The climate in the northern region of Vietnam is temperate so be prepared for cold weather in the winter months from December to March. The months of April and May offer sunshine and a refreshing breeze, while September to October are favoured for their cooler temperatures and clear skies.
The months of April and May can be extremely hot. Some areas, such as Central Vietnam, experience storms and floods in the late rainy season. Also, during the Tet festivities many businesses tend to be closed, which can be an inconvenience to travellers with a shortage of time.
An exhilarating way to experience the Sapa highlands is via motorbike. For the less adventurous, a Dao herbal bath makes for a soothing experience, or you can ride the cable car up to the summit of Mount Fansipan. You can also explore the cultures of the region’s ethnic groups at colourful markets and handicraft classes.
Phong Nha has recently exploded in popularity due to the opening of the Son Doong, the largest cave system in the world. If you don’t have the funds or the patience to wait for the two-year-long queue, Phong Nha has a number of alternatives that are equally thrilling, and more accessible. You can take a boat from town along the river into Phong Nha Cave for a few hours or set off on a multi-day trek in the national park.