Ho Chi Minh City climate
Ho Chi Minh City is in the tropics and close to the ocean, making the city hot and humid year-round. November through January are the coolest months with temperatures reaching the low to mid-20s (Celsius). February through April the temperature rises to 32 degrees. Then it goes down to the high 20s during the rainy season.December to March is the dry season with the least amount of rain and humidity. The rain starts in May and is heavy from June to August with sudden but short showers. The typhoon season is July to November.
When to fly to Ho Chi Minh City
Reservations for Tet, the lunar New Year, must be made far in advance. Most businesses close for the holiday, including museums and shops. The holiday lasts for a week and falls between January 19 and February 20.
The dry season is the best time to visit, December through March. The crowds start arriving in November and stay until April.
The wet season is humid and hot, but the showers tend to be short. Late autumn is a particularly nice time to visit southern Vietnam. The end of the high season, March to April, can also be somewhat less crowded.
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Getting around Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is considered by many visitors to have the world’s worst traffic... Deal with it as little as possible by taking a taxi. Just make sure the meter is running. Agree to a fare ahead of time if the meter is nowhere to be found.
Motorcycle taxis can also be hailed. They run off of an hourly rate which you can negotiate. Tour operators or travel agents can help you arrange for a car and driver to take you around for the day. If you’re taking a short trip, a cyclo (pedicab) is a good way to get around. There are no meters though, so negotiate a fare before you board. Many drivers speak English and are available for hire as tour guides as well. They will wait for you at your destination and can pick you up the next day, too.
If you’re really feeling brave, you can rent bikes, mopeds or motorcycles, but you’ll be on your own with the chaotic traffic.
A nice way to slow down and escape from the chaos is to hire a boat and view Ho Chi Minh City from the river.
Ho Chi Minh City insider information
- One of the first things most travellers mention about Ho Chi Minh City is the fantastic food. From street sellers to gourmet restaurants, the choices are endless. Buying food from street stalls can be intimidating at first, as it’s so different from the food experience in the West. Take a stroll round the area, have a look to see what food looks fresh and well cooked, follow your nose to the best smells and – as a fail-safe option – see where the locals are eating. Then order, sit down on a small plastic chair and enjoy. Pho – a thin soup – is one of the most popular dishes.
- The Chu Chi tunnels are a short trip from Ho Chi Minh City and certainly worth visiting. The series of tunnels were used in the Vietnam War to make surprise attacks and to hide. The tunnels stretch out over more than 241km (150 miles).
- The Ben Than market is the biggest in the city and has everything under the sun for sale. It is distinguished by its clock tower, with clocks facing in four directions, which has become a symbol of the city. Come early in the morning to browse or buy food, clothes, jewellery, cooking utensils, arts and crafts or pretty much anything else you can think of. The busiest days at the market are Friday and Saturday when the crowds can become intense and the prices you’re charged may be higher than the rest of the week. Whenever you visit, though, make sure you haggle hard for your purchases.
- Ho Chi Minh City is a city on wheels. It can seem as if everyone is on a motorbike or cyclo. Crossing the road may seem terrifying – make sure to keep walking and don’t suddenly stop and the traffic should avoid you. For the brave, hiring a motorcycle and joining the fray is a surefire way to feel like a local.