Blessed with beautiful weather in December, Vietnam is among the best places to visit in December, where you can get some tan under the tropical sunshine, admiring the breathtaking landscapes varied from North to South, and soak on the rich Asian cultures. Below is a suggested 2-week itinerary in Vietnam in December, covering the best places to see in Vietnam in December.
Vietnam weather in December
Affected by monsoon weather, Vietnam weather is varied from North to South and every month has different types of weather. You can see the weather by month fully here.
However, December is among the driest month in Vietnam with the pleasant weather, you can visit most of the highlights destinations without any weather hindrance.
December is the beginning of winter in north Vietnam, average temperature dropping down to 20 degrees Celsius, with bright skies and chilly breezes.In central Vietnam, the rainy season has ceased, returning the beaches to their original beauties. The average temperature is about 24 degrees Celsius. In the south, the sunny days continue with a temperature of 26 degrees Celsius, sunny days and less humidity.
The best places to visit in Vietnam in December can be named as Hanoi, Sapa, Mu Cang Chai in the North, Danang Hoi An with beautiful beaches, lush green Mekong Delta with the systems of rivers and canals, or Phu Quoc island.
Suggested 2-Week in Vietnam in December
Day 1 Hanoi arrival
Day 2 Hanoi City Tour – Night train to Sapa
Day 3 Lao Cai – Sapa
Day 4 Sapa – Limousine Bus to Hanoi
Day 5 Hanoi – Ha Long Bay
Day 6 Ha Long Bay – Hanoi – flight to Da Nang – Hoi An
Day 7 Hoi An – Ancient Town – Bana Hill – Hoi An
Day 8 Hoi An – Hue – City Tour
Day 9 Hue – morning flight to HCMC – City Tour
Day 10 HCMC – Mekong Delta
Day 11 HCMC Cu Chi Tunnel – flight to Phu Quoc
Day 12 Phu Quoc
Day 13 Phu Quoc
Day 14 Phu Quoc – flight to HCMC
Before you go
- Sim card: You can easily get a sim card at the airport, however, I suggest to buy the sim online at a cheaper price.
- What to pack: With the 2-week Vietnam Itinerary in December, you will see the weather changing from North so South. So for the North, you should pack warm jackets (especially when visiting Sapa and Halong Bay as the temperatures are lower than in Hanoi), anti-wind jackets for Fansipan. From the center to Southwards, the weather is much warmer, thus you can pack shorts, slippers. Sunblocks can be easily bought in the big cities.
Detailed Itinerary in Vietnam in December
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
You can start your Vietnam trip in either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. However, with this itinerary, I prefer to start off in Hanoi, going southwards and then spend a few days relaxing on Phu Quoc Island. Or if you have a direct flight to Ho Chi Minh City, then you can start from there, going northwards to Hanoi, then fly from Hanoi to Phu Quoc.
After check-in at Noi Bai International Airport, grab the sim card at the counter.
The booked car will pick you up at the airport and transfer to your hotels. You should book the hotels in the Hanoi Old Quarters so it is easy to visit the main attractions in Hanoi.
Explore the “Hanoi 36 street” – a network of narrow alleys and shophouses, tuck in a bowl of Pho for a dinner, or you can take a street food tours to explore Hanoi cuisine. It’s is an awesome way to explore its vibrant culture.
Day 2: Hanoi City Tour – Night train to Sapa
Start your day to explore Hanoi highlight attractions. You can follow the routes: Hoan Kiem Lake – Ho Chi Minh Complex – Temple of Literature
In the evening, visit Colonial Hanoi, seeing the Opera House and other local sights. Go inside infamous Hoa Lo Prison (“Hanoi Hilton”), where Senator John McCain and Douglas “Pete” Wilson were once imprisoned.
It is easy to navigate these places and you can easily get a taxi to go around. Or you can get the hop-on-hop-off Hanoi City tour to visit all these attractions.
In the evening, get on the night train to Lao Cai to visit Sapa. You can take the sleeper buses to go direct to Sapa, but the night train is way more comfortable and it is a unique experience in Vietnam.
They depart from Tran Quy Cap (Hanoi Station B), and the whole journey takes around eight hours. These trains depart at night, at 10:00 p.m and probably you have to get to the station an hour before the scheduled departure.
