Recognizing that climate varies from north to south, what is the best time of year to tour Vietnam and Angkor Wat?
I picked December because it was about the coolest time of the year.
In Cambodia, the heat was still unbelievable (to me, a delicate New Englander). At Angkor Wat my husband and I ended up hovering in whatever bits of shadow we could find. Our guide kept trying to get us to step out into the sunlight for closer looks at beautiful details. We insisted we could see just fine from where we were!
One other consideration: Angkor Wat was crowded in December. Like, Disneyland levels of crowding. If you want some breathing space, you might want to research when off- and shoulder-seasons are.
On the other hand, Vietnam was great in December, though it rained a lot. However Ha Long Bay in the mist was probably the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen. Unearthly. Made me feel like we’d wandered into some fairy tale.
Thank you for your helpful response. I’ve been considering the November to February timeframe, including the possibility of being there during the Tet holiday. Apparently, there are pros and cons of visiting then. Anybody have an opinion about that?
I visited HCMC during Tet and many places were closed for the week leading up to the holiday and the week after. It was amazing to see all the beautiful decorations and experience the culture during a key holiday, but you’ll miss out on certain activities/visiting certain places because they’ll be closed. On the other hand, this theme park was open and was incredibly empty, so we could explore it without any lines or crowds. HCMC was warm, but it wasn’t as hot as Phú Quốc.
I also went to Angkor Wat on the same trip (still in February) early in the morning, and it wasn’t too crowded. The smaller temples were actually more crowded since they have less space. The heat was intense, though, so dress accordingly!
We were there in late May/June, and while it was very hot and humid, we didn’t have to wait for hours in lines at Angkor Wat, or the Cu Chi tunnels outside Saigon (HCM CITY). The trick for me was just getting my head right; I knew and prepared myself to be hot as part of the experience, and sort of took it off the table as a consideration. Just accept it, challenge yourself to never ever complain about it, and you can enjoy the few days when it’s not 100 degrees and really humid. I suggest seeing Sapa in the mountains. It’s beautiful and easily 15 degrees cooler.
February is the best time to discover Angkor Wat ?
Siem Reap in February is hot. Thankfully we had plenty of drinking water courtesy of our tuktuk driver. Also bring a sarong or something to cover up the shoulders and the knees when going to Angkor Wat (or is this only for the main tower?)
We went in early September. It was hot and humid but not raining.