When should I go to Saigon?
Located just north of the equator and only a few metres above sea level, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) finds itself planted firmly in the tropics; its climate is constantly hot and humid, with an average temperature high of 32 degrees Celsius. The weather throughout the year can be broken into two seasons: the wet and the dry.
The dry season runs from December to April and is the season of choice for most travellers. December and January are the coolest months, with mornings getting as cool as 17 degrees, and because of this they are the busiest. During these peak months hotel prices can increase by as much as 30%.
The season gets increasingly dryer and hotter, with the heat peaking in April when afternoon highs can hit 40 degrees Celsius. The good news is that air-con is easy to find if you need to take a breather. Pack a hat and stay hydrated.
In contrast, the wet season can be a hassle. Running from May to November, this season is host to high temperatures and high humidity. During the wet season you can expect rain nearly every afternoon and sometimes in the morning.
Typically, the rain is a heavy but short-lived, hour-long downpour. The heavier rains can cause flooding, especially close to the river, which can make travel around by motorbike and bus dreadful. There is nothing quite like having to push your motorbike through a kilometre of dirty, knee-deep water!
You can expect the most rain, and flooding, between June and August. This period also sees higher humidity. The humidity combined with the season’s highs, averaging over 30 degrees, can make prolonged activity outside unbearable. If you visit Saigon during this time make sure to travel with your umbrella and always keep an eye on the local weather forecasts.
During the dry season you’ll have better weather, but higher prices and bigger crowds. In the wet season you will get more inclement weather, but with fewer tourists and better deals. Either way you’ll win on one front!
Story by Angela Schonberg
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