You have 12 choices of sleeping trains, and the popular ones are King Express, Victoria Express, Sapaly Express,Fanxipan Express, Chapa Express, Dream Express, , Livitrans Express, and Orient Express. They gain good reviews and their services with price range are quite similar.
Day 3: Lao Cai – Sapa
Arriving in Lao Cai ( a town 24 miles away from Sapa) at around 6:00 a.m, then you can easily take a taxi or bus to Sapa. Ask your accommodation if they can arrange a pick up. Along the way uphill, you can easily spot the breathtaking landscape of green valleys, rice terraces and local hill tribe working on the slope of hills, water buffalo or pig on the slope of mountains.
The bus/ taxi will drop you off at the Sapa center, and from there, you can easily explore the surroundings. Or you can ask the driver to send you to Cat Cat Villages, 2km from Sapa Town. This is a beautiful village of H’mong ethnic group which still remains unique customs and practices from the old-dates. There is a little leisurely hike when passing the villages, but the spectacular landscapes will make it up as the whole Sapa valleys are caught in your eyes.
You may have a chance to catch an image of a local woman sitting by looms with colorful pieces of brocade decorated with designs of flowers and birds as you are getting inside the villages.
After that, head to the Sapa Cable Station for a very amazing trip to Indochina’s Rooftop – Mount Fanxipan by cable car.
Since it is December – one of the coldest months in Sapa, especially in Fansipan peak, there might be snow happen at this time. Thus, when you get there, remember to bring a warm coat or jackets, scarf and gloves, and non-slip shoes. The tickets of Fansipan Cable Car are from 700,000 VND but the heavenly scenery really worth it. There are some important notes when purchasing the Fansipan Cable Car.
On the way to Fansipan, you can also visit Silver Waterfall and Heavenly Gate.
Day 4: Sapa – Shuttle Bus to Hanoi
From Sapa, we trek via Y Linh Ho through beautiful scenery to the Black H’mong Village of Lao Chai where we spend time looking around the village and learning about life in the village. Then, we walk through rice terraces and on local paths to the Zay village of Ta Van. This is the only village in the Sa Pa area where the Dzay people live.
In the afternoon, around 14:00 pm, take the shuttle bus to go back to Hanoi. You can book the shuttle bus here, from only $11,69. The bus is quite comfy and the staffs are super friendly.
Day 5: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay
On the fifth day of the itinerary, visit Halong Bay – one of the must-see destinations in Vietnam.
Halong Bay is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. It is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Spend at least one night cruise on the bay to witness the tranquil beauty and breathtaking scenery from the decks of the cruise, complete with bat-winged sails. Gliding through the gin-clear waters of the bay, absorb one of the most magnificent natural splendors of the Far East.
You can choose Bai Tu Long Bay or Lan Ha Bay for alternatives as they are less touristy than Halong Bay and the cruises are new and more modern.
Day 6: Ha Long Bay – Hanoi – flight to Da Nang – Hoi An
Start off your day with Taichi Session and enjoy the sunrise on the sea with breakfast in a beautiful restaurant. The following are some interesting activities such as visiting the caves before cruising back to the harbor and get back to Hanoi.
Fly to Danang in the evening and spend your night in Hoi An which is about 40km from Danang.
Hoi An is very charming at night with lanterns lighting up.
Day 7 Hoi An – Ancient Town – Bana Hill – Hoi An
Spending your morning to explore Hoi An ancient town and savor the best “Banh Mi” in the world. You can also try the egg coffee and explore the beautiful cafe in the town and have nice pictures with yellow houses. Take a tour to further 2-3 km from the town, you will explore the tranquil landscape of rustic villages and have some very engaging experience in the villages such as doing farms, explore lush eco palm forests in the rivers and have the best dishes with ingredients right from the farms.
Day 8: Hoi An – Hue
Wondering what the last imperial of Vietnam would be like? Then heading to Hue city, a 2-hour drive from Hoi An.
Along the way, you will have the opportunity to see famous destinations such as the Marble Mountains, My Khe Beach, Ling Ung Pagoda, Hai Van Pass, Lang Co Beach, and Elephant Springs – making it one of the most popular short voyages in Vietnam due to it having so much to offer in such a short distance.
