The Mekong Delta, a peaceful land with green paddy fields and beautiful rivers, is the highlight of the south of Vietnam. In the Mekong Delta, local people are honest and hospitable, nature is abundant, food is fresh and delicious, the intangible beauty evades words, and the tangible makes you silent.
If you fall in love with the Mekong Delta, it’s time to plan your trip. This article is the first step in your plan, which is all about the weather and the best time to visit.
Climate of the Mekong Delta
The southernmost part of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta has an interlacing canal system throughout the wide alluvial plain. It shares the same climate as the south of Vietnam: a tropical monsoon climate which is characterized by hot and humid air. The annual average temperature ranges from 23 to 34 degrees Celsius. However, conveniently, the difference in temperature between day and night is low. There are not many storms or weather disturbances but like the rest of Vietnam, there are two distinct seasons. You guessed it: rainy and dry season. Ninety percent of the year’s rainfall occurs during the rainy season, dry season almost sees no rain.
The rainy season usually begins in late April and early May and ends at the end of November. At that time, tropical low pressure flows occur on mainland Asia and the southwest monsoon barges in which creates heavy rain.
Rain in the Mekong Delta changes unexpectedly. Sometimes, there is soft rain while it is sunny, which is the sign of termite mushroom (nam moi) season. Sometimes, it rains a few minutes then stops, and continues to do this all day. Other times, heavy rain lasts half of a day.
After it rains for a few months, a flood occurs in the Mekong Delta, called flood season. During flood season, a big amount of water from small and big rivers flow into the paddy fields. Water is full of sediment which provides abundant nutrients for rice, and can create a bumper harvest. Therefore, farmers in the Mekong Delta are happy when the floods are high, which is the opposite mentality to other provinces in Vietnam.
How to Deal with the Weather
If you ride a motorbike to the Mekong Delta, riding through high bridges such as Rach Mieu or My Thuan bridge when it’s raining heavily is quite dangerous. Because the wind at that time is too strong, you and your motorbike may be blown over. Wait until the rain is lighter to continue.
Check the weather forecast in advance and your trip will run smoothly. If it shows heavy rain all day, staying at home is a better idea. If the rain is light, you’re good to go.
Due to unexpected rain, a raincoat is necessary. If you travel to the Mekong Delta for one day, a disposable raincoat is good enough and is quite cheap (less than 1 USD-20,000 VND). If you travel to the Mekong Delta for many days, it’s better to have a high-quality raincoat for around 5 USD (100,000 VND), so that you can use it multiple times during your trip. Raincoats are sold by vendors on the street during the rainy season.
I recommend that you bring T-shirts, pants, slippers, and a hat. The hot temperature in combination with unexpected rains makes for an uncomfortable environment, light clothes wick away sweat and keep you cool. A hat is also necessary to protect you from strong sunshine. You can buy a normal hat or conical leaf hat, a traditional hat of the Vietnamese.
Sunscreen is another important item. You need to protect your skin from UV light and the strong sun here in Vietnam. Foreigners should be especially aware of this since they are often not familiar with the hot and humid weather. I advise you to buy sunscreen before you come to Vietnam, it is often more expensive here and may contain whitening agents.
The rainy season in the Mekong Delta produces a lot of mosquitoes, so mosquito repellent is also extremely helpful. Sleep with a mosquito net to prevent bites and itchiness disturbing your sleep and travels.
The dry season begins in November and ends in April. At that time, the presence of high pressure from the Siberian – Mongol region and the northeast monsoon affect the climate. Rainfall in the dry season is very low, it only sees about five to ten percent of the total rainfall in the whole year.
From December to January, the temperature is cooler, and the weather is comfortable. The temperature in other months is hot all day, especially in the afternoon.
Due to the lack of rain in a long time, the Mekong Delta faces drought and saltwater intrusion. This parches the paddy fields and makes it hard to grow crops. The life of the farmers grows harder as well.
How to Deal with the Weather
I also recommend light clothes (including a hat, T-shirt, and pants) during the dry season because the weather is hot and humid as well. However, you can wear sneakers because there is no longer a threat of rain. It is easy to move from the boat to land and go through the paddy fields if you have athletic shoes.
Sunscreen and mosquito repellent are necessary, this never really changes in Vietnam. Once again, I advise you to purchase both before embarking upon your travels.
This kind of weather will make you extremely dehydrated in a way that you’re not used to. Bring a disposable water bottle with you and fill it up every chance you get. You can also supplement this by drinking cane sugar juice, smoothies, juices, or having a bowl of pho. Try not to do many activities at noon. If you do, take advantage of the shade and take necessary rests.
Best Time to Visit
The dry season is the best time to visit the Mekong Delta because you can go outside and enjoy the full day without an onslaught of rain. Cruise on the boat with the blue sky and quiet water, walk through and take photos in the middle of the paddy fields, cycle around the villages, enjoy sweet fruits from the garden, catch fish in the canal nearby, and visit brick and noodle factories while you’re there.
Moreover, Lunar New Year Holiday which happens at the end of January or the beginning of February is the most important and bustling holiday in Vietnam. Local people start preparing everything half of a month before the holiday. On the way to the Mekong Delta, flower gardens stretch all over the streetsides for sale, many kinds of jams and cakes are displayed at grocery stores, markets are crowded with an abundance of traditional food like Vietnamese sausage (lap xuong), pickled small leeks (cu kieu), and Vietnamese cylindrical sticky rice cake (banh tet). Local people work hard to prepare enough food and things to use during the holiday. At the same time, they enjoy their night with karaoke and parties. The atmosphere during this time is lively and bustling.
The Mekong Delta is an attractive destination for both domestic and international tourists in Vietnam. There are 13 provinces and every province has its own highlight such as the four islands in Ben Tre, floating market in Can Tho, flower village in Sa Dec, Ba Chua Xu temple in Chau Doc, Tra Su mangrove forest in An Giang, Phu Quoc island in Kien Giang, and Ca Mau Cape in Ca Mau. Keep reading our articles below to find your favorite places and necessary information to start your trip:
Where to Stay in the Mekong Delta
Guide to Visiting Cai Rang Floating Market
Mekong Delta – A Trip to Dong Thap
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