Sapa Weather, Best time to visit

Sapa is a hill station at 1,475m above sea level with mostly cool climate all year round. Sapa has a tropical monsoon climate on high altitudes with mostly 2 seasons: dry season from late November through April and rainy season from May through October.

The temperatures in Sapa are mostly cool and cold: 14-24oC in May-August and below 10oC to 18oC in the other months of the year. During the winter months in northern Vietnam (November through March) it is more like to be dry but sometimes it is wet for a couple of days due to a renewed spell of northeasterly monsoon. It is sometimes foggy during the winter months.A Black Hmong lady amid wild mountains at Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam

While it may rain in the winter time but they are light drizzles. The rains in the rainy season are normally heavy ones and may cause flash floods or landslides in some villages. The rainy season is also the summer in northern Vietnam and many villages of Sapa are on low altitudes and they may experience some hot days in May-August. During the rainy season the weather may change from scorching sun to heavy rain a few times a day.

For those who embark on trekking tours in Sapa, August may be not a good time. The temperatures may be too hot in the villages and the sun is quite strong. Besides, there may be quite a few insects during this month (and only this month!). If you happen to have a trip and stay overnight at the villages, then bring along lots of insect repellents, long-sleeves shirts and long pants.

The coldest period in Sapa normally between December and January and it may snow for a week. Brings lots of warm clothes if you are in Sapa during this time and expect to be trembling still! When it snows traffic on certain roads may be blocked for a few days.

Sapa’s weather by month
- January: Relatively dry, wet due to very light rains (like thick mist) when there is a new spell of northeasterly monsoon, very cold, 2-8oC
- February: cold and dry, some sunny days, 6-19oC
- March: mostly cold and dry, some possible rains, 6-21oC
- April: mostly dry, some possible rains coming towards the end of the month, 11-29oC but mostly 14-24oC. Sapa nowadays suffers from serious lack of water at the end of the dry season which is due to rapid expansion of local tourism.
- May: Rains often, 12-27oC but often 16-24oC. There may be some days with strong sun.
- June
- July
- August
- September
- October
- November
- December

A clear day in Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam
A clear day in Sapa, Lao Cai, Vietnam

The best time for nice weather to visit Sapa
Depending on individual interest that you may like to visit Sapa at different times of the year. The Vietnamese tourists love going to Sapa in the summer to get away from the delta heat in these months. The Vietnamese tourists also like going to Sapa in late December and January expecting to get snow.

For dry weather and for lovely photography, you’ll certainly want to visit Sapa during the dry season. The relatively dry air makes your photographs look nicer. The lighting conditions change quite often providing different opportunities for great photography. Some days you may expect fog and some days you’ll get amazing ocean of clouds which many chase after nowadays. It is easier for you to move from one place to another during the dry season, too.

But if those shutterbugs looking for great photographs of rice terraces in Sapa, then you do not have a choice but travel to Sapa either in May-June (when the rice terraces are filled up with water) or September-October (when the rice turns into yellow colors). This is the only chance to get rice terrace photographs in Sapa, as locals have only one rice crop per year.