Best Time to Visit Hoi An

Given Hoi An’s unique location and increasing tourist draw, a lot of visitors are keen to know – when is the best time to visit Hoi An?  Most people forget that Vietnam is a very long country with varying weather from the north to the south. When it’s hot and dry in the south, it may be cold and wet in the north. There are also an abundance of festivals here like Tet to consider as well as peak tourist seasons.

In a lot of ways, the month you pick can have a sizeable impact on many parts of your Hoi An experience. So in this article, Hidden looks at the contributing factors when choosing the best time to visit Hoi An.

busy morning in the Old Town
Soft morning light in Hoi An Old Town. Photo: Kristen Wells

Best Time to Visit Hoi An’s Ancient Town

Hoi An’s Ancient Town can be experienced year-round. Morning or night, rainy or sunny, it’s extraordinary. Hidden’s pick of the best time to visit Hoi An’s Ancient Town is in September. At this time, the average temperature has dropped to 28°C and there are more cloudy days than in the height of the dry season. 

The best time of day to visit Hoi An Ancient Town depends on what you are looking to experience. Early mornings present picturesque scenes. A photographer’s paradise of beautiful streets, soft light, and authentic market activity. Late afternoon into evening is when the Old Town comes to life. Visitor numbers build as the light drops and become bathed in the glow of thousands of lanterns. This is when the city is its prettiest and a must-see at least once.

  What's Going On
Crowd Levels
Ideal For
Early morning3.a.m - 7.a.mStore fronts are still for the most part closed. The streets are empty.
Very lowPhotos of buildings
Late morning7.a.m - 11.a.m
Shops start to open up and tour buses arrive.
Low/ Average
Shopping and tours
Midday12.p.m - 2.p.m
Siesta time! The shops are still open for the most part and there are predominantly tourist crowds on the street. Some shops close during this time.
AverageResting
Mid-afternoon to early evening time
2.p.m - 8.p.m
Tourists flock to the Old Town. Shops fill up and the streets are crowded.
HighDining and taking in the lanterns
Evening into late night
8.p.m - 11.p.m
Some restaurants become dance clubs and bars tend to fill up.High/
Average
Lanterns and Drinking
Late evening11.p.m onwardsThe streets start to get quiet again.
LowSleep
A woman cycling while carrying her shopping
A Vietnamese woman cycles through Hoi An with her shopping

The Best Time to Join (or Avoid) Hoi An’s Tourist Crowds

The sights around Hoi An are remarkable. So remarkable in fact that many people travel from around the world just to experience Hoi An for a day. This makes the tourist crowds at times, a bit overwhelming. 

The best time of the year for sightseeing in Hoi An is in the lower tourist season when crowds are moderate and the mercury is past its peak. Hidden recommends the month of September.

During this time there are shorter queues for sights, lower prices, and streets that give you more breathing room. In addition to the reduced crowds in the offseason, September presents you with many other experiences such as the rice fields to explore. At this time the rice is growing strong and it’s also nearing Mid-Autumn Festival time (covered in our Festivals section below). 

Tourists visiting the Cantonise Assembly Hall in Hoi An
Crowds gather outside the Cantonese Assembly Hall in Hoi An. Photo: Hana Benzova

Best Time to Visit Hoi An’s Beaches

Some of the best beach visits Hidden has experienced in Hoi An have been in the early mornings. Were talking about 5:30 a.m or 6 a.m. We know what you’re thinking, “Why would I get out of bed at this time?”. But at this time of the day, the sun is just coming up, the waves are rolling in, and the sky is positively glowing. Do try it at least once!

Hidden Hint: to save some VND, get your sunscreen before going to the beach. Prices on the beach tend to be higher than you would receive in town.

Parking at the beaches in the morning is also hassle-free. You can find locals stretching or jumping in group aerobics. Many others are floating in the waves, and everyone smiling. 

Please keep in mind, at the height of the day, from noon until 2 p.m. the UV index is at its height. Sometimes it even hits double digits. So we suggest trying to find a nice restaurant to hold up in till the sun starts its descent once again. 

Best Time for Diving in Hoi An

Hoi An provides some excellent scuba diving opportunities. The nearby Cham Islands hold all the local dive sites – which you can read about here. The dive season ties in with the dry season with companies shutting shop from mid-October to mid-February. 

