The Mekong Delta, a tranquil land with lush rice fields and beautiful rivers, is the highlight of southern Vietnam. In the Mekong Delta, the local population is honest and hospitable, nature is abundant, the food is fresh and delicious, the intangible beauty defies words, and the tangible renders you speechless.
If you fall in love with the Mekong Delta, it is time to plan your trip. This article is the first step of your plan, concerning the weather and the best time to visit.
Mekong Delta Climate
The southernmost region of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta, has an intricate system of channels intertwined throughout the vast alluvial plain. It shares the same climate as southern Vietnam: a tropical monsoon climate characterized by warm and humid air. The average annual temperature varies from 23 to 34 degrees Celsius.
However, the difference in temperature between day and night is small. 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.
Ninety percent of the year’s precipitation occurs during the rainy season, the dry season sees almost no rain.
The rainy season typically begins at the end of April – early May and ends at the end of November. At this time, tropical low-pressure currents occur over mainland Asia and the southwest monsoon barges, creating heavy rains.
Rain in the Mekong Delta changes unexpectedly. Sometimes it rains lightly while the weather is fine, which is the sign of the mushroom season against termites (nam moi). Sometimes it rains for a few minutes then stops and continues to do so all day long. Other times, heavy rains last half a day.
After a few months of rain, a flood occurs in the Mekong Delta, called the flood season. During the flood season, a large amount of water from small and large rivers pours into the rice fields. The water is full of sediments providing abundant nutrients for rice and can create an exceptional harvest. Therefore, Mekong Delta farmers are happy when the floods are significant, unlike other Vietnamese provinces.
Tips During the Rainy Season
If you ride a motorcycle in the Mekong Delta, it is quite dangerous to cross high bridges such as Rach Mieu or My Thuan bridge when there is heavy rain. The wind being too strong at that time, your motorcycle and you could be overturned. Wait for the rain to be lighter to continue.
Check the weather forecast in advance, and your trip will go smoothly. If it rains heavily all day, staying home is a better idea. If the rain is light, you can go.
Due to the unexpected rain, a raincoat is necessary. If you go to the Mekong Delta for a day, a disposable raincoat is enough and cheap (less than 1 USD – 20,000 VND). If you travel to the Mekong Delta for several days, it is better to have a high-quality raincoat for about 5 USD (100,000 VND), so you can use it several times during your trip. Raincoats are sold by street vendors during the rainy season.
I recommend bringing t-shirts, pants, slippers, and a hat. The warm temperature combined with unexpected rains create an uncomfortable environment. Lightweight clothing wicks away sweat and keeps you cool. A hat is also necessary to protect you from the sun’s rays. You can buy a regular hat or a conical hat, a traditional hat of the Vietnamese.
Sunscreen is another important item. You must protect your skin against UV rays and the strong sun here in Vietnam. Foreigners should be particularly aware of this, as they are often not accustomed to the hot and humid weather. I advise you to buy sunscreen before coming 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 useful. Sleep with a mosquito net to avoid bites and itching that disrupt your sleep and travels.
The dry season begins in November and ends in April. At this time, the presence of high pressures from the Siberian-Mongolian region and the northeast monsoon affect the climate. Precipitation in the dry season is very low, accounting for only about five to ten percent of total annual precipitation.
Sunscreen and mosquito repellent are necessary, that never really changes in Vietnam. Again, I advise you to buy both before embarking on your journey.
This kind of weather will make you extremely dehydrated in a way you’re not used to. Carry a disposable water bottle with you and refill it at every opportunity. You can also supplement this by drinking sugarcane juice, smoothies, fruit juices, or a bowl of pho. Try not to do much activity at noon. If you do, take advantage of the shade and take the necessary breaks.
Best Time to Visit
The dry season is the best time to visit theMekong Delta, as you can go outside and enjoy the day without the onslaught of rain. Cruise on the boat with the blue sky and calm water, stroll and take pictures amidst the rice fields, bike through the villages, taste sweet fruits in the garden, catch fish in the nearby canal, and visit brick and noodle factories while you’re there.
Additionally, the Lunar New Year, which occurs at the end of January or the beginning of February, is Vietnam’s most important and lively holiday. Locals start preparing everything half a month before the holiday. On the way to the Mekong Delta, flower gardens stretch out on the street, many types of jams and cakes are displayed in grocery stores, markets are brimming with traditional delicacies like Vietnamese sausages (lap xuong), pickled small leeks (cu kieu), and Vietnamese cylindrical sticky rice cake (banh tet).
Locals work hard to prepare enough food and items to use during the holidays. At the same time, they enjoy their evenings with karaoke and parties. The atmosphere during this period is lively and vibrant.
The Mekong Delta is an attractive destination for both domestic and international tourists in Vietnam.
There are 13 provinces, and each province has its highlights, such as the four islands of Ben Tre, the floating market of Can Tho, the flower village of Sa Dec, the Ba Chua Xu temple of Chau Doc, the Tra Su mangrove forest in An Giang, Phu Quoc island in Kien Giang, and Cape Mau in Ca Mau.