, but if you try to plan your trip by the weather you are likely to end up disappointed somewhere along the line. We first came in August and the weather was absolutely fine.