When Is the Best Time to Explore Vietnam and Cambodia?

23, April, 2018

When Is the Best Time to Explore Vietnam and Cambodia?

In general the best time to organise the combined tour to Vietnam and Cambodia is from November to March. At this time of year the humidity and temperature falls across most regions of northern and central Vietnam, while the rainfall is less of an issue in both countries.

This time of year is seen as the peak tourist season, which will result in not only the high cost of travel, but also large crowds to contend with. The busiest time is certain to include the weeklong Tet Festival in Vietnam, which takes place late-January/early-February. If planning to book a Vietnam holiday at this time, it is essential to book things as early as possible.

However, for the travellers planning the Vietnam Cambodia tour outside the dry season, there are plenty of opportunities to save on travel costs. Booking a trip in May/early-October will mean exploring this region of SE Asia during the wet season, but it is a great time to travel for the lower prices and lower foot traffic.

Two seasons
Vietnam and Cambodia are neighbouring countries and sit side by side. They are relatively easy to combine in a tour itinerary with many different options to travel to and from the countries.

Both Vietnam and Cambodia have two main seasons: dry and wet. However, it is still very easy to travel in these countries year-round and organise an itinerary that takes in the most memorable highlights with rainfall not having much of an impact on travel and sightseeing tours. The preferred travel time for both countries is the dry season – November to April – which gives the most pleasant and enjoyable time. However, the Indochina travel that takes place during the rainy season isn't too bad, especially when you consider the noticeably lower number of visitors.

In fact, the tourist numbers seen on the multi-country tour can at times be a more important issue compared to the weather, although this will depend on the planned activities in the countries.

vietnam cambodia

Dry season
The dry season is the peak travel time for both Vietnam and Cambodia and the time of year that sees the lower amount of rainfall, especially in the months of March and April. Typically, the temperature range at this time of year is very pleasant with high 20° C a common theme. However, the temperature will start to rise to 30° C or more in April, and cool quite a bit between the months of December and February in the north of the country.

Also, there is the risk of flooding in central regions of Vietnam during October and November, so it is important to take this into account if planning an itinerary that passes through this part of the country.

There are plenty of highlights to see and experience in both Vietnam and Cambodia at this time of the year. However, there will be plenty of foot traffic, especially for the top tourist attractions, such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

A great time to be in Cambodia is during the months of December to April. In the south of the country the coast will have clear waters and perfect sunshine. There are plenty of great places to go scuba diving in this part of the world.

For travellers that want a more peaceful time, a boat cruise on Halong Bay in Vietnam during December to February is likely to be very appealing. But, there is the risk of the temperature being quite cold out on the bay and the limestone islands are often shrouded in mist.

A particularly busy time in Vietnam as previously mentioned is the Vietnamese New Year celebration, which is known as Tet and travel at this time of the year can get a little difficult. Hotels will be booked up and transport crowded, so extra preparation is needed.

tour to vietnam and cambodia

Rainy season
The rainy season (also called the green season) is a great time to visit Vietnam and Cambodia for a very memorable travel experience. At this time of the year (May to October), the landscape and rice fields are more vibrant with lush and green scenery.

Even though it is referred to as the rainy season, there is no need to be concerned that planned tours and sightseeing trips will be interrupted by continuous rainfall. In addition to the spells of rainfall, there is also a lot of morning sunshine.

Often, the rainfall can be quite predictable, which makes it easier to plan the day's activities. However, the temperature is certain to get quite high with a month like May getting very humid, hot and up to 38° C. After sightseeing in this type of temperature range, the brief afternoon spells of rainfall can be quite refreshing. Also, if travelling in the far south of Vietnam or Cambodia there is a higher risk of experiencing heavy rainfall in the evenings.

A wonderful highlight at this time of the year is the lush-green landscape. The rice paddies are wonderful to see and make a perfect place to visit on a Vietnam photography tour. Due to the higher risk of rainfall, there are a lot fewer tourists to see in Vietnam and Cambodia. Many of the major tourist sites and attractions are relatively peaceful and quiet at this time of year. A major attraction like Angkor Wat will have its moat filled with water and a lot less crowds. Plus, the colourful and vibrant landscape with give perfect photographic opportunities.  

A few of the great places to visit in Vietnam include Hoi An which is known to escape the majority of the summer rainfall between February and July, while a trip to Dalat which takes you inland is great to experience the cool mountainous climate and enjoy a climate that is pretty consist year-round.

However, there are certain regions where it benefits to be more cautious during the rainy season. A particular place like Battambang in Cambodia can experience heavy rainfall in September and October which will hamper travel and make progress slow in regions with unpaved roads.

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