Once arrive in Hue, take a city tour to visit Perfume River, Thien Mu Pagoda – the Hue’s best known religious site and the mausoleum of former emperor Minh Mang, in a tranquil setting of gardens and lakes. In the afternoon visit the elaborate mausoleums of emperors Khai Dinh and the Imperial Citadel from where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945.
If time permits visit one of Hue’s many garden houses or explore the lively Dong Ba Market.
Spend a night in Hue. Having a “royal meal” in Hue is also a unique and fun experience. Hue cuisine is considered one of the best in Vietnam.
Day 9: Hue – morning flight to HCMC – City Tour
Take a morning flight from Hue to Ho Chi Minh. You will then explore the most vibrant city in Vietnam with a prominent history going back hundreds of years.
Roaming through its street on a motorbike is an exhilarating experience in Ho Chi Minh city. You can book the experience here, they will help you to visit Ho Chi Minh’s diverse districts visiting markets, historic sites, and local finds and food stops. The tour can be suitable for morning, afternoon or midnight adventure.
Complete your day by visiting the Bitexco Tower, or have one of a kind experience with Noir – Dining in the Dark or top-rated cultural shows such as: A O Show, My Village Show. There are many things to do in Sai gon at night.
Day 10: HCMC – Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta is known as the “rice bowl” of Vietnam with a vast maze of rivers, swamps and islands, home to floating markets, Khmer pagodas and villages surrounded by rice paddies.
On this day, take a full day to visit Mekong Delta. On the way, visit the first stop-over – Cao Dai Temple in Cai Be which is symbolizing for the local unique religion and then the Cai Be Cathedral.
After that, l embark on the boat to visit the inland and Cai Be Floating markets to witness the daily life of local people as well as to know how the two markets differ from each other. You will buy fresh tropical fruits right at locals’ own boats and have a chance to talk to them for exploring their daily life around the rivers. Leaving the market, continue with a hand-rowing boat tour to discover the exciting Mekong river life. The small boat will travel through the tiny canals and lead you to our mysterious spots on the river.
Back to the main tourist boat and transfer to the local hosted family (located on Tan Phong Island). Take a short rest, have a drink and taste the local fresh fruits.
Next, we will cycle around to visit Tan Phong Island. If it is on a school day, you will also have a chance to make friends with local cute and gentle pupils in a village school. Stop at a local farmer’s house to savor a cup of tea and local specialties of banana candies. You can try plucking the fruits at the host’s garden and talk to him to understand how local farmers take care of their gardens.
You will cycle back to the family for lunch with local food and break before embarking on boat to leave Tan Phong Island for the pier to heading Can Tho.
Arrival in Can Tho, check-in your local home-stay. Spend the night at the rustic homestay.
Day 11: Fly to Phu Quoc
In the early morning, you will take a boat to Cai Rang floating market. This is the biggest wholesale tropical fruit on the floating market. The shops and stalls at the market are boats of different sizes. Cai Rang Floating Market is open all day but it is busiest from sunrise to about 9 am. The main items sold there are farm products and specialties of Cai Rang Town, Chau Thanh District and neighboring areas. Every boat has a long upright pole at its bow on which samples of the goods for sale are hung.
Drive back to your home-stay for breakfast. After that, check out your bungalow for transfer to Can Tho airport for a flight to Phu Quoc.
However, please note that there are only a few flights from Can Tho to Phu Quoc, therefore some flights will be canceled or delayed.
To be assured, you can take the bus back to Ho Chi Minh City. Then take the flight to Phu Quoc Island.
Day 12- 14: Phu Quoc
Phu Quoc Island boasts idyllic beaches, romantic sunsets, evergreen forests, and a serene atmosphere, making it an ideal holiday destination. After a long trip discovers the beautiful country, spend a few days relaxing on the island after heading back home.
December is among the best time to visit Phu Quoc as it in the dry season. With the bright sunshine, warm breeze, the weather in Phu Quoc in December is perfect for a beach holiday.
There are so many things to do in Phu Quoc such as exploring 4 islands, Phu Quoc National Park, visiting the “fish sauce” factory or explore Vinpearl Phu Quoc Safari. Phu Quoc Prison is also a good place for people who are keen on history.
I hope that the suggested 2-week itinerary in Vietnam in December will help you plan and get the most of your experience in Vietnam.