Hidden Hint: Check the forecast before visiting The Cham Islands, boats can not make the crossing in bad weather and you don’t want to get stranded.

The best time for diving in Hoi An is the beginning of July. During this time the ocean is calm and makes for ideal diving conditions. Grab your mask and jump on in. With an impressive array of coral, fish, and dive sites you need to experience these waters first-hand.

wooden umbrellas on the beach of Hoi An
Summer sun on Hoi An’s beach

When are Hoi An’s Festivals?

Visiting Hoi An during a Vietnamese festival provides opportunities to see and experience Vietnamese culture first-hand. From the famous Full Moon Festival and its streets full of lanterns to the all-encompassing festival of Tet and people burning fake money offerings in the streets. These experiences can have a big impact on your stay in Vietnam and in Hoi An. 

Here is Hidden’s guide to some of the larger festivals that have a local or regional impact. Additionally, there are many other smaller festivals in villages and provinces that are not listed. 

Tet Festival in Hoi An

  • Late January or early February

Tet, or Lunar New Year, is Vietnam’s most important festival. In many areas whole cities shut down to celebrate. The word Tet is short for “Tết Nguyên Đán” and comes from the Sino-Vietnamese dialect. It translates to “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day.” This festival is held around January or February depending on the lunar calendar. 

Hidden Hint: Plan your trip carefully if arriving anywhere in Vietnam around Tet. Book travel and rooms in advance to ensure that you have a place to stay. 

We’ve dedicated a full article to Tet which you can read about here. Visit Hoi An in the weeks running up to Tet to experience the preparations and parties. Hoi An is very quiet over Tet itself but plenty of shops and restaurants do stay open.

Best Time to Visit Hoi An’s Full Moon Festival

  • Monthly on the full moon according to the lunar calendar.

The monthly Full Moon Festival is a big draw for Hoi An. In the Old Town, street lights are turned off so that paper lanterns take centre stage. Lanterns are seen as a way to bring good fortune to one’s dwelling. The Japanese and Chinese people introduced this tradition in the 16th Century and it has since become one of the defining features of Hoi An. 

The best time to experience the Full Moon Festival is at dusk during the full moon. Walk the streets of Old Town and take a rowboat to see the town illuminated by a thousand lanterns.

Hidden Hint: If you are not here for a Full Moon Festival, there are still many lanterns to see every night in Hoi An. During the height of the tourist season, you can experience a mini full moon festival every weekend. 

Best time to visit Hoi An during the Full Moon Festival
Rowboats line the riverbank during Hoi An’s Full Moon Festival

Reunification Day

  • April 30th

On April 30th, Vietnam celebrates Reunification Day. Some refer to this as Liberation Day or Victory day. If you want to impress the locals call it by its official name, “Day of Southern Liberation for National Reunification.” 

This day marks the end of the American War and the reunification of North and South Vietnam. As a public holiday, expect travel and government services to be disrupted. This is also a day when museums, parks and historical sites are flooded with Vietnamese visitors.

the best time to visit Hoi An is when Vietnamese boats showcase their flagss
Vietnamese flags fly from local fishing boats.

Wandering Souls Day

  • August 15th 2019

Don’t let the name scare you, ‘Wandering Souls Day’ is the Buddhist version of the Christian ‘All Souls Day’. At this time the souls of those condemned to suffer in hell for their sins are freed for a day. Known locally as ‘Vu Lan Day’ it happens on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month.

On this day, Vietnamese families prepare a vegetarian meal and have an empty seat ready for family members that have passed away. The smell of burning joss paper fills the air as families offer goods to the wandering souls. The eve of the festival is also celebrated, with many families heading to Buddhist temples and graves of loved ones. It is a fantastic time to visit Hoi An as Wandering Souls Day is a cultural experience unlike any other.

lanterns being prepared for wandering souls day: best time to visit Hoi An
An old lady prepares lanterns to be launched into the river.

