Magazine Travel+Leisure of the United States reveals best time to visit Vietnam

Tuesday, 23/01/2024 21:15
According to VOV, magazine Travel+Leisure of the United States has published an article revealing the best and worst time to visit Vietnam.
Sa Pa is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, including terraced rice fields, lush valleys, and rugged mountain peaks. (Source: VOV)

According to the website, for those hoping to see Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and everything in between, it’s best to go during the dry season.

Melissa Matthews, regional director for Southeast Asia and North America at luxury travel company Red Savannah, shared in the article that February and March are therefore the best months to see the entire country from north to south as guests can do it in relatively dry weather.

She noted that Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, falls during this time and can last for up to 10 days.

“During this time, most of the key sights in the cities are closed, as everyone goes back to their family villages to celebrate,” she says.

The regional director recommended that visitors should head to the beach during the festival and finish their trip with time in the country’s major cities.

Matthews also revealed that if visitors want to explore Sa Pa, then they should head there from September to November, or in March and April.

She went on to share that a sunny beach visit to Hoi An or Nha Trang in the central region is best from April to August, while the Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc Island in the south are warmest from October to April.

Phu Quoc (Source: CPV)

Vietnam is a relatively affordable destination all year round, with an abundance of street food at good prices and comfortable hotels suitable for all budgets.

“For your best chance at scoring low-cost flights and accommodations, consider traveling outside the peak tourist season. April, May, October, and November are excellent times, as you’ll still find warm weather throughout the country, but will have fewer tourists to contend with,” Travel+Leisure recommended.

However, according to Matthews, while the varied local climate means there’s never really a bad time to visit, visitors may want to avoid traveling to the country during the monsoon season.

“When the monsoon hits, it is hard and heavy and very humid,” says Matthews, who suggested sightseeing in cities during the wet season, where travelers can still visit museums and historic temples between rainstorms.

The website also shared the opinions of Benjamin Kreuz, general manager of Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, as sayings that if holiday goers do decide to travel during the rainy season, then it’s best to remain flexible in their planning.

“Consider not booking everything in advance due to unpredictable weather,” Kreuz says, adding that staying open-minded may help them to take advantage of potential low-season discounts.

Tourism gathers speed early in 2024

A sudden surge in the number of overseas Vietnamese booking domestic tours and the recovery of international arrivals right since the start of 2024 are among positive signs promising a breakthrough year for the tourism industry, reported VNA.

Vietnam is emerging as a magnet for cruise tourists. (Photo: 

Doan Thi Thanh Tra, Director for marketing and communications of the Saigontourist travel service company, said the number of overseas Vietnamese booking services for the Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays via her company has risen “abnormally”.

OVs account for up to 80% of all clients booking pre-Tet tours of Saigontourist and 60% of those booking post-Tet tours.

The firm has never recorded such a large number of OV travellers before, which is even higher than in the pre-pandemic period of 2017 - 2018. Previously, OV clients of Saigontourist were mainly middle- and old-aged persons, but the surge in OV tourists, including many young ones, this year has really surprised the company, she noted.

OV tourists often book long tours, at least for five days and even eight to ten days. They prefer cultural and experience tours of the central region (Da Nang, Hue, Hoi An) and the northern region (Ninh Binh, Quang Ninh, northwestern provinces). Most of these tours are package ones with relatively high prices.

Unlike domestic or international visitors, each OV traveller returning to Vietnam for Tet usually book at least two tours – one before Tet and another during or after this biggest traditional festival, Tra told the Thanh nien (Young people) newspaper.

OVs now tend to return to the homeland all year round, not only for Tet. Given this, Saigontourist is developing particular products for this group of holidaymakers, she added.

Meanwhile, Vietluxtour has also reported good growth in the number of OVs booking Tet tours, its communications director Tran Thi Bao Thu said, noting that OV clients of her company are middle-class ones and families using services at four- to five-star resorts.

They tend to just relax and do not have much need for sightseeing. This is a “niche market” that many travel firms are capitalising on amid economic difficulties forcing families to cut spending on holidays, she added.

In addition, the tourism industry has also enjoyed an inflow of international travellers since the start of 2024.

The island city of Phu Quoc, which experienced poor performance in 2023, has witnessed a sudden increase in arrivals, especially international ones, since the end of last year. It has welcomed 2,000-2,500 international visitors, over half of whom are from the Republic of Korea, each day on average.

In particular, the debut of Cau Hon (Kiss Bridge) and the Sunset Town entertainment complex there amid the festive season warmed up the local tourism atmosphere in late 2023.

As a result, the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, home to Phu Quoc, attracted more than 120,000 arrivals during the 2024 New Year holidays, including over 15,000 foreigners, while the occupancy rate at local tourism accommodation facilities reached 63.2% and tourism revenue hit 369 billion VND (over 15 million USD), statistics show.

