Although most people do not believe it until they experience it, Hanoi is cold in winter (January and February time). Actually, from late autumn/November time you will see Vietnamese starting to wear big puffer jackets and heavier clothing any time it drops below 25°C (that is 77° Fahrenheit, for all you imperialists). Then again, the Vietnamese are always fully covered when it is summer and they are riding their motorbikes, as they want to avoid getting a sun-tan! These low temperatures are often a surprise to tourists when they come here in the winter, and can catch them off guard, so we wanted to let you all know.
The good thing about this is it means there are a lot less bugs around in the north because they all get killed by the cold at winter time. This also means a much reduced malaria risk and less risk of other tropical diseases carried by insects as well.
Also, the enormous amount of options for buying north face jackets in Hanoi (North Fake) means that if you are travelling with only one thin hoodie and shorts, you can purchase some things to better prepare yourself for the cold for a relatively cheap price, though always remember to bargain.
(cold winter temperatures do not deter Hanoians from their early morning exercise routine).
Last year the temperature got down to 6°C in Hanoi (and it was minus seven and snowing in Sapa). This was the same cold weather that made it only 16 degrees in Bangkok, where the locals put t-shirts on all the street dogs to keep them warm. This was an anomaly though and it does not look like we will be having a repeat of that this year, but you never know what weather front from China may come down further than predicted.
(Sapa in the snow, January 2016)
The cold snap started this week, we had a few days of rain, and even a day of only 12°C, which may not sound that cold, but with high humidity and no central heating it definitely feels cold. Fortunately for the next week we are heading into warmer temperatures and sunshine again, and looking at a high of 24°C by Thursday of next week in Hanoi, and a slightly cooler 22°C in Ha Long bay. Sapa, being still in the mountains is going to only have a high of 14°C and a low of 4°C, but has a week of sunshine and some cloud from tomorrow.
So if you are going to be in the north the next week or so looks like the time to be here to enjoy relatively good weather at some of the wonderful places here in Northern Vietnam.
Let us know what you are planning to do here in the north and we will help you plan and organise your time here. Also, if you need an awesome hostel to stay in, let us know or book directly for the cheapest price on our website at http://seeyouatlilys.vn/hostel/