Vietnam is well-known for its monsoon season, which can deter many travellers from visiting this naturally beautiful country. But, exploring Vietnam in the rainy monsoon season isn’t ready that bad. For instance, with less crowds and foot traffic, the tourist sights and attractions are more open to explore.
The rainy season can run from May to September and can put off a lot of travellers because of tales of epic floods. But even with torrential rains, a journey to Vietnam at this time of year gives a truly authentic travel experience. It gives a perfect opportunity to admire the natural beauty of Vietnam in its most intriguing colour.
With a little prior planning, a trip to Vietnam in the rainy season is certain to be a truly memorable occasion. Here are a few helpful tips to take advantage of monsoon season:
Watch the time
Travellers that make the decision to experience the Indochina holiday during the monsoon season will soon notice the rains are mostly short lived and regular. Most of the heavy rainstorms last for about an hour and arrive at a regular time during the day. Typical downpours arrive in the afternoon or near lunchtime.
Taking cover at the appropriate times can increase the ability to stay dry and comfortable. Once the rains come that can limit visibility to a matter of a few feet, there is a high chance of another arriving in the next 24-hours. So, even though the rains can put a temporary hold on your travel itinerary, once the rain has past, you are almost guaranteed to have the rest of the day rain-free to enjoy the local sights and attractions.
Do sightseeing in the dry, cool periods in the mornings and when it rains later in the day, this makes a useful time to rest, eat, and visit the indoor attractions like museums.
One of the major factors to consider when travelling in monsoon season is to dress smartly. A simple solution to stay dry in the rain is a plastic poncho which is Vietnam’s signature rain ware. This is widely available and a cost-effective item that is more appropriate than a long and heavy trench coat. Picking up the rain gear can easily be left until arriving in the country for the Indochina travel.
Shopkeepers often move their racks of rain ponchos outside their store when rain is expected to arrive. Most tourists on a sightseeing trip may buy the low-cost ponchos that aren’t much more than a simple oversized plastic bag. But, there are better quality choices with longer, thicker ponchos costing slightly more. They are available in plenty of sizes to fully reach the wrists and ankles to stay perfectly dry in times of rainfall.
The light, loose clothing is the most practical option when out on a sightseeing tour on the 2 week tour in Vietnam. This clothing is best to stay cool in the humid and hot weather that is experienced between the storms. Also, in the event of getting wet during a downpour, the lightweight clothing will dry off a lot quicker.
In addition to wearing appropriate wet weather gear, it can also benefit to have a waterproof cover to protect the backpack. Also, extra care should be taken with gadgets or electronics to avoid damage in the event of a sudden downpour.
An umbrella can also be useful and a practical option to give protection against the rain, as well as to give shade from the sun.
Pack mosquito repellent
The monsoon season in the Southeast Asia countries means an increase in insects like mosquito, so it is worth taking along repellent and anti-itch cream. Also, for sleeping at night, a portable mosquito net can help to limit irritating bites and the risk of contracting dengue or malaria.
Wearing the right footwear during the monsoon season is an essential step to get right. While it may seem tempting to wear a pair of rain boots, the plastic sandals are often more favoured. Walking around in knee high boots for the day can leave the feet quite sweaty and there is a high risk of having soggy socks.
But, while wearing the plastic sandals, there is a greater risk of cuts to the feet and the rain can increase the chance of picking up germs compared to walking in the dry climate. So, pack a travel bag with gauze and a small bottle of sanitizer to give the desired protection while still able to avoid the pitfalls that come with walking all day in uncomfortable rain boots.
Best places to travel in Vietnam
Similar to most major cities, the drainage systems can be more reliable in some areas than others. So, it helps to have a basic understanding of your travel surroundings and pick and choose the places when heavy rain is expected. For instance, in outer urban districts or rural areas, there is a greater risk of flooding or road blockages due to the rainfall. It can benefit tourists to check with their hotel to see which areas are most impacted by the worst of the rainfall and best avoided at certain times. It can help to save journeys outside of downtown to after the day’s downpour has passed and when friendlier skies arrive.
Major cities like Ho Chi Minh City, Danang and Hanoi have the best infrastructure that is unlikely to flood after heavy rain. However, it is still possible to travel to the rural areas of Vietnam throughout the rainy season provided the right precautions are taken.
Most of the local Vietnam travel agents are able to organize the comprehensive tours that explore the full extent of the country in relative comfort whether it rains or shines.
Keep in mind journey times can be longer at this time of year, especially in areas where the roads deteriorate in heavy rain. Give extra time to travel and get around. Alternative travel options may be available with river routes in certain regions more efficient at certain times of the year.
Note: Read our Best time to visit Vietnam