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Vietnam climate

Vietnam climateThere are no good or bad seasons for visiting Vietnam. When one region is wet, cold or steamy hot, there is always somewhere else that is sunny and pleasantly warm.

Vietnam has a remarkably diverse climate because of its wide range of latitudes and altitudes. Although the entire country lies in the tropics and subtropics, local conditions vary from frosty winters in the far northern hills to year-round, sub-equatorial warmth in the Mekong Delta. Because about one-third of Vietnam is over 500m above sea level, much of the country enjoys a subtropical or - above 2000m - temperate climate.

Vietnam lies in the East Asian monsoon zone. Its weather is determined by two monsoons that set the rhythm of rural life. The winter monsoon comes from the northeast between October and March bringing wet chilly winters to all areas north of Nha Trang, but dry and warm temperatures to the south. From April or May to October, the south-western monsoon - its winds laden with moisture picked up while crossing the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Thailand - brings warm, humid weather to the whole country except for those areas sheltered by mountains (such as the central coastal lowlands and the Red River Della).

Between July and November, violent and unpredictable typhoons often develop over the ocean east of Vietnam, hilling central and northern Vietnam with devastating results.

Most of Vietnam receives about 2000mm of precipitation annually, though parts of the central highlands get approximately 3300mm.

Central Vietnam
The coastal lowlands are denied significant rainfall from the south-western monsoon (April or May to October) by the Truong Son Mountains, which ore very wet during this period. Much of the coastal strip's precipitation is brought between December and February by the north-eastern monsoon. Nha Trang long dry season lasts from late January to October, while Dalat's dry season is from December to March.  Nha Trang, like the rest of the central highlands, is much cooler than the Mekong Delta and the coastal strip. From November to March, Dalat's daily highs arc usually in the low to mid-20s.

The North
Areas north of the 18th parallel have two seasons: winter and summer. Winter is quite cool and wet, and usually lasts from around November to April. February and March are marked by a persistent drizzling rain that the Vietnamese call 'rain dust' (crachin). The hot summers run from May to October. The north is subject to occasional typhoons during the summer months.

The South
The south, with its sub-equatorial climate, has two main seasons: the wet and the dry. The wet season lasts from May to November (June to August are the wettest months). During this time, there are heavy but short-lived downpours almost daily, usually in the afternoon. The dry season runs from December to April. Late February to May is hot and very humid, but things cool down slightly when the summer rainy season begins.

In Saigon, the average annual temperature is 27?C. In April, daily highs are usually in the low 30s. In January, the daily lows average 21?C. Average humidity is 80% and annual rainfall averages 1979mm. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Saigon is 14?C.

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