Mid Autumn Festival

  • Middle of September or early October

When autumn arrives, lions and dragons take to the streets of Hoi An. The sounds of drums and symbols fill the air as the Mid Autumn Festival rolls into the city and shops. Shows can be seen in front of local businesses to bless the store and bring it good luck for the coming year. Chinese and Vietnamese people celebrate the Mid Autumn as a harvest festival. Based on the lunar calendar, this festival happens during the full moon around the 15th day of the 8th month. On the Gregorian calendar, this festival falls around mid-September to early October, depending on the moon.

The Mid Autumn Festival is one of the best times to visit Hoi An. The rice harvest is in full swing, markets are overflowing with produce and the entire town is out for the full moon celebrations. Mid Autumn is party time in Hoi An!

best time to visit Hoi An shows tourists watching a lion dance troupe performer
A lion dance troupe perform on the streets of Hoi An

Best Time of the Year to Visit Hoi An

The best time of the year to visit Hoi An largely depends on what you want to experience in the city and in central Vietnam. From lower tourist levels in October to the long hot summer days of July, Hoi An has a lot to offer in any season. For a guide to Hoi An’s weather, along with today’s weather forecast, check out our guide here.

The two major seasons in Hoi An are broken down below – the wet season and the dry season. 

Hoi An’s Wet Season

The wet season starts around mid-October and lasts until around mid-February. During these five months, Hoi An has many overcast and rainy days. October brings the most rain, with an average of 21 days of rainfall. 

While it may be wetter than usual in Hoi An, it rarely rains all day long. You can still experience the city, just pack a raincoat along with your sunhat! The Old Town sometimes floods during this season causing both damage and travel difficulties. Experiencing the floods is an eye-opening experience, one with rich opportunities for photographers and could be their best time to visit Hoi An. Boats paddle through flooded streets to buy and sell products and the community comes together to move belongings above the floodwaters.

Hidden Hint: While the city may shut down for a day or two until the water resides, life does return to normal quite fast. Vietnamese people are very adaptable!

Hoi An’s Dry Season

The dry season starts around February and lasts through the summer months until about the start of October. During these months, the city has an abundance of sunny days and the best weather of the year. However, the peak of the dry season brings heat and humidity slows down even the most acclimatised people. If visiting at this time, we advise building your days around long siestas with the aim of avoiding the midday rays.

April in Hoi An receives the least amount of rain, with an average of only six days. June is Hoi An’s hottest month with many days reaching the high 30s°C

Typhoon Season in Hoi An

Typhoon season is when Vietnam experiences heavy rain. Most of the time, typhoons start in the north around May or June, then head south over the next few months, ending in the south around December. These typhoons seasons tend to land in Hoi An in October at the height of the wet season. August and September have also brought heavy rains. 

Travel plans get impacted when these storms roll in. If you are travelling around this time, check the weather and pay attention to what’s developing. Don’t get scared if you find yourself in a typhoon in Hoi An. Hoi An’s residents weather these storms with a smile year after year. If you have concerns, just ask for advice from your hotel. We suggest hunkering down someplace safe with good food and riding it out. 

typhoon season on the beach of Hoi An
Rough seas and high winds off the coast of Hoi An

What Month has the Best Weather to Visit Hoi An?

March, April, and September are the best time to visit Hoi An based on weather. These months provide the lowest average rainfall of the year and manageable temperatures ranging from 35°C (95°F) to 26°C (78°F). 

These months provide the best weather conditions for a balanced Hoi An experience.  However, if you are looking for long hot beach days, consider booking your trip around July or August when the temperatures are higher and the days longer since this is the best time to visit Hoi An for you.

The best time to visit the Tra Que Village in Hoi An
A tour group wear Vietnamese hats to avoid the midday sun. Photo: Kristen Wells

Hidden’s Thoughts

Taking all of the above into consideration, Hidden thinks that the best time to visit Hoi An is in September.  At this time the rainy season is long gone, tourist levels are lower and the heat of the summer has dipped back down again. Additionally, the Mid-Autumn Festival during this time provides a great way to experience traditional Vietnamese life and it is not disruptive to travel. 

Hoi An is a unique city with so many ways to explore and enjoy it. From the sun-drenched beaches along the coast to its Old Town and warren of exciting shops. In the wet season, you’ll find a city not many tourists see; in the dry season, you’ll find perfect nights to walk the streets taking in the endless lanterns glowing on the backdrop of a star-filled sky.