The north is defined by four seasons with a cold winter and hot summer. The temperature can range from 5˚C (41˚F) in winter up to 35˚C (95˚F) in the summer. From April to October, it is generally warm and humid with average temperature around 31˚C (90 ˚F) and heaviest rainfall between July and August. The average temperature during the cold season (December to February) is 20˚C (68˚F). However, in the mountainous regions in the far north such as Sapa, the temperature can at times drop below zero (32˚F). The loveliest time of the year to visit is from September to December when there’s a good chance of clear skies and low humidity.
The average annual temperature in the provincial city of Ha Giang & Cao Bang is 22 °C (73 °F); the monthly averages range from a low of 15 °C (59 °F) in January to a high of 27 °C (82 °F)C in July. The rain season is from June to August. The best time of the year to visit these areas is from September to November.
The average high temperature in the central region is 30˚C (86˚F). Heavy storms and highest amount of rainfall occurs from October to November and is prone to flooding. The best time to enjoy the beach weather and cultural sightseeing is between February to August.
The south has a dry and rainy season. The highest amount of rainfall is from June to October with 80% average humidity. The average high temperature year round is 32˚C (90˚F). The central highland town of Dalat has a year-round temperate of 18˚C to 21˚C (64˚F to 70˚F) earning it the epithet “City of Eternal Spring”. The rainy season of Buon Ma Thuot lasts mostly from May to October of a year. Buon Ma Thuot is warmer and more humid because of its lower elevation.
Beach destinations such as Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, and Phu Quoc Island are warm and sunny most of the year. However, the rainy season varies for each destination: Nha Trang (October to December); Phan Thiet (July to November); and Phu Quoc (May to October).
In 938 A.D. the Vietnamese put an end to China’s occupation of the Red River Delta, bringing to end a rule that had started in the first century B.C. That the Vietnamese managed to cling to their cultural identity during a thousand years of occupation says much about their tenacity—a lesson that has been re-taught in more recent times.
From their cradle in the northern Red River Delta the Viet moved south, absorbing the Kingdom of Champa in what is now central Vietnam in the 15th century. The official founding of Saigon (now renamed Ho Chi Minh City) took place only some three centuries ago.
French forces imposed colonial rule on Vietnam in 1883, starting an era of anti-colonial resistance that would span the next eight decades. Having fought the Japanese occupation of Vietnam during WWII, the Viet Minh, led by President Ho Chi Minh, declared the nation independent when the War ended. The French rejected Vietnam’s independence and tried to regain control, leading to open warfare that ended with the Viet Minh’s astonishing victory at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954.
The Geneva Accords of mid-1954 temporarily divided the country. When the southern regime refused to hold elections in 1956, Vietnam fell into a civil war. The United States, which supported the southern regime of Ngo Dinh Diem, sent its first combat troops to Vietnam in 1965. In 1973 the Americans withdrew; their former allies were forced to surrender on April 30th, 1975, at which time the nation was reunified under Communist rule.
A period of economic and political isolation from much of the capitalist world followed. In the late 1980s the Vietnamese Government eased restrictions on foreigners wishing to travel and invest in Vietnam. Diplomatic relations with the United States were resumed in 1995. Vietnam was granted membership to the World Trade Organization in 2007 and has opened up trade to a large number of countries since then. Hanoi celebrated its 1000 year anniversary in 2010, a major milestone for the city and a proud moment for the Vietnamese to celebrate.