Ho Chi Minh City has also seen a large number of foreigners travelling around on these days. Ben Thanh Market, a tourist magnet in this southern economic hub, has recorded many international visitors, mainly Indian, Korean, Japanese, and European ones, coming to its confectionary, coffee, apparel, and fashion accessory shops.

The municipal Tourism Department said the city welcomed more than 46,500 international visitors during the recent New Year holidays, shooting up 86.1% from the 25,000 during the same period of 2023. Particularly, cruise travellers who are high-end tourists from Europe, the US, Australia, and Japan, are growing well.

Last year, 12.6 million international tourists chose Vietnam as their holiday destination, rising almost 3.5-fold from 2022 and exceeding the initial target.

For 2024, the country targets about 17 - 18 million international travellers, 110 million domestic ones, and about 840 trillion VND in earnings from tourists. In the most ideal condition, if it manages to attract 18 million foreign arrivals, the tourism industry could be said to fully recover to the record level of 2019.

Nguyen Trung Khanh, Director of the Vietnam National Authority of Tourism, said that after nearly two years of taking recovery measures, the tourism industry is now on an upward trend. While many localities have posted strong tourist growth, Vietnam has won many prestigious international awards, including 19 at the world level and 54 at the Asian level presented by the World Travel Awards.

With the achievements obtained in 2023, 2024 will be the time for Vietnam’s tourism industry to gain speed to strengthen competitiveness compared to regional rivals, he opined.

Flight tickets for Tet remain scarce ahead of festive season

Although domestic airlines have continuously moved to increase the number of flights on offer during the 2024 Lunar New Year, known locally as Tet, with numerous flight routes still experiencing high booking rates and ticket shortages during the peak period, reported VOV.

 Passengers line up for check-in services at an airport. (Photo: VTCNews)

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said that there has been a significant rise in seat reservations for flights departing from Ho Chi Minh City to northern and central provinces before the festive period.

Furthermore, during the post-Tet period, flights from Hanoi to different localities and from central provinces to Ho Chi Minh City are also nearly fully booked.

In particular, flights departing from Ho Chi Minh City to Buon Ma Thuot, Hue, Tuy Hoa Thanh Hoa, Da Nang, Quang Binh, and Hai Phong Vinh have all seen high reservation rates and face ticket shortages, with some routes hitting full capacity at 100% during peak days.

As part of efforts to meet the growing demand, the CAAV continued to add 48 slots for Vietnamese airlines, equivalent to 48 flights and 10,000 seats per day.

It also advised passengers to arrive at airports three hours before the departure time in order to avoid congestion, and use online and digital check-in methods to save time.

Vietnam to join global tourism recovery trend this year: insiders

The global tourism market is set to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2024, and Vietnam will not stand out from this trend, VNA reported from insiders’ sayings.

Vietnam to join global recovery trend this year. (Photo: 

According the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the first UNWTO World Tourism Barometer of the year showed there were an estimated 1.3 billion international travelers in 2023, representing 88% of pre-pandemic levels.

It also reported that international tourism receipts reached 1.4 trillion USD in 2023, equivalent to 93% of the figure of 1.5 trillion USD in 2019.

“The latest UNWTO data underscores tourism's resilience and rapid recovery, with pre-pandemic numbers expected by the end of 2024,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

“The rebound is already having a significant impact on economies, jobs, growth and opportunities for communities everywhere,” he noted.

For Vietnam, the country welcomed 12.6 million international arrivals last year, reaching 70% of the 2019 pre-pandemic level.

World-leading indie travel news source Travel Off Path has listed Vietnam as the safest country to visit in Asia in 2024, saying the country is both prosperous and peaceful, as it enjoys low rates of crime and impressive political stability.

Vietnam is ideal for slow travelers and backpackers seeking to reconnect with nature and expose themselves to a culture that is almost entirely different from their own, especially for those coming from the Northern Hemisphere, it said.

Many Vietnamese places have made their names on prestigious voting sites, leaving good impressions on international tourists and friends. 

However, experts said, limitations still remain, especially in making policies and long-term strategies whose efficiency requires many factors, including data sources to ensure accuracy and harmony in tourism statistics.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has asked the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism to coordinate with the Ministers of Planning and Investment, Public Security, and Information and Communications to launch a tourism business and administration platform in line with the Government's Resolution No. 82, which should be completed within the second quarter of this year.

Phung Quang Thang, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Society of Travel Agents (VISTA), told Lao dong (Labour) Newspaper that accurate statistics play a crucial role in coordinating tourism activities.

Accurate statistics are significant to policy making, especially in the context that the sector has been greatly impacted by economic-political uncertainties globally, he added./.

Compiled by BTA