Vietnam is among the best countries in South East Asia for photography. The country is divided into 03 distinctive regions: North, Center and South. Northern Vietnam is the most mountainous and home to numerous  colorful tribes. This is where the amazing rice terraces are. Center Vietnam is well known for the old relics, peaceful life, and pristine beaches and primitive fishing villages. South of Vietnam is home to the modern city of Saigon, and the vast region of the fertile Mekong delta. Each area is distinctive and there are a lot to talk about when it comes to smaller administrative units (towns, villages, etc). So all what you need is to pack up your camera gears and prepare to photograph Vietnam. Here in this article, we will be listing the best months for photography in northern Vietnam where, in our opinion, is a photography world within the country.

The country’s shape is thin and narrow. In the North, there are 4 seasons with quite a cold winter, especially in the mountains where the elevation is higher. The summer, from April to September, is characterized by higher temperatures and heavier rainfall.

Hanoi, being the capital of the country, is a good place to start with. Its temperature represents the northern Red River Delta. Temperature in Hanoi is as following. Temperatures are written in Celcius – Fahrenheit:

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Average Temperature 17.2 – 62.9 18.1 – 64.5 20. 7 – 69.2 24.2 – 74.5 26.6 – 79.8 29.8 – 85.6 29.2 – 84.5 29.1 – 84.3 28.3 – 82.9 26.1 – 78.9 23.1 – 73.5 19.3 –  66.7

Further up north, we will take Sa Pa’s temperature as the representative for the northern mountains, monthly mean temperatures are as following:

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
Average Temperature 8.7
(47.7)
10.3
(50.5)
13.9
(57.0)
17.0
(62.6)
18.9
(66.0)
19.7
(67.5)
19.9
(67.8)
19.6
(67.3)
18.1
(64.6)
15.7
(60.3)
12.4
(54.3)
9.5
(49.1)

A. January – Feb

In the Red River Delta (with Hanoi being the center), this period is characterized by overcast days and might be accompanied by sprinkles. There are hardly sunny, bright days. However, during this time, the Vietnamese are preparing for the Tet celebration and there’s a heavier flow of activities from cities to countrysides. The peach blossoms are seen everywhere as farmers are gearing to get them ready for New Year celebration. So expect to see and capture a lot. Places where you can photograph are:

Hanoi

Peach Blossom: Being the capital, there’s of course something in Hanoi everyday to photograph: Streets, markets, daily activities. You might want to wander around streets of the Old Quarter and photograph farmers carrying flowers moving in town to sell. Furthermore, make your way to “Vuon Hoa Quang Ba” – or Quang Ba flower field. There, capture the farmers growing this pinky crop.

Incense village: The incense village of Quang Phu Cau is located in Hanoi and is 1 hour away from the city’s Old Quarter. This is home to a hundred-year-old tradition of making incense and supplying throughout the country. Jan and Feb period is among the busiest time of the year, as incense is consumed to a great deal in the Tet festival. This vibrant red color of incense is truly photogenic as each bundle shape like a little umbrella. This helps the subject to stand out perfectly from the background. However, you might want to check the weather forecast as the village is down on a rainy day.

March

This is a great time to venture to the furthest part of northern Vietnam: Ha Giang. Ha Giang is 320km from Hanoi, and it is the last frontier to the North. Approaching Ha Giang was a hardship till a recent past. As infrastructure has made a stride, Ha Giang starts opening its unspoiled scenery to travelers and photographers these days. The scenery of Ha Giang is jaw dropping with winding roads hanging themselves along straight limestone cliffs. Roaring rivers threads through the mountains make the scenery surrel. Make sure you will cover the places of Quan Ba – Meo Vac – Dong Van. As each and every place has something to offer to photographers. The people are lovely and you definitely must spend some time wandering the village roads and capture the daily life of the people. Also don’t forget to participate in a mountain market – where the minorities wear their best costumes to sell things they grow or make at home.

In March, the weather in Ha Giang is warmer than the January -February period, which then make your stay more comfortable.

April